Weeks 15 and 16 of Richmond Marathon Training: The Taper Weeks, 10/30 – 11/10

I drafted this on the train home to Richmond on 11/9 and meant to post it on 11/10 but was busy carb-loading and furniture shopping. I’ve changed almost nothing to keep my original feelings of nervousness intact. I also took no photos on my runs in this two-week period, which really says something.

After my midweek 20.5 miler on the 25th, I was cooked physically and mentally. But I still had another 2.5 weeks to go before the big race. I got what Elle calls the Taper Lazies (as opposed to the Taper Crazies). I wasn’t crabby or antsy, but I did want to eat everything. Oh, and I moved apartments in this time which sort of rechanneled a lot of would-be running-related stress into moving stress. 5 days later and I still can’t find my speed shoes!

10/30 – 11/5: Just a couple runs once the long run DOMS ended. I wanted to try and get that 10-mile run in that I had missed, but it made more sense to just do 8 one week out before shortening my runs. I spent Sunday the 5th in my favorite race activity of cheering my heart out during the NYC Marathon. It was so inspiring to watch my friends and teammates crush it. Well worth the spitting rain and cowbell blisters. I had some celebratory drinks and cookies with folks afterward and was overcome with excitement.

Cheering my heart out at Mile 7 of NYCM

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More cheering and Levain cookies at Mile 21

11/6 – 11/10: A few treadmill 3-milers Monday and Wednesday, then just 2 Thursday before packing and hopping on the train down to Richmond. Compression socks on just in case (to be laundered and worn again after the race). On Friday the 10th, I did a slow 3 mile shakeout with my Dad riding alongside on his bicycle to calm my nerves. With 11 miles this week and fewer runs (but longer ones) the week before, I was definitely worried I was overdoing it too late in the game.

Race report and separate ~training schedule feelings~ posts to come after the marathon!

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New York City Marathon 2016 Recap

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.

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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.

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I THINK this photo is from Bay Ridge or going up 4th Avenue but I could be wrong

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).

 

Coming in for family hugs on 4th

Hi, Dad! Bye, Dad!


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.

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Maybe this was actually Marcus Garvey? Who knows!

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.

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Chugging along

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.

Miles 22-24:

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!).

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Brittany walked and talked me through my side cramp

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.

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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.



Overall reflections:

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.

Weeks 14 and 15 and 16 of Marathon Training

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.

Week 14:

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.

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Week 15:

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.

Week 16:

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.

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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.

Ok, I guess we’re doing this. Shruggie.

Week 13 of NYC Marathon Training

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.

 

Boat tour from Lake Michigan

 

Pausing during our 6-miler for some cityscapes

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.

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View from the start

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.

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I was hoping to have a solo finish photo but she and I had been passing each other for all of the last loop and she wanted to catch up. Then they tried to hand me a medal and I said “I need 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!

Week 12 of NYC Marathon Training

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.

Marina City

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.

Week 11 of NYC Marathon Training

Monday 9/26: I got back from Cancun on Sunday the 25th and had smartly taken the day off on Monday. Since I didn’t do a run Sunday (or Thursday), my legs were a little eager to go. I slept in (until 8am) but lazed around all morning and didn’t get going until after noon. 4.3 total, slightly faster than I needed to go and slightly warmer than I expected.

Tuesday 9/27: 6 miles even (1 mile to the park, 3.5 miles tempo, .3 miles to friend’s place to get throwaway clothes, then 1.2 miles home) but my watch died at 4.8.

Wednesday 9/28: Taco Run with PPTC. Ran to the park and meeting place for 2 miles, then most of a loop and down to the Tacos El Bronco truck. Got lengua, al pastor, and chorizo tacos ($1.75 each) plus a pineapple Jarritos. I was so hungry I didn’t even take a picture. 6.7 miles at a conversational pace.

I came home and finally tried to sign up for the Bay Ridge Half, a race I had been thinking about doing for weeks (months?). I knew I’d have either an 18 mile long run or a half to race this weekend and figured the flat course here would be nicer than Grete’s Gallop the next day if I was going for a PR. So of course the link was no longer active! Fortunately they corrected it within the hour so I was able to sign up.

Thursday 9/29: Off day. Packet pickup for the Bay Ridge Half after I inhaled some goat curry roti from the Bronx, then beer and nachos at a friend’s birthday.

Friday: Personal Day off work and off day from activity unless you count traipsing around the Met Breuer and (regular) Met. It was raining outside all day, so I’m glad I skipped what would have been a nasty shakeout run. This was an amazing food day, with Pastrami Queen for lunch and Korean fried chicken and cheese ddukkbokki for dinner. I also had a single pumpkin beer at a friend’s birthday before dinner. I walked several miles this day in my Frye boots and tights and they began to rub against a tender spot near my left ankle.

Saturday: Race day.

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Pre-race teammate post

My plan was to aim for straight 9:30s and see how I felt at mile 10. I hadn’t actually raced a half since Brooklyn 2015 (since I was super injured for Nike Women SF) and I went back to look at those splits (pre-Garmin 220). I had trouble with the rain and maintaining my pace back then, so I wanted to do better here. Ideally, my A+ goal would be to go sub-2 but I knew that 9:10 even splits were just not possible at this point in the game.

I did a nice, easy warm-up mile since NYRR Virtual Trainer said I should hit 14 miles total for the day.

