In September, I started an 8-week training plan with Stryd that I’ve loosely followed for the Prospect Park Track Club Virtual Turkey Trot. Loosely being the key word. The Turkey Trot is virtual this year, so we have from Thursday-Sunday of Thanksgiving week to race it. I’m planning to pick my race day based on weather conditions and crank it out solo on a nearby flat loop.
After a couple months of slow base building starting from near-0 mileage in July, I finally started upping my consistency to 4 days a week of running and at least one other cardio/strength workout weekly. I wasn’t too worried about speed or distance, but have slowly built both up along with more activity. I hit 27 miles/5 hours of running the week ending November 1 (halfway through the training plan), which is my highest volume since April. (Then I haven’t run as consistently since in November, but that’s another story).
November 1 would have been the date of the 50th New York City Marathon, so I decided to run a bit of the course for fun in my 70 minute planned long run. Of course the rain began by mile 1, so I put on my Asics Stormchaser jacket and popped the hood (should have brought a hat to keep the rain off my glasses). I’m pretty happy with my splits, all things considered, though the faster times were due to going downhill. The last mile was an absolute slog. I overshot my turnaround point and went up to 90th St then back down to Columbus Circle. My form was falling apart (once I accidentally kick my own ankles, I know it’s getting bad). However there were supporters with cowbells cheering us on and some folks present for their virtual marathoners near the finish line. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal, it was nice to see so many supporters and see so many other runners.
In October, I had a few (mostly outdoor) adventures other than running. I made it to:
– New York Botanical Garden
– Bartlett Arboretum
– Pennings Orchard
– hiked some the Palisades and the George Washington Bridge
– shot engagement photos in Liberty State Park/Jersey City waterfront
– Norwalk Maritime Aquarium
That’s really it! A shocking lack of food photos this month but the lighting in our apartment is not great and I haven’t been dining out as much.
Ouch. No, I’m just kidding. It’s been 2 weeks and I’ve had a lost of rest and recovery (and a massage), so I’m going to try and write this up so I can reflect on it later.
The Nights Before: I stayed out way too late on Halloween night (the 31st) but went to bed early on the 1st and 2nd, then by 10pm on the 3rd.
Start Village: Back in 2016, I took the Staten Island ferry to the buses and barely made it into my wave and corral in time. This time around, I wisely wore enough throwaway clothes and packed some snacks and handwarmers for the 3+ hour wait in the start village after taking a direct bus from Brooklyn with my teammates. It was a lot of fun to catch up with people and compare our training and race plans.
I used the portapotties 3 times, pet a therapy dog, and got a photo in the corral with a teammate.
Thoughts and feelings recap:
Miles 1-4: I was smart for exactly one mile and took it easy on the Verrazzano (formerly the Verrazano but they finally changed the name to actually be spelled correctly). Us green corral folks had a slightly different loop through Bay Ridge than the orange & blue runners, then messily converged with them. I didn’t realize it, but I was flying here.
Miles 5-9: My brain’s main thought was “THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!” I saw a lot of people here on 4th Avenue, beginning in the 20’s, through the PPTC cheer spot at 3rd, and some friends at Union St. and then on Lafayette Ave. I was having such a good time, as you can tell from this succession of photos.
Miles 10-14: Oh hmm, it sure got quiet. I slowed the pace a tiny bit in efforts to conserve energy, but felt good after doing a systems check. I hit the half in 2:07, which was on pace for a PR.
Miles 15-19: This segment finally presented me with thoughts of “Oh no, this isn’t going the way I wanted it to at all”. I felt fine approaching the Queensboro Bridge but slowed considerably running up 1st Avenue in Manhattan. I started walking through fluid stations then running again.
Miles 20-23: The Bronx sucked for me and I knew it was going to be a struggle until I got back into Central Park. I saw a very well-placed friend at 129th St and my boyfriend at 116th who gave me the best “I can tell you’re hurting” grimace.
Miles 24-26: I got to finally enter Central Park and vowed to not walk again, then promptly broke that vow. I ran into a teammate who was also having a rough race, so we tried to stick together for the final mile. She sent me on ahead for a while. I checked my heart rate during this portion and 20-23 and it was really high. Like 85-90% of max. I used the walking breaks to lower it, but was definitely concerned.
