Week 2 & 3 & 4 of Brooklyn Half Marathon 2019 Training

So the perks of doing a 12-week plan are that even after 2 weeks (and especially after a mentally iffy second week), you still have 10 more weeks. And then you go on vacation and get food poisoning and all your runs are still at a ‘tough’ or ‘massive’ or ‘historic’ relative effort according to Strava reading your Apple Watch Heart Rate Data. Huh. Shruggie arms emoji. I’m happy with the state of my long runs this early on, since they’re already in the double digits but I definitely have work to do on the quantity and length of weekday runs.

Week 2

Monday 3/4: Rest Day, which was a relief since the Sunday night snow was heavy and wet and not everyone had shoveled sidewalks the next morning.

Tuesday 3/5: 3.2 quick-ish miles in the lower part of Central Park with a Jackrabbit store sponsored run trying out some On Clouds shoes. Got donuts for Fat Tuesday.

Wednesday 3/6:  5.7 miles in Central Park in the late morning. My plan called for 7 miles Tuesday, 8 miles Thursday, and a rest Thursday but I needed to modify. For now, I’m better off doing short runs over more days than the 4 days of very long runs and workouts. I’m hoping to adapt better in a few weeks with the increase in volume then really take to the lactate threshold workouts.

Had more donuts just because.

Thursday 3/7: Rest day

Friday: 3/8 8.4 miles in the PM around Prospect Park.

Saturday 3/9: Skipped long run in favor of getting brunch last-minute with a friend and his daughter, trying to bake a pie from scratch (dough is so hard!), and having an early dinner of omakase at Sushi Lab.

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Santa Barbara and Hokkaido Uni

Then I met my bf for cocktails and okonomiyaki at Bar Goto.

 

Sunday 3/10: Woke up to pouring rain and a lost hour of time and skipped my club’s new member run in favor of relaxing. Saw Captain Marvel and loved it! Then baked another pie and made Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken.

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Total: 17.3 miles. I shocked myself by not running at all over the weekend but I guess I still have some time to get my mental game on track and prepare my legs for the 30+ mileage again.

Week 3

Monday 3/11: 5 easy miles, trying to keep it in Zone 3 for heart rate which invariably involves some walking and jog shuffling.

Tuesday 3/12: Rest Day and dinner at Ani Ramen to celebrate my friend’s 50K instagram followers milestone.

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The namesake Ani Ramen

Wednesday 3/13: PM Central Park loop for 6.5 miles.

Thursday 3/14: AM Central Park recovery run including the reservoir for 4.4 miles.

Friday 3/15: Early flight to SF and bopping around, visiting friends and exploring the city.

Saturday 3/16: 12 mile long run along the Embarcadero and piers of San Francisco.

Bay Bridge Sunrise
Golden Gate Bridge
Unreal SF Hills

Sunday 3/17: Light hiking around Big Basin State Park in CA and checking out the Santa Cruz waterfront. Dinner at Din Tai Fung.

Some of the Din Tai Fung Spread

Total: 27.9 miles

Week 4 – Scheduled Recovery Week

Monday 3/18: 5.2 miles exploring UC Berkeley’s campus. The hills!

Tuesday 3/19: Flight to Seattle and dinner at Walrus and the Carpenter.

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Steak Tartare
Sound Views from Ray’s Boathouse over a bottle of wine

Wednesday 3/20: 4.2 miles around Seattle. Poke and Dole Whip for lunch in the International District, buying too many Japanese Kit Kat flavors, then beers and burgers for dinner. Falling in love with Seattle one bite and view at a time.

The Gum Wall in Pike Place

Thursday 3/21: Light hiking and exploring Deception Pass State Park. Then I got food poisoning on the way back to town from Anacortes.

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View from Deception Pass Bridge

Friday 3/22: I had planned to run 8 miles but chose to take it easy in light of the food poisoning. I went to the UW campus to see a James Turrell exhibit and some other art, then flew back to NYC later afternoon after some final Seattle coffee and touring Pike Place Market.

Saturday 3/23: Rest day – platelet donation, lunch, then seeing US and my friend’s band.

