Halves? I’m already kicking off my next half marathon training plan (this one being 12 weeks and very aggressive with the workouts and mileage) for the Brooklyn Half on May 19th. I have a couple tuneup races in April and May but am trying to just build the mileage in March. But I got back from New Orleans February 12th and the rest of the month flew by. Below are some eats and such from the tail end of New Orleans and back in New York.
I did a little recovery run around the Marigny and French Quarter the day after the race, then had to skip a run the day we left New Orleans because it was downpouring and I needed to do laundry and pack. I barely ran the week I got back from New Orleans because I got a cold on Friday the 15th and took 3 days off on what was supposed to be a busy running-filled weekend. I did manage to host a small Galentine’s party and volunteer at one of my club’s races.
I started running again on President’s Day, then showed up to the start line of the Al Gordon 4 Miler Saturday the 23rd feeling pretty unprepared speedwise and still pretty snotty. I was able to do it as a progressive run and not blow up in the back half like last year, so that was nice. I’m hoping my next 4 mile race in April will go a little better. I’m not racing at all in March, but doing lots of easy/recovery miles, going long with double digits pretty much every week, and trying out some speedwork. I’m planning to post training recaps in the hopes that this is my fastest dedicated Half Marathon training cycle ever. My PR of 1:57:04 is from this past October but that was during the height of marathon training. My A Goal at this point is under 1:55, but I’ll see how the tuneup races go.
And the briefest race report. I’m going to just frontload this by saying that I don’t think late winter or early spring half marathons are for me. This is the third year in a row where I arrive at the start line very undertrained and crabby with myself for paying over $100 to race without having a real shot ay my goal time. So the previous twoyears, I was a little closer to said goal times but now I’m older and wiser and didn’t want to have a big blowup in the back of the race. This is good in a way because it makes me really examine my intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for running. And also think about how much I, as a Southerner living in the Northeast for the past decade (!!), still don’t really like winter. We’ll see if anything changes on that front.
Monday 2/4: It was a smidge warmer than usual but I missed a morning run and already had dinner plans at the amazing Krok for some spicy Isan Thai. I had the perfect view of the route to Brooklyn Bridge Park to watch all the runners go by as my mouth slowly burned.
Tuesday 2/5: 3.4 miles on the Hudson River Park before taking a class on the erg at RowHouse.
Wednesday 2/6: Lunar New Year dinner at Golden Unicorn.
Thursday 2/7: Halal combo for lunch and dinner aka the best $6 ever spent.
Friday 2/8: Flight to New Orleans with my friend Jay. We immediately started eating everything in sight, from chargrilled oysters at Felix’s to beignets at Cafe du Monde. There was gumbo, jambalaya, and baked ham at Mother’s. Everyone else arrived later that night while I caught an all-female brass band and saw my first (unofficial) Mardi Gras parade.
Saturday 2/9: No shakeout, just more good food. Brunch at Ruby Slippers, more beignets from Cafe du Monde, carb loading with great pasta from Little Gem Saloon, then cheering on a Mardi Gras parade.
Sunday 2/10: Race Day (oh, did you think I just came to eat? Pretty much). I showed up to the starting line downtown unsure of what to shoot for. I thought about going out at 9:00 minute miles then trying for a negative split for the last 5K, which would have been my 3rd fastest half marathon (maybe even 2nd). But honestly I didn’t really feel trained for that. So I decided to run the first mile however I felt, then evaluate from there. I hit it in 9:30 and didn’t feel like it was sustainable as the sun came out a bit (then slunk back into the clouds) and the humidity worked its magic, so I slowed to a 10:00 minute mile pace for the rest of the race. I had some King Cake from spectators around mile 6 and a Jell-o shot at mile 12, determined to have a little fun with it.
We hung around the finish area as a group, enjoying the snacks and some free Michelob Ultra.
After showering and a nap for me, we went back to Felix’s for more poboys and chargrilled oysters, drinks at Carousel Bar and Pat O’Brien’s, then several pounds of seafood at the well-named Cajun Seafood.
All in all, not my best half marathon or even close, but definitely one of the most fun! I think it rivals and bests the Nike Womens San Francisco Half since the spectators wanted to get us drunk.
