Pre-NYC Marathon Training Weeks

I had originally been planning on a pretty higher mileage 18-week plan (Pfitzinger 18/55 but scaled down a bit) for this year’s NYC Marathon before getting injured in April. I’m now scaling back even more to something closer to 16 weeks and still base building until I get there. I might do the NYRR Virtual Trainer again since I liked their built-in feedback on paces and race expectations (Edit 7/16: Officially signed up for the moderate plan again). These are the last three weeks before that begins in mid-July.

June 25 – July 1: 18.4 miles total, a high for the last 10 weeks. Unplanned rest day on Tuesday (snoozed too hard in the AM but did go see a Colbert Report taping and eat at Han Dynasty and Van Leeuwen Brothers Ice Cream that evening). I did 4.7 easy miles with the Beer Runners on Wednesday evening before the weather got too hot. On Thursday, I returned to Mile High Run Club for The Build, which is primarily strength training. We did some kettlebell sets for arms/legs then abs, then finished bodyweight AMRAPs. We also had some shorter intervals on the treadmill in between strength sets. I stayed on the same treadmill (which are Woodways and amazing) for The Distance class immediately after. I usually hit ~5.4 miles in this class (interval training) but took my paces slower and used more of the cooldown, so I got 5 miles exactly and 1.2 from The Build for a total of 6.2 miles, my longest since April. I managed 2 miles in the too-hot gym Friday morning as a recovery run then bopped around midtown for lunch and coffee, running into a running friend at Toby’s Estate Coffee.

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The Views from the new Domino Park in Williamsburg

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5th Avenue Toby’s Estate Coffee

My Long Run for the week was 5.5 hot, grueling Sunday morning miles along Brooklyn Bridge Park to Williamsburg with my friend Andrew. I started getting goosebumps and some heat exhaustion signs during the last mile despite trying to stay in the shade and drinking lots of water with Nuun. We took a few pauses, ended the run in Domino Park, then walked to Pies N Thighs and devoured brunch.

July 2 – July 8: Very few miles running (5.8, all treadmill), but there was swimming on the beach for the 4th and a hike at Anthony’s Nose on Saturday the 7th. One of the runs was at the new Peloton Tread Studio (30 minutes run, 10 minutes strength and core workout). I can’t wait to go back! I loved the treadmills once I got the hang of adjustments. I skipped one planned run Thursday because I was very busy baking a complicated banana cake from Momofuku Milk Bar. I got to have some food adventures with Allison and Lori and we stopped by my beloved Milk & Cream Cereal Bar for more cereal-infused ice cream.

America: In Our Faces

Cake and Karaoke

Milk & Cream and the Food Babies

July 8-15: 23.3 miles over 4 days of running. Yay something in the 20’s! I had planned on 5 days, but was very tired on Saturday morning from celebrating my last day of work Friday the 13th. To celebrate with coworkers, I ate a lot. The 15th was also National Ice Cream Day, but I celebrated with ice cream on multiple opportunities.

My runs included easy miles in Central Park and Prospect Park, plus some treadmill intervals at Mile High Run Club’s The Distance.

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Baohaus

Beebe’s Pizza

Ice & Vice LIC Popup

Central Park Reservoir

Khachapuri (Georgian cheesy bread) in Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach

Steak Frites and Burger at Bubo

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Slowly Running Again & UK Trip Recap

After surviving my Memorial Day weekend test run, I slowly ramped up mileage. 2 miles here, 4 miles there, a few times a week. The goal is to get back to 5 days a week with medium midweek mileage for marathon training. I’m looking at a scaled down version of my original 18 week marathon training plan of choice. Maybe soon I’ll actually run enough to run off some of the baking I’ve been doing.

May 28 – June 3: 9.3 miles over 4 runs

June 4 – June 10: 11.6 miles over 3 runs. Double digits, woohoo! I also baked the Momofuku Milk Bar birthday cake thanks to the unique baking supply birthday gifts of my friends. It took some time but was worth it!

