I’m looking at February as a big month of base building. Just over 100 miles for the month and a push toward medium volume (for me).
2/3-2/9: 30 miles of training, finally. By only half a mile, this is my highest mileage since when I ran the NYC Marathon in November 2018. I did a trail run at South Mountain Reservation in New Jersey with a group, which was fun. It’s pretty easy to get to and just challenging enough for someone like me who loves running on trails but doesn’t yet have trail shoes with a rock plate.
2/10-2/16: 12.5 miles since I moved my long run to the following Monday, President’s Day while also missing my Thursday tempo and Saturday 5-mile Open Run.
2/17-2/23: 34 miles, including the final long run. Amazing eats at Golden Unicorn, Smith & Wollensky, and The Dough Club.
2/24-2/28: x miles plus a short shakeout 2/29 before spectating the Olympic marathon trials
Next up in March: Atlanta Half 3/1, cheering the NYC Half and the UAE 10K, eating my way around Montreal, and some more trail running.
A great couple weeks of running and pretty boring weeks for food. After last week’s vacation to the West Coast, I got back on my meal prep grind and started really looking at (ok, and tracking to some extent) what I’m eating.
Monday 3/25: Rest day. Had a huge Korean BBQ (and other entrees) feast at The Woo in SoHo.
Tuesday 3/26: 5.5 treadmill interval miles at Mile High Run Club’s The Distance. I was feeling ready for some speed again and it felt good. I’m planning to do some shorter distance races this summer or a tuneup 5K if I can find a good one in April. I need to practice running more at my 5K and 10K paces as well as doing more aggressive half-pace tempos.
Wednesday 3/27: 3.5 easy miles on the way to yoga. I had planned to run home but the temperature was dropping and I hadn’t brought gloves.
Thursday 3/28: Rest day. I did a strength circuit workout which kicked my ass. And my abs. Days of DOMS.
Friday 3/29: 7.5 mile run-commute home from work. It was overcast and in the low 50’s and just perfect. I felt really strong plodding up the Manhattan Bridge and could have kept going for a few miles.
Saturday 3/30: I went out for my long run mid-afternoon to meet with other folks, still feeling pretty thrashed from the strength workout DOMS Thursday and the longer runcommute Friday. I got 5 miles of progressively faster miles in solo, then 2.5 quick miles with the group, then did a slower cool down home for 8.3 miles total. I should have gotten in closer to 11 since last week’s was a cutback, but I scheduled poorly.
Sunday: 3/31: Unplanned rest day. Got brunch with friends, got a haircut, and bought some groceries to make Instant Pot short rib ragu, which was delicious. I served it over chickpea penne pasta.
Total: 24.8 miles. Almost back on track with mileage but definitely missing that 5th day.
Monday 4/1: Rest day. Ate dinner at The Osprey in Brooklyn Bridge Park and though it was cold (in the lower 40’s), I enjoyed staring at the water and seeing the first signs of spring.
Tuesday 4/2: 4.6 easy PM miles in Central Park.
Wednesday 4/3: Rest day
Thursday 4/4: Unplanned rest day from running, but I did the same strength workout as the week before and upped the dumbbells for arm rows from 7.5 pounds to 10 pounds. Way less DOMS this time!
Friday 4/5: 4.4 miles in the (relative) cold and rain. I came prepared with gloves and a hat (Lululemon’s Baller Cap has such a long brim, it’s great for rain). I had to stop by Petee’s Cafe to pick up some chocolate cream pie for my bf’s birthday and nabbed myself a slice of banana cream pie as well.
Saturday 4/6: Longish (6.8 miles) run where again my end destination was for desserts. I had scheduled a run to the new location of Bibble & Sip in Chinatown with friends to get some of their cute stuffed cream puffs. Alas, they were closed for the weekend after experiencing too much demand at their opening night party. So we hoofed it slowly to Supermoon Bakehouse for stuffed croissants and donuts and coffee.
Sunday 4/7: 6.7 easyish miles, soaking up the sun and enjoying the Brooklyn waterfront with my friend Alison.
Total: 22.5 miles; I really need to up my long runs again and add that fifth day of running.
So the perks of doing a 12-week plan are that even after 2 weeks (and especially after a mentally iffy second week), you still have 10 more weeks. And then you go on vacation and get food poisoning and all your runs are still at a ‘tough’ or ‘massive’ or ‘historic’ relative effort according to Strava reading your Apple Watch Heart Rate Data. Huh. Shruggie arms emoji. I’m happy with the state of my long runs this early on, since they’re already in the double digits but I definitely have work to do on the quantity and length of weekday runs.
