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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday 8/30: Queensboro Bridge repeat then getting a little lost around Long Island City to meet my friends for delicious desserts for 4.3 miles total. The bridge was an interesting experience. I was worried about the climb initially but it was fine (it’s a long one). The only issue was all the cyclists pedaling away in the pedestrian lane. I ran the way back on the side closer to the bikes and the fear made me run a full minute per mile faster. I met my friends at Sugarcube after and enjoyed their $10 special for a pastry (lemon choux for me, raspberry mousse for my friends) and gelato (strawberry Greek yogurt and rosewater flavors for me).
Wednesday 8/31: 7.2 miles total, which includes a warmup mile to the meeting spot, a loop of Prospect Park, 0.7 miles to the bar, then 1.5 miles home after 2 beers and a pimiento grilled cheese. One of the beers was free from a Pacifico bar rep, in my defense. The 1.5 mile shuffle home was shockingly quick and not queasy.
Thursday 9/1: Off day for running, but I did some top rope climbing (and failed bouldering) before work at Brooklyn Boulders. It was good to try another spot and some new routes. I’m still thinking about getting a harness and climbing shoes so I don’t have to keep renting equipment.
Friday 9/2: Fireworks group run to Coney Island. It was a little over 2.5 miles to the meeting spot, then a straight shot down Ocean Parkway to the boardwalk, then down a ways to the main spot near Ruby’s and Nathan’s Famous. 8.7 miles total, most of it with 2 other PPTC members at a conversational pace. We then stood in line for Nathan’s, watched the fireworks, and finally got our food close to 40 minutes after getting there. My chili cheese dog was amazing but the lemonade stole the show. We took the Q back and I did some foam rolling before bed.
Saturday 9/3: Off day from running. I drove a minivan full of friends up to Newburgh to our favorite Lawrence Farms Orchards for early season apple picking and produce shopping. Obviously I was most excited about apple cider donuts, but all of the other goodies were fun, too. I bought a fair amount of Honeycrisps and some eggplants. We went to a British pie shop for lunch, then I had Chinese delivery for dinner for carbing up.
Sunday 9/4: Long run day (or as Carla says, Church of the Sunday Long Run). My NYRR Virtual Trainer called for 13 miles but most other training plans would have me at 14 and I knew I would feel a lot more confident going longer. I left at 8am and did a warmup mile and loop around the park before meeting up with the group at 9am. Fortunately, the group was willing to go around 9-10 miles at my pace, so I kind of led the way across the Brooklyn Bridge, through lower Manhattan, back across the Manhattan Bridge, then a quick pit stop for water before ending at the new Park Slope Juice Press. I went just over 14 miles, so figured 14.1 would be better for inputting into my virtual trainer. Strava ended up giving me 14.5 miles total, but I assure everyone this was “just” 14.1 miles. Which makes it my longest run EVER. I’ve done 13.1 (really 13.3 because of not running tangents) in half marathons in 2015 but never further. These numbers made it feel real for me. I thanked everyone profusely for joining me on this momentous occasion (yes, really) and excitedly drank my free watermelon juice while strolling downhill.
I ate a Honeycrisp immediately, then downed some duck poutine and roast pork sandwich at Smorgasburg plus some apple cider donuts. Then I made good use of the Japanese and regular eggplants I bought with this miso roasted eggplant recipe I’ve been meaning to try forever.
Total: 34.3 miles out of recommended 30-34 miles. Yeah, that’s right, I achieved more than the minimum.
This post is late because I was attending a work training for 2 days. I now have a White Belt in Lean Six Sigma and actually have thought about how to apply some of my newfound process improvement skills toward marathon training (namely, morning runs). Look out, world!
Monday 8/15: Red-eye back from Vegas was rough, so I slept until 11am then napped in the afternoon. Meant to get a run in but didn’t. Still had some desert sand on me from the hike.
Tuesday 8/16: My usual snooze struggles were coupled with a touch of jet lag. I brought my running gear to the rock climbing gym but ended up just climbing for several hours. I completed my first 5.7 (and then my second) and tried a couple of 5.8s that I did not summit.
