7/31: Cross-training with tennis. More drills (I think my backhand is getting pretty good), more time to work on my atrocious serve. I’m nowhere near being ready to play against anyone, but am hoping that with more time, lessons, drills, and practice, that I could actually play next year.
8/1: I was heading to NYRR Open Run but decided to see if the new Park Slope Blink Fitness location was open and lo and behold, it was. And there were treadmills available. I did 4 easy miles while watching Teen Jeoaprdy! and quietly shouting out the answers.
8/2: Unexpected rest day because the Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series 5K #6 was canceled due to thunderstorms. My friends and I got delivery from Emily (their Emily pizza is in my top 5), stuffed croissants from Union Fare, and some fruit pies from Petee’s Pie Company.
8/3: Surprise mid-week 9 mile long run. I got out of a work training at NYU Langone Hospital early, so I put all my stuff into a locker at a Blink location (going to the gym twice in a week?!) then headed out along the East River. I was feeling good and the weather was perfect, so I knew I wanted to run more than 6 miles. I figured that since it would be likely raining on Saturday before/during/after Team Champs, I may as well get the miles in so I wouldn’t have to worry about adding extra on.
I turned around at 4.5 miles exactly in between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. Strava was being weird and generous and gave me an extra 0.2, but the wild loops around the piers to get extra miles in are all me. The 8:42’s are not quite right. I also had to do a lot of weird mini loops at the end of the East River path near 40th St. I’m hoping to do the East side from 59th St. up soon, but am happy to skip the 40’s and 50’s because there is no path.
8/4: Rest day. I thought about doing a few miles at the gym after work but picked up my bib then made it out to the grocery store and that was it. Had Burger Garage for lunch and was full for a long time. Burgers, sweet potato fries, and cookies & cream milkshakes aren’t really conducive to working out.
8/5: Team Champs 5 Miler in Central Park.
Due to severe thunderstorms in the morning (I woke up early to the sound of thunderclaps and rain on my air conditioner), the men’s race was pushed to 8am and the women’s to 8:45am. I did a solo 1 mile warmup after cheering for the guys near the start. It was pretty humid, as is normal in August, so 1 mile felt sufficient, though I had hoped for two.
I had a miserable 4th mile and stopped for water at each stop, then caught up to my teammate LP. She had her earbuds in so we didn’t really speak, but we sped up for the final mile and the part past our teammates together. I got a wave of nausea at the 4.85 mark, but managed to hold off.
8/6: 7 easy miles including a park loop in my PureFlows. This is the longest run I’ve worn them for because I’m hoping to make them my speed shoes for 5K/10K at most, but things felt pretty good in them.
Total: 26.7 miles. It’s only 0.6 miles less than last week, but I know it was supposed to be a few miles more (and that last week was supposed to be a few miles fewer). Next week (week 3) is supposed to be the first above 30.
Well, I’m a marathoner now! As for the days leading up to the race, I had no doubts about my abilities to finish this. But I also knew anything could happen and that I should respect the distance. Between all the love and support and reading stories like this, I am very emotional. Disclaimer: I am even more emotional after the events of this week and delayed publishing this by a few days in an effort to start coming to terms with the election results.
As of writing this Tuesday, I am also very sore. I got a massage Monday which apparently might have been too soon and maybe I just made more micro-tears in my muscles. Whoops! It felt good, that’s for sure. Anyway, back to race day:
If you’re unfamiliar with the course, this is an excellent primer.
Getting to the start at Fort Wadsworth was an experience. I boarded the 8:15am ferry, which should have left me plenty of time after the shuttle buses dropped us off for my Wave 3 10:40am start. But there was bus traffic the whole way and what should have been a 10 minute ride (according to others who have done it before) took 40 minutes. Apparently an earlier ferry broke down. I made new friends on the ferry and while waiting for the bus who came from all over. It was so nice to talk the time away and not worry about the ticking clock. I scarfed down my strawberry Uncrustable (saw others were having PB&J and it had been 2 hours since my freezer waffles). By the time I hopped off the bus and used the bathroom, the corrals for my whole wave were about to close. I quickly shed my throwaway layers, then ran into a PPTC member who had run this before and calmed me down a lot. I didn’t feel ready, but I knew it was go time. I ate my honey stinger waffle slowly and got a picture.
Miles 1 & 2:
I knew I should take the Verrazano Bridge very slowly, and I did. You definitely don’t feel the incline because of the adrenaline, so I focused on taking in the views and not tripping over throwaway clothing. The fire boats were shooting out water and there was a rainbow! I was Orange, so we were on the left side of the bridge and did a neat little turnaround before entering 4th Avenue. Blue was on the right side of the bridge and had their own route, then Green was on the lower level and seemed to come up then over to their special route, as seen below from the NYT. 11:12 for mile 1 and 10:26 mile 2, enjoying that downhill a bit.