Week 6 should have been the second meatiest week in mileage but I was definitely still feeling the effects of the cold I caught the first few days of 2019. So then I tried and failed to pass the buck t o Weeks 7 and 8 but was somewhat thwarted by freezing temps and a vacation to Walt Disney World. It’s official: winter running is not my jam, even when properly attired. I’m very hesitant to sign up for an April/May marathon or even another January/February/March half in 2020.
Monday 1/7: 6 miles, split running to and from the monthly PPTC meeting. I mainly went to grab a slice of ravioli pizza, which is exactly what it sounds like. I’m planning to make my own soon but you really need a crispy crust to contrast with the pasta. TBD.
Tuesday 1/8: Rest Day
Wednesday 1/9: 5 mile outdoor run during sunset.
Thursday 1/10: 3 treadmill miles and a strength workout. Kettlebell deadlifts
Friday 1/11: Yoga class at a new-to-me studio (Sacred Sounds Yoga), focusing on stretching. My hamstrings were so tight to the point that it was comical.
Saturday 1/12: 3 treadmill miles after not being able to drag myself outside into the 20-degree weather. Somehow managed to make it to Ktown for soju and karaoke with the girls later.
Sunday 1/13: 5 frigid but sunny miles with a friend aka I didn’t do my long run. We ended at the bakery Ovenly, which semi-recently opened a new location near us in Park Slope. I had an everything croissant (a croissant with some everything bagel seasoning on it) and a hot chocolate. Brooklyn Museum and Asian fusion at Hunger Pang for dinner.
Total: 21 miles
Week 7: I took a lot of days off, so I’m going to just focus on the few days of running and the long weekend food highlights.
Monday 1/14: Somewhere between 5.2-5.7 miles at Mile High Run Club’s The Distance treadmill class. My treadmill said 5.7 and my Apple Watch’s Strava app said 5.3, so I’m inclined to go with upwards of 5.5 or so.
Friday 1/18: 5 miles along the East River in the dark and cold after work. It was so quiet and sort of beautiful. It was amazing to feel like I had the city to myself.
Emmy Squared pizza and fries for dinner.
Saturday 1/19: No pictures but I had Petee’s pie for breakfast, all you can eat Korean BBQ for lunch, and Taco Bell for dinner before a Planetarium show in Long Island.
Sunday 1/20: 10 mile late morning long run in Central Park. Later we went to Mitsuwa Marketplace in New Jersey for ramen and Japanese snacks (I bought so many Hi Chews) strolling the fancy mall in Short Hills, then Benihana for dinner.
Total: 20.5 miles
Week 8: My backup week for ‘most mileage’. Except I skipped Monday, traveled Tuesday, then walked 8 miles a day around the parks until flying back Saturday night. I did an easy 5 miles Sunday before getting groceries and trying to get out of vacation mode.
9/3: Last day in New England. 6.2 miles around Conway, NH. Then we drove to Maine and ate more lobster.
9/4: 6am flight back to NYC and went straight into work. Much needed rest day.
9/5: 3 miles at night in Morningside Park in the final throes of the city’s gross heat and humidity. Korean fried chicken and ddukbokki (and beer) for dinner.
9/6: Unintentional rest day. Finally back in the throes of meal prepping and healthier post-vacation eating.
9/7: Hit snooze on my AM run, then was supposed to be going to Fast Braid Friday with Colleen Quigley at the NYRR RunCenter. But they changed the location last-minute and I didn’t get the memo. I showed up at the RunCenter and was wondering where everyone was. By the time I figured it out, it would have been tight for time and going back to the UES (which is where I had just come from and didn’t want to backtrack). I decided to go home and cook dinner and not run (the event was going to have a 1.7 mile shakeout run but I couldn’t fit all my running stuff in my work bag).
9/8: Remember last week how I slipped in that I signed up for a 5K? Yeah, that would be the TEAL 5K in Prospect Park. I’m over a year out from my 5K PR (though to be fair have only raced one since) and was hoping that I could use my higher recent volume and last week + of lower mileage as a taper. The course was my usual route in the park but the first mile was downhill, second mile was flat, and third mile had the big hill. I was able to get close to 5K PR pace on the first mile, then slowed to 10K pace on the second, then the wheels fell off on the third. I wasn’t even at half marathon pace, but closer to goal marathon pace. But my friend Chun who was doing his long run got me to push through the last quarter mile and I hit a 7:13 pace for the final 0.1 of it. I guess this is why I actually did speedwork and 5K-specific workouts last year before my PR. I grabbed the swag bag and banana then did a cooldown jog home with a teammate. Total of 6.1 miles for the day.
