Weeks 8 and 9 of 2018 NYC Marathon Training

Week 8

9/3: Last day in New England. 6.2 miles around Conway, NH. Then we drove to Maine and ate more lobster.

Covered Bridge in Conway, NH

The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, ME

Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, ME

9/4: 6am flight back to NYC and went straight into work. Much needed rest day.

9/5: 3 miles at night in Morningside Park in the final throes of the city’s gross heat and humidity. Korean fried chicken and ddukbokki (and beer) for dinner.

Morningside Park Waterfall

Korean Fried Chicken, kimchi coleslaw, and calamari ddukbokki

9/6: Unintentional rest day. Finally back in the throes of meal prepping and healthier post-vacation eating.

Grain Bowl at Le Pain Quotidien

9/7: Hit snooze on my AM run, then was supposed to be going to Fast Braid Friday with Colleen Quigley at the NYRR RunCenter. But they changed the location last-minute and I didn’t get the memo. I showed up at the RunCenter and was wondering where everyone was. By the time I figured it out, it would have been tight for time and going back to the UES (which is where I had just come from and didn’t want to backtrack). I decided to go home and cook dinner and not run (the event was going to have a 1.7 mile shakeout run but I couldn’t fit all my running stuff in my work bag).

9/8: Remember last week how I slipped in that I signed up for a 5K? Yeah, that would be the TEAL 5K in Prospect Park. I’m over a year out from my 5K PR (though to be fair have only raced one since) and was hoping that I could use my higher recent volume and last week + of lower mileage as a taper. The course was my usual route in the park but the first mile was downhill, second mile was flat, and third mile had the big hill. I was able to get close to 5K PR pace on the first mile, then slowed to 10K pace on the second, then the wheels fell off on the third. I wasn’t even at half marathon pace, but closer to goal marathon pace. But my friend Chun who was doing his long run got me to push through the last quarter mile and I hit a 7:13 pace for the final 0.1 of it. I guess this is why I actually did speedwork and 5K-specific workouts last year before my PR. I grabbed the swag bag and banana then did a cooldown jog home with a teammate. Total of 6.1 miles for the day.

Saw The Nun with friends then tried out the Detroit style pizza at Lions Tigers and Squares before getting a Butterfinger blizzard at Dairy Queen.

Pepperoni and Vodka Pies at Lions, Tigers, and Squares

9/9: Since I skipped out on my long run last week, I wanted to get back up to normal (14-16 mile range) this week even though it was supposed to be a cutback long run and week overall (11 miles and 28 miles). I woke up ‘late’ at 7 to go cheer for the 5th Avenue Mile after deciding not to run up there. I cheered for a few hours then headed home and napped before my long run. Then I just didn’t do it? The rain continued and I just could not bring myself to run. I thought about pushing it to Monday night, which I did last year with some success.

5th Avenue Mile Cheering

Cherring for the NYRR Cameras

Total: 15.3 miles and no long run. Eep.

Week 9

9/10: Weather was still leaning toward the very rainy, so I did 3 treadmill miles at easy pace after deciding not to make up my long run.

9/11: I laced up my new Saucony Freedoms and ran to and from NYRR Open Run in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I did that as sort of a fartlek, alternating in the 8’s and 9’s. The gnats were out of control and I had to pull one out of my mouth, then found one in my bra later. Cool. 7.4 miles total.

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9/12: Easy loop with the Brooklyn Beer Runners for 4.6 miles. Ended with a beer then got tamales at Maya Taqueria.

9/13: Track Mile! I ran from work to Icahn Stadium where they open the track to the public every Thursday night. Coach Honerkamp puts on a timed mile series once a month that I’ve seen some friends do, and I thought I should use it as a fitness test after my abysmal 5K. I ran 2 miles to get there, did a warm-up mile with a friend, then race the mile in 7:24, 5 seconds off from my PR. I definitely think it’s time to bring back more aggressive speedwork intervals in and will be trying to throw down next month. Short cooldown jog off-watch so 4 miles total officially.

9/14: Rest day.

9/15: Long run. NYRR Virtual Trainer prescribed 17 miles. Last year, I did it as the Bronx 10 Miler then a miserable, sunny, hot 7 miles after that I cut a little short. This year, I planned it with another PPTC member who wanted similar pace and distance, so we set out together at 7am. We definitely took several water breaks as the sun peaked out of the clouds and it warmed up a bit and we paused to fuel. I had only hit 15.5 as I neared my Juice Press destination, so I finished it with a slog up the stairs in Fort Greene Park, where I ran into a friend. I practically rolled down the hill for my final bit after pausing to chat. Happy to hit 16.2 miles total.

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9/16: I stopped off at Chip in Gansevoort Market to try out their strawberry shortcake cookies. Holy moly. Much later, I did a Recovery run with Chaya around Prospect Park in the PM (moved from a planned early run in Morningside Park). Warm but breezy! 6.1 miles total and it felt great.