The final 0.2: I got a side stitch right at the 26 mile marker! While frustrating, I was relieved that it didn’t happen sooner. My teammate caught up to me so our finish photos are together, which is pretty cool. It was so nice to have a sounding board for the long walk to get our ponchos and exit the park. I headed to my team’s meetup spot where my boyfriend was waiting with a cold brew coffee. We then went to Sushi of Gari for a pretty nice post-race feast.
Phew. While only 10 minutes slower than my marathon PR, it was a poorly executed race. I have since compared training data and realized that despite the mileage PR, it wasn’t as far and away a monster training cycle as I had wanted. I keep vacillating between wanting to do another marathon in 2019 with more mileage under my belt and just waiting until I exact my revenge on the NYCM course in 2020. More to come!
10/29: Rest Day. Went to Patavini and tried all the gnocchi. The blue one has spirulina and was really good! The truffle, saffron, and squid ink were my favorites.
10/30: 4.3 mile shakeout run @ 11 minute mile pace. I’d been running faster than my usual pace during the taper in part because of cooler temperatures and of course due to excitement.
10/31: Rest day and Halloween. Had street meat combo over rice for dinner near the Village Halloween Parade, 2.5 beers, then late-night pepperoni pizza. I went as a bat again.
11/1: Unintentional rest day. I was going to do a Saucony shakeout run (with Molly Huddle) but work was long and it was raining, so I bailed. I really should have done some treadmill miles at least.
11/2: Tracksmith popup in the morning, work, then Marathon Expo at night. I tried to get in and out quickly and spend less time on my feet. I picked up my official jacket then went to a friend’s birthday dinner at a Korean-Brazilian spot and turned down a lot of good wine. I went home right at 9 and got a solid 8 hours of sleep.
11/3: I thought about doing a shakeout but figured less time on my feet was a better idea after such a loose taper the last two weeks. I got Shanghainese for dinner: scallion pancake, soup dumplings, fried dumplings, rice cakes, noodles, and eggplant. I decided to skip a dessert with dairy just in case.
11/4: NYC Marathon Day. Race recap to come (hmm, I never wrote up one for the Bay Ridge Half). It was not my best marathon, but not my worst (it was my third). 4:31:40 and a huge positive split but I had a good time doing it.
Week 2 of a 3-week taper. Not a whole lot going on in runs or eats to be honest.
10/22: Rest Day. I went to bed at 9pm after an early wakeup and long work day.
10/23: 5.7 miles on the Woodway treadmills at Mile High Run Club, doing intervals. I compared my paces to the past few months and I’ve gotten faster! But now to take it easy for a few weeks.
10/24: Rest Day. I was planning to go on a group run but wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed after cooking and meal prepping, so that is what I did.
10/25: Rest Day
10/26: 5.1 miles during an easy loop of the park, where I once again sped up as I went. The weather was cool with only 55% humidity and the leaves have started to change colors. This was one of those runs where I felt appreciative of being able to run and getting to do it in this city.
10/27: I had planned to do the Last 10 Mile of the Marathon course with my club, but decided against it due to the Nor’easter weather. I still went up to the park and ran some errands and saw hot wet and cold everyone was and was glad I passed on it.
10/28: I got home late from a friend’s birthday, so I slept in until 8am and got a few miles in before meeting up with the group run for a 6 mile jaunt to some Swedish candy stores. Swedes love gummys (same) in many flavors but they also enjoy licorice and especially salty black licorice more than I do. I got a nice sampling of gummy candies and chocolates, then my whole face puckered in disgust when I tried a salty licorice.
Total of 9.9 miles but it might have been a little less; I forgot to unpause my watch for around half a mile then used Strava’s feature to correct GPS inconsistencies and it shot from 9.2 to 9.9 and I think the truth is somewhere in the middle after looking at everyone else’s Stravas (but forgetting if I had 3.3 before meeting up with them). We got Ben’s Pizza for lunch and I was so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of my Buffalo chicken slice.
Total: “20.9” out of a prescribed 26 miles. The Virtual Trainer yelled at me for being 20% under my goal, but the second week of taper seems like a perfectly fine time to do that. I’m still trying to plan how many short runs to do marathon week.
