Richmond Marathon 2017 Race Report

Ok, finally. I think many of you already knew from Strava or other forms of social media, but I had a great race on Saturday 11/11/17. This post will be a little light on the images because my parents were so busy cheering (and it was cold before and after) that they didn’t take any photos and I didn’t run with my phone.

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Start: It had dropped below freezing the night before and was still in the low to mid 30’s for the 7:45am start. I wore a longsleeve cotton shirt and pajama pants as my throwaway clothes over my PPTC tech t-shirt, Lululemon shorts (same outfit as last year’s NYC Marathon), makeshift arm warmers, DarnTough socks, and Lululemon gloves (a Christmas gift from a friend last year). I ended up choosing my Brooks Launch 4s as my shoe since I did most of my marathon miles in them, especially the last 8 weeks.

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Flatlay from the night before sans cold weather accessories

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Miles 0-7: My corral (#4) was pretty crowded, but we got off to a decent start 6 minutes after the first wave did. We turned a corner and then we were running west on Broad street. And boom, at mile 0.5, there were my parents cheering in the median. Nice! I took the first several miles faster than I meant to, closer to a 10:00 pace than the 10:15-10:30 I meant to do.

I meant to take a gel at 45:00 but due to the spacing of the water stations (every 2 miles, I believe), I held off until closer to 1 hour on the clock. I started with a Salted Watermelon Gu, one of my favorites. We were climbing up a hill at Mile 6 but I didn’t notice too much, as I was chatting on and off with other runners, I had started behind the 4:30 pace group, then I passed them, they passed me, and I passed again. At Mile 7, there is a significant downhill after crossing the James River to go from the West End to the South Side. This felt great. I spent the next couple of miles along the river taking in the beautiful views and sunshine. I chatted up a woman wearing a JMU long-sleeve (my alma mater) and took in some of her cheers as my own. If I do another Richmond race, I’m definitely rocking the purple and gold.

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Miles 8-15: South Side was fairly uneventful, as I was mainly trying to not overdo the pace. After we climbed out from the River, I still felt pretty strong. I chatted with a runner from Chicago who was shocked at my choice of shorts and a NYRR employee. I had my second gel of the day, Toasted Marshmallow and it was AMAZING. I hadn’t tried it before (I know, nothing new on race day) but it was delicious. Around the half mark, I took some mini gummi bears from one of the candy stops. We ran alongside traffic for several miles of Forest Hill Ave and Semmes Ave, which I didn’t love, but some of them lended us cheers or music. Right as we turned to take the bridge back north across the James River, my parents surprised me at the 15 Mile marker. The bridge is fairly windy and an incline, but the boost from my parents helped so much. I had also latched on/decided to draft a couple who was also shooting for under 4:30 but wasn’t with the pace group. On the bridge, the pace group caught up to us, then we peeled away and I never saw them again (spoiler alert).

Miles 16-20: I still felt good but tentative, as I expected things to get harder in the 20’s. I slowly ate my mini gummi bears and had another gel, plus water every couple miles. We ran through some more familiar territory of West Main Street, then past the Diamond on Boulevard. I remember still feeling strong and passing people who were starting to fade. The stupid grin hadn’t left my face yet.

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Miles 21-25: These miles turned out to be both well-populated by great spectator groups and the ones where I felt great and realized I was going to surpass not only my A goal of 4:29:xx, but my A+ goal of 4:26:03 (a 30 minute PR from NYCM last year). I believe that in lieu of a 4th gel, I just had a single Salted Margarita ShotBlock and increased the blue Powerade consumption since the frequency of the tables increased. I supplemented this with a banana from a nice lady around Mile 22. I turned down the beer and other junk food on offer, as well as the pickle juice. I had told myself to hold off the pace from miles 21-24, then up the gas if I was still feeling good. My parents showed up for the 3rd time at Mile 23.5 and I yelled to them “See you at the beer truck! Hurry, I’m picking up speed!”. It was true! See my splits above after Mile 21; I knew the end was near and almost nothing could stop me.

