Monday 7/19: 3.1 miles outside, easyish in the morning (pre-8am).
Tuesday 7/20: 3.2 miles late morning with the terrible air quality. It was pretty bad but I caught myself not able or wanting to slow down.
Wednesday 7/21: I skipped a run because the smog was still gross. Upper body and core workouts at the gym from the Peloton hardCORE on the floor calendar’s recommended stack.
Thursday 7/22: 4.3 miles outside late morning – I wish I had gone out earlier before the sun really came up. I tried a new route but stupidly went uphill on the sunny side of the street. That was rough. I need to commit to doing these daily runs at an easy pace so that my weekend long runs don’t kill me. I keep not wanting to slow down into my Zone 2 or even 3.
Friday 7/23: Rest day. Went to the gym in the afternoon and did my squats and hex bar deadlift routine as well as hip adduction and abduction machines.
Saturday 7/24: Treadmill long run of 6+ miles (my Apple watch Stryd screen and Garmin connected . I did a progressionish one again where I sped up the last 1.5 miles because I was getting bored. I was watching The Olympics (USA mens volleyball and women’s water polo) and listened to three different Peloton tread workouts.
Sunday 7/25: 4.5 mile recovery run. It was ridiculously humid (got a few rain drops) then the sun came out at the very end. I still have to work on slowing down my runs.
Total: 21.1 miles, which is my highest weekly mileage since January if not last year.
I went back and looked at where my mileage was this time back in 2016, 2017, and 2018 (the years I’ve previously run full marathons in the fall) and I’m not that far behind. I’m definitely slower than I was but I’m doing ok!
10/29: Rest Day. Went to Patavini and tried all the gnocchi. The blue one has spirulina and was really good! The truffle, saffron, and squid ink were my favorites.
10/30: 4.3 mile shakeout run @ 11 minute mile pace. I’d been running faster than my usual pace during the taper in part because of cooler temperatures and of course due to excitement.
10/31: Rest day and Halloween. Had street meat combo over rice for dinner near the Village Halloween Parade, 2.5 beers, then late-night pepperoni pizza. I went as a bat again.
11/1: Unintentional rest day. I was going to do a Saucony shakeout run (with Molly Huddle) but work was long and it was raining, so I bailed. I really should have done some treadmill miles at least.
11/2: Tracksmith popup in the morning, work, then Marathon Expo at night. I tried to get in and out quickly and spend less time on my feet. I picked up my official jacket then went to a friend’s birthday dinner at a Korean-Brazilian spot and turned down a lot of good wine. I went home right at 9 and got a solid 8 hours of sleep.
11/3: I thought about doing a shakeout but figured less time on my feet was a better idea after such a loose taper the last two weeks. I got Shanghainese for dinner: scallion pancake, soup dumplings, fried dumplings, rice cakes, noodles, and eggplant. I decided to skip a dessert with dairy just in case.
11/4: NYC Marathon Day. Race recap to come (hmm, I never wrote up one for the Bay Ridge Half). It was not my best marathon, but not my worst (it was my third). 4:31:40 and a huge positive split but I had a good time doing it.
Special Note: This is my 100th blog post here! I know it’s been erratic at times, but I’m glad I’m writing this all down somewhere. I think (and talk) a lot about creation vs. consumption of content. I journal semi-regularly (off and on since I was 8). My Twitter and Instagram are private. Yet I find myself leaving detailed race recommendations, travel guides, favorite food spots across many platforms (namely Facebook Groups, Reddit, Strava comments and run notes, and Yelp Collections). I wish there was some perfectly organized way to harness everything I write and share all across the internet without necessarily linking it or turning profiles public.
Week 5 was kind of a bust and not the 34-mile week I had intended. I hadn’t cracked 30 miles yet this cycle and was concerned. Cooler temps prevailed this week and I finally got up for a pre-work morning run. Twice, even. Progress!
8/20: One of those regular run park loops where everything feels good. I was able to make it a tiny bit progressive and fought my way up the hill, then was flying on the way home. The lower humidity weather really helped, but this is exactly what I needed after a tough Saturday long run and a skipped Sunday recovery run. First mile was 11, last mile was 9:49. 5.1 miles total.
8/21: Easy 3 miles on the gym treadmill @ an 11:00 mile pace in the AM.
8/22: Intentional rest day. I went to the NYRR RunCenter and got a copy of Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow and got to meet Shalane and Elyse! They signed my book and Shalane asked what I was training for and I got so awkward. I said “NYC. Og my god, so are you! That’s right! I’ll be starting two hours after you. But I’ll add you to my tracker so I know when you’re done!”. I was cheering for friends last year during her victory and didn’t get to see her cruising in the park, but I am so excited that she’s going for it again.
