This post originally titled Richmond Half 2019 Training and was supposed to cover everything in September, but then I never published it in September. Or October. My running has been pretty good (some weeks higher in mileage than others) but I’ve kept my weekend long runs right around 10 miles for the most part. Essentially, I feel like I could run a half at any time, but I couldn’t hit a PR. I got medical clearance from my doctor and PT to run a half this fall/winter (but not a full marathon, which is fine). But the consistency of training never really happened. So I’m just going to do the 8K in Richmond on 11/16/19.
I moved out of Brooklyn in September and have been exploring Central Park a lot more. There are so many paths and trails and things to see (namely waterfalls) off the main 6-mile path. My goal is to run them all, plus run the entire perimeter of the park on 5th Avenue and Central Park South/West/North. It’s a lot easier to get to the many NYRR and other races in Central Park now, so I’ve popped by to cheer on friends or pace long runs.
In late September, I did a Tracksmith-sponsored long run in Rockefeller Park State Preserve and loved hitting the trails. The hills were killer, but I stayed steady and on the slower side. Obviously I wore Tracksmith.
I went to Chicago in mid-October to spectate the marathon (for the third time in four years) and see friends from across the country and eat deep dish pizza. I ran a Nike-sponsored 4×800 race at Soldier Field and was pleased enough with my time. If anything, it made me want to get back to the track a bit more. In my injury-prone state, I haven’t been doing much speed work. Also, our team met Colleen Quigley!
Fall by the numbers:
Longest long run: 11 miles
Fastest speed: I hit 10 mph (a 6:00 minute mile) for maybe a minute during a Barry’s Bootcamp treadmill session and didn’t die or fly off the treadmill
I ran my first race since February, a 5K on Randall’s Island in 26:26, about 90 seconds off my PR.
I ran in Saratoga Springs NY, Chicago IL, and San Juan Puerto Rico.
Plus, I went to a driving range for the first time in over a decade, got into sourdough bread baking, am a happy owner of a Theragun, and kept up eating delicious stuff all over town (and other places).
Cutback week with 28 prescribed miles from the NYRR Virtual Trainer (which again, is Sunday-Saturday for me since my goal race is on a Saturday).
10/9: Another Chicago run along the Lake Front Trail. 6.5 miles total, mostly trail instead of road. I hopped off the main path and went around the golf course, which provided some great views.
10/10: 4.25 miles along the Hudson River Greenway to a class at RowHouse with a friend. I miscalculated this run as closer to 3 miles, then had to hustle my way up. Surprise progressive run! I struggled during class (I got there at 6:30 on the dot and hate being late), then we refueled with Sushiritos after class.
10/11: Rest day
10/12: 5.4 mile RunCommute along the Queensboro Bridge then in Central Park to a bar (Bob’s Your Uncle, formerly The Ding Dong Lounge which I frequented in my grad school days) on 106th and Columbus for my friend Allison’s birthday. I had a Breckenridge Agave Wheat beer and some garlic knots.
10/13: Rest Day
10/14: Long Run in Red Hook. I left no pier unturned on this one. The run up 15th Street from Smith to Prospect Park was horrifying (you can see where my pace slowed at miles 7 and 8). I ended the run at Woodwork to watch the Arsenal game with some friends, then shuffled home after a couple of pumpkin beers. 11.3 miles during the main part of the run, then 0.67 home from the bar. I’m going to round up for the full 12.
At night, I went to a bachelorette party and we had some amazing dishes at Bangia in Koreatown (corn cheese pajeon! spicy pork and mozzarella fried rice! soy garlic boneless wings!) then got gummis and Strawbeeritas for karaoke before dessert at Paris Baguette. I had the kouign amann and devoured it. I hope to bake more this winter once I settle into my new kitchen, but I think croissants and koign amanns are still a bit above my pay grade/skill level.
10/15: 3 recovery miles on the gym treadmill. I wanted to watch football but the only TV showing that was in front of the stationary bikes, so I suffered through the end of the movie Taxi with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. I might have squeezed in another mile or two otherwise.
Total: 31.25 Mon-Sun miles. Prescribed 28 miles Sun-Sat and I hit 28.25. Success!
5 weeks left until the marathon! Alert! This was supposed to be another higher mileage week with the longest run to date at the end.
10/2: 3.7 miles at home while my Dad rode his new bike alongside. This was awesome! I’m already plotting future bike ride/long run routes for home.
10/3: Tempo park loop at night.
10/4: Rest Day
10/5: 3 on the treadmill, then off to Chicago. I wish I had woken up earlier to do a few more miles but had gone out the night before.
10/6: ~4.2 miles along the Chicago riverfront, which my Garmin then Strava turned into the following “6 mile” route. It felt great, though! And it was fun to see so many other runners. I was really glad I took the architectural river tour last year, as it really helped me get my bearings.
10/7: Longest long run of this training cycle so far: 19 miles along the Lake Front Trail to its northern terminus, then onward up to Loyola before turning around. I was trying to avoid the part of the Lakefront below the Chicago River because the big pre-marathon 5K was happening down that way. I still saw a ton of runners doing shakeout runs and others doing their long runs and felt that great sense of community that comes from getting up before dawn to do our thing.