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June 11 – June 17: 7 miles and some canceled ClassPass spin. I volunteered at a race to get credit for future races and had a great time at the bib pickup table. I also managed a full loop of Prospect Park for a total of 5 miles, which is my longest since the Monument Avenue 10K on 4/14. I had to break for water a few times but it felt good overall.

Beebe’s Pizza in Long Island City

June 18 – 24: UK trip! I flew out Saturday the 16th and back the 23rd for my cousin’s wedding in Scotland with my parents and boyfriend. I didn’t get in as many runs as I had wanted in London due to food poisoning/stomach flu. I did manage a spin class, a hike up Arthur’s Seat, and a trail run near the castle that ended up with me getting lost in the woods and having to climb over cow pen gates. On Sunday, I did not use my jet lag to my advantage but finally staged myself onto the treadmill for another 3 miles. Total running mileage of ~8 miles but I turned my GPS watch off while I was lost and walking/running so we’ll never know.

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Afternoon Tea at Sketch in London

Lovecrumbs in Edinburgh

Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

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Roast seafood Feast at Ondine in Edinburgh

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Hanging with Jeannie

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Watching Watson the buzzard eat dead chick parts

Brooklyn Half 2018 Training Weeks 1-4

A lot of life happened in March and April. Some miles happened. Not a lot. Or, not as many as my 10 week half marathon training plan called for.

3/19 – 3/25: 17.7 miles. I did a trail run in Prospect Park Monday with a running club friend Emily who’s training for her first 50-miler. I also squeezed in some treadmill workouts, including on a Wednesday snow day, where I did a 4×800 interval workout at goal 5K pace. After running MTW and doing RowHouse Thursday with a friend, I did not run again. Grief kind of hit me hard on the weekend because of my friend’s memorial service. I got to see some out-of-town friends who were visiting that and we had some nice meals together.

And matcha kakigori from Bonsai Kakigori at Canal Street Market.

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3/26 – 4/1: 26.8 miles. Back at it, with a Central Park weekday morning jaunt, late Saturday morning 9-Mile group run, and a running club Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday. My team split the win with a team captained by another Hilary.

Me sprinting toward Center Drive

Victory!

Shared Victory!

There was also karaoke, shabu shabu, funfetti cupcakes, and pizza from Emily.

Misty Central Park Reservoir

4/2 – 4/8: 16.1 miles. I had plans to run TuWFSaSu. I made it to The Distance at Mile High Run Club Tuesday, a Beer Runners loop to the bar Wednesday, then replaced my Friday run with several miles on the exercise bike before heading to Phoenix for my friend’s other memorial service. No runs Saturday or Sunday due to the hotel no longer having gym access and time crunches, but there was a hike at Saguaro National Park. And tacos. And Sonoran hot dogs.

Cacti

El Guero Canelo

4/9 – 4/15: I started off the week still in Phoenix (early flight back Tuesday morning), so I got to hike Camelback Mountain on Monday. Well, mostly. I ended up running 3 miles from Scottsdale to the base of the Cholla Trail, then hiked up. I got in 1.5 miles of hiking roundtrip (the trail is 1.4 miles each way; I had to turn back once I realized I was strapped for time and also had the rental car keys). I met the guys at Cartel Coffee then rented an Ofo bicycle and rode back to the car. So much activity! I had hoped for a longer run round trip, but the hike definitely got my heart rate up.

View from only 0.3 miles in

Looking upward on Camelback

James Turrell’s Air Apparent

Nee House Chinese, Family Style

I flew back to NYC Tuesday morning and took the day off. I got a Prospect Park loop in with my friend on Wednesday then had a quick 3-Mile solo Queensboro Bridge trip Thursday after work.

Then I flew to Richmond! I went to see family but signed up for the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K. I was overdue for a 10K PR (last one I raced was Queens 10K in June). Then the weather forecast turned to bright and beautiful. I was concerned because I’ve been running for months in temperatures not topping 55 and feel like the sun has been elusive. My corral was due to start at 8:45, so I hoped to escape the worst of it. I didn’t get to warm up but was just happy to find a real bathroom and meet up with Kate before we got into our corrals.