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Extra gels in my pocket can’t slow me down

Mile 25-26.2: There were a few small bumps/hills before the big finish. At 25.5, I was passing people left and right and really turning on the juice when a woman told us the finish was “around the corner”. Well, we knew it wasn’t. I heard a girl comment on this and despite running at my half marathon pace now, I agreed with her and we talked about how we hate when people shout stuff like that about the finish when we just want to SEE the finish. I turn to look at her better and boom, she’s an internet running group friend! I managed to choke out my name and we both screamed. What are the odds? I knew we would get the final half mile in together, and boy did we ever. The downhill was ours. All of the pictures are of me talking to her (lol) and flying down faster than my 5K pace. We hit the finish, threw up our moose ears, and were done.

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Final: I hit the clock at 4:21:34.2, which apparently rounds up to :35. I beat my A+ goal by 4 and a half minutes, which still seems unreal. And I had the best time doing it! Everyone I talked to on the course was sweet and beyond pleasant. The crowd support was impressive for a marathon of this size. We were handed our medal, the blanket, and the mug, plus a bottle of water.

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Then I went off to find my parents at the Beer Truck. Sure enough, I beat them there. I grabbed a slice of pizza and some blue Powerade. I didn’t have my ID, only a sweaty $20 bill, so I couldn’t even get a beer. By the time they arrived, I was able to change then requested that we skip the beer and get straight to Bottoms Up Pizza, the source of my favorite pizzas from my Sweet 16 to my high school graduation. They actually had a table open and I had a Southern Tier Imperial Pumpking, a huge slice, and some Oreo pie to go.

A million thanks to everyone who has commented here, on my Strava, or out in the ‘real world’ plus my parents who cheered and cowbelled so hard. Y’all the best.

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Until next time, Richmond! 50 weeks until NYC Marathon!

 

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Week 5 of Richmond Marathon Training, 8/21-8/27

Freudian slip on my original post last week when I called it “Week 4 of NYC Marathon Training”. Whoops! Obviously I ran NYC last year and did the NYRR 9+1 this year for entry to the 2018 NYC Marathon, but this year the plan is to run Richmond.

8/21: RunCommutes are back! 6.4 miles home from work with my usual Lululemon ‘Run From Work’ backpack, very lightly filled. I missed my usual turn and cut through Commodore Barry Park and Fort Greene Parks.

8/22: Rest day

8/23: Loop around the park, walk to the bar, then run home from the bar. 6ish miles total.

8/24: Rest day

8/25: 4 easy treadmill miles in the AM. This is the first Friday I’ve run since May? June?

8/26: The most productive running day of my life. 1 mile warm up, then setting a new 5K PR at the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K, then running almost 10 miles through Central Park, down the West Side, and almost to the Governor’s Island ferry (but had to stop at the ATM first).

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Ran into Sam on the train

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Larry caught me during my warm up

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Proud of my splits

I grabbed my stuff, decided to forego the free tshirt, and strapped on my new backpack (Gregory Maya 16) then headed out with a friend from my beer drinking running group.

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14 miles even for the morning (I think) though my watch died at 9.3 and my running buddy forgot to restart his after we paused and we lost 0.3 then we stopped it before I had to SPRINT to the ferry, blue Gatorade in hand. I found my friends and we rented a 5-person surrey to ride around the island. Even after a big lunch and afternoon coffee, I was exhausted but somehow rallied to make it outside again later for frosé and beer with friends.

8/27: 3 recovery miles in Brooklyn Bridge Park after walking 2 miles to donate my bicycle in DUMBO.

Total: 33 miles! My Sunday-Saturday total was 36.6 out of a recommended 34 miles.

Week 1 of Richmond Marathon Training 7/24-7/30

Yeah, y’all read that right. I’m now 80% sure that I’m going to try to run a marathon this fall. This % has ranged from 10% back in January all the way up to where it is now. It’s been a wild ride mentally. I was still 50-50 on the issue back in early July but then I repurchased the NYRR Virtual Trainer on a whim on the 12th after playing around with the inputs on the 11th. I was on a Conservative plan last year for the New York City Marathon but wanted something with higher mileage this time around since I’m not coming off of injury and had a pretty solid spring racing season with a decent base of summer miles (and hit some time goals). I’m now on the Moderate 16-week plan which will have me running more consistently into the 30’s and up to the low 40 mpw. This would be a 10-20% increase from last year’s training for the NYC Marathon.