Monday 3/4: Rest Day, which was a relief since the Sunday night snow was heavy and wet and not everyone had shoveled sidewalks the next morning.
Tuesday 3/5: 3.2 quick-ish miles in the lower part of Central Park with a Jackrabbit store sponsored run trying out some On Clouds shoes. Got donuts for Fat Tuesday.
Wednesday 3/6: 5.7 miles in Central Park in the late morning. My plan called for 7 miles Tuesday, 8 miles Thursday, and a rest Thursday but I needed to modify. For now, I’m better off doing short runs over more days than the 4 days of very long runs and workouts. I’m hoping to adapt better in a few weeks with the increase in volume then really take to the lactate threshold workouts.
Had more donuts just because.
Thursday 3/7: Rest day
Friday: 3/8 8.4 miles in the PM around Prospect Park.
Saturday 3/9: Skipped long run in favor of getting brunch last-minute with a friend and his daughter, trying to bake a pie from scratch (dough is so hard!), and having an early dinner of omakase at Sushi Lab.
Then I met my bf for cocktails and okonomiyaki at Bar Goto.
Sunday 3/10: Woke up to pouring rain and a lost hour of time and skipped my club’s new member run in favor of relaxing. Saw Captain Marvel and loved it! Then baked another pie and made Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken.
Total: 17.3 miles. I shocked myself by not running at all over the weekend but I guess I still have some time to get my mental game on track and prepare my legs for the 30+ mileage again.
Monday 3/11: 5 easy miles, trying to keep it in Zone 3 for heart rate which invariably involves some walking and jog shuffling.
Tuesday 3/12: Rest Day and dinner at Ani Ramen to celebrate my friend’s 50K instagram followers milestone.
Wednesday 3/13: PM Central Park loop for 6.5 miles.
Thursday 3/14: AM Central Park recovery run including the reservoir for 4.4 miles.
Friday 3/15: Early flight to SF and bopping around, visiting friends and exploring the city.
Saturday 3/16: 12 mile long run along the Embarcadero and piers of San Francisco.
Sunday 3/17: Light hiking around Big Basin State Park in CA and checking out the Santa Cruz waterfront. Dinner at Din Tai Fung.
Total: 27.9 miles
Week 4 – Scheduled Recovery Week
Monday 3/18: 5.2 miles exploring UC Berkeley’s campus. The hills!
Tuesday 3/19: Flight to Seattle and dinner at Walrus and the Carpenter.
Wednesday 3/20: 4.2 miles around Seattle. Poke and Dole Whip for lunch in the International District, buying too many Japanese Kit Kat flavors, then beers and burgers for dinner. Falling in love with Seattle one bite and view at a time.
Thursday 3/21: Light hiking and exploring Deception Pass State Park. Then I got food poisoning on the way back to town from Anacortes.
Friday 3/22: I had planned to run 8 miles but chose to take it easy in light of the food poisoning. I went to the UW campus to see a James Turrell exhibit and some other art, then flew back to NYC later afternoon after some final Seattle coffee and touring Pike Place Market.
Saturday 3/23: Rest day – platelet donation, lunch, then seeing US and my friend’s band.
Sunday 3/24: 7 miles as a cutback long run, enjoying the weather. My plan actually called for 9 miles but I had told myself it was only 8 and that 7 was good enough. Yoga in the morning (my first time since late January, whoops). Had huge Italian sandwiches in Bensonhurst after.
I used my guaranteed entry for the Brooklyn Half (from deferring last year’s due to peroneal tendon injury) and am setting it as my goal race for the spring season. I’m also doing the Broad Street 10 Miler again since I had to defer last year’s entry. I’m using a 12 week half marathon training plan from Pete Pfitzinger’s Faster Road Racing with some adaptations. He’s big on mid-to-long midweek mileage (8 miles for a Wednesday run) and keeping the long runs double digits until taper.
Monday 2/25: Day 1 was a rest day and the weather was awful, so I was glad to take it.
Tuesday 2/26: The plan called for 6 general aerobic miles, but I did 2 easy, 3 tempo, and 1 easy.
Wednesday 2/27: Rest Day and my club’s annual Awards Night.
Thursday 2/28: My plan called for 8 miles, but I was so done after only 5.
Friday 3/1: I ended up doing my long run this night, with a loop of the park, then running to and around Williamsburg with my club and ending with snacks and beer before eventually getting pizza. 10.2 miles total
Saturday: Rest day, and I really mean rest. Went to a Korean spa and got a massage.
Sunday: 8.3 miles with friends in the afternoon before more snow.
Total: 29.5 out of a prescribed 31. Not bad for my first real week back at it.