Wednesday: The final Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series 5K. I wanted to try for even splits of 8:20-8:30 but had some digestive unrest for the first mile, so hit 8:55 (this mile has the big hill, too), then sped up to 8:15 for the second (mostly downhill) mile and was feeling great. I saw some teammates ahead and hung back for a while before passing them in the last 250 meters then sprinted it in for a barely sub-8 final mile. I don’t think I’ve seen a sub-8 mile on my Garmin since I raced the Fifth Avenue Mile last year. The last 0.1 was sub-7, so I guess I have some untapped sprinting speed in me yet. I did a warm up and cool down mile as well to bring it to 5.3 miles for the day.
Thursday: Quick run-commute jaunt to book club, picking up some duck liver mousse and buffalo cheese on the way for tartines. 2.5 slow miles with my running backpack on. I contemplated running home but had some wine and a lot of tartines, so enjoyed a leisurely walk.
Friday: Off day.
Saturday: 8ish mile long run to celebrate Summer Streets. The last time I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge was on a run was last September and it was rough; my Achilles were acting up and I got water on the Manhattan side of the bridge then turned around to shuffle home. This time, I was loving life. Endorphins all over the place. We took a few moments to appreciate the views at the top, then paused at the start of Summer Streets for free coconut water. My Garmin got confused after the Brooklyn Bridge and gave me an extra mile (at a blistering pace). I peeled off the route at 59th St. and got a Sprinkles cupcake and some blue Gatorade before taking the subway home. I wish Summer Streets was every week (in the summer or otherwise) and Citibank replied to my Tweet about those sentiments.
Sunday: France Run 8K plus 2 miles warmup and 1 mile cooldown. I’m not giving either race this week the full race report because I’m trying to focus on the marathon. But I’m inclined to agree with whoever called this the France Swim. The rain began right as we were still in the corrals, then intensified in mile 1. I took my glasses off and put them in my pocket (yay for my Lululemon Speed Track shorts and their ample pocket space) and tried to take the Harlem hills as best I could. I stopped for water only after mile 4 because I had foolishly eschewed it before. Overall, my pace sped up just a touch from Team Champs 3 weeks prior.
I later visited the Museum of Ice Cream and mainly got my money’s worth in candy.
total: 23.8 out of 26-29 total recommended. Not bad but I do wish I had squeezed in a few more Thursday night or you know, made my Tuesday workout happen.
Tuesday: 7/26 Ugh, overslept/hit snooze for 6am marathon training again. After work, I did 3 x 800s on a treadmill at the rock climbing gym with a half mile warmup and recovery jogs in between. I was pressed for time because of my 6:30pm belay class but glad I got in some speedwork. Less than 3 miles overall, though.
Wednesday 7/27: 5.2 miles of a park loop in the morning. I only had 2 ShotBlocks for breakfast instead of my usual frozen waffle with almond butter (ok, cookie butter) so I was struggling a little. I did 5.2 to compensate for Tuesday’s 2.8 miles.
At night, I went to the rock climbing gym and climbed with friends for a couple hours. I tried a 5.6 and 5.6+ route and was pretty sore the next day.
Thursday 7/28: I planned to run commute to work, but ended up run commuting home from work. I took Google’s recommended route home from a bar in Long Island City (after drinking just water and eating only cake). It went along the BQE for a while as well as the Orthodox South Williamsburg area and there were a lot of long lights, so I will try a more pedestrian-friendly route next time. I did get a feel for the Pulaski Bridge, which is part of the NYC Marathon route. 6.3 miles total and I ended it at Bklyn Larder to buy fondue provisions for a work lunch the next day.
Friday 7/29: Rest day. Ate a ton of delicious foods at work because we had an international food potluck. Went out at night with coworkers and ‘carb loaded’ with ddukboki and budae jigae at Pocha 32 (along with some watermelon soju). Then wisely drank lots of water at the bar.
Saturday 7/30: NYRR Teamp Champs Race! Virtual Trainer suggested 7 total miles, so a mile each of warmup and cooldown before and after the 5-mile race, but I didn’t have time for even a half mile warmup. The womens’ race began at 7:30am this year (moved up an hour because of heat), so I knew I would have to do 2 miles after.