The Virtual Trainer begins its weeks on Sundays but I’ve been mentally starting mine on Mondays, so I’m going to keep up that convention here on the blog. That should also help couch weeks like this past one where I did my previous week’s long run on Saturday but the current week’s had been on a Sunday.

On with the mileage!

7/24: Tennis clinic then on to a Filipino kamayan feast seen below from Ugly Kitchen for J’s birthday. Then we went to Snowdays and I split the Made in Taiwan for dessert. They were out of grass jelly so I got Captain Crunch cereal on it instead (along with mochi and a condensed milk drizzle all on a base of green tea snow cream). It was perfect! No pictures because I ate it all too fast.


7/25: 2 mile to Open Run, then 3.1 at increasing tempo pace. I got to run with NYRR President Peter Ciaccia for a good chunk of it and we talked about some NYRR races. I was a little starstruck but he was very friendly and chill.

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This is what happens when I wear the Ghosts and try for speed

 

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7/26: 4 easy miles in Prospect Park later at night after trying out sushiritos and sushi nachos from Sushirito on 23rd Street with E early on (pictured below). Sylvan Esso was playing at the Bandshell and there was also a showing of The Sandlot so it was cool to have some ambiant noise and more people around.

7/27: NYRR R-U-N 5K in Central Park and a 2 mile warmup. The humidity crept back up after a lovely Tuesday and Wednesday, so I was alsresdt getting very warm and sweaty during my warm-up. I tried to take the first mile easy but not too easy which ended up being an 8:05 pace. This is faster than my PR pace, so whoops. The second mile felt rough and I had to slow down. I regret not getting water after the first mile marker but managed to grab some after the second. By that point, Cat Hill had already happened and my breathing wasn’t great. My final half mile was at a great pace but the rest was a struggle.

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They gave out popsicles after and I was all about that. My final time was 25:35, which is a 2-second PR. I’ll take it, considering the weather and that my 25:37 previous PR from June 7th was in conditions 20 degrees cooler and less humid. I’m probably not done with this distance yet for this year.

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7/28: Rest day but I managed to have Chipotle for lunch and Shake Shack for dinner with a lot of rosé in between.

7/29: 4.7 miles around noon due to feeling the effects of the previous night’s drinks and 11pm Shackburger and Concrete. I was so glad that I went out at all and felt much better afterward, thanks in part to some extra blue Gatorade laying around the fridge. Then I hightailed it to Long Island City to meet up with out-of-town friends to try some beer at local breweries.

7/30: 8.3 miles over the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge with Chaya. I didn’t get a smoothie after so I’m already off from my goal of doing that after each marathon training long run. My plan called for 8 but we just hit so many lights that I was growing annoyed trying to add another 0.2 to make it more even.

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Total mileage: 27.4 miles and some tennis (plan called for 26 miles).

New York City Marathon 2016 Recap

Well, I’m a marathoner now! As for the days leading up to the race, I had no doubts about my abilities to finish this. But I also knew anything could happen and that I should respect the distance. Between all the love and support and reading stories like this, I am very emotional. Disclaimer: I am even more emotional after the events of this week and delayed publishing this by a few days in an effort to start coming to terms with the election results.

As of writing this Tuesday, I am also very sore. I got a massage Monday which apparently might have been too soon and maybe I just made more micro-tears in my muscles. Whoops! It felt good, that’s for sure. Anyway, back to race day:

If you’re unfamiliar with the course, this is an excellent primer.