I tried to take it easy the first mile, but maybe went out a little fast. I felt pretty good at the turnaround point, but we were heading into the sun on the way back. As you can see from the Strava splits, I flagged significantly during the last miles, but was able to have a strong, painful, uphill finishing kick for the last 0.2. I stupidly thought I could keep it under 53:00 for the last minute. But this is still a 1.5 minute PR! So I’m pretty pleased.

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I flew back to NYC Sunday, fairly stiff from the race. The weather was warm and beautiful Friday and Saturday, then turned cold and gloomy Sunday.

18.2 miles total, including a 10K PR.

And now I’m going to see a musculoskeletal doctor this week to see about my weird left foot/ankle pain. It doesn’t hurt while running, just when I flex it and during some walking. Let’s see!

Los Angeles Trip and BIG 5K Recap

So this was technically Week 1 of Brooklyn Half training (3/12-3/18) but I was also taking a trip to LA with Gabby and didn’t manage to get in any runs before I left Wednesday 3/14. So this is mainly about our hikes and run in LA and all the things we ate!

We flew in early Wednesday afternoon, dropped off our stuff in Hollywood, then headed in a very long car ride to Venice Beach.

It was so nice to see and smell the beach! We then had dinner with some friends of mine at A-Frame, Roy Choi’s Hawaiian outpost in nearby Culver City. No pictures because we were starving but we had loaded fries, two kinds of spam musubi, Brussels sprouts, and crispy chicken.

The next day, we took off on a Runyon Canyon hike. We took what we thought was the main route but then realized we were on the Eastern side of it. We figured out that we could keep going around the rim and back down but we had no idea how steep it would be.

Making new friends on the way up

We made it! It was 2.8 miles roundtrip and 740 feet of elevation gain.

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Taking a chill break on the way down

After showering (I got some mud on my hiking leggings from bouldering and scooting down), we got some delicious ramen from Urban Ramen, bought snacks at Ralph’s, then walked to Hollywood to see the sights, namely the walk of fame and Mann’s Chinese Theater.

Oh, and some churros. Later on, I had dinner with a friend at Bowery Bungalow, then ice cream from Scoops in Silverlake.

On Friday, we headed to Universal Studios Hollywood. I was excited to see their version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter after going to the one in Florida in January. It was almost exactly the same, down to the butterbeer (hot, cold, and frozen). We did the hour-long studio tour, which was super cool because I got to see Jaws in action and see the set of recent favorite The Good Place.

Plus, huge donuts at Simpsons World/Springfield.

We hit up the race Expo on the way back and got to see some more of Downtown LA. I got street tacos, finally (was on the hunt after seeing the LA taco episode of Ugly Delicious). And it rained, which we were totally prepared for in our hooded jackets and umbrellas.

On Saturday morning, we ran The Big 5K, which is sponsored by Big 5 Sports and is affiliated with the Los Angeles Marathon (the next day). We signed up sort of on a whim, figuring that we were in town anyway and it would be a fun race. We didn’t look up the course profile until the day before the race because they didn’t really highlight it on the website. Now we know why. There were some brutal hills, especially for this relative flatlander. It starts off in the parking lot of Dodgers Stadium, then around nearby Elysium Park.

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According to Strava/Garmin, you are climbing for 33% of the time. Most of the first mile started out great and I was on pace for a PR. There was a slight downhill coming out of the parking lots, then boom, climb #1 just before 1 mile. I chugged my way up and hoped that was the worst of it. But of course, what goes up must come down. Then back up again. Then down. Then up.

My grade adjusted pace for the first mile says it all; I went out hard then couldn’t hang on. Around mile 3, I got to laugh with other runners at what felt like an onslaught of hills. But I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t handle the hills.

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Glad to be done

 

Gabby and I grabbed our medals and snacks (she got the swag bag, I passed on it not realizing I could have had another Clif Bar). Then it was time to eat! I tried a pastrami egg and cheese burrito as well as a smoothie from some food trucks that were there. I was tempted by the taco truck too, of course.