10/15: Still feeling beat up from Sunday’s 20 miler, so I stayed in and did laundry.
10/16: STILL feeling fatigued so skipped doing the Central Park Lululemon Ghost Race. Got pho and summer rolls for dinner with the bf and managed to lose my monthly Metrocard.
I made the following Halloween-themed snack choices at 4pm at work.
10/17: Went to a food event at Barclays Center called Brooklyn tastes and got to eat a fried chicken sandwich from fuku+ as well as 1/3 chili cheese dog, 1/2 burger, and 3 other small dishes. Then went for a night run with my friend. 5.5 miles, nice and easy. We saw a really big raccoon in our quest for non-portapotty bathrooms.
10/18: Failed to make it to the West Side Highway Lululemon Ghost Race, but did 5.2 miles of tempo in Central Park. AKA another accidental progression run where I just kept picking up the pace. Legs were a little heavy, but it felt good overall.
10/19: Rest day
10/20: 5.8 miles of running to the park for cheering for the NYC Runs Brooklyn Half Marathon. Have you ever run with a cowbell in your pocket or in your hand? It definitely makes people turn and wonder what that noise is. I hopped in the race (but stayed outside the boundary) to cheer my friend up the big hill, which was fun. Then I stayed and kept cheering.
Later on, I had food adventures at ilili and Taiyaki with my food influenced friend, then had our monthly fancy dinner at Manhatta. Those views! That soufflé!
10/21: Long run of 12 miles in Central Park, which I split up with the Lululemon Ghost Race in the middle. I got a new pair of socks and a few new Strava friends for the effort.
Later on, I went to the New York Botanical Garden to take in giant pumpkins and other autumnal splendor.
This was a weird week. It was supposed to have my longest long run at 21 miles, but only 4 other days of running and all at 3-4 miles tops, as well as fewer overall miles than my peak week 2 weeks ago. But my work schedule prohibited the higher frequency of runs, so I once again tried to get it all done in only 3 runs total.
10/8: Rest Day. Still feeling a little beat up from racing a half marathon Saturday.
10/9: 7 miles in Central Park after work. It became an accidental progression run because I was feeling really good. Korean fried chicken and seafood pancake with kimchi coleslaw for dinner after.
10/10: Rest Day. Had an amazing dinner at the Michelin-starred Aldea that included a port tasting.
10/11: Tried and failed to psych myself up for a run but work was long and exhausting.
10/12: Hit snooze on the 5am alarm and got to snooze until 6am before another longer work day. Booked 30 minutes in air compression boots to loosen up my legs before the 20 miler.
10/13: After 9 hours of sleep, I decided to push off the very long run until Sunday. I enjoyed a lazy rainy morning before doing 8 miles around Prospect Heights and Crown Heights. I only had to stop for lights several times and got to see a lot of beautiful brownstones and gardens and duck into a small park.
10/14: 20.5 miles done, almost all with teammates. Thanks to Lillian for joining me on the last few and talking me up the hill. No idea what happened on the first mile or two other than forgetting to pause? Ah well. I’m fine with the pace on the others. Taper town, here I come!
Total: 35.5 out of a prescribed 37. That’ll do, Pig.
10/1: Much-needed Rest Day after 6 days in a row of running and a 7:30am start time to work. We got our Wave and Corral assignments for the marathon and I’m so happy to be in Wave 2 with its 10:15am start time (I was in Wave 3 when I ran it in 2016)
10/2: 5.2 easy miles around the park with my friend Puff after a late work meeting.
10/3: I went back to the Tantra Yoga class I loved so much last month. I put my ClassPass membership on hold until the end of marathon training, but I still get roughly one class per month. My hips really needed the stretching. It was super relaxing during savasana as well. I have a new watch with heart rate monitoring and it was hilarious to see my HR spike when speedwalking through midtown to get to yoga then get really low toward the end of class.
No food pictures but my bf got us Caribbean seafood takeout for dinner: conch fritters (my fave from visiting the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos), yellow curry shrimp and salmon, and crab cakes (on a bed of french fries). We had some leftover Sauvignon Blanc as well, which was perfect.
10/4: 6 miles with some other run club members. It was an accidental progression run, even though I wanted to take it fairly easy. Humidity was very high, same as Tuesday night.