Miles 3 – 6:
Bay Ridge was fun! I come down here sometimes for work or food, so I knew different stretches of the route. The crowds really started to come out and had some excellent signs. I saw a few PPTC people who ran past me and my pace was remaining steady with the same effort much closer to 11 minute miles than 10. I had hoped for more easy, breezy even 10:30’s like during my longest training run, but it seemed it wasn’t happening. I was afraid to push harder in case my body fell apart on the back half, so I reined it in. I untaped my pace bracelet for my A Goal time of 04:29 and threw it onto the median around mile 6. So long, A Goal! I had my first Gu of the day, Salted Watermelon around the 1 hour mark. Writing these down seems very important for any future marathon training I may do. This was a little later than usual but I figured the extra Honey Stinger waffle on top of the two-part breakfast had given me plenty.
Mile 7 – 9:
The best running miles of my life! This stretch included seeing the first of my coworkers, then one of my besties, then the PPTC cheer zone, then finally my parents and roommate. I have no words left to describe how exciting this part of 4th was. Then we did the Flatbush to Lafayette turn around mile 8 and I was equally impressed by Fort Greene. The party had really started. I saw great costumes, another coworker, and enjoyed the music. I took these miles a little fast and then my GPS messed up and told me I had run a sub-8 mile through Lafayette. I was fast, but not that fast! My watch had been beeping a little ahead of the mile markers but this is where it started being behind and I didn’t even realize. NYRR says I did the 10K in 1:07:28. Gu #2 (the other Salted Watermelon).
Mile 9 – 12:
I saw a few more people along Bedford (another coworker, old roommate who ran the marathon last year, and a team captain) then enjoyed the more quiet miles of Orthodox/Hasidic Williamsburg. I had a work assignment in this area the last few months that just ended on Halloween, so I’ve become more familiar with the area and the culture. There was still a fair amount of crowd support and the course was just chock full of Northern Europeans. I felt like I was surrounded by Swedes, Danes, and Germans. Then Williamsburg re-brought the party. I could actually smell the booze! I saw 2 lovely coworkers in Greenpoint before the Pulaski Bridge and was riding that high.
Miles 13 – 16:
The Pulaski Bridge was short and sweet, then we were met with a large crowd throughout Long Island City, where my main office is. It was so weird to see my work building then just keep running right by! Some friends were having their usual marathon party and I almost missed them because I couldn’t remember which side of the street they were on. I ended up making a beeline for them and coming in for a quick high five before zipping off again. Then the Queensboro Bridge happened. It was rough, to say the least. I still had dreams hitting my B Goal (4:30-4:45) and I hit the half in 2:23:01, which would make the tail end of that goal doable with a slight negative split. But the bridge ended that, as I chugged along at a 12 minute mile. Gu #3 (Strawberry Banana) was chased with water still.
Mile 17 – 19:
The Wall of Sound on 1st Avenue was no joke and I loved seeing the throngs of people five deep cheering for us. I, however, got totally confused about which mile I was on because of my GPS mishap and missed a couple of friends here. I sped up just a little bit but couldn’t get back under 11. I also chose to address my underboob chafing with some Vaseline. Unfortunately, they had run out of sticks so the medical volunteer just had to hand me a glob of it. No shame at this point and I smeared it where I needed. Gu #4 at the 3:20 mark, plus 2 shot blocks and some Gatorade at this point.
Miles 20 & 21:
The Bronx was really short and sweet and people were out in droves, contrary to what I had heard. The guy running next to me (who I saw again toward the finish) was a local and kept welcoming all of us to the BX. Also, it is just wild to me that we take such a detour around the Western Beef supermarket. I’m glad the afore-linked NYT article mentioned it because it was so confusing. Then right before the bridge, a lady had a great sign that said LAST DAMN BRIDGE. And yes, it was.
All aboard the pain train! Actually, it wasn’t so bad at first. I got another Vaseline stick and swabbed myself on 5th Avenue, then we went around Marcus Garvey Park, which looked autumnal and lovely. I was apparently shuffling along in the 11:40’s here and had a great butt slapping hello with my friend Allison in the upper 120’s. Then I ate half a banana since I had taken my final Gu (Salted Caramel, which has a little more caffeine, though not as much as the Caramel Macchiato I meant to take) at the 4 hour mark. Then somewhere around mile 23 marker (my watch was still behind), I got a nasty side stitch on my right side. I tried to keep jogging through it, but it brought me down. The worst grimacey photos are from this point, but my friend Brittany hopped in and gave me water and talked me through it. She reminded me how to stretch and breathe then sent me into Central Park with a smile on my face, ready to run down Cat Hill and make the finish in under 5 hours (C Goal!).