Saw The Nun with friends then tried out the Detroit style pizza at Lions Tigers and Squares before getting a Butterfinger blizzard at Dairy Queen.
9/9: Since I skipped out on my long run last week, I wanted to get back up to normal (14-16 mile range) this week even though it was supposed to be a cutback long run and week overall (11 miles and 28 miles). I woke up ‘late’ at 7 to go cheer for the 5th Avenue Mile after deciding not to run up there. I cheered for a few hours then headed home and napped before my long run. Then I just didn’t do it? The rain continued and I just could not bring myself to run. I thought about pushing it to Monday night, which I did last year with some success.
Total: 15.3 miles and no long run. Eep.
9/10: Weather was still leaning toward the very rainy, so I did 3 treadmill miles at easy pace after deciding not to make up my long run.
9/11: I laced up my new Saucony Freedoms and ran to and from NYRR Open Run in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I did that as sort of a fartlek, alternating in the 8’s and 9’s. The gnats were out of control and I had to pull one out of my mouth, then found one in my bra later. Cool. 7.4 miles total.
9/12: Easy loop with the Brooklyn Beer Runners for 4.6 miles. Ended with a beer then got tamales at Maya Taqueria.
9/13: Track Mile! I ran from work to Icahn Stadium where they open the track to the public every Thursday night. Coach Honerkamp puts on a timed mile series once a month that I’ve seen some friends do, and I thought I should use it as a fitness test after my abysmal 5K. I ran 2 miles to get there, did a warm-up mile with a friend, then race the mile in 7:24, 5 seconds off from my PR. I definitely think it’s time to bring back more aggressive speedwork intervals in and will be trying to throw down next month. Short cooldown jog off-watch so 4 miles total officially.
9/14: Rest day.
9/15: Long run. NYRR Virtual Trainer prescribed 17 miles. Last year, I did it as the Bronx 10 Miler then a miserable, sunny, hot 7 miles after that I cut a little short. This year, I planned it with another PPTC member who wanted similar pace and distance, so we set out together at 7am. We definitely took several water breaks as the sun peaked out of the clouds and it warmed up a bit and we paused to fuel. I had only hit 15.5 as I neared my Juice Press destination, so I finished it with a slog up the stairs in Fort Greene Park, where I ran into a friend. I practically rolled down the hill for my final bit after pausing to chat. Happy to hit 16.2 miles total.
9/16: I stopped off at Chip in Gansevoort Market to try out their strawberry shortcake cookies. Holy moly. Much later, I did a Recovery run with Chaya around Prospect Park in the PM (moved from a planned early run in Morningside Park). Warm but breezy! 6.1 miles total and it felt great.
Total: 41.5 miles, a new weekly high. Feeling good and back on track.
This was supposed to be my highest mileage week (well, first of 3) for this training cycle. I was headed to New England on vacation Thursday night and needed to frontload my mileage a bit, but also scheduled a platelet donation Tuesday night and fantasy football draft Wednesday night. Then I actually went on vacation and remembered that I don’t like running on highway shoulders. C’est la vie.
8/27: 8.3 miles on the Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges. Stuck to an easy pace and went by effort on the bridges.
8/28: 4 miles easy on the treadmill. Well, 3 miles very easy and 1 mile at goal marathon pace. Donated platelets after work. I’m planning to donate blood again right after the marathon.
8/29: Rest day. Did some restorative yoga and had my fantasy football draft. There was beer, there was pizza, and I drafted some strong picks. More importantly, the yoga stretches felt so good. I should be doing this weekly.
8/30: 4 progressive treadmill miles before work, then flight to New England. 2 at easy pace, 1 at goal marathon pace (9:30s but would be happy with anything under 10minute miles), then a mix for the final mile between easy and goal half marathon pace (08:50s currently).
8/31: Walked all over Portland, Maine. Ate all the lobster, plus some oysters.