Getting to the start at Fort Wadsworth was an experience. I boarded the 8:15am ferry, which should have left me plenty of time after the shuttle buses dropped us off for my Wave 3 10:40am start. But there was bus traffic the whole way and what should have been a 10 minute ride (according to others who have done it before) took 40 minutes. Apparently an earlier ferry broke down. I made new friends on the ferry and while waiting for the bus who came from all over. It was so nice to talk the time away and not worry about the ticking clock. I scarfed down my strawberry Uncrustable (saw others were having PB&J and it had been 2 hours since my freezer waffles). By the time I hopped off the bus and used the bathroom, the corrals for my whole wave were about to close. I quickly shed my throwaway layers, then ran into a PPTC member who had run this before and calmed me down a lot. I didn’t feel ready, but I knew it was go time. I ate my honey stinger waffle slowly and got a picture.

Miles 1 & 2:

I knew I should take the Verrazano Bridge very slowly, and I did. You definitely don’t feel the incline because of the adrenaline, so I focused on taking in the views and not tripping over throwaway clothing. The fire boats were shooting out water and there was a rainbow! I was Orange, so we were on the left side of the bridge and did a neat little turnaround before entering 4th Avenue. Blue was on the right side of the bridge and had their own route, then Green was on the lower level and seemed to come up then over to their special route, as seen below from the NYT. 11:12 for mile 1 and 10:26 mile 2, enjoying that downhill a bit.

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Miles 3 – 6:

Bay Ridge was fun! I come down here sometimes for work or food, so I knew different stretches of the route. The crowds really started to come out and had some excellent signs. I saw a few PPTC people who ran past me and my pace was remaining steady with the same effort much closer to 11 minute miles than 10. I had hoped for more easy, breezy even 10:30’s like during my longest training run, but it seemed it wasn’t happening. I was afraid to push harder in case my body fell apart on the back half, so I reined it in. I untaped my pace bracelet for my A Goal time of 04:29 and threw it onto the median around mile 6. So long, A Goal! I had my first Gu of the day, Salted Watermelon around the 1 hour mark. Writing these down seems very important for any future marathon training I may do. This was a little later than usual but I figured the extra Honey Stinger waffle on top of the two-part breakfast had given me plenty.

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I THINK this photo is from Bay Ridge or going up 4th Avenue but I could be wrong

Mile 7 – 9:

The best running miles of my life! This stretch included seeing the first of my coworkers, then one of my besties, then the PPTC cheer zone, then finally my parents and roommate. I have no words left to describe how exciting this part of 4th was. Then we did the Flatbush to Lafayette turn around mile 8 and I was equally impressed by Fort Greene. The party had really started. I saw great costumes, another coworker, and enjoyed the music. I took these miles a little fast and then my GPS messed up and told me I had run a sub-8 mile through Lafayette. I was fast, but not that fast! My watch had been beeping a little ahead of the mile markers but this is where it started being behind and I didn’t even realize. NYRR says I did the 10K in 1:07:28. Gu #2 (the other Salted Watermelon).

 

Coming in for family hugs on 4th

Hi, Dad! Bye, Dad!


Mile 9 – 12:

I saw a few more people along Bedford (another coworker, old roommate who ran the marathon last year, and a team captain) then enjoyed the more quiet miles of Orthodox/Hasidic Williamsburg. I had a work assignment in this area the last few months that just ended on Halloween, so I’ve become more familiar with the area and the culture. There was still a fair amount of crowd support and the course was just chock full of Northern Europeans. I felt like I was surrounded by Swedes, Danes, and Germans. Then Williamsburg re-brought the party. I could actually smell the booze! I saw 2 lovely coworkers in Greenpoint before the Pulaski Bridge and was riding that high.

Miles 13 – 16:

The Pulaski Bridge was short and sweet, then we were met with a large crowd throughout Long Island City, where my main office is. It was so weird to see my work building then just keep running right by! Some friends were having their usual marathon party and I almost missed them because I couldn’t remember which side of the street they were on. I ended up making a beeline for them and coming in for a quick high five before zipping off again. Then the Queensboro Bridge happened. It was rough, to say the least. I still had dreams hitting my B Goal (4:30-4:45) and I hit the half in 2:23:01, which would make the tail end of that goal doable with a slight negative split. But the bridge ended that, as I chugged along at a 12 minute mile. Gu #3 (Strawberry Banana) was chased with water still.