Miles 25 + 26 + 0.2:
The last two miles were a magical blur, full of spectators and my last wind. I chugged a final shot of Gatorade just to get me through the finish and managed to pick up my pace on 59th St. I passed a couple teammates but couldn’t really form sentences any more. I remember seeing the ‘800 meters to go’ sign and being excited, then feeling crestfallen when I realized just how far that was. Bronx guy was with me here and yelled out the sign, but it wasn’t enough. I pushed so hard just to get under a 10 minute mile then sprint in the finish, arms raised and feeling triumphant.
Then the epic shuffle to retrieve our medal, apple (yum), heat sheet, goodie bags with snacks, and finally the exit poncho. I pulled my phone out of the Ziploc bag and turned off airplane mode since I hadn’t turned it on to listen to music even once because I never needed it. The energy of the race was more than enough to get me through the tough parts). I tried to answer the many texts and WhatsApp messages I got and let my family know I was alive and heading to the reunion point. My walk speed was actually pretty quick and I tried to get out of the park as fast as I could while thanking all the volunteers. I entered the reunion school and got applause and cheers like a rockstar. Instead of chocolate milk, I was handed some delicious hot chocolate by a volunteer and grabbed some Milk Duds thanks to my Dad. After wiping down and changing and a mini photo shoot, we went to Bar Boulud for an amazing post-race meal. After a long cab ride back to Brooklyn, I tried to facebook and instagram a quick post before bed at 8:38PM.
The crowds make this race. I mainly mean the million + people cheering us on, but I do also mean the runners themselves. Everyone I talked to, smiled at, or otherwise wasn’t elbowed by (there were a few of those but most were apologetic) was so thrilled to be running this race. It was really something special to run through all 5 boroughs of this city I love and have called home for over 6 years. NYC is the place I’ve lived longest in my adult life and that is for many reasons, but the people are overwhelmingly the biggest one.
I brought too much nutrition with me. Fortunately my pockets were huge (thank you, Lululemon Speed Track Shorts), so my leftover Shot Blocks and extra Gus will be used in the future.
I feel very sure about my decision to not run another marathon until 2018 at the earliest. I’m looking forward to a leisurely summer and fall next year, where I can sleep in past 8am on weekends and not plan my vacations around my long runs. I also hope to get faster with the help of more speed work, and plan to try my hand at more shorter distance races that I didn’t want to risk this training cycle. I would hope that I could try a higher mileage plan for an future marathons and honestly, the thought of it right now is a bit much. I’ll probably end up doing the 9+1 in 2017 just so I have the NYC option open to me in 2018, but would of course consider other full marathons. My only definite 2017 races (barring injury) are the Philadelphia Broad Street Run (deferred entry from last year) and the Richmond Half Marathon.
I’m tempted to post a .gif of tumbleweed blowing by for my taper weeks, but I did get some nice runs in. I also got the sniffles (I can’t say I definitively got sick as it only lasted a couple days and seems to be more like seasonal allergies). But now I’m only 3 days away from running my first marathon and the excitement has finally washed over and replaced my minor anxieties about aches and pains.
The sniffles were real and I didn’t want to develop a full-blown cold, so I only did a weekday run then my first taper run in DC. I had planned a perfect 12 mile loop but got lost trying to get down to East Potomac Park, then couldn’t get onto 14th St.as planned and had to cut over onto the Mall further East than expected. I ended at Starbucks for a much needed soy toffee nut latte, courtesy of my free drink. I got to see some friends and have Nando’s for dinner, as we still don’t have one in NYC.
Mile High Run Club The Distance with Elizabeth Corkum. I hadn’t been to MHRC in months but I loved it and plan to take Corky’s class again when I reactivate my ClassPass. I managed to keep my paces consistent throughout the different interval speeds and saw some very fast Level 4 speed. I got 5.6 miles in, which is a huge improvement from 4.8 miles back in May. I also manged to keep my easy pace very easy overall.
Then on Saturday the 29th, I did the last 10 miles run with PPTC. My watch never picked up satellites because it was probably still on DC from the week before, so I decided to just run with the 11:00 min/mile pace group. We ended up at a closer to 10:30 pace for some of the miles, which was ideal for me since I hope to keep my marathon pace closer to that. I felt really good and was talking the whole way. Had a Gu around mile 6 and discovered I also love the Salted Caramel flavor.
Just some quick regular runs on Wednesday and Friday mornings.