We took a Lyft home, showered off, then headed back to Runyon Canyon for a gentler hike. We took the easy, paved road up this time then came down on the east side (where we had headed up on Thursday). It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday and so many people were out! It was impressed to watch all the runners, but we had a good time taking it easy and recovering. Lots of foam rolling that day! We had Korean BBQ bowls on the roof, coffee from nearby Blackwood Coffee, then I met with my friend Gina to hang out with her pup Riley and get donuts from California Donuts.

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Runyon Canyon Ups

Before we headed to the airport (I had a red eye), we stopped off at a mural that Mabelle had wanted to check out. And it’s right next door to See’s Candy factory and store.

Then I spent the extra time before my flight screaming at the Houston-Michigan basketball game and eating chilaquiles. I missed out on all the NYC Half action, but I’m going to enter the lottery for next year.

Mileage: 3.6 miles of running, most of it spent wheezing up hills. 4.6 miles of beautiful, sunny hiking.

Pre-Training for Brooklyn Half 2018

Me: “I’m going to take my current weekly mileage and add just 3 miles each week for four weeks to build to the perfect starting point for Kara Goucher’s 10 Week Half Marathon training plan by March 12 (10 weeks out from Brooklyn Half).”

Also me: Hates running in snow and slush, loves sleeping in, prone to AM intestinal distress and lethargy, traveled to Boston during a Noreaster, underwent personal tragedy in early March.

After 3 very down weeks in January and February, I did indeed start a slow, safe build-up to the high 20’s/low 30’s from the very low 20’s. There were some mild aches and pains, and I was convinced that my sore foot meant I had Morton’s Neuroma. I missed a run here and there on the 5x/week plan, but am feeling good overall.

I’m still looking for a March 5K and April 10K as tune-ups. I had originally thought about racing another Half Marathon in March, but they kind of snuck up on me and my long run mileage is only around 7 miles. Why try to race one when I’m not happy with my volume yet? Speedwork has been going well and I’m seeing lower times on the treadmill and around the park, though I’m keeping my easy pace well into the 10:xx range. I’m also cross-training decently at the gym and with coworkers. I can now do full-body pushups with good form! Not many, but a few.

2/19 – 2/25: 24.8 miles. I raced the Al Gordon 4 Miler which was my first NYRR race ever back in 2015. I got a PR of 33:47 (8:27 pace per mile) but had very uneven pacing. Super slow first mile up the hill, too-fast miles 2 and 3 down the hill, then a struggling final mile over the mini hill to the finish on Center Drive. Looking at my hill grade adjusted paces below though, I guess it wasn’t so bad after all.

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Finishing Kick

2/26 – 3/4: 25.6 miles, including Mile High Run Club’s The Distance and a run around Boston. The Noreaster largely kept me confined to the hotel gym, but the treadmills there had video footage of running around New Zealand and Hawaii, so I stayed fairly entertained. I was hoping for a run along the Charles River or to do Jamaica Pond’s Parkrun, but the latter was cancelled due to the wind and rain. I got to run along the Muddy River and Boston Common on Saturday morning with friends and end at the Tracksmith store. I was too sweaty to try anything on, though.

3/5 – 3/11: 15.8 miles. Ah yes, the week where my chickens came home to roost, in terms of life things and grief and puking my guts out. Managed to get in some easy Prospect Park loops and a few on the treadmill when I couldn’t stand the winds, but no long runs.

also there was snow. I did do PPTC’s International Women’s Day Run but skipped the post-run food in favor of getting groceries.

Other January and February Running & Food

I took a few weeks mostly off running after the Austin 3M Half. So this is mostly going to be a food post! I know that’s y’all’s favorite anyway,

1/22 – 1/28: I had a few easy runs but was definitely sore for a couple of days after the half and the shakeout. 17.8 miles total. I also used my guaranteed entry for the Brooklyn Half in May. It’s my current half PR (1:58:54), though I didn’t race one in fall during marathon training. I’m of course hoping to shave a few minutes off of it, depending on how training goes.

I led the 10 minute mile pace group at the PPTC new member run for 6 miles. We ended it at Dekalb Market Hall, which I’ve been to at least half a dozen times. I have a few favorite stations (name jian bing with scallion pancakes) but love trying new dishes as well.

