Week 4 of 2018 NYC Marathon Training

This was supposed to be a down week with 2 full days off and only 27 miles. But I was feeling weird about my last week where I missed the goal by 7+ miles. The weather was topsy turvy (heat wave, thunderstorms and lightning, etc).

8/6: I took the Mile High Run Club The Distance class and was able to get in 5.5 miles of intervals in 57 minutes. I pushed my paces just a bit and am starting to feel ready for some speed again. I’m shooting for a 5K PR in September (race TBD) so any time spent running in the 7:xx range is good.

8/7: I was planning to do a full but slow ~6.5-7 miles (with a run to the NYRR Open Run Brooklyn Bridge Park course and back). But Open run got canceled due to lightning about halfway through! I was able to run and just make a bus and avoid the rain on the way home and ended up with 4 miles for the day.

8/8: I was able to volunteer at the Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series #6 due to work conflicts easing up, so I ran there. Then ran to a water station to help out. Then ran back to race HQ then out of the park with a teammate and to the bar to meet the Brooklyn Beer Runners group. 5.2 miles total at a very easy pace. So hot, so humid. It rained a little bit which felt great.

8/9: Off day

8/10: Unplanned rest day. Got home from work and didn’t feel like doing the 9 miles for the Fireworks Group Run. Thought about running to spectate Take the Bridge in Williamsburg, but enjoyed my quiet night in, elevating my feet.

8/11: I had again planned to do my long run as part of Summer Streets, but woke up to some pains in the middle of the night and wasn’t feeling 100% when I got up at 7. I watched the thunderstorms and rain blow in and eventually made it down to the treadmill for an easy 3 miles. I also did a strength workout (bent-over rows, shoulder press, kettlebell deadlifts). Then it was time for more food adventures with Lori. We hit up The Nugget Spot for their special fried chicken sandwich with hot honey ice cream and Flip Sigi for the special burrito (but also longanisa poutine and short rib wonton nachos).

img_6149.jpg

8/12: 12 miles around Central Park. I ran with friends and was glad to run a 12:xx minute mile instead of pushing to my current 10:40 pace. The humidity was brutal but it was good to get time on my feet and with good company.

Total: 29.7 miles out of a prescribed 27. This makes me feel more prepared for the ~34 on tap next week and for all of my future long runs (some cutback weeks go down to 11 miles).

Advertisements

Week 1 of 2018 NYC Marathon Training

July 16th: I came home from the first day of my new job, took a nap, and laced up my sneakers. I shuffled along the Lafayette Avenue part of the NYC Marathon course, then turned around and came back on Greene Avenue before heading up to Fort Greene Park. Nice and easy. The NYRR Virtual Trainer called for 4 miles, but I had to throw in the towel and get to Whole Foods for Prime Day and end with 3.3 miles.

July 17th: 4.8 miles in 52 minutes at The Distance at Mile High Run Club. I got in 5.2 miles last time and usually hit 5.3-5.4 in 57 minutes, but I took a quick pause to roll out my hamstrings later on in the class. My new base pace is 6.0 miles per hour/10 minute miles but should probably be 5.8 mph/10:20 minute miles, based on my easy runs lately. My new ‘half marathon pace’ is in the low 9’s and my sprint is just under 8 minutes. I’m hoping that all these paces will get back to where they were in April (when I ran a 10K in the 8:30’s), but I’m trying to be patient and put in the work.

July 18th: Unplanned rest day. When your bf wants to get sushi sooner rather than later, sometimes you say yes to sushi soon. No photos because the lighting wasn’t great.

July 19th: 5.4 easy miles with my friend Puffy around the park. We ran into so many PPTC members! Then I ran into my new boss (not pictured).

Murray & Me

July 20th: Rest day. Had drinks at Bocce and dinner at Flex Mussels.

img_6065.jpg

Aperol and rose spritzes at Bocce

July 21st: 4 miles, a mix of treadmill and running to and from the gym (ended at Sweetgreen). The last mile was uphill in Morningside Park with lots of stairs, then we cut through Columbia University’s campus (my grad school alma mater).

July 22nd: 8 miles for long run day, mostly just loops of the park. It was overcast when I first left my apartment (finally), but the sun came out and the temperature rose from the 70’s to the 80’s. I paused for water a couple of times and did some of my final miles in the trails, which were nice and shady.

I celebrated in the afternoon by meeting my old coworker and fellow baker for a pie crawl. We made it to two stops and had 5 slices of pie between us. Next time, we’ll bike or walk to Butter & Scotch (last seen here) or the new Peetee’s Pie location in Clinton Hill.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds

img_6070.jpg

Daly Pie

Total: 25.5 miles. My highest in months! Excited to get back into the 30’s soon enough.

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.

img_5953

The Views from the new Domino Park in Williamsburg

img_5943

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.

img_6030

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

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

img_0576.png

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!

Week 6 of Richmond Marathon Training, 8/28 – 9/3

So this was supposed to be a build-up week of 36 Sunday-Saturday miles, but I hit over that last week. Due to this and my vacation at altitude, I decided to make it a cutback week. I know, 6 weeks into the program and I’m being a real renegade here.

8/28: Unplanned rest day. I was feeling beat up physically from such a tough but awesome Saturday, especially with shorter miles Friday (my usual rest day) and Sunday.