I hit up the Expo on Thursday night and it wasn’t too crowded. I got my bib, said hi to some friends volunteering, took some photos with said bib, then did some shopping. Things I bought that I needed: margarita ShotBlocks and extra Gu. I also split a good deal on wool socks from Darn Tough with a friend. I’m not going to try out new socks on race day, but these are pretty darn nice from what I can tell on my test run. Most importantly, I got the jacket below in gray and I love it. Pretty sure it’s bad luck to wear it or the long-sleeve before I actually run the marathon, though.
I decided I didn’t need much more stuff. I have so many race shirts and running clothing overall that my collection should be complete once I acquire some more winter running clothes and accessories. Don’t hold me to that statement, please.
Anyway, I am obviously wildly excited for Sunday and love knowing that I have friends and family cheering for me in many locations and 3 of the 5 boroughs.
Tuesday 8/30: Queensboro Bridge repeat then getting a little lost around Long Island City to meet my friends for delicious desserts for 4.3 miles total. The bridge was an interesting experience. I was worried about the climb initially but it was fine (it’s a long one). The only issue was all the cyclists pedaling away in the pedestrian lane. I ran the way back on the side closer to the bikes and the fear made me run a full minute per mile faster. I met my friends at Sugarcube after and enjoyed their $10 special for a pastry (lemon choux for me, raspberry mousse for my friends) and gelato (strawberry Greek yogurt and rosewater flavors for me).
Wednesday 8/31: 7.2 miles total, which includes a warmup mile to the meeting spot, a loop of Prospect Park, 0.7 miles to the bar, then 1.5 miles home after 2 beers and a pimiento grilled cheese. One of the beers was free from a Pacifico bar rep, in my defense. The 1.5 mile shuffle home was shockingly quick and not queasy.
Thursday 9/1: Off day for running, but I did some top rope climbing (and failed bouldering) before work at Brooklyn Boulders. It was good to try another spot and some new routes. I’m still thinking about getting a harness and climbing shoes so I don’t have to keep renting equipment.
Friday 9/2: Fireworks group run to Coney Island. It was a little over 2.5 miles to the meeting spot, then a straight shot down Ocean Parkway to the boardwalk, then down a ways to the main spot near Ruby’s and Nathan’s Famous. 8.7 miles total, most of it with 2 other PPTC members at a conversational pace. We then stood in line for Nathan’s, watched the fireworks, and finally got our food close to 40 minutes after getting there. My chili cheese dog was amazing but the lemonade stole the show. We took the Q back and I did some foam rolling before bed.
Saturday 9/3: Off day from running. I drove a minivan full of friends up to Newburgh to our favorite Lawrence Farms Orchards for early season apple picking and produce shopping. Obviously I was most excited about apple cider donuts, but all of the other goodies were fun, too. I bought a fair amount of Honeycrisps and some eggplants. We went to a British pie shop for lunch, then I had Chinese delivery for dinner for carbing up.
Sunday 9/4: Long run day (or as Carla says, Church of the Sunday Long Run). My NYRR Virtual Trainer called for 13 miles but most other training plans would have me at 14 and I knew I would feel a lot more confident going longer. I left at 8am and did a warmup mile and loop around the park before meeting up with the group at 9am. Fortunately, the group was willing to go around 9-10 miles at my pace, so I kind of led the way across the Brooklyn Bridge, through lower Manhattan, back across the Manhattan Bridge, then a quick pit stop for water before ending at the new Park Slope Juice Press. I went just over 14 miles, so figured 14.1 would be better for inputting into my virtual trainer. Strava ended up giving me 14.5 miles total, but I assure everyone this was “just” 14.1 miles. Which makes it my longest run EVER. I’ve done 13.1 (really 13.3 because of not running tangents) in half marathons in 2015 but never further. These numbers made it feel real for me. I thanked everyone profusely for joining me on this momentous occasion (yes, really) and excitedly drank my free watermelon juice while strolling downhill.
I ate a Honeycrisp immediately, then downed some duck poutine and roast pork sandwich at Smorgasburg plus some apple cider donuts. Then I made good use of the Japanese and regular eggplants I bought with this miso roasted eggplant recipe I’ve been meaning to try forever.
Total: 34.3 miles out of recommended 30-34 miles. Yeah, that’s right, I achieved more than the minimum.
Heavens to Betsy, I can’t believe I’m so deep into training already (or that August is almost over). Overall, it’s going really well! Almost surprisingly well. I’ve been foam rolling like a champ and I think all the rock climbing has been helpful in building my strength. I’d like to keep squeezing in barre classes for additional stretching and strengthening.
