This has been a month of increased fitness activity overall and a slow return to running after a couple months mostly off. After a late July move, I’ve had access to a few forms of fitness I was lacking: tennis courts, an erg, and a spin bike. I joined Peloton (but do not have one of their bikes) and have loved having it for rides and am starting to explore their strength and HIIT content.
Up to now, I’ve only raced 1 virtual race this year, back in late May, and ran it with a mask on and 2 minutes slower than my 5K PR. I’m hoping to tackle some old PRs this fall either on the track or on a flattish course. I’m thinking 5K and 10K as my softest and some of my oldest PRs (August 2017 for 5K on a hilly course and April 2018 for 10K on a good course but a warm day). I’m also tempted to finally try a trail race; it’s virtual but the course is technically available to run at your own time. I bought some Nike Wildhorse 6’s on a friend’s recommendation and am excited to try them out. Hopefully some virtual race reports to come!
I really miss ClassPass and all of the boutique fitness studios I used to frequent in NYC that have been closed since March. I sort of bopped around to a bunch of them and never took the same classes (or even instructors) enough to fully get into the community vibe that a lot of regulars seem to get, but I still liked the energy. For a couple of years now, I had drafted a post with a list of all my favorite spin, barre, strength, etc studios that I had visited. I really hope they’re all eventually open to reopen safely.
After taking off the hottest months from intense baking and cooking, I’m also back at that as well! A few recent experiments below.
My running volume fell off a cliff due to increases in both workload and heat/humidity and I subsequently decided not to do a June virtual race 5K since I would be off from PR pace. I mostly have been running and walking to Central Park and Morningside Park and have gotten into identifying flowers and other plants with the Seek by iNaturalist app (and also asking my horticulturist friend).
Baking hasn’t happened in the hotter weather but I am pleased with the bread and sweets I made prior to real summer.
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.
This was a weird week. It was supposed to have my longest long run at 21 miles, but only 4 other days of running and all at 3-4 miles tops, as well as fewer overall miles than my peak week 2 weeks ago. But my work schedule prohibited the higher frequency of runs, so I once again tried to get it all done in only 3 runs total.
10/8: Rest Day. Still feeling a little beat up from racing a half marathon Saturday.
10/9: 7 miles in Central Park after work. It became an accidental progression run because I was feeling really good. Korean fried chicken and seafood pancake with kimchi coleslaw for dinner after.
10/10: Rest Day. Had an amazing dinner at the Michelin-starred Aldea that included a port tasting.
10/11: Tried and failed to psych myself up for a run but work was long and exhausting.
10/12: Hit snooze on the 5am alarm and got to snooze until 6am before another longer work day. Booked 30 minutes in air compression boots to loosen up my legs before the 20 miler.
10/13: After 9 hours of sleep, I decided to push off the very long run until Sunday. I enjoyed a lazy rainy morning before doing 8 miles around Prospect Heights and Crown Heights. I only had to stop for lights several times and got to see a lot of beautiful brownstones and gardens and duck into a small park.
10/14: 20.5 miles done, almost all with teammates. Thanks to Lillian for joining me on the last few and talking me up the hill. No idea what happened on the first mile or two other than forgetting to pause? Ah well. I’m fine with the pace on the others. Taper town, here I come!
Total: 35.5 out of a prescribed 37. That’ll do, Pig.
9/18: 6.9 mile RunCommute home (well, to Whole Foods). It rained all day from the remnants of Hurricane Florence but stopped just in time for me to do this humid run. It was neat to run along the East River path again, as it’s been quite a while. I noticed that the track is open again! I’m excited to have another option for speedwork soon.
9/19: Tempo run with Brooklyn Beer Runners. 1 mile warmup, 3 @ half marathon goal pace, 1 mile cool down. It felt good to see stuff in the 8’s again for this long. Had my first pumpkin beer of the season after!
9/20: Unintentional Rest Day but the bf and I ended up at Gramcery Tavern for dinner and ate until it hurt.
9/21: Rest Day
9/22: 12.2 mile long run. Started too late to catch the 8am group run and finally left my place after 10am. This went pretty well (I was hitting low 10’s) until the last few miles when I stopped to chat with people in the park. Three times (I was already paused getting water two of those times).
9/23: 2.1 mile recovery run. Cut short for time but felt great with cooler temperatures. Then we headed to Governor’s Island to check out the lobster roll at Island Oyster before some very fast tandem bike riding, and ending with some serious hammock time.
7/30: 5 mile regular loop around Prospect Park. I went clockwise (most people and bike traffic goes counter-clockwise) so I got to see a lot of PPTC folks.
7/31: I ” needed” a Fartlek this week as per the NYRR Virtual Trainer, but ended up with more of a straight progression run. I went down to Brooklyn Bridge Park and made it to 7pm Open Run just in the nick of time. I sped up from 10:30 down to the low 9’s. I was planning to call it a day at 5 miles, but I had just missed both buses back home, so I ran home 1.5 miles for 6.5 total.