8/23: I did another double at Mile High Run Club by taking The Build (primarily kettlebell and bodyweight strength with some short running intervals) at 6pm then The Distance at 7pm. I “ran through” the two classes and got 7.5 Miles overall. I haven’t had a good midweek medium long run in some time! I felt pretty destroyed after.
8/24: Easy AM recovery run on the treadmill listening to Who? Weekly podcast; 3 miles @ 11:00 minute mile pace. Made a berry protein smoothie after but still got a bagel once at work at 10am.
8/25: Long run. I kept it in Brooklyn because I was meeting some coworkers who are training for a half. I did 4 miles to and around Fort Greene Park, 7 with them in Prospect Park, then went further south into Park Slope and through tiny JJ Byrne Park for the final 3. It went much better than last week’s long run overall (better weather with lower dew point certainly helped) and it was fun to see so many PPTC folks. 14 miles @ 10:52 pace total.
Went to Red Rooster for dinner, finally. Had a bourbon negroni, cornbread, and shared this seafood jambalaya for 2. Spoiler alert: we ate all the fried soft shell crabs and most of the lobster but still had a couple pounds of leftovers.
8/26: Recovery run; 4.5 miles in Central Park. Easy, peasy, a little sunny. I love coming here near-weekly for a change of scenery and since the final miles of the marathon are in this park.
Total: 37.1 miles, my highest weekly mileage since the first week of January (actually higher but my non-Monday to Friday mileage there was 39.5).
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.
This was the dreaded 20 miler week and I survived. Except that I didn’t quite hit 20 miles on Saturday as planned. But, eh, close enough. I hope.
Monday 10/10: Still in Chicago, so 6 lakefront miles with Carla. I only really ‘needed’ 4 but am glad we did the extra. We picked up the pace on the way back after breaking for photos with a nice skyline view. I foolishly wore my shorter shorts and forgot to wear Body Glide and after a mile or so it was Chafe City, population me. I also had a finicky left calf during and afterward. You can imagine how nervous this made me at the start of peak week (even if this run felt more like a week 12 because of the location). I foam rolled and used her Tiger Tail, then wore my Birks to brunch at Ann Sather for the best cinnamon rolls of my life. I later explored some of the major tourist area with my friend who ran the marathon, took the architectural boat tour, and had cocktails on the 96th floor of the Hancock Building.
Tuesday 10/11: Early flight back to NYC wearing my compression socks. I was hoping to do a short run but the calf still felt tweaked, so I laid off.
Wednesday 10/12: First day back at work and had a long ride home from a meeting in the Bronx, and the calf was still a smidge sore, so I took the day off.
Thursday 10/13: I skipped a morning run so brought all of my gear to work, including my GPS watch but also with my lock in case I wanted to try the treadmill at the gym. Despite the cool weather, I was feeling the treadmill option more, especially so I could easily pull off in case of my calf still feeling tight. I wore shorter shorts and stupidly forgot Body Glide again. Chafe City, I’m coming back! I did a warmup mile at my long run pace, then an 800 at threshold pace, 3.5 miles of the hill workout, 800 mile moving from threshold pace to 5K pace, then a cooldown for 6 miles total.
Friday 10/14: Day off running and a quiet night in with a box of Annie’s white cheddar macaroni and cheese to myself.
Saturday 10/15: Saturday was “the” 20 miler day. I can probably put that into quotes too. I signed up for a supported 30K in Flushing Meadows Park, which included 4 laps of the 4.something mile loop. 30 kilometers is 18.6 miles, so I planned to do a mile before and 0.4 after. I took the train (well, a couple of trains) there and was fine on time until I realized I didn’t know exactly where the race start was. I knew we were running around the Unisphere at some point but the course map link was on the registration page and that was closed day of. I found a low-res image that included the map and started running that way while still in my sweats and jacket. Not my ideal warmup. I veered toward a table setting up water, but they were there for a 5K and had no idea where my event table was. Based on Google’s assumptions of how far I was from the start, my warmup was just about 1 mile and extremely stressful. They delayed the start a bit since dozens of us were in line for the bathroom.