Monday 8/22: Rest day from running. Rock climbed for a few hours and got up to (and completed) a 5.8 It’s so cool to see progress in this arena. Then I tried bouldering, which I haven’t attempted since 2012. I got up the V0 pretty easily but failed on the V1. Will try again and report back.
Tuesday 8/23: Quick 3 (morning!) miles around the neighborhood, including a turf soccer field. It feels really good on the feet and knees, that’s for sure. I did a half mile warmup, then 4 x 800m, then a little over a half mile cool down. My paces were not great, hovering around 9:00 minute miles which seems slow given that sub-8 minute mile at the 5K only a week prior.
Wednesday 8/24: 1 mile warmup to Prospect Park, 3.35 mile loop, then hurried up and waited for my friend’s running group and did 2/3 of a loop with them (cutting up Center Drive), then ran a mile to a bar in Prospect Heights. 8 miles total of varying paces from 9:31 on the downhill to 11:54 when I only had my prescription sunglasses on in the dark.
Thursday 8/25: Day off. Made my own Shake Shack concrete flavor for the first time, with a marshmallow swirl and crispy crunchies mixed into the Buttery Blackberry flavor of the week. Failed to take a picture.
Friday 8/26: Day off. Had a few beers, which had me concerned for my run the next day, but drank lots of water and went to bed very early.
Saturday 8/27: Long Run day. Ran an uphill mile to the starting point before 8 am, then did a conversational 11 across the Brooklyn Bridge, around lower Manhattan, and back on the Manhattan Bridge, all with several people from PPTC. Paces ranged from low 10:00s on the bridges to higher 11s in the FiDi with swarms of tourists. I had a ShotBlock after the first 5 miles then again closer to the 10th mile. This run had me questioning my sock choices, so I might try to get some with better sweat-wicking properties soon. I ran straight to Brooklyn Juice Company and had an amazing watermelon slushie, then foam rolled and showered before an amazing brunch at Miriam, local beers at Threes Brewing and String Rope Brewery, and ice cream at Ample Hills. BEST FOOD DAY.
Sunday 8/28: Quick 6 around the park before a beach day in Long Island. Nothing notable about this run except that I did the math wrong and thought these 6 miles would put me over the 30 mile threshold for the week. Got home, inserted into NYRR Virtual Trainer and boom, 29.4 miles total. Oh well, next week.
Total: 29.4 out of a recommended 30-34.
Long Beach was fun but full of seaweed, washed-up jellyfish, and some nasty riptides. At least there were fish tacos.
This post is late because I was attending a work training for 2 days. I now have a White Belt in Lean Six Sigma and actually have thought about how to apply some of my newfound process improvement skills toward marathon training (namely, morning runs). Look out, world!
Monday 8/15: Red-eye back from Vegas was rough, so I slept until 11am then napped in the afternoon. Meant to get a run in but didn’t. Still had some desert sand on me from the hike.
Tuesday 8/16: My usual snooze struggles were coupled with a touch of jet lag. I brought my running gear to the rock climbing gym but ended up just climbing for several hours. I completed my first 5.7 (and then my second) and tried a couple of 5.8s that I did not summit.
Wednesday: The final Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series 5K. I wanted to try for even splits of 8:20-8:30 but had some digestive unrest for the first mile, so hit 8:55 (this mile has the big hill, too), then sped up to 8:15 for the second (mostly downhill) mile and was feeling great. I saw some teammates ahead and hung back for a while before passing them in the last 250 meters then sprinted it in for a barely sub-8 final mile. I don’t think I’ve seen a sub-8 mile on my Garmin since I raced the Fifth Avenue Mile last year. The last 0.1 was sub-7, so I guess I have some untapped sprinting speed in me yet. I did a warm up and cool down mile as well to bring it to 5.3 miles for the day.
Thursday: Quick run-commute jaunt to book club, picking up some duck liver mousse and buffalo cheese on the way for tartines. 2.5 slow miles with my running backpack on. I contemplated running home but had some wine and a lot of tartines, so enjoyed a leisurely walk.
Friday: Off day.
Saturday: 8ish mile long run to celebrate Summer Streets. The last time I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge was on a run was last September and it was rough; my Achilles were acting up and I got water on the Manhattan side of the bridge then turned around to shuffle home. This time, I was loving life. Endorphins all over the place. We took a few moments to appreciate the views at the top, then paused at the start of Summer Streets for free coconut water. My Garmin got confused after the Brooklyn Bridge and gave me an extra mile (at a blistering pace). I peeled off the route at 59th St. and got a Sprinkles cupcake and some blue Gatorade before taking the subway home. I wish Summer Streets was every week (in the summer or otherwise) and Citibank replied to my Tweet about those sentiments.