10/5: Rest Day.
10/6: Bay Ridge Half Marathon, which I signed up for on a whim Thursday night after my weekend plans changed. I also ran that one in 2016! Race report to come, but it was a PR at 1:57:04. I didn’t have time for a warmup and almost puked at the end, then wasn’t feeling up for a cooldown.
After a shower and some horizontal recovery, I went to brunch with my Instagram influencer friend at Black Tap for wings, burgers, fries, and one of those ridiculous milkshakes with a slice of birthday cake on top. Then we went back to Milk & Cream Cereal Bar for their Halloween collab. I was too busy eating to take good photos.
10/7: I planned on a recovery run, but it got really warm and I was feeling beat up from the half, so I just chilled at home for hours before going to Bang Chengdu Szechuan for dinner, Doughnut Plant for dessert, and seeing Venom. We still god a blue raspberry icee and some Cheetos popcorn, which is my new favorite and should be at movie theaters everywhere.
Total: 24.3 miles officially. I haven’t run for only 3 days in weeks. Then again, I haven’t had a half marathon PR since May 2017.
PEAK WEEK. My longest run won’t be until 3 weeks out (then taper time), but this week is supposed to be the highest mileage overall of them.
9/24: Unplanned rest day because I was at the (further away) office from 8:15am-7pm. By the time I grabbed groceries and got home at 8:15pm, I could not bring myself to run or do anything except meal prep and eat mini Haribo rainbow gummi frogs.
9/25: Another long day at work, but was able to squeeze in 4 mostly easy miles on the treadmill at night while listening to the Forever35 podcast.
9/26: Brooklyn Beer Runners loop of Prospect Park but with 3.86 miles done beforehand for a total of 7.65 miles. I really earned that kiwi IPA at the bar afterward. I had put my sweet potato chili in the crockpot before and came home to eat that over brown rice and quinoa (with a little cheese on top). Recipe to come once I actually take pictures.
9/27: 4.6 miles around the Central Park Reservoir, Bridle Path, and Harlem Hill. It was humid but cool and the rain started only during my last mile.
9/28: 3 easy miles at dusk.
9/29: 19.5 miles mostly with other people on the group run. I was so thankful for the company! My long run pace finally improved back to where it was at this time last year, which bodes well for the marathon. The miles were clicking away at the same pace like a metronome for a while there. I took 1 gel and 6 chews with water along the way. I tried to end it at 19 miles even with something from Juice Press but the line was too long and I was in a rush to get to the Bronx Zoo, so I shuffled home to make a smoothie. Almost looking forward to my 20-21 miles in two weeks.
9/30: 3.2 miles with my favorite dog in Morningside and Central Parks. We had to pause a lot for sniffing (and bodily functions) but he’s pretty fast when he gets going.
9/18: 6.9 mile RunCommute home (well, to Whole Foods). It rained all day from the remnants of Hurricane Florence but stopped just in time for me to do this humid run. It was neat to run along the East River path again, as it’s been quite a while. I noticed that the track is open again! I’m excited to have another option for speedwork soon.
9/19: Tempo run with Brooklyn Beer Runners. 1 mile warmup, 3 @ half marathon goal pace, 1 mile cool down. It felt good to see stuff in the 8’s again for this long. Had my first pumpkin beer of the season after!
9/20: Unintentional Rest Day but the bf and I ended up at Gramcery Tavern for dinner and ate until it hurt.
9/21: Rest Day
9/22: 12.2 mile long run. Started too late to catch the 8am group run and finally left my place after 10am. This went pretty well (I was hitting low 10’s) until the last few miles when I stopped to chat with people in the park. Three times (I was already paused getting water two of those times).
9/23: 2.1 mile recovery run. Cut short for time but felt great with cooler temperatures. Then we headed to Governor’s Island to check out the lobster roll at Island Oyster before some very fast tandem bike riding, and ending with some serious hammock time.
9/3: Last day in New England. 6.2 miles around Conway, NH. Then we drove to Maine and ate more lobster.
9/4: 6am flight back to NYC and went straight into work. Much needed rest day.
9/5: 3 miles at night in Morningside Park in the final throes of the city’s gross heat and humidity. Korean fried chicken and ddukbokki (and beer) for dinner.