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Maybe this was actually Marcus Garvey? Who knows!

Mile 17 – 19:

The Wall of Sound on 1st Avenue was no joke and I loved seeing the throngs of people five deep cheering for us. I, however, got totally confused about which mile I was on because of my GPS mishap and missed a couple of friends here. I sped up just a little bit but couldn’t get back under 11. I also chose to address my underboob chafing with some Vaseline. Unfortunately, they had run out of sticks so the medical volunteer just had to hand me a glob of it. No shame at this point and I smeared it where I needed. Gu #4 at the 3:20 mark, plus 2 shot blocks and some Gatorade at this point.

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Chugging along

Miles 20  & 21:

The Bronx was really short and sweet and people were out in droves, contrary to what I had heard. The guy running next to me (who I saw again toward the finish) was a local and kept welcoming all of us to the BX. Also, it is just wild to me that we take such a detour around the Western Beef supermarket. I’m glad the afore-linked NYT article mentioned it because it was so confusing. Then right before the bridge, a lady had a great sign that said LAST DAMN BRIDGE. And yes, it was.

Miles 22-24:

All aboard the pain train! Actually, it wasn’t so bad at first. I got another Vaseline stick and swabbed myself on 5th Avenue, then we went around Marcus Garvey Park, which looked autumnal and lovely. I was apparently shuffling along in the 11:40’s here and had a great butt slapping hello with my friend Allison in the upper 120’s. Then I ate half a banana since I had taken my final Gu (Salted Caramel, which has a little more caffeine, though not as much as the Caramel Macchiato I meant to take) at the 4 hour mark. Then somewhere around mile 23 marker (my watch was still behind), I got a nasty side stitch on my right side. I tried to keep jogging through it, but it brought me down. The worst grimacey photos are from this point, but my friend Brittany hopped in and gave me water and talked me through it. She reminded me how to stretch and breathe then sent me into Central Park with a smile on my face, ready to run down Cat Hill and make the finish in under 5 hours (C Goal!).

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Brittany walked and talked me through my side cramp

Miles 25 + 26 + 0.2:

The last two miles were a magical blur, full of spectators and my last wind. I chugged a final shot of Gatorade just to get me through the finish and managed to pick up my pace on 59th St. I passed a couple teammates but couldn’t really form sentences any more. I remember seeing the ‘800 meters to go’ sign and being excited, then feeling crestfallen when I realized just how far that was. Bronx guy was with me here and yelled out the sign, but it wasn’t enough. I pushed so hard just to get under a 10 minute mile then sprint in the finish, arms raised and feeling triumphant.

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Then the epic shuffle to retrieve our medal, apple (yum), heat sheet, goodie bags with snacks, and finally the exit poncho. I pulled my phone out of the Ziploc bag and turned off airplane mode since I hadn’t turned it on to listen to music even once because I never needed it. The energy of the race was more than enough to get me through the tough parts). I tried to answer the many texts and WhatsApp messages I got and let my family know I was alive and heading to the reunion point. My walk speed was actually pretty quick and I tried to get out of the park as fast as I could while thanking all the volunteers. I entered the reunion school and got applause and cheers like a rockstar. Instead of chocolate milk, I was handed some delicious hot chocolate by a volunteer  and grabbed some Milk Duds thanks to my Dad. After wiping down and changing and a mini photo shoot, we went to Bar Boulud for an amazing post-race meal. After a long cab ride back to Brooklyn, I tried to facebook and instagram a quick post before bed at 8:38PM.



Overall reflections:

The crowds make this race. I mainly mean the million + people cheering us on, but I do also mean the runners themselves. Everyone I talked to, smiled at, or otherwise wasn’t elbowed by (there were a few of those but most were apologetic) was so thrilled to be running this race. It was really something special to run through all 5 boroughs of this city I love and have called home for over 6 years. NYC is the place I’ve lived longest in my adult life and that is for many reasons, but the people are overwhelmingly the biggest one.