Sunday 3/24: 7 miles as a cutback long run, enjoying the weather. My plan actually called for 9 miles but I had told myself it was only 8 and that 7 was good enough. Yoga in the morning (my first time since late January, whoops). Had huge Italian sandwiches in Bensonhurst after.

Lioni’s Italian Heroes

Total: 16.4 miles.

Nike San Francisco Women’s Half Race Recap

I found out that I got into this race via lottery in early July and decided to take the plunge. I wanted at least one fall half (and was still planning on running the Richmond Half). This was my first destination race and my first that wasn’t NYRR or NYC Runs. I asked around and everyone who had run the race before said it was an amazing course and that they had a great time. I felt overdue for a trip to the Bay Area, so I decided to make it a full 4-day trip, from Friday morning to the last red-eye out Monday night. I’ll make this post focus on the race and other activities (and swag), then make a separate “what I ate” post because y’all know I went HAM out there before and after the race.

The pre-race activities were fun and helped instill a bit of the ‘community’ feel for such a big race. I enjoyed the Friday Get Focused workout and bonded with my Airbnb housemates who were also running. I ended up skipping the Saturday morning shakeout run because I had walked over 5 miles Friday and close to that on Saturday.

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Posing after packet pick-up during the swag purchasing point #1 at Niketown. I needed a Dri-fit hat anyway.

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I found my name on the Niketown store window pretty quickly as well as a friend’s who I didn’t know was running the race.

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Stretching to Hotline Bling with my housemates during the Get Focused workout.

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My goal for this half was just to finish without Achilles pain, since I knew a PR was out of the question and my eventual goal for sub-2 will have to wait a little longer. I ended up going even slower than I planned on and after the first few miles and hills, decided to not have qualms about stopping for pictures or walking through water and snack stops. I don’t usually race with my phone (just my Garmin Forerunner 220), but used both so I could enjoy some tunes and snap some shots. I ran my running club’s singlet with Lululemon Top Speed Crops because they have a zippered pocket as well as smaller waistband pockets. I wanted to bring shot-blocks with caffeine and keep the free gel along the course in there in case I didn’t need it.

I was at the front of Wave 2 because my housemate was going for a 9:10 pace, but I wisely decided to step to the side and drink more Nuun (cup #2 of 3 pictured below), so I ended up more in the middle of the pack. The first wave took off right at 6:30, and I crossed the start line around 6:41am.

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The first few miles had some uphills and I was trying to reconcile the course map in my head with the neighborhoods I had already visited Friday and Saturday. This was a pleasant distraction for the first 5K or so.

Nike Womens Half 2015 Course Map

We entered Golden Gate Park, which was my favorite part of the run. I had hung out there before when visiting and loved the waterfalls and bison, so I actually did take some quick shots this time. There was some crowd support and bands, along with ample enough water/Nuun stops. I grabbed a small peanut butter bar close to the 10K mark but didn’t eat it because I was a smidge thirsty. As seen below, I was clearly grooving to my tunes.

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I felt pretty strong exiting the park and took a Vanilla Gu I had grabbed, but definitely slowed on the first of the 2 hills out. The crowds were picking up a bit as we headed to the Presidio. I remember passing the 10K mark back in the park, but not the 15K mark. There were lots of twists and turns through the neighborhood; if I had been really racing this, I would have tried to run the tangents better.

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I tried to focus more on making it past THE hill and enjoying the downhills, along with admiring the scenery. I’m not good at running selfies and didn’t want to mess up a high-five or pass my sweat to a stranger, so I kept my arms to myself but grabbed a few shots at good pause points.

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After the hill, I knew there were only 2 miles to go and that they would be a mix of downhill and flat. What joy! I felt strong during these, took my final 2 shot blocks, and shoved the chocolate truffle into my zippered pocket for later. I definitely wasn’t flying by the water by any means, but I had a pretty good pace going here. There were a few music groups out, including taiko drums and a Chinese dragon dance.

The finish was around a corner and snuck up on me a bit because my watch was over 0.2 miles ahead. I went for the flat-out sprint for the finish but moved myself into the middle so I could have a good finish photo (not usually my strong suit).