Obviously my Garmin paces aren’t exact, but I felt really good almost the whole time and was throwing down a lot of miles at goal marathon pace of low 10:xx. I flagged a tiny bit at the end, then Beyonce’s “Freedom” came on. Then “Formation”. Then I put on the Sleigh Bells – “Demons (Diplo remix) and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face or tone down the speed in my legs. It was one of those I FREAKING LOVE RUNNING kind of runs and exactly what I needed after a sluggish Bronx 10 Mile and extra 7 miles.
Then I went to Pizzeria Due for some pepperoni deep dish and a Goose Island 312. I didn’t realize Pizzeria Due was related to Pizzeria Uno. Whoops. Gotta say, Lou Malnati’s was better.
10/8: Spectating the Chicago Marathon. I walked at least 8 miles and found PPTC folks at 3 different spots. I got Italian Beef from Portillo’s and quite a few beers after.
Total: 36 miles M-Sun miles out of a prescribed 41 Sunday-Saturday. I need to get my Sunday recovery runs back into rotation! I’m happy to have gotten this many, but only have 1 more week that will be higher than this.
This was the dreaded 20 miler week and I survived. Except that I didn’t quite hit 20 miles on Saturday as planned. But, eh, close enough. I hope.
Monday 10/10: Still in Chicago, so 6 lakefront miles with Carla. I only really ‘needed’ 4 but am glad we did the extra. We picked up the pace on the way back after breaking for photos with a nice skyline view. I foolishly wore my shorter shorts and forgot to wear Body Glide and after a mile or so it was Chafe City, population me. I also had a finicky left calf during and afterward. You can imagine how nervous this made me at the start of peak week (even if this run felt more like a week 12 because of the location). I foam rolled and used her Tiger Tail, then wore my Birks to brunch at Ann Sather for the best cinnamon rolls of my life. I later explored some of the major tourist area with my friend who ran the marathon, took the architectural boat tour, and had cocktails on the 96th floor of the Hancock Building.
Tuesday 10/11: Early flight back to NYC wearing my compression socks. I was hoping to do a short run but the calf still felt tweaked, so I laid off.
Wednesday 10/12: First day back at work and had a long ride home from a meeting in the Bronx, and the calf was still a smidge sore, so I took the day off.
Thursday 10/13: I skipped a morning run so brought all of my gear to work, including my GPS watch but also with my lock in case I wanted to try the treadmill at the gym. Despite the cool weather, I was feeling the treadmill option more, especially so I could easily pull off in case of my calf still feeling tight. I wore shorter shorts and stupidly forgot Body Glide again. Chafe City, I’m coming back! I did a warmup mile at my long run pace, then an 800 at threshold pace, 3.5 miles of the hill workout, 800 mile moving from threshold pace to 5K pace, then a cooldown for 6 miles total.
Friday 10/14: Day off running and a quiet night in with a box of Annie’s white cheddar macaroni and cheese to myself.
Saturday 10/15: Saturday was “the” 20 miler day. I can probably put that into quotes too. I signed up for a supported 30K in Flushing Meadows Park, which included 4 laps of the 4.something mile loop. 30 kilometers is 18.6 miles, so I planned to do a mile before and 0.4 after. I took the train (well, a couple of trains) there and was fine on time until I realized I didn’t know exactly where the race start was. I knew we were running around the Unisphere at some point but the course map link was on the registration page and that was closed day of. I found a low-res image that included the map and started running that way while still in my sweats and jacket. Not my ideal warmup. I veered toward a table setting up water, but they were there for a 5K and had no idea where my event table was. Based on Google’s assumptions of how far I was from the start, my warmup was just about 1 mile and extremely stressful. They delayed the start a bit since dozens of us were in line for the bathroom.
I stuffed my pockets (Lululemon Sculpt short, the perfect length with plenty of pocket space) with gels (3 salted watermelon, 1 caramel macchiato flavor) and a Shotblock (salty margarita flavor) and put my phone as well with earbuds. I don’t usually run with music and don’t plan to race with it, but do plan to have my phone to better facilitate any post-marathon meetings or mishaps, plus get those last-minute texts about which corner people will be standing on to cheer, so it was good to practice how heavy or not it was in my pocket. I cued up the Hamilton soundtrack, did a last-minute swap of my regular glasses for my prescription sunglasses, and we were off.
I took the first 2 miles way too fast. I plan to have a marathon race pace between 10:15-10:45 minute miles, so I’m not sure what happened that made me go under that. I think my legs were just young, fresh, and hungry. I took my first gel after the first loop, second gel after the second, two shot block chews halfway through the third loop, the more caffeinated coffee-flavored gel after the third, and two more shot block chews during the fourth (pausing off-course at a water fountain, contributing to my slowest loop at mile 13). I could have used a couple more water stations for sure.