Me and some of my hardy pace group at the end

I ended up trying the namesake Doner Kebab from Kotti Berliner. It was enormous and delicious and super messy. The boyfriend’s super healthy roasted veggies and chicken are in the background. He was detoxing from the (unpictured) cookies from Chip at Gansevoort Market AND the two types of red velvet cake the day before.

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1/29 – 2/4: A week of desserts (and a nice cold loop of Central Park on Saturday). I had cakes and pie (green tea and Earl Gray crepe cakes from Lady M and matcha custard from Four and Twenty Blackbirds), more matcha crepe cake at Patisserie Tomoko, and cereal-blended ice cream from Milk and Cream Cereal Bar.

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2/5 – 2/11: I only ran once! I donated platelets on Tuesday after work and volunteered at the Empire State Building Run-up on Wednesday, so I earned $50 in race credit to use with NYCRuns. I’m still trying to pick out a spring 10K to use as a tuneup for the Brooklyn Half or maybe a 5K as well.

Savory meals included Peruvian roasted chicken, Korean fried chicken and japchae, barbecue eel bento box, and the breakfast ramen + char siu pancakes at Talde. I’m trying to rein in my portion control now that my mileage is lower, but it’s hard!

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2/12 – 2/18: On Monday, I brought in Fruity Pebbles marshmallow cookies to work. Then on Tuesday, I teamed up with a coworker to get some packzi from the Polish point of Greenpoint. We got a variety of fillings, from raspberry jam to Boston cream to rose jam. And this was after having a few supersize bao from Great Northern Dumpling in Flushing.

Nothing says romance like undercooked red meat. We went hard at Gallagher’s Steakhouse. Prime rib, oysters, filet mignon, coconut cake, and more.

It’s been all restraint since. I got back on my running game a bit, logging 21.7 miles for the week over 4 days of running. This included a 3.33 mile loop of Prospect Park as part of the Cherry Tree 10 Mile Relay with my teammates/friends The Crystals. Yes, they’re both named Crystal.

 

Austin 3M Half 2018 Recap

Hello from the other side…of the second hardest half marathon of my life. This was my 9th Half ever and the 7th that I really raced (I treated both Nike Women’s Half San Francisco 2015 and Fred Lebow 2017 as training runs due to injury and low mileage, respectively).

Pre-Race: I had peanut butter and banana on toast with some canned iced coffee from local spot Cuvee. Gabby and I took a Lyft to the start (our driver was impressed with our early morning activities) then met up with other PPTC folks. Bag check was easy and portapotty lines weren’t too long. Then came the corrals, or lack thereof. I waited for friends, then realized there was no way to get close to the 1:55 pacer without shoving my way.

The good: Miles 1-5 were great. Having only been in Austin a few days, I had no idea where we were North of the city (somewhere near The Domain?), so I just took in the sights. Like the industrial office parks. The width of the roads early on (everything’s bigger in Texas?) let me pass folks and get closer to the pace I wanted early on despite the crowded start.

The bad: Pretty much as soon as I hit the 5th mile, everything started to get tough. My legs felt heavy and my breath was a little more labored. I was pushing hard to maintain the same pace. I had a gel around mile 6, but that obviously wasn’t enough to save me. I also had 2 salted watermelon Shot Block chews at some point. I declined the Bacon Station, but maybe I should have partaken.

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The ugly: Mile 10 and its last major hill. This course has a net downhill, but you never quite feel like it throughout the rolling hills. I am delighted to say that there are absolutely no photos of me on the course. I looked like death at the finish.

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It was raining again at the finish, so I grabbed my medal and goody bag and shuffled 1 whole mile up the hill to Gabby’s to shower off. That mile was not easy, despite drinking some Gatorade.

Final time of 2:02:46 which actually makes this my 4th fastest half marathon despite what I consider a ‘bonk’ in the second half. Not bad.

Don’t worry, we got Gourdough’s after!

I was pretty sore that day and the next but did an easy recovery run around Austin to see more of the riverfront trail.

I needed some time to recover both physically and mentally from this race. Not every race goes the way you want for a variety of reasons, so I’ve tried to reflect on my training and preparation and race execution. On to the next one.