8/1: Cross-training day. I went back to Swerve with Gabby since she had a class pack and I had enough credits on ClassPass. My legs were feeling heavy, but I still pushed hard on the hills and with some of the races. My performance stats said I biked 13.8 miles which seems low, but the 20+ mile stats I get from Flywheel always seemed high.
8/2: Real Rest Day. Went to Mermaid Inn with a friend visiting from out of town and ordered everything on their happy hour food menu except the raw stuff (she’s expecting).
8/3: Coney Island Fireworks Group Run, which I turned into my long run due to forecasted rain Saturday morning. I got 3.2 in solo, then 6 with the group down to the Coney Island boardwalk, then another 0.8 in along the boardwalk’s piers to make it an even 10. I met some new running people in my cluster of 7, then saw some old PPTC folks at the end. I enjoyed a watermelon and blue raspberry Slush Puppy and some fireworks before taking the subway home with a sweaty group of runners.
8/4: I was feeling beat up from the long run and didn’t particularly want to run in the morning downpour (but had a haircut appointment at 11:45am), so I did an easy recovery 3 miles on the gym treadmill. Apparently I missed a total deluge and multiple phones were drowned. Still bummed that I missed the first week of SummerStreets, though.
Then I did an Escape Room with friends (we got out!) and ate at Spicy Village before getting Taiyaki. I got green tea and back sesame swirl as usual.
8/5: I had planned to do a recovery run in Central Park since I woke up uptown, but had a lazy morning instead. Went to my uptown favorite Bo’s Bagels with the bf, then met my Instagram food friend in Williamsburg for a cold brew slushie at Toby’s (they call it a crushie), and a sushi omakase at the brand spankin’ new spot Ume. It was deconstructed and both beautiful as well as a lot of fun to play with (the different salts and seasonings are on the bottom left).
I made it to Restorative Yoga class at 6pm and decided against running after because of my extreme hip tightness. Area Yoga was only 4 credits on ClassPass, which makes me glad I keep doing the ~3 classes a month option.
Total:: 24.7 miles out of a prescribed 32. Sigh. I knew my first two spot-on weeks might be an issue and lead to some leg tiredness. Hopefully I can keep up with the rest of the plan’s mileage from here. I’m aware that I missed at least one weekday run each week the last two fall marathon training cycles, but I’m also trying to make up for my injured spring with a solid fall here. Hoping to find a balance!
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.
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.
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.
Hi folks! So after 6 weeks off from running (with a mix of spin and elliptical, but not rowing because that strained my Peroneal tendon), I’m back! Slowly and cautiously. I took my first test run on Saturday the 26th and it felt pretty good. Well, it was hot and sunny and I had to break for water on the 2.5 mile loop, but pretty good considering. I’ve done a couple of similarly short runs since and the pain after is basically nil. I’m trying to make better efforts toward stretching, recovery, and pre-running prep (glute activation) as well as doing more yoga.
I’ll just catch everyone up on my recent eats. It’s softshell crab season! And ramps season! And frosé season! My birthday was June 2nd, so there were a lot of good eats.
That’s it for now, folks! I’m still base building and trying to choose a training plan for NYC Marathon training.
9/11: Belated Long RunCommute. I mapped out the perfect 14 miles from work to home across the Queensboro Bridge, through the most southerly reaches of Central Park, down the Hudson River Greenway, and around the Battery to and across the Manhattan Bridge. I had many beautiful views of the 9/11 Tribute in Lights on the way.
9/12: Morning yoga but rest day from running. Holy crap, my hip flexors have been taking a pounding. I was off balance and weak, but glad I got in there.
9/13: I felt like crap after work and was going to skip running altogether but decided to meet the Beer Running group at the bar they ended up at, then figured I may as well get some more miles in so ran past home with some people then back home solo. 3.82 miles total. 0.62 miles to the bar, 3.1something after 2 beers.
9/14: I was planning to get 3 miles in as a warmup on the gym treadmill before lifting and doing strength work with my friend Allison, but due to a subway mishap (sick passenger), I got there super late and only fit in 1 mile. I then had a Restorative Yoga class later in the evening at Area Yoga, which was amazing for my stiff hips. The instructor gave some modifications and adjustments that were much needed.
9/15: 4 AM miles to the park and back.
Later on, rooftop drinks at Rooftop 93 in Chinatown. Then rooftop drinks and pizza at Porta in Jersey City.
9/16: Rest day but I went to 7 different art galleries in Chelsea. So many great exhibits, including Kara Walker at Sikkema Jenkins and Maya Lin at Pace Gallery.
9/17: 11 mile long run done in the late afternoon. I missed my chance in the morning but felt pretty good (maybe some of the humidity broke). I covered both Prospect Park loop and Brooklyn Bridge Park and hit a couple miles accidentally at goal marathon pace, which was a huge confidence booster.
Total: 34.8 miles out of a prescribed 28 (cutback week), so again, we’re counting Monday’s 14.1 for last week and it was actually only 24 miles. I had to lie to the Virtual Trainer to save face and not throw off my stats. I undershot this week in part due to my aborted gym warmup Thursday and missing the extra few I had hoped to get Wednesday, but that’s ok.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.