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!
Ok, finally. I think many of you already knew from Strava or other forms of social media, but I had a great race on Saturday 11/11/17. This post will be a little light on the images because my parents were so busy cheering (and it was cold before and after) that they didn’t take any photos and I didn’t run with my phone.
Start: It had dropped below freezing the night before and was still in the low to mid 30’s for the 7:45am start. I wore a longsleeve cotton shirt and pajama pants as my throwaway clothes over my PPTC tech t-shirt, Lululemon shorts (same outfit as last year’s NYC Marathon), makeshift arm warmers, DarnTough socks, and Lululemon gloves (a Christmas gift from a friend last year). I ended up choosing my Brooks Launch 4s as my shoe since I did most of my marathon miles in them, especially the last 8 weeks.
Miles 0-7: My corral (#4) was pretty crowded, but we got off to a decent start 6 minutes after the first wave did. We turned a corner and then we were running west on Broad street. And boom, at mile 0.5, there were my parents cheering in the median. Nice! I took the first several miles faster than I meant to, closer to a 10:00 pace than the 10:15-10:30 I meant to do.
I meant to take a gel at 45:00 but due to the spacing of the water stations (every 2 miles, I believe), I held off until closer to 1 hour on the clock. I started with a Salted Watermelon Gu, one of my favorites. We were climbing up a hill at Mile 6 but I didn’t notice too much, as I was chatting on and off with other runners, I had started behind the 4:30 pace group, then I passed them, they passed me, and I passed again. At Mile 7, there is a significant downhill after crossing the James River to go from the West End to the South Side. This felt great. I spent the next couple of miles along the river taking in the beautiful views and sunshine. I chatted up a woman wearing a JMU long-sleeve (my alma mater) and took in some of her cheers as my own. If I do another Richmond race, I’m definitely rocking the purple and gold.
Miles 8-15: South Side was fairly uneventful, as I was mainly trying to not overdo the pace. After we climbed out from the River, I still felt pretty strong. I chatted with a runner from Chicago who was shocked at my choice of shorts and a NYRR employee. I had my second gel of the day, Toasted Marshmallow and it was AMAZING. I hadn’t tried it before (I know, nothing new on race day) but it was delicious. Around the half mark, I took some mini gummi bears from one of the candy stops. We ran alongside traffic for several miles of Forest Hill Ave and Semmes Ave, which I didn’t love, but some of them lended us cheers or music. Right as we turned to take the bridge back north across the James River, my parents surprised me at the 15 Mile marker. The bridge is fairly windy and an incline, but the boost from my parents helped so much. I had also latched on/decided to draft a couple who was also shooting for under 4:30 but wasn’t with the pace group. On the bridge, the pace group caught up to us, then we peeled away and I never saw them again (spoiler alert).
Miles 16-20: I still felt good but tentative, as I expected things to get harder in the 20’s. I slowly ate my mini gummi bears and had another gel, plus water every couple miles. We ran through some more familiar territory of West Main Street, then past the Diamond on Boulevard. I remember still feeling strong and passing people who were starting to fade. The stupid grin hadn’t left my face yet.
Miles 21-25: These miles turned out to be both well-populated by great spectator groups and the ones where I felt great and realized I was going to surpass not only my A goal of 4:29:xx, but my A+ goal of 4:26:03 (a 30 minute PR from NYCM last year). I believe that in lieu of a 4th gel, I just had a single Salted Margarita ShotBlock and increased the blue Powerade consumption since the frequency of the tables increased. I supplemented this with a banana from a nice lady around Mile 22. I turned down the beer and other junk food on offer, as well as the pickle juice. I had told myself to hold off the pace from miles 21-24, then up the gas if I was still feeling good. My parents showed up for the 3rd time at Mile 23.5 and I yelled to them “See you at the beer truck! Hurry, I’m picking up speed!”. It was true! See my splits above after Mile 21; I knew the end was near and almost nothing could stop me.
Mile 25-26.2: There were a few small bumps/hills before the big finish. At 25.5, I was passing people left and right and really turning on the juice when a woman told us the finish was “around the corner”. Well, we knew it wasn’t. I heard a girl comment on this and despite running at my half marathon pace now, I agreed with her and we talked about how we hate when people shout stuff like that about the finish when we just want to SEE the finish. I turn to look at her better and boom, she’s an internet running group friend! I managed to choke out my name and we both screamed. What are the odds? I knew we would get the final half mile in together, and boy did we ever. The downhill was ours. All of the pictures are of me talking to her (lol) and flying down faster than my 5K pace. We hit the finish, threw up our moose ears, and were done.
Final: I hit the clock at 4:21:34.2, which apparently rounds up to :35. I beat my A+ goal by 4 and a half minutes, which still seems unreal. And I had the best time doing it! Everyone I talked to on the course was sweet and beyond pleasant. The crowd support was impressive for a marathon of this size. We were handed our medal, the blanket, and the mug, plus a bottle of water.
Then I went off to find my parents at the Beer Truck. Sure enough, I beat them there. I grabbed a slice of pizza and some blue Powerade. I didn’t have my ID, only a sweaty $20 bill, so I couldn’t even get a beer. By the time they arrived, I was able to change then requested that we skip the beer and get straight to Bottoms Up Pizza, the source of my favorite pizzas from my Sweet 16 to my high school graduation. They actually had a table open and I had a Southern Tier Imperial Pumpking, a huge slice, and some Oreo pie to go.
A million thanks to everyone who has commented here, on my Strava, or out in the ‘real world’ plus my parents who cheered and cowbelled so hard. Y’all the best.
Until next time, Richmond! 50 weeks until NYC Marathon!
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.
Week 2 (of 2) of increased work hours and missing more weekday runs. Fortunately, this was a cutback week.