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Nailed it (but please do not look at the knees of the poor guy behind me). I finished in 2:25:34, which is over a minute per mile slower than my previous two halfs (NYC and Brooklyn, both this year). But I guess I did stop for a picture of the bison paddock in Golden Gate Park. And I did shuffle slowly up those hills. So, my sub-2 hour half might have to wait until 2016.

The exit went really smoothly in part because they handed us large reusable grocery bags from Whole Foods (with lots of goodies inside), so I could throw everything else into there. Tiffany’s necklace in a box? Throw it in the bag. Hot pink water bottle full of cold water? Drank a lot of it, then threw it in the bag. There was no wait for the Portapotties, so I headed there first. I then got into what would be closer to a 1-hour line for Finisher gear, not knowing everything would be available back at Niketown or on the website. Fortunately, I befriended a couple of other ladies in line and they got the following picture of me. I did not want to wait in line for the official finish photos in front of the light teal backdrop. These motivational words would just have to do.

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Then there was a long, slow, painful walk to the shuttles. I snacked on my banana, chocolate milk, and peanut butter bar before the bus, then was able to shower and nap and move on with my 3 post-race meals.

I would try another Nike Women’s event for sure, especially if running with friends. In fact, I might enter for their Toronto 15K next June. I’m planning to run the NYC full marathon next November, so I probably won’t be able to race SF next year at that point in my marathon training, but we’ll see.

Fall Racing Schedule

I’m already many weeks into my latest Half training cycle but feeling fairly unprepared. I’ve cut a few long runs short (did I learn nothing from Brooklyn this May?) and tended toward cross-training in lieu of some of those mid-week 3-milers. After battling and beating plantar fasciitis this spring in my left foot, I’ve had some Achilles pain the last few weeks. But I am feeling way better this week after increased mileage and cross-training. My next 2 races are:

The Bronx 10 Mile

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The Nike Women’s San Francisco Half

Nike Womens Half 2015 Course Map

I registered for the Bronx 10 Mile back in June along with the Mile, knowing it would sell out. I then entered the late-June lottery for Nike SF and got in early July. The timing is great other than a busy wedding weekend in between the two, leaving me wondering when to squeeze in another 10+ mile long run. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, either before I depart DC, the day before the wedding, or after I come back.

I’m considering adding on the Staten Island 5K plus some extra miles SI around that day (October 11), which is exactly one week before Nike. I’m not even trying to hit a personal record in SF, due to those killer hills, shown in red above. Instead, I just want to enjoy my time and consume all that race swag. Assuming I’m relatively injury free after the Bronx, I plan to sign up for the following races:

  • NYC Runs Haunted Island Halloween 10K. I ran the 5K version last year and while I got a 5K PR earlier this year on a similar Roosevelt Island course, I am overdue for a 10K PR. I hated life and the humidity during both the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K and the Queens 10K and walked through the water stops. I think late October weather might be perfect to best myself on either of those runs. I’ll be cheering on many of my friends in the NYC Marathon the day after, so hopefully a race the day before will get rid of my marathon FOMO. Plus I’ll be going out for Halloween that night before waking up Sunday to cheer on my marathon running friends. I live right along the course then will probably take the subway to the finish.
  • The Staten Island 5K on 10/11 OR the Race to Deliver 4M on 11/22. Either one will be my 9th NYRR race this year and thus my final race in the 9+1 series. I could of course do both and hope to improve on my NYRR best mile pace. I’m also considering the Jingle Bell Jog for this reason because it’s near me in Brooklyn. I did my volunteer time back in April at the Japan Run and had a great time but am also glad to have it out of the way now that everyone is trying to squeeze in their races and volunteer credit.
  • Richmond Half Marathon on 11/14. Why yes, I would love a hometown race with the option of getting both Dixie Donuts and Sugar Shack Donuts after. This would be the Half I want to PR on this year. There are hills, but I’m pretty sure they’re more gentle than those in San Francisco. A friend who ran it last year told me there’s great crowd support, plus my family is pretty much obligated to attend and cheer me on. It would have been even more reasonably priced earlier in the summer, but I’m glad I’ve waited to register so I can watch for injuries.

So, after a fairly slow summer, it looks like fall will be pretty busy. Let’s hope I stay injury-free and that the weather cooperates.