I originally had loftier time goals for this race (sub-9 or close for every mile) but my current conditioning plus the humidity led me to believe I should adjust my goals toward something more reasonable. I asked a few pals what their pacing plan was and latched onto a teammate’s who was trying for 9:15ish then dropping for the last 2 miles. We ran 4.8 miles of the race together and her positivity was so helpful during it. Well, we took the first mile a little too quick and the hills on the next 3 were not great.
I got confused by the last 200-400 meters of the race and accidentally hit stop too early on my Garmin, then restarted. But my official race time was 46:51, so that part is right.
I ended up with 2.3 after because I got confused on the bridal path and around the reservoir. I expect to hit up Central Park for my long runs more soon, including the dreaded 18-mile tune-up in mid-September.
Sunday: Quick 1.2 mile shakeout run to Bagel Pub, where I got an everything bagel (toasted) with bacon scallion cream cheese and a peanut banana smoothie.
Total: 22.8 miles out of a recommended (by NYRR Virtual Trainer) 23 miles. So close! This was my highest mileage week ever, but they will of course continue to increase.
After realizing I wouldn’t quite be in the shape I wanted for the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K, I decided that the Mini 10K on June 11th would give me a much-needed extra 4 weeks of training along with some girl power. I’ve run one other (almost but actually not entirely) women-only race, last October’s Nike Women Half Marathon in San Francisco. I was looking forward to the sisterhood vibes with the bonus of some of our club’s men setting up a cheering section. Unfortunately, I developed a sore throat the weekend after my birthday (June 2nd) then got major congestion that Monday and Tuesday. Things had cleared up by race day, but I still had a lot of phlegm.
I (we?) got so lucky with the weather; 63 degrees with 63% humidity, but I knew the humidity and temperature would keep rising throughout the day. I dropped off my stuff (post-race brunch means checking a bag for me, plus I still like to wear a layer there since it’s cooler in the morning), then I found a teammate in the corrals. On the way, a teammate and I watched the Girls’ Race and also spotted Molly Huddle. If we’re being honest, I got a little emotional. A teammate had posted a brief synopsis of this event (started in 1972 as the first women’s race; Katherine Switzer helped start it in her fight for women’s inclusion in racing, this Runner’s World article helps illuminate more). The history of women in sport, and especially in running, tends to get me choked up. Case in point: I can’t re-watch the U.S. Women’s 4 x 100 relay team win and set a world record at the 2012 Olympics without crying a little. I can not wait for the Olympics Trials in early July! Said teammate Gabby is a preschool teacher and I used to teach, so we were so happy for the girls running the 2.25 mile Girls’ Run race. We cheered for them and knew that soon we would be cruising down the same finish route.
I was hoping to PR, but knew that my congestion might get the better of me. This was only my 5th 10K ever, as I’m still fairly new to distance racing (my first was in December 2014 and that was the longest distance I’d raced at that point). I really like this distance because of its unique pacing challenges. I have to pace myself and keep something in the tank more than a 5K, but can try for faster speeds than half marathon pace (which admittedly, I would still like to improve upon greatly). Interestingly, NYRR’s new corral system use’s Hill Runner’s pace predictor and according to my 5K PR, I should be able to run a 10K in 54:45. But I’m nowhere close to that (yet). I’m slowly trying to hit more consistent splits of 9:15, then hope to shoot for 9:00 event then break into the upper 8’s. I think I’m just a proportionately faster “shorter” distance person, but am trying to work on races longer than 5Ks this year. I hope to see improvements while marathon training for sure, even though my goal for that is very conservative.
On with the race: It was most of the usual Central Park loop, but we started on Fifth Avenue instead of the loop itself. It was pretty crowded at first but I started to fall into a groove by the time we passed The Met front steps, then entered the park at 90th St.
My paces for the first two miles were the same and very close to my A Goal pace (9:18) according to my Garmin. Unfortunately, both parts of Harlem Hill got the better of me. I slowed way down and my legs felt heavy on the flat parts. I chugged some water and Gatorade while sort of shuffling past the aid stations. I tried to open my stride on the downhill but wasn’t very successful. I figured a PR was out of my reach but chose to press on hard because I knew the PPTC cheer section would be on the last mile. Can’t slow down then! I’m chuckling at my grade adjusted paces from Strava because that 9:47 really does feel like a 9:07, but it’s not. I ran the tangents pretty well and only added on 0.07, as opposed to a full 0.1 from my last Central Park 10K.