9/25: Rest day. Felt a little beat up after 17 on Sunday, but felt pretty good. I’m hoping to do more recovery runs the day after my next super long runs.
9/26: Easy 4 in the morning.
9/27: After bowling with coworkers for an event I had planned, I took off for a runcommute to meet with the Brooklyn Beer Runners. I made it over 3 miles the less-pretty way (aka not along Kent Avenue and the Greenpoint/Williamsburg waterfront, but along McGuinness then Nassau then Union) then hopped in the G. Ran home, grabbed cash and sour patch kids and a protein bar, then made it to the bar for a delicious W3 (wheat beer with hibiscus) from Transmitter Brewery (which I had just run over an hour before when along the Pulaski Bridge).
9/28: I woke up early to go on a run but skipped it then had a 14 hour day at work, hopefully for the last time. Ouch.
9/29: Rest day
9/30: 11 beautiful miles, mostly on trails in Richmond. I did all of the Buttermilk Trail and loved it. Falling leaves, mountain bikers, and water. Also hit up Belle Isle and Brown’s Island and some pedestrian bridges.
Went to Publix after for a sub and was not disappointed in it or their sweet tea or their raspberry lemonade. Then ate a lot of Italian food and drank a lot of Pinot Grigio at my Dad’s retirement party.
10/1: Rest day. Stopped by Richmond Running Company, which is a JackRabbit affiliate, and used $45 of my $60 store credit to get some Brooks Chaser 5″ shorts. Excited to try these bad boys out this week! Long sleeve and shorts running weather is finally here.
Total: 19 miles out of a planned 28. If this is my lowest mileage week of 16, so be it.
9/4: Labor Day. I woke up in the beautiful woods of Evergreen, CO to the sound of the leaves rustling and the roosters crowing. I’m kidding about the last part but there were chickens on the chalet property. I had enough time to get a run in before the post-wedding brunch, so I managed to make it to the lake and go around. Parts of the trail were closed and crossing the street with few crosswalks and some blind curves was pretty terrifying. But these views and fresh mountain air!
9/5: Early flight back to NYC, then after a nap, I managed a park loop for 5.5 miles.
9/6: The rain picked up a ton in the evening, so I headed to the gym for some treadmill miles. Despite watching the US Open (Madison Keys vs. Kaia Kanepi), I could only mentally get through 4 miles, but it was alternating easy run pace with my goal Bronx 10 Mile pace.
9/7: I attended the US Open and got to see Venus Williams vs. Sloane Stephens then Madison Keys vs. Coco Vanderweghe. I had 2 honeydeuces to drink but should have held out for Fuku, because my fried chicken grilled cheese from Melt was not worth the wait. I also ate way too much from Ben & Jerry’s but discovered how good their salted caramel blondie flavor is.
9/8: Mile High Run Club’s The Distance. I had a slightly late start and just got 5.5 miles in, but it felt like a great workout and I hit some fast paces.
9/9: Connecticut Day
9/10: I woke up late and wasn’t feeling so hot, so had to move my long run to Monday. I did 4 miles in the late morning before finally getting groceries and seeing IT at Alamo Drafthouse. Clowns remain scary.
Total: 21.7. Would have been 31.7 if my long run had happened where it should have.
So this was supposed to be a build-up week of 36 Sunday-Saturday miles, but I hit over that last week. Due to this and my vacation at altitude, I decided to make it a cutback week. I know, 6 weeks into the program and I’m being a real renegade here.
8/28: Unplanned rest day. I was feeling beat up physically from such a tough but awesome Saturday, especially with shorter miles Friday (my usual rest day) and Sunday.
8/29: 5 easy miles @ 10:52 pace on the treadmill at the gym. It was raining all afternoon and evening and I was just not feeling a soggy run after traipsing around Flushing and my neighborhood in the rain. My feet were already wet and cold.
8/30: 2 miles with the beer running group. We were taking photos to be part of the leader’s Airbnb Experiences, so after the staging of the photos and then drinking a beer, I was out of time to get a loop of the park in before my fantasy football draft. This is my 6th season playing and I’m trying to score some winnings here. So I ran home.
8/31: Flight to Denver and lots of walking around. Got some cool new hiking tights at REI, ate some delicious food, and tried a ton of local brews.
9/1: Rocky Mountain National Park tour
9/2: 13+ mile long run with Kate who was in town and planned out a beautiful route through 3 of the city’s parks: City Park, Cheesman Park, and Washington Park. We started before 6:30am so it was nice to be done by 9am and escape some of the heat. Apparently NYC was cool and rainy over much of Labor Day weekend, but Denver was 90+.
I had lunch at Biker Jim’s Gourmet Hot Dogs, where I got to try both reindeer and bison hot dogs. And some fried macaroni and cheese bites. And some prickly pear soda. After 13.25 miles, I was hungry.
9/3: Broncos 7K with/thanks to Laura. She had put a code on her site for this race and I realized that the race totally worked for my schedule, so we got in touch to meet up after. I ended up in the B Corral based on my proposed 10K time (I had no hopes of replacing my 8:00 5K time from last week but was shooting for high 8’s). I ran 2.5 miles from my hotel to the start, then we were off…uphill.
As you can see, I took it slow then hoped to pick up the pace in the later miles. This was day 4 at altitude, so I was more confident that my lungs wouldn’t explode but still a bit worried. The finish along the tunnel was really cool, too! We bopped around the expo after to grab some swag. The line to meet Denver Broncos players was very long, so that was skippable since I don’t currently have any of their players on my fantasy team.
Then off to Evergreen for a wedding with the best food ever. 6 different mini desserts, a make your own Smores bar, and a 20 pound peach and huckleberry pie.
Total: 27.5 Mon-Sun miles plus some light hiking. No altitude sickness, though!
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.