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Total: 41.5 miles, a new weekly high. Feeling good and back on track.

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Mileage Etc Recaps 2/20 – 3/19

Well, I did it again. I spent more time running and less time writing. This is a good thing overall, though. Also, this entry is including the ASSUMPTION that I’ll be running the NYC Half on March 19th. Fingers crossed, knocking on wood, etc.

2/20 – 2/26:  18.8 miles, which was a definite cutback plan from the prior week’s 24 miles. I wanted to squeeze in more but I DNS that Al Gordon 4 miler on 2/25 and was bedridden (with a hangover, stupidly) all day, so missed all those miles and the to and from. Lifted a little with a friend at the gym but had to skip kickboxing class. Serious Al Gordon/missed running opportunity FOMO that haunted me for days.

My penance however was a very cool long run with some teammates down to DUMBO to see one of the new pieces of public artwork, which is of course right along the north edge of the park squeezed next to brand new luxury condos. The sign lights up and changes to different colors if you tweet at it and also does a traffic report for the bridges every 10 minutes. None of these tricks are captured in the below photos.

I also baked funfetti donuts during my lost hungover day to bring to book club: 

2/27 – 3/5: 29.3 miles or 5 hours and 9 minutes of running according to Strava. I wish I had hit 30 miles even, but am mainly proud that I squeezed in 5 days of running, plus a class of Total Body Conditioning in lieu of Kickboxing.

I received my order from RunningWarehouse.com that included a pair of the Brooks Launch 3 (to be my new speed shoe), a Brooks hat (free with shoe purchase and I now have 4 hats too many), and a Moving Comfort Vixen Sports Bra (only $20 and so comfy). I tested out the Launches for a 2-mile morning jaunt and they felt pretty good. To kill time between work and a Yelp event, I stopped by my local Jackrabbit and ended up picking up new gels and chews since I finally ran out of the last batch I bought before the marathon. I obviously have only done a handful of double-digit runs or other excursions requiring gel fuel since then (checking Strava weekly mileage again…yep). I had tried and failed to find Brooks Ghost 8s in my size online for weeks, but it looks like I missed my shot when they were available in January, so I ponied up for a pair of the new Ghost 9 while at Jackrabbit, figuring that at least I’m supporting a localish business in the process (even though they just got bought by a CA-based investment firm). They also have a rewards program, so I hit the next level for $20 off my next purchase. Once the 9’s go on sale, I will try to stock up wherever I can. I’m very pleased with the colorway of these since my 8’s had a bit too much hot pink in them.

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I did an 11 mile long run by myself in very windy sub-20 degree weather on the 4th so I feel like I now have the mental fortitude to tackle whatever the NYC Half throws at me. I ended this one at Starbucks and tried their new Cascara latte. It was delightful and much needed since I ran from 2pm-4pm, which is normally my prime coffee time.

Stopped by the Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturday’s and checked out the Georgia O’Keeffe and Marilyn Minter exhibits. Then crushed a cochinita pibil burrito at Al Atodero. The bartender said that I murdered it, so I just had to casually drop that I had run 11 miles that day.

  
Then on the 5th, I met up with a teammate for a recovery run in the afternoon since the morning was still quite windy and cold. I was only planning on 5.5 but tacked on a little extra to hit 7 when we ran into another teammate. Almost stopped by Starbucks again, but had restocked my coffee supplies by then.

3/6 – 3/12: 17 miles plus a million other workouts. PureBarre Monday morning, StrongLifts Series A at the gym Tuesday night, spin class with a friend Thursday evening, then fascia release/stretching class Saturday after a shorter run. I skipped kickboxing.

7 of the miles were from a Wednesday night run for International Women’s Day. I chose to do the longer route and chatted with some great ladies the whole time. We ran to Butter & Scotch (ahem from my New Year’s Day amazing brunch AND that cake recipe I baked with friends) and this time, I got a slice of the birthday cake blended into a vanilla milkshake. Love a good cake shake.

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Waiting for the run to begin


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Rapturous about my cake shake

3/13 – 3/19: 6.4 miles before the NYC Half (race report to come), including a 1 Mile PR! New PR is 7:19, down from 7:24 at the 2015 Fifth Avenue Mile. I had about one mile warmup before trying it on an indoor track that’s 200m (so, 8 laps). My right shoe came untied after the 3rd lap, but I decided to just hang on. I was gasping for breath on the last 2 laps, but I guess it was worth it. They’re having this particular race again in 2 weeks and while I would love to whittle my time down, my calves have been tight for a couple of days after, so I don’t think it’s worth the risk right before the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile. I did about a mile cool-down though my Garmin was totally off inside.

I officially withdrew from kickboxing even though I had only 2 classes left. The mid-week mid-day workout just wasn’t working for me and my calves were still tense from the Mile.