8/29: 5 easy miles @ 10:52 pace on the treadmill at the gym. It was raining all afternoon and evening and I was just not feeling a soggy run after traipsing around Flushing and my neighborhood in the rain. My feet were already wet and cold.

8/30: 2 miles with the beer running group. We were taking photos to be part of the leader’s Airbnb Experiences, so after the staging of the photos and then drinking a beer, I was out of time to get a loop of the park in before my fantasy football draft. This is my 6th season playing and I’m trying to score some winnings here. So I ran home.

8/31: Flight to Denver and lots of walking around. Got some cool new hiking tights at REI, ate some delicious food, and tried a ton of local brews.

9/1: Rocky Mountain National Park tour

Sprague Lake

9/2: 13+ mile long run with Kate who was in town and planned out a beautiful route through 3 of the city’s parks: City Park, Cheesman Park, and Washington Park. We started before 6:30am so it was nice to be done by 9am and escape some of the heat. Apparently NYC was cool and rainy over much of Labor Day weekend, but Denver was 90+.

I had lunch at Biker Jim’s Gourmet Hot Dogs, where I got to try both reindeer and bison hot dogs. And some fried macaroni and cheese bites. And some prickly pear soda. After 13.25 miles, I was hungry.

9/3: Broncos 7K with/thanks to Laura. She had put a code on her site for this race and I realized that the race totally worked for my schedule, so we got in touch to meet up after. I ended up in the B Corral based on my proposed 10K time (I had no hopes of replacing my 8:00 5K time from last week but was shooting for high 8’s). I ran 2.5 miles from my hotel to the start, then we were off…uphill.

As you can see, I took it slow then hoped to pick up the pace in the later miles. This was day 4 at altitude, so I was more confident that my lungs wouldn’t explode but still a bit worried. The finish along the tunnel was really cool, too! We bopped around the expo after to grab some swag. The line to meet Denver Broncos players was very long, so that was skippable since I don’t currently have any of their players on my fantasy team.

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 9.36.49 PM.png

Check out those huge medals


Then off to Evergreen for a wedding with the best food ever. 6 different mini desserts, a make your own Smores bar, and a 20 pound peach and huckleberry pie.

Total: 27.5 Mon-Sun miles plus some light hiking. No altitude sickness, though!

Running Into the Void

I originally wrote this in April and it’s more appropriate than ever with marathon training in full swing. I’m currently in Las Vegas for the Trivia Championships of North America and am squeezing in some treadmill runs because of the 100+ degree heat.

As I slowly and cautuously add miles to my runs over the weeks (which is really fun to visually examine on Strava and MapMyRun), I’m finally getting to the kinds of distances where the psychological benefits of running take hold. I was perusing http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/04/how-neuroscientists-explain-the-mind-clearing-magic-of-running.html a few weeks ago and found myself nodding in agreement.

I purchased Haruki Murakami’s book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running in April 2012 when I wasn’t racing and my longest runs ever were a 5K. I was in an objectively not-great place in life, done with grad school and still looking for gainful employment while my student loans accumulated interest. I was unsure if I was going to stay in NYC but desperately wanted to stay and put down roots here. My personal life was a bit messy and confusing but I was hopeful. My runs reflected the rest of my circumstances somewhat; brief uneven jaunts along the East River. I moved from the UES to the LES that May and started a longer-term temp position that temporarily quelled my job anxiety. And I read this book. I had read Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles for a book club in 2009 and quickly followed suit with Norwegian Wood and my personal favorite to this day, Kafka on the Shore (loved 1Q84 as well but that came later). But this was different. It was about running. And Murakami as an author. I’ll be honest; I zipped through it but didn’t really take away much, possibly because my runs weren’t very long. Or because I wasn’t running to find anything. Or to escape anything.

I re-read What I Talk About… last year while training for a half marathon and suddenly, it made sense. Whether it’s age and experience, loss, or just double-digit long runs, I had a much firmer grasp on his feelings this time around and was able to identify some of my own. I had a run at night (on a Monday after barre class because that opens up my hips and activates my glutes) a few weeks ago where I was running in order to escape. It was also a little bit of running to celebrate that I could. After so many months off, it feels amazing to go again. The first mile brought with it the small victory of knowing that my total run would be 3 based on where I turned around. But then came the feelings I was trying to escape. The lump in my throat rose and I tried to swallow it down while choking back tears. I felt like I had run straight into what I was trying to avoid. My emotions subsided after the second mile when I was on a downhill final mile home. I had failed to (literally) run away from my problems, even temporarily. Runs that start and end in a perfectly neutral place are my norm (well, for long runs, not speed training). But maybe sometimes I won’t be able to escape.

From Murakami:

“I just run. I run in a void. Or maybe I should put it the other way: I run in order to acquire a void. But as you might expect, an occasional thought will slip into this void. People’s minds can’t be a complete blank. Human beings’ emotions are not strong or consistent enough to sustain a vacuum. What I mean is, the kinds of thoughts and ideas that invade my emotions as I run remain subordinate to that void. Lacking content, they are just random thoughts that gather around that central void.”

It feels weird (a little refreshing too if we’re being honest) to write about feelings and not just times and numbers on here, but I would love to hear everyone else’s takes on running, voids, and/or Murakami.