Sunday: France Run 8K plus 2 miles warmup and 1 mile cooldown. I’m not giving either race this week the full race report because I’m trying to focus on the marathon. But I’m inclined to agree with whoever called this the France Swim. The rain began right as we were still in the corrals, then intensified in mile 1. I took my glasses off and put them in my pocket (yay for my Lululemon Speed Track shorts and their ample pocket space) and tried to take the Harlem hills as best I could. I stopped for water only after mile 4 because I had foolishly eschewed it before. Overall, my pace sped up just a touch from Team Champs 3 weeks prior.
I later visited the Museum of Ice Cream and mainly got my money’s worth in candy.
total: 23.8 out of 26-29 total recommended. Not bad but I do wish I had squeezed in a few more Thursday night or you know, made my Tuesday workout happen.
I had a lovely draft started of all the activities I did in my 17th week out, but then life happened. And the workouts didn’t. I think this was hopefully one of my last gasps of mind-body disconnect about what I’m heading toward. It’s time to ratchet up the discipline and willpower and mind-over-matter mantras. I just purchased the NYRR Virtual Trainer and it gave me a very realistic time based on my race performances this spring as well as my current fitness, so I’m planning to log my runs and workouts into there, with some additional structure from Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 and my running club’s weekly Marathon Training Group’s speed workouts.
In anticipation of all this mileage and realizing that I only took 5 classes in my last billing cycle, I’m downgrading my ClassPass membership from the 10 classes a month Core to the 5 classes a month Base membership. I’m hoping this will assuage my guilt about rarely hitting 10/month but still allow me to cross-train with spin and get stronger with barre. I also am going to try and take some tennis clinics and use it for bouldering/rock climbing wall time.
Saturday 7/9: Short “long” run with my friend Maya for 5 conversational miles including a park loop. This felt great! I dropped her off at a rock climbing gym then dealt with my hangover on the couch.
Sunday 7/10: I had a packed day of apricot Cronuts at Dominique Ansel (along with Elle of A Fast Paced Life), a Reuben at David’s Pastrami House, then the Smith St. Bastille Day celebration. I was hoping to eke out another run but my hamstrings were a little sore and I was so busy eating and cheering for France in the EuroCup final. I foam rolled at home.
Monday 7/11: PureBarre class before work. I couldn’t tell if it felt harder (and I got sweatier) because I didn’t do barre last week or because it was a slightly modified warmup that used weights in parts. I’m pretty strong at the planking now but tricep-focused push-ups are still so tough.
Tuesday 7/12: I smartly adjusted my alarm to not get up at 5:20am for 6am speed work with my running group (after going out for drinks and Mexican the night before). Unfortunately, I outsmarted myself by sleeping past my next round of alarms at 6:20am and missed a morning run altogether. But then I went on the best Yelp event of the year; the birthday cruise.
Wednesday 7/13 – Saturday 7/16: All work and travel, no workouts. But I got family and Rufus time.
So according to Strava and NYRR, Mondays are the start of the training week. I mentally consider it to be Sundays (is that a holdover from MapMyRun?), so here’s to some thought shift.
Sunday 7/17: I ran 3.5 miles while at home in VA around 9am, which meant that it was 80 out and 85% humidity (with a dew point in the 60’s). Needless to say, this was disgusting. I also ran it on an empty stomach, which I don’t usually do. The good news is that I tested out my SuperGoop sunscreen and it survived the sweat test. Then on Monday, it was back to NYC for my first real week of training.
After realizing I wouldn’t quite be in the shape I wanted for the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K, I decided that the Mini 10K on June 11th would give me a much-needed extra 4 weeks of training along with some girl power. I’ve run one other (almost but actually not entirely) women-only race, last October’s Nike Women Half Marathon in San Francisco. I was looking forward to the sisterhood vibes with the bonus of some of our club’s men setting up a cheering section. Unfortunately, I developed a sore throat the weekend after my birthday (June 2nd) then got major congestion that Monday and Tuesday. Things had cleared up by race day, but I still had a lot of phlegm.
I (we?) got so lucky with the weather; 63 degrees with 63% humidity, but I knew the humidity and temperature would keep rising throughout the day. I dropped off my stuff (post-race brunch means checking a bag for me, plus I still like to wear a layer there since it’s cooler in the morning), then I found a teammate in the corrals. On the way, a teammate and I watched the Girls’ Race and also spotted Molly Huddle. If we’re being honest, I got a little emotional. A teammate had posted a brief synopsis of this event (started in 1972 as the first women’s race; Katherine Switzer helped start it in her fight for women’s inclusion in racing, this Runner’s World article helps illuminate more). The history of women in sport, and especially in running, tends to get me choked up. Case in point: I can’t re-watch the U.S. Women’s 4 x 100 relay team win and set a world record at the 2012 Olympics without crying a little. I can not wait for the Olympics Trials in early July! Said teammate Gabby is a preschool teacher and I used to teach, so we were so happy for the girls running the 2.25 mile Girls’ Run race. We cheered for them and knew that soon we would be cruising down the same finish route.
