I've been a little quiet, I know.
We've been on holiday in lovely Cape Cod, so blogging has taken a bit of a back seat, I'm afraid. Running's not done too well either, as I only managed to get out there twice while we were away. Whilst I had visions of running every morning, it's pretty difficult when you've got the kids with you 24/7 and you're trying to actually have, you know, a 'holiday'.
Anyway, although I don't think a round of mini-golf makes up for the running deficit, we did have a lovely bike ride along the Rail Trail, where we got to cycle past scenery like this
We hired the bikes and trailers and cycled for 2 hours and around 16 miles. The kids loved the trailers to begin with but were soon over the whole affair and completely disinterested (as you can see).
Oh well, their loss.
I have managed to get back into the running swing of things since we got back, though, and ran quite a bit last week.
I've also been having a lot of fun experimenting with some new (well new to me, probably ancient to others) technology. In the absence of having a Garmin, I'm trying out a variety of websites and apps to track my progress and log my runs. Here's what you can get up to with an iPhone and a mac....
This has a brilliant (and free) app for iPhone where you can record your runs via GPS. Start recording when you set off and it not only tracks your run on an uploadable map, but allows you to monitor your distance and pace while you run. It's also very handy if you get lost (which I did while running in the new surroundings of Cape Cod), as you can use the map to navigate your way. When you've finished your run, you can upload it to your homepage on the Map My Run website and add it to your running profile. You can also search for running routes that have been uploaded by other users (especially handy when you're running in an area you're unfamiliar with), plus the site has a social networking angle to it, where you can make 'friends' a la Facebook. While it doesn't seem to have a way of recording lap/split times, it's the closest thing I have to a Garmin and I'm loving it.
Daily mile is fab. It's similar to Map My Run, but lacks the GPS app. I prefer the way you can log your runs on this site, plus you can search for other runners in your area to see what/where they're running which is kind of cool. For instance, I was interested to see who else has been suffering in the NYC heat we're having at the moment!
It's also great for keeping a record of your runs, mileage and feelings about your run. Although you can't map your run by GPS, you can easily map it out on the website, plus if you enter your time (which I take from my Map My Run stats) it'll calculate both your pace and distance. You can see where and when I've been running by accessing my lovely new Daily Mile 'widget' that you'll see to the right of this post. There's also another widget (don't you just love that word?), which will keep you up to date with my race schedule.
I have to say though, that despite all the fun I've been having with these techy bits and with the copious amounts of ice cream ingested on my holiday, I am lacking one major thing at the moment. A plan.
When I started running again this January, my main aim was to run regularly, finish my half-marathon and qualify for the NYC 2012 marathon via the NYRR 9+1 guaranteed entry program. Two half-marathons and 5 of the 9 races in, I'm no longer worried about completing the challenge, and with no 'big' races left on my schedule, I'm lacking a bit of motivation.
So I need a plan. I'm just one of those people who feels better about things when I have a plan.
This is what I'm going to do....
I've got another 4 mile race in a week's time, so I'm going to get that out of the way, then start the Hal Higdon Intermediate Half-Marathon training program with a view to running the Staten Island Half-Marathon in October.
Now I know I can qualify for the NYC 2012 Marathon by running shorter races, but I need the challenge of another half. Whilst the first half-marathon was all about finishing, and the second about finishing a little faster, this time I want to finish, wait for it, in under 2 hours. That would mean cutting 10 minutes off of my previous time and increasing my pace to a 9 min 9 second mile (my fastest half marathon pace thus far has been 9.55). The idea is that along the way, I'll also increase my pace for shorter distances.
Can I do it? Who knows. But the Hal Higdon plan includes a fair bit of speed work, which is something so far I've just toyed with and I'm now ready to have a proper go at. There's a brand spanking new indoor track at the YMCA Armory down the road from me with free childcare to boot, so I can definitely get the track work done. It's all doable, so why bloody not, eh? Plus, the Staten Island course is supposed to be pretty flat, and blimey does that help.
So what do you think? Should I go for it?
Anyway, better go. I'm volunteering at as a course marshall at the Boomer's Cystic Fibrosis Run to Breathe 10K race tomorrow morning in Central Park. I need to get there for 6.30am so that means leaving the house at 5.10am (ouch!). Volunteering tomorrow will fulfill the voluntary requirement for the 9+1 guaranteed marathon entry program, leaving me with just 4 more races to complete for my NYC 2012 qualification. Woo hoo!
I'll let you know how it goes. Nighty night x