9/1: 4 miles with my friend, then we drove up the Mount Washington Auto Road. We had planned to do a moderate mileage hike, but the fog and cold at the top were too much. Went back into town and explored North Conway after.
9/2: Long run fail. I was all prepped and ready for 15 miles but it didn’t happen. Mentally, I wasn’t there and didn’t feel safe running by cars on the Kancamagus Highway. I headed up Bear Mountain a bit and ran along a ski trail but my energy was kind of zapped. Threw in the towel, then later we floated down the Saco River slowly in inner tubes with some blueberry cider.
Total: 21.5 miles. Surprise cutback week! I still feel really good about Week 6 and have signed up for my first race since April (a 5K, still looking for possible tuneup 10K and half).
After surviving my Memorial Day weekend test run, I slowly ramped up mileage. 2 miles here, 4 miles there, a few times a week. The goal is to get back to 5 days a week with medium midweek mileage for marathon training. I’m looking at a scaled down version of my original 18 week marathon training plan of choice. Maybe soon I’ll actually run enough to run off some of the baking I’ve been doing.
May 28 – June 3: 9.3 miles over 4 runs
June 4 – June 10: 11.6 miles over 3 runs. Double digits, woohoo! I also baked the Momofuku Milk Bar birthday cake thanks to the unique baking supply birthday gifts of my friends. It took some time but was worth it!
June 11 – June 17: 7 miles and some canceled ClassPass spin. I volunteered at a race to get credit for future races and had a great time at the bib pickup table. I also managed a full loop of Prospect Park for a total of 5 miles, which is my longest since the Monument Avenue 10K on 4/14. I had to break for water a few times but it felt good overall.
June 18 – 24: UK trip! I flew out Saturday the 16th and back the 23rd for my cousin’s wedding in Scotland with my parents and boyfriend. I didn’t get in as many runs as I had wanted in London due to food poisoning/stomach flu. I did manage a spin class, a hike up Arthur’s Seat, and a trail run near the castle that ended up with me getting lost in the woods and having to climb over cow pen gates. On Sunday, I did not use my jet lag to my advantage but finally staged myself onto the treadmill for another 3 miles. Total running mileage of ~8 miles but I turned my GPS watch off while I was lost and walking/running so we’ll never know.
A lot of life happened in March and April. Some miles happened. Not a lot. Or, not as many as my 10 week half marathon training plan called for.
3/19 – 3/25: 17.7 miles. I did a trail run in Prospect Park Monday with a running club friend Emily who’s training for her first 50-miler. I also squeezed in some treadmill workouts, including on a Wednesday snow day, where I did a 4×800 interval workout at goal 5K pace. After running MTW and doing RowHouse Thursday with a friend, I did not run again. Grief kind of hit me hard on the weekend because of my friend’s memorial service. I got to see some out-of-town friends who were visiting that and we had some nice meals together.
And matcha kakigori from Bonsai Kakigori at Canal Street Market.
3/26 – 4/1: 26.8 miles. Back at it, with a Central Park weekday morning jaunt, late Saturday morning 9-Mile group run, and a running club Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday. My team split the win with a team captained by another Hilary.
There was also karaoke, shabu shabu, funfetti cupcakes, and pizza from Emily.
4/2 – 4/8: 16.1 miles. I had plans to run TuWFSaSu. I made it to The Distance at Mile High Run Club Tuesday, a Beer Runners loop to the bar Wednesday, then replaced my Friday run with several miles on the exercise bike before heading to Phoenix for my friend’s other memorial service. No runs Saturday or Sunday due to the hotel no longer having gym access and time crunches, but there was a hike at Saguaro National Park. And tacos. And Sonoran hot dogs.
4/9 – 4/15: I started off the week still in Phoenix (early flight back Tuesday morning), so I got to hike Camelback Mountain on Monday. Well, mostly. I ended up running 3 miles from Scottsdale to the base of the Cholla Trail, then hiked up. I got in 1.5 miles of hiking roundtrip (the trail is 1.4 miles each way; I had to turn back once I realized I was strapped for time and also had the rental car keys). I met the guys at Cartel Coffee then rented an Ofo bicycle and rode back to the car. So much activity! I had hoped for a longer run round trip, but the hike definitely got my heart rate up.
I flew back to NYC Tuesday morning and took the day off. I got a Prospect Park loop in with my friend on Wednesday then had a quick 3-Mile solo Queensboro Bridge trip Thursday after work.