I high-fived the cheerers and felt great on the last mile and was able to pick up the pace, but not sprint it in.
I got my medal from a volunteer teammate, picked up a carnation (the top of which later got lobbed off in my backpack) and grabbed an apple instead of a pink bagel. After stretching and relaxing in the shade with teammates, I ate an enormous Juicy Lucy burger at brunch. I was one of many PRs Saturday, which gets me jazzed for the next one.
When I realized back in March that I maybe was really sort of mostly healed and could run again, I signed up for this race, hoping for redemption from the 2015 version. That day was a sweaty slog through 6.2 miles of humidity and strong sun (historical weather site says 75 and 71% humidity). This Saturday was luckily 68 degrees with 70% humidity. I was unprepared for the sun (time to start running with a visor?) but the temperature felt pleasant overall.
The view of Bethesda Terrace was very different than last week’s pouring rain and features many adorable off-leash dogs.
I arrived early (around an hour before the start) and got my on-demand bib very quick. I spent my last $3 cash on a blue Gatorade from a cart then checked my bag and ran into some friends and teammates. I forgot how big this race was and how far the start was from the race village. I headed to the corrals 16 minutes before the start and luckily met up with and spotted many similarly paced teammates. We had a nice little pod of 5 that started together and got called out by the announcer.
The first 5K went really well but I remember this also being the strongest part last year before I fell apart in the second half.
I eschewed water the first few miles which was probably unwise, but I really had to pee and was feeling quite hydrated already thanks to the first half of that blue Gatorade (blue is the only flavor I like, but either the regular or the frosty blue will do).
My first mile was slow as planned and I was very proud of my second and third miles because they still felt pretty loose and easy. My tangents were getting worse each mile from the tangents and running around people in the crowd so I tried to remind myself there would likely be an extra 0.2 total.
The fourth mile is where the semi-struggle began. I knew I couldn’t hang on to my breezy lower 9:00 paces and there were lots of sunny spots, so I slowed my roll. I grabbed some water at each of the last 3 water stations and managed to dump some on the top of my head in the worst of the sun. After the Mile 5 marker, I knew I could push the pace a bit more and try to enjoy the rolling hills. Crowds increased on the South side of the park but it was mainly confused tourists hoping to cross the road. I sprinted in the last 0.2 in part because I saw a teammate and wanted to reel her in.
Overall, this UAE 10K went much better than last year’s where I had my worst 10K ever. I like this distance and am hoping to whittle down my PR for the Mini 10K next month. More reporting on my workouts (McMillan’s and otherwise) to come.
I’m going to be out of town this weekend and have the biggest Brooklyn Half FOMO. To everyone racing (and to those cheering), have so much fun! I hope to get in next year but might also volunteer for a guaranteed spot in 2018 (it feels so weird to type out dates that far in advance. Let’s figure out when I’m running this darn marathon first).
After my 10K on 10/31, I watched the New York City marathon for hours, cheering on friends and teammates. Rather than experiencing total runner FOMO, it got me pretty pumped about (hopefully, assuming no injuries or illness) running the race next year. NYC 2016 will be my first marathon. And maybe my only marathon (famous last words for runners). But let’s focus on making it to that starting line first.
After mainly taking spin and yoga my first 2 months with ClassPass, I decided to try to branch out a little with rowing classes at Row House. Most of their classes are a Full Body 50, which incorporates different speed/strength workouts on the Erg, then a bit of HIIT and other bodyweight moves interspersed. I usually warm up with 2000m on the erg at the gym, but I’ve never tried crew or anything and didn’t know how weak my form was. I was focusing more on strokes/minute but not really noticing my split times. The instructors at Row House are very helpful on getting you to slow down and assess your form before speeding up and trying power strokes. I took my first class at the Chelsea location and was sore in my arms and shoulders for 2 days after. I immediately signed up for more classes at the Columbus Circle location with Matt. Both studios are clean and modern (if a bit cramped in the locker room/bathroom areas) and have good playlists pumping along with the ability to dim the lights in crucial push moments. The workout has left me around a 7 on a scale from 1 to dripping with sweat. I’m taking another Row House Full Body 50 on the morning of Black Friday, which I assume will shake me out of my post-Thanksgiving slump.