Looking at my Strava map, I now see why the course was short for me; I went the correct way around a the NY State Pavillion and the fountain only the first time but the incorrect way the next 3 loops, which must have shaved off 0.2 each time. You can see it as the farthest left red line out around the Fountain of the Continents (did not know that was its name). Weirdly, the organizers were waving us through at the turn points, so I’m not sure why this happened. I’m looking at the Strava map of someone else who ran it and she did the same thing. I think they might have diverted us because of a 5K also happening in the park that day. I tacked on another 0.6 miles to make it 18.2 (not 18.1, Strava. Rude!) before I had to thrown in the towel and stop the watch. Counting my 1 mile warmup then my 2 portapotty shuffles as cooldown, I hit 19.6 miles. 19.6 miles is not 20 miles. I think the “shortened” course threw me for a loop (haha get it?) and was weirdly discouraging when it came time afterward to tack on more mileage.
Sunday 10/16: I wanted to do a recovery run but instead had a very productive morning of dropping off donated goods to Housing Works and getting my favorite bagels, then seeing Girl on the Train. I had read the book, so twists and turns were not surprising, but it was still well done. I ate a lot of candy and sweets both during the movie and after with a stop at Maison Kayser for their amazing cookies.
Total: 31.6 miles out of a recommended 32-35. Harumph. That being said, I don’t feel ready to taper! So many more miles I wish I had run! This should have been Peak Week but was actually a little less than 2 weeks ago! I’m freaking out! Taper time!
Once again, I’m finding that my cutback weeks (coincidentally those where I am traveling for the long run and what should be run #3 or #4 of the week) are the hardest. I tend to have some cumulative fatigue from the previous week’s long run and speed work and am also very distracted by packing and the act of travel. So this week was another short one where I only got out twice. Yes, twice. I had the sniffles after my Cancun trip but still managed to attack my second-highest mileage week, so this feels kind of weak.
On another note, HOLY CRAP OMG I can’t believe I’m 12 weeks into this! And it’s going so well! I am uninjured (knock on wood, some aches and pains but nothing lingering), got a 5K and half marathon PRs during this training cycle, and have run 18 miles at a time, a solid 4.9 than ever before I began this journey. A little bit of reflection and a lot of navel gazing (shout out to Elle) has led me to be pleasantly surprised at a lot of training. It has been less time overall than I originally supposed, but I was preparing for the worst and am also on a pretty conservative plan. I haven’t taken to the track like I thought I might, but am planning on speed classes post-marathon to rectify that. I have eaten too much, constantly, most of the time, but at other times am full sooner than expected. I have maybe cumulatively lost 2 pounds during this process then negated it in Vegas, Cancun, and Chicago. Despite my proclaimed love for cross-training of all kinds, I have largely neglected it. I put my ClassPass on hold, even after dropping down to the 5 a month plan then failing to make any of those classes. I now make the “if someone is training for a marathon, you’ll know about it” types of jokes but actually do find myself telling everyone about it.
I’m in Chicago (will have just touched down back in NYC when this is published) for a combo work conference/sightseeing/visiting my friend Carla and cheering on the Chicago Marathon. The trip was supposedly to only involve the last two but then I got invited to speak at a big conference in my field. The combination of trip of purposes made it really hard to pack but I managed.
Monday 10/3: I was feeling less sore from my half and dragged myself up some stairs for a run club meeting. There was a panel all about the NYC Marathon and I took down some tips from the veterans. Also, I had baked some marble cupcakes the night before for a coworker’s birthday and hit peak cupcake consumption. 2 Sunday night, 1 for breakfast Monday, 1 as a snack at work, then 2 very small ones for dessert.
Tuesday 10/4: So I didn’t make 6am speed training this week, which left me doing miles after work. I tried out a partial run-commute along the G line for 4 miles then showered off before celebrating National Taco Day at the brick and mortar location of Tacos El Bronco. Forgot to take any photos but they were amazing. Had 4 tacos for 4 miles, I guess. Tried their tres leches cake but didn’t love it.
Wednesday 10/5: I didn’t run, but I did have All You Can Eat Hotpot and more taiyaki ice cream.
Thursday 10/6: It was raining in Chicago when I arrived, so I strolled along the river for a bit and killed time before I checked in to my hotel. I was hoping to squeeze in a quick run before I headed to the Art Institute, but time was tight so I opted for a nap instead. Then I explored with Carla for a few hours, including a Museum Hack tour. I’ve been wanting to see Seurat’s La Grand Jatte for over a decade, since I took art history in London and kinda fell in love with pointillism.
Friday 10/7: Long Run along the Lakefront Trail. 13 miles even. Chicago is pretty flat, so at every small ramp or hill, I told myself “this is it, the tallest hill in Chicago.” At least one of them probably was. It was cool but almost a little unnerving being so close to the water but great being protected from the cars. Cyclists were super respectful with space as well.
Saturday 10/8: Conference day with Lou Malnati’s takeout at the end.
Sunday 10/9: Marathon cheering day and marathon conference day. Saw so many people at mile 9.5 (and they loved the BROOKLYN WE GO HARD poster that Gabby originally made for last year’s Brooklyn Marathon). It was all very inspirational.
Total: 17.1 out of recommended 24-27. I ended up doing 6 Monday that ended up feeling more like Week 12 than 13 due to location, but the fact still stands that I went 22% under recommended minimum. Eek.