I brought too much nutrition with me. Fortunately my pockets were huge (thank you, Lululemon Speed Track Shorts), so my leftover Shot Blocks and extra Gus will be used in the future.

I feel very sure about my decision to not run another marathon until 2018 at the earliest. I’m looking forward to a leisurely summer and fall next year, where I can sleep in past 8am on weekends and not plan my vacations around my long runs. I also hope to get faster with the help of more speed work, and plan to try my hand at more shorter distance races that I didn’t want to risk this training cycle. I would hope that I could try a higher mileage plan for an future marathons and honestly, the thought of it right now is a bit much. I’ll probably end up doing the 9+1 in 2017 just so I have the NYC option open to me in 2018, but would of course consider other full marathons. My only definite 2017 races (barring injury) are the Philadelphia Broad Street Run (deferred entry from last year) and the Richmond Half Marathon.

Weeks 14 and 15 and 16 of Marathon Training

I’m tempted to post a .gif of tumbleweed blowing by for my taper weeks, but I did get some nice runs in. I also got the sniffles (I can’t say I definitively got sick as it only lasted a couple days and seems to be more like seasonal allergies). But now I’m only 3 days away from running my first marathon and the excitement has finally washed over and replaced my minor anxieties about aches and pains.

Week 14:

The sniffles were real and I didn’t want to develop a full-blown cold, so I only did a weekday run then my first taper run in DC. I had planned a perfect 12 mile loop but got lost trying to get down to East Potomac Park, then couldn’t get onto 14th St.as planned and had to cut over onto the Mall further East than expected. I ended at Starbucks for a much needed soy toffee nut latte, courtesy of my free drink. I got to see some friends and have Nando’s for dinner, as we still don’t have one in NYC.

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Week 15:

Mile High Run Club The Distance with Elizabeth Corkum. I hadn’t been to MHRC in months but I loved it and plan to take Corky’s class again when I reactivate my ClassPass. I managed to keep my paces consistent throughout the different interval speeds and saw some very fast Level 4 speed. I got 5.6 miles in, which is a huge improvement from 4.8 miles back in May. I also manged to keep my easy pace very easy overall.

Then on Saturday the 29th, I did the last 10 miles run with PPTC. My watch never picked up satellites because it was probably still on DC from the week before, so I decided to just run with the 11:00 min/mile pace group. We ended up at a closer to 10:30 pace for some of the miles, which was ideal for me since I hope to keep my marathon pace closer to that. I felt really good and was talking the whole way. Had a Gu around mile 6 and discovered I also love the Salted Caramel flavor.

Week 16:

Just some quick regular runs on Wednesday and Friday mornings.

I hit up the Expo on Thursday night and it wasn’t too crowded. I got my bib, said hi to some friends volunteering, took some photos with said bib, then did some shopping. Things I bought that I needed: margarita ShotBlocks and extra Gu. I also split a good deal on wool socks from Darn Tough with a friend. I’m not going to try out new socks on race day, but these are pretty darn nice from what I can tell on my test run. Most importantly, I got the jacket below in gray and I love it. Pretty sure it’s bad luck to wear it or the long-sleeve before I actually run the marathon, though.

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I decided I didn’t need much more stuff. I have so many race shirts and running clothing overall that my collection should be complete once I acquire some more winter running clothes and accessories. Don’t hold me to that statement, please.

Anyway, I am obviously wildly excited for Sunday and love knowing that I have friends and family cheering for me in many locations and 3 of the 5 boroughs.

Ok, I guess we’re doing this. Shruggie.

Week 12 of NYC Marathon Training

Once again, I’m finding that my cutback weeks (coincidentally those where I am traveling for the long run and what should be run #3 or #4 of the week) are the hardest. I tend to have some cumulative fatigue from the previous week’s long run and speed work and am also very distracted by packing and the act of travel. So this week was another short one where I only got out twice. Yes, twice. I had the sniffles after my Cancun trip but still managed to attack my second-highest mileage week, so this feels kind of weak.