I was hoping to PR, but knew that my congestion might get the better of me. This was only my 5th 10K ever, as I’m still fairly new to distance racing (my first was in December 2014 and that was the longest distance I’d raced at that point). I really like this distance because of its unique pacing challenges. I have to pace myself and keep something in the tank more than a 5K, but can try for faster speeds than half marathon pace (which admittedly, I would still like to improve upon greatly). Interestingly, NYRR’s new corral system use’s Hill Runner’s pace predictor and according to my 5K PR, I should be able to run a 10K in 54:45. But I’m nowhere close to that (yet). I’m slowly trying to hit more consistent splits of 9:15, then hope to shoot for 9:00 event then break into the upper 8’s. I think I’m just a proportionately faster “shorter” distance person, but am trying to work on races longer than 5Ks this year. I hope to see improvements while marathon training for sure, even though my goal for that is very conservative.
On with the race: It was most of the usual Central Park loop, but we started on Fifth Avenue instead of the loop itself. It was pretty crowded at first but I started to fall into a groove by the time we passed The Met front steps, then entered the park at 90th St.
My paces for the first two miles were the same and very close to my A Goal pace (9:18) according to my Garmin. Unfortunately, both parts of Harlem Hill got the better of me. I slowed way down and my legs felt heavy on the flat parts. I chugged some water and Gatorade while sort of shuffling past the aid stations. I tried to open my stride on the downhill but wasn’t very successful. I figured a PR was out of my reach but chose to press on hard because I knew the PPTC cheer section would be on the last mile. Can’t slow down then! I’m chuckling at my grade adjusted paces from Strava because that 9:47 really does feel like a 9:07, but it’s not. I ran the tangents pretty well and only added on 0.07, as opposed to a full 0.1 from my last Central Park 10K.
I high-fived the cheerers and felt great on the last mile and was able to pick up the pace, but not sprint it in.
I got my medal from a volunteer teammate, picked up a carnation (the top of which later got lobbed off in my backpack) and grabbed an apple instead of a pink bagel. After stretching and relaxing in the shade with teammates, I ate an enormous Juicy Lucy burger at brunch. I was one of many PRs Saturday, which gets me jazzed for the next one.
After my 10K on 10/31, I watched the New York City marathon for hours, cheering on friends and teammates. Rather than experiencing total runner FOMO, it got me pretty pumped about (hopefully, assuming no injuries or illness) running the race next year. NYC 2016 will be my first marathon. And maybe my only marathon (famous last words for runners). But let’s focus on making it to that starting line first.
After mainly taking spin and yoga my first 2 months with ClassPass, I decided to try to branch out a little with rowing classes at Row House. Most of their classes are a Full Body 50, which incorporates different speed/strength workouts on the Erg, then a bit of HIIT and other bodyweight moves interspersed. I usually warm up with 2000m on the erg at the gym, but I’ve never tried crew or anything and didn’t know how weak my form was. I was focusing more on strokes/minute but not really noticing my split times. The instructors at Row House are very helpful on getting you to slow down and assess your form before speeding up and trying power strokes. I took my first class at the Chelsea location and was sore in my arms and shoulders for 2 days after. I immediately signed up for more classes at the Columbus Circle location with Matt. Both studios are clean and modern (if a bit cramped in the locker room/bathroom areas) and have good playlists pumping along with the ability to dim the lights in crucial push moments. The workout has left me around a 7 on a scale from 1 to dripping with sweat. I’m taking another Row House Full Body 50 on the morning of Black Friday, which I assume will shake me out of my post-Thanksgiving slump.
I finally tried Flywheel at the Chelsea location and was a fan. my instructor Johnny was super high-energy and I ended up in the front row, so I felt like I was giving some energy right back. I came in 3rd in the class, which made me want to work even harder the next time. I’m having the best time reading Flywheel bios. What would mine say? I also love the “Never Coast” shirts and gear, which is amusing since I really enjoy coasting while on a real bike outside. My experience fly-ing so far makes me want to try FlyBarre as well since I’ve only been to PureBarre and have yet to experience much barre variation.