I stuffed my pockets (Lululemon Sculpt short, the perfect length with plenty of pocket space) with gels (3 salted watermelon, 1 caramel macchiato flavor) and a Shotblock (salty margarita flavor) and put my phone as well with earbuds. I don’t usually run with music and don’t plan to race with it, but do plan to have my phone to better facilitate any post-marathon meetings or mishaps, plus get those last-minute texts about which corner people will be standing on to cheer, so it was good to practice how heavy or not it was in my pocket. I cued up the Hamilton soundtrack, did a last-minute swap of my regular glasses for my prescription sunglasses, and we were off.
I took the first 2 miles way too fast. I plan to have a marathon race pace between 10:15-10:45 minute miles, so I’m not sure what happened that made me go under that. I think my legs were just young, fresh, and hungry. I took my first gel after the first loop, second gel after the second, two shot block chews halfway through the third loop, the more caffeinated coffee-flavored gel after the third, and two more shot block chews during the fourth (pausing off-course at a water fountain, contributing to my slowest loop at mile 13). I could have used a couple more water stations for sure.
Looking at my Strava map, I now see why the course was short for me; I went the correct way around a the NY State Pavillion and the fountain only the first time but the incorrect way the next 3 loops, which must have shaved off 0.2 each time. You can see it as the farthest left red line out around the Fountain of the Continents (did not know that was its name). Weirdly, the organizers were waving us through at the turn points, so I’m not sure why this happened. I’m looking at the Strava map of someone else who ran it and she did the same thing. I think they might have diverted us because of a 5K also happening in the park that day. I tacked on another 0.6 miles to make it 18.2 (not 18.1, Strava. Rude!) before I had to thrown in the towel and stop the watch. Counting my 1 mile warmup then my 2 portapotty shuffles as cooldown, I hit 19.6 miles. 19.6 miles is not 20 miles. I think the “shortened” course threw me for a loop (haha get it?) and was weirdly discouraging when it came time afterward to tack on more mileage.
Sunday 10/16: I wanted to do a recovery run but instead had a very productive morning of dropping off donated goods to Housing Works and getting my favorite bagels, then seeing Girl on the Train. I had read the book, so twists and turns were not surprising, but it was still well done. I ate a lot of candy and sweets both during the movie and after with a stop at Maison Kayser for their amazing cookies.
Total: 31.6 miles out of a recommended 32-35. Harumph. That being said, I don’t feel ready to taper! So many more miles I wish I had run! This should have been Peak Week but was actually a little less than 2 weeks ago! I’m freaking out! Taper time!
Another cutback week, which was well-timed with vacation. I booked a trip to Cancun with coworker friends a few months back and we were originally considering the weekend of September 16-18th, but a small part of me was thinking “Nooooo, that’s the 18 Mile Tune Up!”, so I was very relieved when we ended up booking it for the 22nd-25th. A treadmill run on “only” a 12 miler didn’t sound so bad, especially after doing 10 in Vegas as a non-cutback run.
Monday 9/19: Rest day, which was sorely (haha) needed after the Tune Up. I was hobbling around work quite a bit. I got a pedicure at pH7, my favorite ethical nail salon and opted for the extra 10 minutes of foot massage. She scraped off significant calluses then I fell into a state of relaxation during the massage and hot stones. I still had tight calves after, but at least my feet felt good (and looked moderately cuter for the upcoming beach times).
Tuesday 9/20: Speedwork day with my running club at 6am. Yes, I think the previous week’s motivational interviewing helped me get up in the morning. I did 2 warmup miles, then 4 1-mile repeats at ~10K pace with 5 minutes rest in between. It ended up being quicker than my actual 10K pace, and closer to my dream 10K pace (9ish and sub-9), then did 2 miles cooldown for 8 total.
Wednesday 9/21: Rest day. I had a great dinner at Shanghai Asian Manor, then tried a new spot, Taiyaki for ice cream. I had the green tea swirled with black sesame with custard in the bottom, then topped with mochi and a wafer. It was amazing! Since we missed the Play J Ice Cream Truck this year, this was a new amazing vehicle for ice cream and crunchy vessel.
Thursday 9/22: Travel day with a 4AM wake up call. I was hoping to do a little shakeout run after the flight, but beach time and margaritas took precedence.
Friday 9/23: Tour day. We opted for a few stops mainly in the Tulum area to see the ruins and cenotes, but this also included some lagoon snorkeling, then we chose an add-on to snorkel near sea turtles. Still waiting on the video footage our tour guide took, but it was an amazing day. At least I got some swimming in.
We went to the ruins first, then to the Dos Ojos cenote, then to Akumal for the sea turtles. We stopped for lunch then went into the Yal-Ku lagoon.