And the briefest race report. I’m going to just frontload this by saying that I don’t think late winter or early spring half marathons are for me. This is the third year in a row where I arrive at the start line very undertrained and crabby with myself for paying over $100 to race without having a real shot ay my goal time. So the previous twoyears, I was a little closer to said goal times but now I’m older and wiser and didn’t want to have a big blowup in the back of the race. This is good in a way because it makes me really examine my intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for running. And also think about how much I, as a Southerner living in the Northeast for the past decade (!!), still don’t really like winter. We’ll see if anything changes on that front.
Monday 2/4: It was a smidge warmer than usual but I missed a morning run and already had dinner plans at the amazing Krok for some spicy Isan Thai. I had the perfect view of the route to Brooklyn Bridge Park to watch all the runners go by as my mouth slowly burned.
Tuesday 2/5: 3.4 miles on the Hudson River Park before taking a class on the erg at RowHouse.
Wednesday 2/6: Lunar New Year dinner at Golden Unicorn.
Thursday 2/7: Halal combo for lunch and dinner aka the best $6 ever spent.
Friday 2/8: Flight to New Orleans with my friend Jay. We immediately started eating everything in sight, from chargrilled oysters at Felix’s to beignets at Cafe du Monde. There was gumbo, jambalaya, and baked ham at Mother’s. Everyone else arrived later that night while I caught an all-female brass band and saw my first (unofficial) Mardi Gras parade.
Saturday 2/9: No shakeout, just more good food. Brunch at Ruby Slippers, more beignets from Cafe du Monde, carb loading with great pasta from Little Gem Saloon, then cheering on a Mardi Gras parade.
Sunday 2/10: Race Day (oh, did you think I just came to eat? Pretty much). I showed up to the starting line downtown unsure of what to shoot for. I thought about going out at 9:00 minute miles then trying for a negative split for the last 5K, which would have been my 3rd fastest half marathon (maybe even 2nd). But honestly I didn’t really feel trained for that. So I decided to run the first mile however I felt, then evaluate from there. I hit it in 9:30 and didn’t feel like it was sustainable as the sun came out a bit (then slunk back into the clouds) and the humidity worked its magic, so I slowed to a 10:00 minute mile pace for the rest of the race. I had some King Cake from spectators around mile 6 and a Jell-o shot at mile 12, determined to have a little fun with it.
We hung around the finish area as a group, enjoying the snacks and some free Michelob Ultra.
After showering and a nap for me, we went back to Felix’s for more poboys and chargrilled oysters, drinks at Carousel Bar and Pat O’Brien’s, then several pounds of seafood at the well-named Cajun Seafood.
All in all, not my best half marathon or even close, but definitely one of the most fun! I think it rivals and bests the Nike Womens San Francisco Half since the spectators wanted to get us drunk.
Off to the races! I had originally planned for a 2 week taper but after not getting in the miles on vacation, I moved my long run to a Monday. Friday February 1 also kicked off a low-sugar month for me. I get one dessert a week and cut down on added sugar (and try to incorporate more fruit into my diet). No more almond croissants with my coffee and no baking batches of cookies that I then eat half of. I’m saving up my desserts for beignets in New Orleans and some cake for Valentine’s or Galentine’s.
Monday 1/28: 11.7 mile long run around Manhattan after work.
Tuesday 1/29: Quick rowing workout at the gym
Wednesday 1/30: 3 easy treadmill miles at home on the coldest day of the year.
Thursday 1/31: 4.2 Woodway treadmill miles at the new Mile High Run Club on the Upper East Side during the High 45 class. I had to jump off and foam roll my left hamstring; I initially freaked out for a quick second and thought “high hamstring tendinopathy” but am pretty sure it was just sore from long run and not rolling.
Friday 2/1: (Hot) Vinyasa Flow at Y7 Yoga. This was a total sweatfest but also a great stretch. I had an acai bowl after for dinner (which is basically dessert) but at least I ate some real fruit.
Saturday 2/2: Unplanned rest day.
Sunday 2/3: 3.5 miles with a friend and Bandit, Elle’s rat terrier. Super Bowl pizza and wings as I slowly watched the life force drain from myself (and the Rams).
Total: 22 miles. At one point when my hamstring was tight Thursday night, I thought about dropping down to the 10K in New Orleans. But at this point, I’m going to run the half and take it easy. I might be able to do it at my future Brooklyn Half goal pace + 10-15 seconds and have pretty even splits since it’s a very flat course. The weather is looking a bit warm and sticky, so that’s also a factor. I don’t want to have another humidity blowup like at 3M last year. TBD! Week 10 and race report to come, then I’ll have a few weeks before the official start of a 12-week training plan for the Brooklyn Half.