Then I flew to Richmond! I went to see family but signed up for the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K. I was overdue for a 10K PR (last one I raced was Queens 10K in June). Then the weather forecast turned to bright and beautiful. I was concerned because I’ve been running for months in temperatures not topping 55 and feel like the sun has been elusive. My corral was due to start at 8:45, so I hoped to escape the worst of it. I didn’t get to warm up but was just happy to find a real bathroom and meet up with Kate before we got into our corrals.
I tried to take it easy the first mile, but maybe went out a little fast. I felt pretty good at the turnaround point, but we were heading into the sun on the way back. As you can see from the Strava splits, I flagged significantly during the last miles, but was able to have a strong, painful, uphill finishing kick for the last 0.2. I stupidly thought I could keep it under 53:00 for the last minute. But this is still a 1.5 minute PR! So I’m pretty pleased.
I flew back to NYC Sunday, fairly stiff from the race. The weather was warm and beautiful Friday and Saturday, then turned cold and gloomy Sunday.
18.2 miles total, including a 10K PR.
And now I’m going to see a musculoskeletal doctor this week to see about my weird left foot/ankle pain. It doesn’t hurt while running, just when I flex it and during some walking. Let’s see!
So this was technically Week 1 of Brooklyn Half training (3/12-3/18) but I was also taking a trip to LA with Gabby and didn’t manage to get in any runs before I left Wednesday 3/14. So this is mainly about our hikes and run in LA and all the things we ate!
We flew in early Wednesday afternoon, dropped off our stuff in Hollywood, then headed in a very long car ride to Venice Beach.
It was so nice to see and smell the beach! We then had dinner with some friends of mine at A-Frame, Roy Choi’s Hawaiian outpost in nearby Culver City. No pictures because we were starving but we had loaded fries, two kinds of spam musubi, Brussels sprouts, and crispy chicken.
The next day, we took off on a Runyon Canyon hike. We took what we thought was the main route but then realized we were on the Eastern side of it. We figured out that we could keep going around the rim and back down but we had no idea how steep it would be.
We made it! It was 2.8 miles roundtrip and 740 feet of elevation gain.
After showering (I got some mud on my hiking leggings from bouldering and scooting down), we got some delicious ramen from Urban Ramen, bought snacks at Ralph’s, then walked to Hollywood to see the sights, namely the walk of fame and Mann’s Chinese Theater.
Oh, and some churros. Later on, I had dinner with a friend at Bowery Bungalow, then ice cream from Scoops in Silverlake.
On Friday, we headed to Universal Studios Hollywood. I was excited to see their version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter after going to the one in Florida in January. It was almost exactly the same, down to the butterbeer (hot, cold, and frozen). We did the hour-long studio tour, which was super cool because I got to see Jaws in action and see the set of recent favorite The Good Place.
Plus, huge donuts at Simpsons World/Springfield.
We hit up the race Expo on the way back and got to see some more of Downtown LA. I got street tacos, finally (was on the hunt after seeing the LA taco episode of Ugly Delicious). And it rained, which we were totally prepared for in our hooded jackets and umbrellas.
On Saturday morning, we ran The Big 5K, which is sponsored by Big 5 Sports and is affiliated with the Los Angeles Marathon (the next day). We signed up sort of on a whim, figuring that we were in town anyway and it would be a fun race. We didn’t look up the course profile until the day before the race because they didn’t really highlight it on the website. Now we know why. There were some brutal hills, especially for this relative flatlander. It starts off in the parking lot of Dodgers Stadium, then around nearby Elysium Park.
According to Strava/Garmin, you are climbing for 33% of the time. Most of the first mile started out great and I was on pace for a PR. There was a slight downhill coming out of the parking lots, then boom, climb #1 just before 1 mile. I chugged my way up and hoped that was the worst of it. But of course, what goes up must come down. Then back up again. Then down. Then up.
My grade adjusted pace for the first mile says it all; I went out hard then couldn’t hang on. Around mile 3, I got to laugh with other runners at what felt like an onslaught of hills. But I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t handle the hills.