My most outside-the-box ClassPass experience so far has been at SurfSet, where you work out on surfboards that sit on top of 3 large balls. You use your core a lot to stabilize while doing the moves (lunges, planks, push ups, etc). I left feeling sore in my core after my first class, then had some thigh DOMS more after my second. The instructors (Diana and Aaron) are super helpful for newbies and will offer modifications for those who want to keep it simple or people who feel comfortable and want to kick it up a notch. And yes, they will totally take your picture on a surfboard for you afterward.
Since I had bonked in the last mile of the Staten Island 5K and had a ‘take it easy’ half marathon in San Francisco, I really wanted just one PR this fall. My last two 10Ks (UAE Health Kidney on 5/30 and Queens 10K on 6/21) were painful, humid slogs. This 10K featured slightly more crisp weather and the experience of more speed training and cross-training.
I came up with A, B, and C goals in 2-minute increments (55-57, 57-59, and 59-1:01) based on mental math, and my C goal would have me PR. I had ran the 5K version of this race last year, a 10K last December, and another 5K on Roosevelt Island on Memorial Day (where I got my 5K PR of 26:16), but the course had changed just slightly based on construction. Roosevelt Island is very flat, which really helps in the PR department. NYC Runs doesn’t have corrals for this race, so there is some definite bottlenecking at the start of the course, but it gets a lot less crowded by mile 2. I knew to be aware of sidewalk dipping and some uneven footing, but overall I’m a big fan of races on Roosevelt Island and it feels like a pretty known entity.
I took a 70-minute restorative yoga class on Friday night, so I felt pretty relaxed going into this race. The 9:30am start time really helped, too. I had my usual breakfast of 2 mini frozen waffles with cookie butter, some iced coffee, and plenty of water. I sometimes use almond butter if I’m feeling healthy, but speculoos works just as well. It also tastes great with bananas and I have Wafels & Dinges to thank for this combination.
I entered the start corral toward the middle/back with some friends, one of whom (Gabby of Marathons & Macarons) wasn’t shooting for a PR but was still going to race it a lot faster than me. Our teammate Johnny was way in the front, where he rightly deserved to be (coming in 4th overall and 1st in the 20-29 age group). I wasn’t running with music because I wanted to be hyper vigilant of my breathing and my body.
This being a race held on Halloween, there were some great costumes. But I was glad not to be wearing one. I wore my long-sleeved team shirt and planned to roll up the sleeves as needed. I definitely could not have handled the extra bulk of a tutu or the head warmth of a character hat. A teammate who ran the 5K kindly took photos of us 10K runners. I didn’t see her the first time, but then I caught on to where she would be.
I was stuck behind several couples on miles 1 and 2, but decided to keep drafting them until the path got wider. Then came the Minions and the penguins. I noticed 3 separate groups of people dressed up as Minions and am delighted to say that I only finished behind 1 group of them who passed me around mile 4.5. The couple dressed in full-body penguin suits kept with me during their selfies, then sped up and stayed ahead.
I saw some teammates after the 5K, which gave me a little juice for the fourth mile before I inevitable slowed during the fifth. My splits had been looking so good, but my overall average pace from this was 9:30 which means my Garmin (Forerunner 220) and I have some issues to work out.
My Achilles felt ok and my breathing was fine, so I finally took it up a notch on the final mile. My Garmin was off by 0.2, so when my watch beeped for mile 6, I knew that I really had 0.4 miles to go. I managed to stay ahead of a pack of piñatas, much to my relief, then caught and passed the girl in front of me before attempting a sprint finish. My watch had somehow gotten so off time (I saw splits of 9:10-9:24 but nothing slower), that my final time of 59:04 felt a little slow. But it is a PR! And a negative split! I’ll take it!
The finish line photos are not taken from a flattering angle.
I got 48th out of 137 ladies in the 30-39 age group (and 307 out of 646 total finishers). Top half, all right! I grabbed a lot of candy for immediate and later consumption, then we got a very filling brunch. I rested my laurels the rest of the day and foam rolled so that I could make my Halloween debut as Angelina Ballerina later that night, then cheer on NYC marathoners all day Sunday.
Post-race celebrations with candy in my backpack. We are not in costume.
Look at that flatness! I know my first pace spike was in response to cheerers, but I have no idea why I picked it up so much at the 4 mile mark. I think that was when I was struggling with water and tried to take an unnecessary ShotBlok and dropped it.
The shirt for this race was the same logo as last year’s tech t-shirt but was a cotton long-sleeved shirt and I love it. They ran out of (unisex) mediums so I grabbed a small. It’s very fitted but I can still wear it over a tank, as seen below before my rowing class.
This was possibly my final race of 2015 because I need to heal my tendons, so it was nice to go out on a PR.