Saturday 9/24: Long Run Day on the treadmill. I contemplated running outside and had brought my handstrap Nathan water bottle, but did not bring my GPS watch and wasn’t feeling amped about the route. I didn’t want to be stranded far from the resort low on water and without enough pesos for a cab/bus ride back. I hopped on the treadmill and was the only person in the gym for the first hour. Due to not having run on Thursday, this was my first run in my new Brooks Ghost shoes. Not my brightest idea to bring them and break them in like this. But it worked out overall, as I took my run slowly. NYRR Virtual Trainer said to aim for 2:05 overall time and that it was ok to not hit a perfect 12 miles. Well, the gym started getting crowded right when my shoes were feeling a bit tight, so I cut it off at 1:40. Then I had 3 full plates of food at the breakfast buffet as well as melon juice, chocolate milk, and coffee. This was too much of a cutback for my liking overall.
Then we went shopping. I was saving my souvenirs for the duty free shop, but I did meet Cookie Monster and tried Starbucks (no cold brew, so iced americano for this americana). Then back to the beach. We were going to go out out to a club but failed after dinner and a few glasses of wine.
Sunday 9/25: Rest day aka packing and final trip to the beach. I wish I had done a little run to shake out my legs early in the day (6pm flight). I added to my snorkeling butt sunburn with a little side nap thigh burn action (I’m ok, Mom!).
Total: 17.1 out of recommended 24-27 miles. Um..err..haven’t gotten this far from the minimum since Week 3 or so. Shruggie.
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.
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.
After a really amazing Week 7, Week 8 was still pretty decent. It was a major cutback, from 34+ miles to 25.
Monday 9/5: Rest day.
Tuesday 9/6: Skipped the 6am training group (and the accompanying 5:20am wake up call) and did 3 miles around my neighborhood. Went to the same turf field area as usual but didn’t do laps because I wanted a longer speed workout later in the week. Faster overall, but it was only 3 miles and I knew it would be a shorter one. Rock climbing at night with coworkers. I’m still new to belaying and accidentally shredded my hand a bit. I mainly did 5.6 and 5.7s.
Wednesday 9/7: Rest day. I usually do a Wednesday night run with a group, but it was Gabby’s going away party so we toasted to her in the Lower East Side.
Thursday 9/8: Solo speedwork night. I was debating between Prospect Park and Red Hook Track, but went where I would know the fast route home since it’s getting dark so early now. I did 4 mile repeats (along with a warmup mile and 1.6+ cooldown). The first 2 were great but the net downhill was working for me. Once I made it onto flat land and was a bit fatigued from the 8:50ish pace, the 3rd was really hard. The humidity was nasty. Some friends raced the Superfund Super Run but that thing starts at 10pm, which let’s be real, is my bedtime these days.
Friday: Rest day. I was indoctrinated to the New York Steakhouse experience at Smith & Wollensky’s (ok, technically Wollensky’s Grill) then got a fancy cocktail and live jazz trio at Bemelman’s Bar, which I’ve been wanting to visit forever. I wish I had taken photos but the lighting was all wrong.
Saturday: Prime Rib, half a bottle of wine, and a negroni do not lend themselves easily to a zippy early morning run. I instead opted for a 4.4 mile (gotta offset the .6 from Thursday!) slogfest in the sun and humidity after 11am. I am a fool. I ran each mile on the fast side but has to take some long water breaks.
Sunday: Long run day; only 11 because it was my cutback week. It was a humid slogfest if we’re being honest, but I ran the majority of it with people who helped take my mind off of it. After 2+ park loops, I misread my watch on the way home as 9.03 when it was really 9.93 miles and had a momentary freak out. How could I do 2 more miles when I was already exhausted and drenched in sweat? Fortunately, my Garmin beeped at 10 miles pretty quickly after and I knew I could pull out that final one. I had already turned off early from the group to get home (and have a smoothie) instead of getting coffee further from home. This was definitely my worst long run of my training cycle so far, physically and mentally. I hope that cooler temperatures prevail and my mental fortitude gets back on track.
Total: 25 miles out of a recommended 23-27.
The heat and humidity last week lent themselves to a quicker than usual laundry cycle plus some tough runs. I’m planning to race a half marathon in early October and try to PR. More details to come because I still haven’t bit the bullet and registered. I have some exciting travels coming up, which will mean long runs in exotic locales (and lots of delicious food).
And a photo from last Saturday the 2nd when I tried really hard to get the best Honeycrisp apples. Yeah, I’m basically inside of the tree.
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.