9/6: Unintentional rest day. Finally back in the throes of meal prepping and healthier post-vacation eating.
9/7: Hit snooze on my AM run, then was supposed to be going to Fast Braid Friday with Colleen Quigley at the NYRR RunCenter. But they changed the location last-minute and I didn’t get the memo. I showed up at the RunCenter and was wondering where everyone was. By the time I figured it out, it would have been tight for time and going back to the UES (which is where I had just come from and didn’t want to backtrack). I decided to go home and cook dinner and not run (the event was going to have a 1.7 mile shakeout run but I couldn’t fit all my running stuff in my work bag).
9/8: Remember last week how I slipped in that I signed up for a 5K? Yeah, that would be the TEAL 5K in Prospect Park. I’m over a year out from my 5K PR (though to be fair have only raced one since) and was hoping that I could use my higher recent volume and last week + of lower mileage as a taper. The course was my usual route in the park but the first mile was downhill, second mile was flat, and third mile had the big hill. I was able to get close to 5K PR pace on the first mile, then slowed to 10K pace on the second, then the wheels fell off on the third. I wasn’t even at half marathon pace, but closer to goal marathon pace. But my friend Chun who was doing his long run got me to push through the last quarter mile and I hit a 7:13 pace for the final 0.1 of it. I guess this is why I actually did speedwork and 5K-specific workouts last year before my PR. I grabbed the swag bag and banana then did a cooldown jog home with a teammate. Total of 6.1 miles for the day.
Saw The Nun with friends then tried out the Detroit style pizza at Lions Tigers and Squares before getting a Butterfinger blizzard at Dairy Queen.
9/9: Since I skipped out on my long run last week, I wanted to get back up to normal (14-16 mile range) this week even though it was supposed to be a cutback long run and week overall (11 miles and 28 miles). I woke up ‘late’ at 7 to go cheer for the 5th Avenue Mile after deciding not to run up there. I cheered for a few hours then headed home and napped before my long run. Then I just didn’t do it? The rain continued and I just could not bring myself to run. I thought about pushing it to Monday night, which I did last year with some success.
Total: 15.3 miles and no long run. Eep.
9/10: Weather was still leaning toward the very rainy, so I did 3 treadmill miles at easy pace after deciding not to make up my long run.
9/11: I laced up my new Saucony Freedoms and ran to and from NYRR Open Run in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I did that as sort of a fartlek, alternating in the 8’s and 9’s. The gnats were out of control and I had to pull one out of my mouth, then found one in my bra later. Cool. 7.4 miles total.
9/12: Easy loop with the Brooklyn Beer Runners for 4.6 miles. Ended with a beer then got tamales at Maya Taqueria.
9/13: Track Mile! I ran from work to Icahn Stadium where they open the track to the public every Thursday night. Coach Honerkamp puts on a timed mile series once a month that I’ve seen some friends do, and I thought I should use it as a fitness test after my abysmal 5K. I ran 2 miles to get there, did a warm-up mile with a friend, then race the mile in 7:24, 5 seconds off from my PR. I definitely think it’s time to bring back more aggressive speedwork intervals in and will be trying to throw down next month. Short cooldown jog off-watch so 4 miles total officially.
9/14: Rest day.
9/15: Long run. NYRR Virtual Trainer prescribed 17 miles. Last year, I did it as the Bronx 10 Miler then a miserable, sunny, hot 7 miles after that I cut a little short. This year, I planned it with another PPTC member who wanted similar pace and distance, so we set out together at 7am. We definitely took several water breaks as the sun peaked out of the clouds and it warmed up a bit and we paused to fuel. I had only hit 15.5 as I neared my Juice Press destination, so I finished it with a slog up the stairs in Fort Greene Park, where I ran into a friend. I practically rolled down the hill for my final bit after pausing to chat. Happy to hit 16.2 miles total.
9/16: I stopped off at Chip in Gansevoort Market to try out their strawberry shortcake cookies. Holy moly. Much later, I did a Recovery run with Chaya around Prospect Park in the PM (moved from a planned early run in Morningside Park). Warm but breezy! 6.1 miles total and it felt great.
Total: 41.5 miles, a new weekly high. Feeling good and back on track.