I went to the NYC Half expo and OMG it’s really happening.

 

See y’all on the other side.

Fifth Avenue Mile Race Recap

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After boldly declaring back in June that I was taking the rest of the summer off from racing, I actually did. I ran one final 5K at the Al Goldstein Speed Series on July 1, then went on vacation back down South, where I managed to crank out just a few sweaty miles in both Richmond and Durham, choking with humidity. I went on a mid-July “runcation” in the Berkshires with my running club and managed 7 miles on a towpath in the rain along with some Appalachian Trail hiking. During the group run, I actually had to remove my glasses for the last 3.5 miles because they were so streaked with a blend of sweat, rain, and oils that my vision was more impaired with them on. Aside from a few solo park loops, I cheered on my teammates at NYRR Team Championships, lounged by a few pools, took a free SoulCycle class in Montauk, and took an entire 7 days off from running in mid-August by accident. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I joined ClassPass in late August as well, in hopes of finding acceptable cardio alternatives, semi-regularly attending yoga to really stretch out my tight legs, and trying new-to-me stuff like barre and SurfSet. Needless to say, my return to the gym and the 3 or 4 days a week running schedule was not a smooth one. The weekend before the 9/13 5th avenue Mile race, I had to adjust my goals a bit. My A-goal was still sub-7 minutes but this seemed highly unlikely. I negligently was in the Hamptons during Labor Day weekend, when I had otherwise planned on a track time trial, so I chose to push it on a treadmill instead on the Tuesday before. I huffed and puffed my way through a half mile at 8 MPH (7:30 minute mile), slowed down for a half mile, then squeezed in another half mile at 8.1 MPH (wow, really upping the ante) during the Serena vs. Venus Williams U.S. Open game. This let me know that I could at least go under 8, where an 8:10 was my fastest 5K split this year so far. I really wanted to hit under 7:19 because this is the best mile time of mine that I can remember from High School. I was a sprinter and hurdler from 8th grade – 11th grade, so the mile always seemed and felt like an impossibly long distance to me. The longest I ever ran at a meet was 800m, so it’s good to know I’ve had the same mental pacing issues for the last 1.5 decades. Would it feel really cool to beat 16-year-old me? Yes. I am the same height but have an extra 30 pounds on my frame.

I rolled up to the Met Steps (so Gossip Girl!) at 8:20am or so Sunday morning, collected my # and T-Shirt (I’m not normally a fan of non-tech shirts but oooh this one is soft) and dropped off my bag after packing some Honey Stinger chews into my zipper pocket for the extra miles after the race. I wanted to cheer on the 15-29 Women (Group A) but was still in the bathroom line when they began. Good thing I’m new to Group C. I grabbed a few water cups after and sipped them slowly and slipped into the middle of my corral after the 15-29 Men started. I saw some much faster teammates of mine squeezing along the left side to get near the front, where they belonged. I happily stayed in the middle-back of the corral. At 5’9, I felt like one of the taller ladies, but I’m sure some of that was just the uneven ground.

And we were off! I hadn’t reset my Garmin Forerunner 220 to beep every .25 miles because I planned to run the first half sub-8 then see how I felt. Of course, how does one feel after a quick but not sprinting half mile? Like they can pick up the pace. I went out a little fast (whoops, 6:50, didn’t mean to see you there!), slowed for the uphill, then figured that since my heavy breathing wasn’t super audible, I could really speed up in the last 200m. I chose one other tall lady to catch up to and picked her off in the final 50. I couldn’t choose between quicker turnover and longer strides, so briefly resembled a fawn learning how to run. A friend tried to get a picture but I was just too fast for an iPhone on the final 100m. My watch said I’d cracked 7:24, which is exactly what NYRR agreed on. My stated B-Goal was sub-7:30, so that felt pretty good. Do I think I have a sub-7 in me? Yes, sure. Could I inch it down to 6:45? No, probably not at my current fitness and injury level. But those are goals for next year, when I hope to join my teammates at some local track meets after winter speed training classes. I’m coming for you, track mile. It’s been over a decade, but I’m coming for you.

Post-Race with PPTC Teammates

Post-Race with PPTC Teammates

I watched the D, E, and F groups run before squeezing in a conversational 4 miles around the reservoir with 2 of my teammates. My Achilles were hurting something fierce; I had worn my Ravennas instead of my Pure Cadences in anticipation of the extra miles, but I think all that time sprinting would have been painful either way. We then got some crepes and iced coffee before checking out the local speedsters and the pros. Sadly, I missed most of the Masters and Malcolm Gladwell’s heat, among others. I definitely plan on racing this again next year

MarathonFoto got some terrible pictures of me during the race and a few after both solo and with teammates. The solo shots have me convinced that I need to learn some poses other than “sorority arm”, “peace sign” and “congratulatory arms up”. Will double-thumbs-up make a comeback? Stay tuned.