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.

img_5531

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.

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 9.42.46 PMScreen Shot 2018-04-16 at 9.44.35 PM

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!

Advertisements

Mini 10K Recap

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. 

Teammate Corral Selfie

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.

Mini 10K Strava Splits

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.


 My final time was 58:36, which is a solid enough shave off my 59:04 from the NYCRuns Halloween 10K in October.

“Will you accept this carnation?” Bachelor joke material


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.

UAE Healthy Kidney 10K Recap

When I realized back in March that I maybe was really sort of mostly healed and could run again, I signed up for this race, hoping for redemption from the 2015 version. That day was a sweaty slog through 6.2 miles of humidity and strong sun (historical weather site says 75 and 71% humidity). This Saturday was luckily 68 degrees with 70% humidity. I was unprepared for the sun (time to start running with a visor?) but the temperature felt pleasant overall.

The view of Bethesda Terrace was very different than last week’s pouring rain and features many adorable off-leash dogs.

I arrived early (around an hour before the start) and got my on-demand bib very quick. I spent my last $3 cash on a blue Gatorade from a cart then checked my bag and ran into some friends and teammates. I forgot how big this race was and how far the start was from the race village. I headed to the corrals 16 minutes before the start and luckily met up with and spotted many similarly paced teammates. We had a nice little pod of 5 that started together and got called out by the announcer.

The first 5K went really well but I remember this also being the strongest part last year before I fell apart in the second half.

I eschewed water the first few miles which was probably unwise, but I really had to pee and was feeling quite hydrated already thanks to the first half of that blue Gatorade (blue is the only flavor I like, but either the regular or the frosty blue will do).

My first mile was slow as planned and I was very proud of my second and third miles because they still felt pretty loose and easy. My tangents were getting worse each mile from the tangents and running around people in the crowd so I tried to remind myself there would likely be an extra 0.2 total.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.42.52 PM

My splits make a W shape but the grade-adjusted tell more of a story

The fourth mile is where the semi-struggle began. I knew I couldn’t hang on to my breezy lower 9:00 paces and there were lots of sunny spots, so I slowed my roll. I grabbed some water at each of the last 3 water stations and managed to dump some on the top of my head in the worst of the sun. After the Mile 5 marker, I knew I could push the pace a bit more and try to enjoy the rolling hills. Crowds increased on the South side of the park but it was mainly confused tourists hoping to cross the road. I sprinted in the last 0.2 in part because I saw a teammate and wanted to reel her in.

 

Happily reunited with teammates after collecting our medals

Overall, this UAE 10K went much better than last year’s where I had my worst 10K ever. I like this distance and am hoping to whittle down my PR for the Mini 10K next month. More reporting on my workouts (McMillan’s and otherwise) to come.

I’m going to be out of town this weekend and have the biggest Brooklyn Half FOMO. To everyone racing (and to those cheering), have so much fun! I hope to get in next year but might also volunteer for a guaranteed spot in 2018 (it feels so weird to type out dates that far in advance. Let’s figure out when I’m running this darn marathon first).

 

NYC Runs Haunted Island Halloween 10K Race Recap

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.

RI run 1

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.

RI mile 2-5

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.

Ri run mile 3-5

RI run mile 5

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!

RI finish watermark

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.

Ri group finish

Post-race celebrations with candy in my backpack. We are not in costume.

RI 10K strava

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.

hauntedislandshirt

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.