On another note, HOLY CRAP OMG I can’t believe I’m 12 weeks into this! And it’s going so well! I am uninjured (knock on wood, some aches and pains but nothing lingering), got a 5K and half marathon PRs during this training cycle, and have run 18 miles at a time, a solid 4.9 than ever before I began this journey. A little bit of reflection and a lot of navel gazing (shout out to Elle) has led me to be pleasantly surprised at a lot of training. It has been less time overall than I originally supposed, but I was preparing for the worst and am also on a pretty conservative plan. I haven’t taken to the track like I thought I might, but am planning on speed classes post-marathon to rectify that. I have eaten too much, constantly, most of the time, but at other times am full sooner than expected. I have maybe cumulatively lost 2 pounds during this process then negated it in Vegas, Cancun, and Chicago. Despite my proclaimed love for cross-training of all kinds, I have largely neglected it. I put my ClassPass on hold, even after dropping down to the 5 a month plan then failing to make any of those classes. I now make the “if someone is training for a marathon, you’ll know about it” types of jokes but actually do find myself telling everyone about it.

I’m in Chicago (will have just touched down back in NYC when this is published) for a combo work conference/sightseeing/visiting my friend Carla and cheering on the Chicago Marathon. The trip was supposedly to only involve the last two but then I got invited to speak at a big conference in my field. The combination of trip of purposes made it really hard to pack but I managed.

Monday 10/3: I was feeling less sore from my half and dragged myself up some stairs for a run club meeting. There was a panel all about the NYC Marathon and I took down some tips from the veterans. Also, I had baked some marble cupcakes the night before for a coworker’s birthday and hit peak cupcake consumption. 2 Sunday night, 1 for breakfast Monday, 1 as a snack at work, then 2 very small ones for dessert.

Tuesday 10/4: So I didn’t make 6am speed training this week, which left me doing miles after work. I tried out a partial run-commute along the G line for 4 miles then showered off before celebrating National Taco Day at the brick and mortar location of Tacos El Bronco. Forgot to take any photos but they were amazing. Had 4 tacos for 4 miles, I guess. Tried their tres leches cake but didn’t love it.

Wednesday 10/5: I didn’t run, but I did have All You Can Eat Hotpot and more taiyaki ice cream.

Thursday 10/6: It was raining in Chicago when I arrived, so I strolled along the river for a bit and killed time before I checked in to my hotel. I was hoping to squeeze in a quick run before I headed to the Art Institute, but time was tight so I opted for a nap instead. Then I explored with Carla for a few hours, including a Museum Hack tour. I’ve been wanting to see Seurat’s La Grand Jatte for over a decade, since I took art history in London and kinda fell in love with pointillism.

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Friday 10/7: Long Run along the Lakefront Trail. 13 miles even. Chicago is pretty flat, so at every small ramp or hill, I told myself “this is it, the tallest hill in Chicago.” At least one of them probably was. It was cool but almost a little unnerving being so close to the water but great being protected from the cars. Cyclists were super respectful with space as well.

 

 
Saturday 10/8: Conference day with Lou Malnati’s takeout at the end.

Sunday 10/9: Marathon cheering day and marathon conference day. Saw so many people at mile 9.5 (and they loved the BROOKLYN WE GO HARD poster that Gabby originally made for last year’s Brooklyn Marathon). It was all very inspirational.


Total: 17.1 out of recommended 24-27. I ended up doing 6 Monday that ended up feeling more like Week 12 than 13 due to location, but the fact still stands that I went 22% under recommended minimum. Eek.

Week 9 of NYC Marathon Training

This week was quieter overall but with the mileage back up to the 30’s. I only ran 3 times instead of 4 because one of those was the NYRR 18 Mile Tune Up. My actual NYRR Virtual Trainer plan had me doing only 15 miles as my long run this week, but with the caveat that I could add on a couple more if necessary. I figured this was a good time to tackle the distance at a slower pace than my usual long runs, closer to the top of my recommended range.