I finally tried Flywheel at the Chelsea location and was a fan. my instructor Johnny was super high-energy and I ended up in the front row, so I felt like I was giving some energy right back. I came in 3rd in the class, which made me want to work even harder the next time. I’m having the best time reading Flywheel bios. What would mine say? I also love the “Never Coast” shirts and gear, which is amusing since I really enjoy coasting while on a real bike outside. My experience fly-ing so far makes me want to try FlyBarre as well since I’ve only been to PureBarre and have yet to experience much barre variation.
My most outside-the-box ClassPass experience so far has been at SurfSet, where you work out on surfboards that sit on top of 3 large balls. You use your core a lot to stabilize while doing the moves (lunges, planks, push ups, etc). I left feeling sore in my core after my first class, then had some thigh DOMS more after my second. The instructors (Diana and Aaron) are super helpful for newbies and will offer modifications for those who want to keep it simple or people who feel comfortable and want to kick it up a notch. And yes, they will totally take your picture on a surfboard for you afterward.
I decided a few weeks ago to race the Staten Island 5K as both the 9th (and likely final) race in my 2015 NYRR 9+1 program and also to try for a new and improved 5K PR. My previous one of 26:16 at the NYCRuns Memorial Day 5K seemed like it could be improved upon, especially with my 7:24 mile at the 5th Avenue Mile. Plus, it looked like a relatively flat course (though nothing is as flat as Roosevelt Island) and I’d been regularly incorporating speed workouts into my runs and workouts. The race was at 8:30am on Sunday with the half marathon to start at 8:45am, ideally for less interference. I’m not sure how that went.
I made the A corral for the first, and probably only, time in my NYRR race career. There was also a B corral. Showing off my letter before the bag dropoff.
I had taken the 7am ferry, so by the time we entered the Richmond County Ballpark, I was able to use the bathroom and drop off my stuff. I was not able to obtain more water (the fountain was turned off and there were no concessions) or do a proper warmup. We were a little unclear about where the start line was and it took some guesswork and following the crowd.
My A goal was to get sub-26 and my B goal was to beat my PR of 26:16. Neither happened. I went out too fast, clocking an 8:06 mile, then an 8:10 mile. At this point, my right hamstring/glute felt really tight but more significantly, my cardiovascular fitness failed me first. I was heavy breathing. I was thirsty. I downed some Gatorade at the 2nd water stop, but should have drank more before. I had to walk then slow jog through the water stop, sloshing Gatorade all over myself. There was an incline at a slight bridge that I normally wouldn’t have minded, but it was brutal to dehydrated, not in sub-25 minute shape me.
The photos show my struggle. They are bad. So bad. My Strava numbers are a little bit off from what I remember my Garmin splits being. I will say that I somehow found it in me to have a sprint finish, where I passed 7 people or so in the last 100 meters. It helps that a faster coworker (who won an age group award) cheered for me on the homestretch and that I found some sort of Gatorade-induced speed within myself.
Yikes. On the plus side, my 5K performances as a whole have been stronger in age-graded % than any of my other distances (except for the mile), so I did successfully lower my NYRR pace per mile by 30 seconds. (They now adjust it to an equivalent 10K time. LOL so hard at my desire to get even within 5 minutes of what they think my equivalent 10K time is. I’m about 10 minutes out so far). If this is indeed my final NYRR race of 2015, then I won’t have a chance to speed up until the Al Gordon 4-miler next February where I’ll be 4 weeks out from running the NYC Half (and probably trying for a half marathon PR there if I’m not doing any more fall races).
I got some water (not enough), stretched out, then ran another slow 4 miles around the course before cheering on teammates running the half. I also hopped in the Iron Throne of baseball bats. I was trying to smirk like Cersei. We then experienced a lot of issues when trying to get brunch. Two of the restaurants I had bookmarked were closed and the third was only open for a private party. I ended up getting a Butterfinger Blizzard from the Dairy Queen back in the ferry terminal.
A pre-race photo with my teammate Jana who was in the Top Ten for the 25-29 age group in the half. Look at me, so full of hope and anticipation. Look at her, so actually race-ready.
I might try out the Staten Island Half next year in an effort to try out all of the 6 borough races (since I did 4 this year), but will probably not travel quite so far for a 5K again unless I think I’m going to love the course.