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I stayed pretty consistent, though definitely got too excited at mile 4, then too slow for some reason at mile 7. I took a caffeinated PowerGel slowly from miles 6-8, then a couple Honey Stinger chews at mile 10. They had blue Gatorade but I just sipped my own water then took some of theirs when I was running low.

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I knew I was going to hit my sub-2:04 goal, so I felt amazing coming in. I was flagging a bit the last 2 miles but got my kicks the last 0.5 miles by passing a ton of people and hitting that sub-9 mile.

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Final time of 2:02:11 and a smile on my face. I input my time into Virtual Trainer, knowing it was faster than the predicted range and my expected marathon time range shot up by 10 minutes. Easy there slugger, you might say to me. I’m trying to keep my full NYCM expectations in check. With just 5 weeks to go, I am still just delighted my training has gone so well, but I still want to make sure to respect the distance.

I made it to the Grub Street Food Festival and chowed down on fried mac & cheese bites, a chicken and bacon cheddar waffle sandwich, and Taiwanese/Japanese wheel cakes.



Sunday 10/2: Recovery run shuffle. The plan was 1 mile each to JackRabbit and back because I needed compression socks and a new non-handheld water bottle. I was halfway to JackRabbit when I realized they might not be open yet. Stopped to check Yelp and sure enough, they wouldn’t open for another 30 minutes. Rather than scrap the run, I added on extra mileage to and just into the park, then when it was 10:54, I scrambled around the surrounding blocks. I then watched football (HTTR, phew) and drank 3 different pumpkin beers. 3.7 miles total.

Total: 34.8 miles out of a recommended 34. It felt weird not doing 18 miles as my log run, so I’m glad I did the recovery the day after.

Week 10 of NYC Marathon Training

Another cutback week, which was well-timed with vacation. I booked a trip to Cancun with coworker friends a few months back and we were originally considering the weekend of September 16-18th, but a small part of me was thinking “Nooooo, that’s the 18 Mile Tune Up!”, so I was very relieved when we ended up booking it for the 22nd-25th. A treadmill run on “only” a 12 miler didn’t sound so bad, especially after doing 10 in Vegas as a non-cutback run.

Monday 9/19: Rest day, which was sorely (haha) needed after the Tune Up. I was hobbling around work quite a bit. I got a pedicure at pH7, my favorite ethical nail salon and opted for the extra 10 minutes of foot massage. She scraped off significant calluses then I fell into a state of relaxation during the massage and hot stones. I still had tight calves after, but at least my feet felt good (and looked moderately cuter for the upcoming beach times).

Tuesday 9/20: Speedwork day with my running club at 6am. Yes, I think the previous week’s motivational interviewing helped me get up in the morning. I did 2 warmup miles, then 4 1-mile repeats at ~10K pace with 5 minutes rest in between. It ended up being quicker than my actual 10K pace, and closer to my dream 10K pace (9ish and sub-9), then did 2 miles cooldown for 8 total.

Wednesday 9/21: Rest day. I had a great dinner at Shanghai Asian Manor, then tried a new spot, Taiyaki for ice cream. I had the green tea swirled with black sesame with custard in the bottom, then topped with mochi and a wafer. It was amazing! Since we missed the Play J Ice Cream Truck this year, this was a new amazing vehicle for ice cream and crunchy vessel.

taiyaki

Thursday 9/22: Travel day with a 4AM wake up call. I was hoping to do a little shakeout run after the flight, but beach time and margaritas took precedence.

Friday 9/23: Tour day. We opted for a few stops mainly in the Tulum area to see the ruins and cenotes, but this also included some lagoon snorkeling, then we chose an add-on to snorkel near sea turtles. Still waiting on the video footage our tour guide took, but it was an amazing day. At least I got some swimming in.

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Tulum (National Park around the ruins)

 

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Dos Ojos Cenote

We went to the ruins first, then to the Dos Ojos cenote, then to Akumal for the sea turtles. We stopped for lunch then went into the Yal-Ku lagoon.

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Sea Turtle Watching in Akumal

Saturday 9/24: Long Run Day on the treadmill. I contemplated running outside and had brought my handstrap Nathan water bottle, but did not bring my GPS watch and wasn’t feeling amped about the route. I didn’t want to be stranded far from the resort low on water and without enough pesos for a cab/bus ride back. I hopped on the treadmill and was the only person in the gym for the first hour. Due to not having run on Thursday, this was my first run in my new Brooks Ghost shoes. Not my brightest idea to bring them and break them in like this. But it worked out overall, as I took my run slowly. NYRR Virtual Trainer said to aim for 2:05 overall time and that it was ok to not hit a perfect 12 miles. Well, the gym started getting crowded right when my shoes were feeling a bit tight, so I cut it off at 1:40. Then I had 3 full plates of food at the breakfast buffet as well as melon juice, chocolate milk, and coffee. This was too much of a cutback for my liking overall.

COOKIE!


Then we went shopping. I was saving my souvenirs for the duty free shop, but I did meet Cookie Monster and tried Starbucks (no cold brew, so iced americano for this americana). Then back to the beach. We were going to go out out to a club but failed after dinner and a few glasses of wine.

Sunday 9/25: Rest day aka packing and final trip to the beach. I wish I had done a little run to shake out my legs early in the day (6pm flight). I added to my snorkeling butt sunburn with a little side nap thigh burn action (I’m ok, Mom!).

Total: 17.1 out of recommended 24-27 miles. Um..err..haven’t gotten this far from the minimum since Week 3 or so. Shruggie.