Monday 9/12: Off Day. Running club meeting where I scarfed down some pizza then went to the bar to watch football. Had 1 beer and 5 Buffalo wings and stayed until the end of the first Monday Night Football game (oh Washington team, you almost never fail to disappoint me).

Tuesday 9/13: Shocker, I hit snooze on the 5:20AM alarm and again at 6:20AM. At work, we had a motivational interviewing training session and part of the examples and role play/real play for affirmations & summarizing allowed me the chance to talk about my issues getting up for runs (particularly on Tuesdays). My partner in the role play had to listen to me talk about it for 2 minutes than summarize what I had said while adding some nice affirmations about the good behaviors I was exhibiting. Honestly, it was so helpful to hear about my problem from someone else. It gave me a little kick in the pants to do better and stick to my plans.

Wednesday 9/14: I was able to get up at my regular time (7:20am) and still get 6(.1 but my Garmin then corrected it to 6?) miles in because of later work meetings. The weather was pleasant with low humidity and I felt great. I did the PP loop counterclockwise and it felt really good overall. Since it was a later start, I only saw one teammate in the park, but I tackled the hill head-on.

Thursday 9/15: Rest day and I actually opted out of rock climbing in favor of sleeping in.

Friday 9/16: Almost the same 6.1 miler as Wednesday but I surprised myself by doing it a little faster. I took the PP loop clockwise and thought the more graduated hill would suck on the way up and out, but it went well. So well that I sped up more for the next 1.5 miles to keep it going. Also, I actually got up at 6:20AM with a renewed resolve for morning workouts. I think the motivational interviewing session on Tuesday really helped (funny that I’m learning MI to be on the giving end, not the receiving end, but whatever works).

Saturday 9/17: Rest day other than < 2 hours of slow bicycling around Governor’s Island after dim sum.

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Brooklyn from the Governor’s Island ferry

Sunday 9/18: 18 miles on the 18th. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to complete the distance for whatever reasons but also knew that once I hit 15, it would be easiest to do the full 18. I planned to run with the roughly 11-minute mile pacer but ended up doing the first loop between the 10:52 and the 11:03 pacer. My NYRR Virtual Trainer has me shooting for a 4:37-4:45 and while I would be thrilled to get lower in the 4:30s, I’m not confident about that yet. A teammate who started late caught up to me and we ran miles 2-8 with each other, saying hi to other teammates we saw as we went. I stuck it out through the 2nd part of Harlem Hill then peeled off around 8 miles to use the bathroom. When I came out, I was right on target with the 11:03 pacer. She was super energetic and had a countdown of “3..2…1…GO!” after water stops. I loved running with her and that group and made a bit of small talk with others, feeling pretty relaxed overall. Then for some reason at mile 12, right before the final 3rd loop of Central Park, I passed the pace group and kept going in the 10:40s. I’m still not sure what happened (the salted watermelon Gu gel I ate kicking in? caffeine from the Shot Blocks?) but I was feeling pretty good. I saw a teammate on my last lap around mile 13 who high fived me and told me I was looking strong, which was such a confidence boost.

At mile 14, I did a little cheer to celebrate my new longest run ever distance, then kept right on running. I saw my teammate from the first loop ahead of me and decided to try and reel her in by mile 16. She stopped for water and I surprised her with my appearance, then we ran the last 2 together at a quicker pace. My feet were kind of tired and my shoes were tight, but I felt fine aerobically. I think it’s time for compression socks, as my calves felt like Jell-O right after. We grabbed lots of Gatorade, banana halves, and pretzels (my mouth was too dry to eat more than one) before meeting up with teammates. I’m so glad that I was able to run the whole thing and pull off a negative split for that 3rd loop. This was a huge confidence boost for my overall training and I feel better about that future 20-miler coming up. This is the 2nd long run that I’ve gone longer than the virtual trainer recommended. My overall pace as per the NYRR result was 10:51 min/mile, which I am very ok with, given that I ascended Harlem Hill and Cat Hill three times.

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Some of the group after; I joked that I wouldn’t be able to get up again after sitting down/squatting

Total: 30.2 out of a recommended 30-34.