Gabby and I grabbed our medals and snacks (she got the swag bag, I passed on it not realizing I could have had another Clif Bar). Then it was time to eat! I tried a pastrami egg and cheese burrito as well as a smoothie from some food trucks that were there. I was tempted by the taco truck too, of course.
We took a Lyft home, showered off, then headed back to Runyon Canyon for a gentler hike. We took the easy, paved road up this time then came down on the east side (where we had headed up on Thursday). It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday and so many people were out! It was impressed to watch all the runners, but we had a good time taking it easy and recovering. Lots of foam rolling that day! We had Korean BBQ bowls on the roof, coffee from nearby Blackwood Coffee, then I met with my friend Gina to hang out with her pup Riley and get donuts from California Donuts.
Before we headed to the airport (I had a red eye), we stopped off at a mural that Mabelle had wanted to check out. And it’s right next door to See’s Candy factory and store.
Then I spent the extra time before my flight screaming at the Houston-Michigan basketball game and eating chilaquiles. I missed out on all the NYC Half action, but I’m going to enter the lottery for next year.
Mileage: 3.6 miles of running, most of it spent wheezing up hills. 4.6 miles of beautiful, sunny hiking.
Hello from the other side…of the second hardest half marathon of my life. This was my 9th Half ever and the 7th that I really raced (I treated both Nike Women’s Half San Francisco 2015 and Fred Lebow 2017 as training runs due to injury and low mileage, respectively).
Pre-Race: I had peanut butter and banana on toast with some canned iced coffee from local spot Cuvee. Gabby and I took a Lyft to the start (our driver was impressed with our early morning activities) then met up with other PPTC folks. Bag check was easy and portapotty lines weren’t too long. Then came the corrals, or lack thereof. I waited for friends, then realized there was no way to get close to the 1:55 pacer without shoving my way.
The good: Miles 1-5 were great. Having only been in Austin a few days, I had no idea where we were North of the city (somewhere near The Domain?), so I just took in the sights. Like the industrial office parks. The width of the roads early on (everything’s bigger in Texas?) let me pass folks and get closer to the pace I wanted early on despite the crowded start.
The bad: Pretty much as soon as I hit the 5th mile, everything started to get tough. My legs felt heavy and my breath was a little more labored. I was pushing hard to maintain the same pace. I had a gel around mile 6, but that obviously wasn’t enough to save me. I also had 2 salted watermelon Shot Block chews at some point. I declined the Bacon Station, but maybe I should have partaken.
The ugly: Mile 10 and its last major hill. This course has a net downhill, but you never quite feel like it throughout the rolling hills. I am delighted to say that there are absolutely no photos of me on the course. I looked like death at the finish.
It was raining again at the finish, so I grabbed my medal and goody bag and shuffled 1 whole mile up the hill to Gabby’s to shower off. That mile was not easy, despite drinking some Gatorade.
Final time of 2:02:46 which actually makes this my 4th fastest half marathon despite what I consider a ‘bonk’ in the second half. Not bad.
Don’t worry, we got Gourdough’s after!
I was pretty sore that day and the next but did an easy recovery run around Austin to see more of the riverfront trail.
I needed some time to recover both physically and mentally from this race. Not every race goes the way you want for a variety of reasons, so I’ve tried to reflect on my training and preparation and race execution. On to the next one.
After hitting a one-week mileage PR 12/29/17-1/5/18 of 39.5 miles in 7 days, my training motivation slipped and my planned 2 week taper kind of became a 3 week one without a final long run. Whoops!
Week 9: 11.2 miles over 3 runs. Final “long” run of 5 miles, where I found some money. I also ate some really delicious things with my friend Lori on account of her instagram @girleatsnyc.
Week 10: My travel began to Austin for the Half. But first, Disney World! And Universal Studios! I ate everything.
I walked around a lot in Orlando but didn’t hit up the fitness center. I did eat Mickey ears ice cream, Dole Whip on top of pineapple upside down cake, and half the menu at Le Cellier steakhouse in EPCOT Canada.
I flew from Orlando to Austin on Wednesday the 17th, just missing an ice storm by a day. I did a shakeout run on the hotel treadmill once in Austin but hadn’t brought enough cold-weather clothing for their surprise post-ice storm cold snap.
I also ate a lot of queso and brisket.
17.1 miles including the Half Marathon and a cool-down mile afterward. Race recap to come!