Week 6 should have been the second meatiest week in mileage but I was definitely still feeling the effects of the cold I caught the first few days of 2019. So then I tried and failed to pass the buck t o Weeks 7 and 8 but was somewhat thwarted by freezing temps and a vacation to Walt Disney World. It’s official: winter running is not my jam, even when properly attired. I’m very hesitant to sign up for an April/May marathon or even another January/February/March half in 2020.
Monday 1/7: 6 miles, split running to and from the monthly PPTC meeting. I mainly went to grab a slice of ravioli pizza, which is exactly what it sounds like. I’m planning to make my own soon but you really need a crispy crust to contrast with the pasta. TBD.
Tuesday 1/8: Rest Day
Wednesday 1/9: 5 mile outdoor run during sunset.
Thursday 1/10: 3 treadmill miles and a strength workout. Kettlebell deadlifts
Friday 1/11: Yoga class at a new-to-me studio (Sacred Sounds Yoga), focusing on stretching. My hamstrings were so tight to the point that it was comical.
Saturday 1/12: 3 treadmill miles after not being able to drag myself outside into the 20-degree weather. Somehow managed to make it to Ktown for soju and karaoke with the girls later.
Sunday 1/13: 5 frigid but sunny miles with a friend aka I didn’t do my long run. We ended at the bakery Ovenly, which semi-recently opened a new location near us in Park Slope. I had an everything croissant (a croissant with some everything bagel seasoning on it) and a hot chocolate. Brooklyn Museum and Asian fusion at Hunger Pang for dinner.
Total: 21 miles
Week 7: I took a lot of days off, so I’m going to just focus on the few days of running and the long weekend food highlights.
Monday 1/14: Somewhere between 5.2-5.7 miles at Mile High Run Club’s The Distance treadmill class. My treadmill said 5.7 and my Apple Watch’s Strava app said 5.3, so I’m inclined to go with upwards of 5.5 or so.
Friday 1/18: 5 miles along the East River in the dark and cold after work. It was so quiet and sort of beautiful. It was amazing to feel like I had the city to myself.
Emmy Squared pizza and fries for dinner.
Saturday 1/19: No pictures but I had Petee’s pie for breakfast, all you can eat Korean BBQ for lunch, and Taco Bell for dinner before a Planetarium show in Long Island.
Sunday 1/20: 10 mile late morning long run in Central Park. Later we went to Mitsuwa Marketplace in New Jersey for ramen and Japanese snacks (I bought so many Hi Chews) strolling the fancy mall in Short Hills, then Benihana for dinner.
Total: 20.5 miles
Week 8: My backup week for ‘most mileage’. Except I skipped Monday, traveled Tuesday, then walked 8 miles a day around the parks until flying back Saturday night. I did an easy 5 miles Sunday before getting groceries and trying to get out of vacation mode.
Surprise! I decided on an early spring half as I alluded to in a previous post. I don’t have a definite plan picked out but am currently reading Jack Daniels’ Running Formula and recently finished Pfitzinger’s Faster Road Racing and still have the Kara Goucher 10 Week Plan I was kind of trying for January’s Austin 3M Half. Mainly I’m hoping to just up the mileage into the 30’s and do some half marathon pace-specific work and see what happens as I attempt a slight PR. I’ve been using my (optical wrist) heart rate monitor and trying to keep my easy runs to Levels 2 and 3.
Week 1; 12/3/18 – 12/9/18: 26 miles over 4 runs, including the Ted Corbitt 15K. (9.3 miles plus warmup and cool down).
Week 2; 12/10/18 – 12/16/18: Only 9 miles (2 runs) because of work and hosting a friend. But time-consuming work project ended, so hopefully it’s back to some AM runs again. I won’t be up by Central Park as often on weekdays, but it’s worth it for the extra sleep and flexibility.
Week 3; 12/17/18 – 12/23/18: 23.9 miles over 5 runs; long run of 8.3 miles.
Week 4; 12/24/18 – 12/30/18: Ended up with 2 unplanned rest days on top of my actual planned days. There was travel and Christmas too. 12.4 over 3 runs.
Week 5; 12/31/18 – 01/06/19: This was supposed to be a higher mileage week. I pushed my long run from the week before to Monday the 31st and went for 9 miles. On New Year’s Day, I did 3 on the treadmill after being tired all day. Then I woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat that kept getting worse. I took off Wednesday – Friday as a cold took over. Other then some seasonal allergies, I haven’t been sick-sick in some time. Boo. I managed to get another long run in on Saturday for 9 miles in the rain then took off completely Sunday. Total: 21 miles. Pushed off the Super Week until the next week.
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.
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.
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.
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.