NYC Half 2017 Recap

I started drafting this post immediately after the race (3pm from my couch, recuperating with bagels), but left the ‘Intro’ portion blank. It’s definitely hard to write about races (and running in general) sometimes when things don’t go exactly your way, but it’s time to push it out there anyway since I’ve officially done two races after the NYC Half anyway. And yes, my Mom noticed its absence. This will be woefully short on photos because my few MarathonFoto shots aren’t great.

Fun fact: This was my FIRST half marathon EVER in 2015. The 2017 iteration was my 6th half.

2015 Post-Race Elation

I went to the expo the day before fairly early and grabbed my shirt (long sleeve this year in a great bright blue) and bib. I had just stocked up on Gus at Jackrabbit during my Ghost 9 shopping spree, so didn’t need to linger too much. I did grab pre-made pace bracelets for 1:55 (ha! just saving for another time), 2:00, and 2:05. My A Goal: Sub 2:00, B Goal: Under 2:02:11 aka a new PR, C Goal: Under 2:05 just to prove that I was in fact in shape enough to get under 2 next time.

After a lot of hemming and hawing the night before on temperature, I chose to wear my Sugoi Subzero tights (rather than the Midzero ones, just in case we did get some flurries after all since they are somewhat more water resistant), my PPTC short-sleeve t-shirt, and my blue Lululemon Go the Distance jacket. I pinned my bib onto my pants since I wasn’t sure if I would end up keeping my jacket on the whole time. I knew not having the red shirt be super visible would make it harder for cheerers to spot me, but there are enough people out on the course that I wasn’t too worried. I also had a neat NYRR National Running Day buff that I was planning to wear around my neck but ended up using as an ear warmer/headband. The finishing touches were some sweet homemade arm warmers made of men’s socks from the pack I bought for the NYC Marathon last year as well as my beloved Lululemon Run With Me gloves, which were a Christmas gift from a Secret Santa friend.

I got to Central Park with more than enough time to spare before dropping my stuff off at bag check by 6:50AM. It was so cold before and at the start and I was very lucky that a teammate had some extra disposable hand warmers to slip into my gloves.

Miles 1 – 3: It took a full 2 miles for me to feel my toes. Cat Hill was over and done with pretty much immediately in the first mile, then you get to enjoy the rolling hills on the East side of the park. It was around here that I saw my first Golden Retriever of the morning and started counting dogs. According to NYRR, my time at the 5K was 29:00 exactly, but my watch was around 27:30 or so.

Miles 4 – 6: They had to change the course a little bit this year because of construction near the finish, so they added an up-and-down to 113th street during the out-and-back along 110th St. I hit the 10K in pretty good shape and realized that I had hit a new 10K PR of 57:42. Yay! I pulled my tube sock arm warmers out from under my jacket and tossed them into Central Park. My dog count ended unofficially at 50 dogs because I was losing my mental focus a bit around #40.

Miles 6-10: This section includes the exit from Central Park, the very surreal experience of running through down Broadway and through Times Square, then the move along 42nd St and down the West Side Highway. I got to see my teammate Brittany cheering at 50th St. which was such a nice boost.

I ate 2 salted margarita Shot Blocks around mile 8 and chased them with water. I saw the PPTC cheer squad around mile 9.5 and went in for much-needed high fives. Thanks, guys!

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Miles 10-12: These were the worst miles of the whole race but still faster than the frozen first mile. It’s not that the wheels fell off entirely, but my pace slowed, my feet were tired and my form suffered. I caught myself awkwardly straddling the main buckle in the road as I ran and couldn’t really seem to stay in a straight line on the crown of the road. My breathing never got raggedy, but I was worried that it would if I tried to push the pace. I had started just in front of the 2:00 pace group, then they passed me, then I passed them, but this is where they passed me for good and I knew I couldn’t keep up. My race plan had been to negative split to make up for the slower hills in the first half, but I couldn’t drop the hammer as much as I had wanted. I knew I was 40ish second off from 2:00 but it was just not happening.

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This face says it all

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Finally seeing the finish

Miles 12-13.1: Sweet relief! The tunnel felt great, if a little longer than before, but the uphill finish shredded me. My legs would just not move faster.  Final time of 2:00:49.

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Mile 7 through Times Square is way, way off

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In summary, I missed my A Goal got a sweet new PR. My 9:13 minutes per mile pace means that my best Half pace is now faster than my recorded NYRR paces for the 10 Mile, 10K, 5 Mile, and 4 Mile. Ok, so I haven’t raced as many of those, but this is still an exciting start to Spring 2017 racing season. I’m trying to race all of those at or below a 9 minute mile. But I did get a new PR and nabbed some unofficial 10 mile and 10K PRs during this race, so felt like it was a strong foundation.

Week 10 of NYC Marathon Training

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.

taiyaki

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.

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Tulum (National Park around the ruins)

 

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Dos Ojos Cenote

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.

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Sea Turtle Watching in Akumal

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.

COOKIE!


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.

Week 2 of NYC Marathon Training

Monday 7/25: Rest day.

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.

Team Champs Strava Splits

Strava Splits and the GAP tell the story of some rough hills and pacing

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.

Celebrating with teammates after


So glad to be done and cheering on the men


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.

 

17 Weeks Out Recap

I had a lovely draft started of all the activities I did in my 17th week out, but then life happened. And the workouts didn’t. I think this was hopefully one of my last gasps of mind-body disconnect about what I’m heading toward. It’s time to ratchet up the discipline and willpower and mind-over-matter mantras. I just purchased the NYRR Virtual Trainer and it gave me a very realistic time based on my race performances this spring as well as my current fitness, so I’m planning to log my runs and workouts into there, with some additional structure from Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 and my running club’s weekly Marathon Training Group’s speed workouts.

In anticipation of all this mileage and realizing that I only took 5 classes in my last billing cycle, I’m downgrading my ClassPass membership from the 10 classes a month Core to the 5 classes a month Base membership. I’m hoping this will assuage my guilt about rarely hitting 10/month but still allow me to cross-train with spin and get stronger with barre. I also am going to try and take some tennis clinics and use it for bouldering/rock climbing wall time.

Not-really-training-yet recap:

Saturday 7/9: Short “long” run with my friend Maya for 5 conversational miles including a park loop. This felt great! I dropped her off at a rock climbing gym then dealt with my hangover on the couch.

Sunday 7/10: I had a packed day of apricot Cronuts at Dominique Ansel (along with Elle of A Fast Paced Life), a Reuben at David’s Pastrami House, then the Smith St. Bastille Day celebration. I was hoping to eke out another run but my hamstrings were a little sore and I was so busy eating and cheering for France in the EuroCup final. I foam rolled at home.



Monday 7/11: PureBarre class before work. I couldn’t tell if it felt harder (and I got sweatier) because I didn’t do barre last week or because it was a slightly modified warmup that used weights in parts. I’m pretty strong at the planking now but tricep-focused push-ups are still so tough.

Tuesday 7/12: I smartly adjusted my alarm to not get up at 5:20am for 6am speed work with my running group (after going out for drinks and Mexican the night before). Unfortunately, I outsmarted myself by sleeping past my next round of alarms at 6:20am and missed a morning run altogether. But then I went on the best Yelp event of the year; the birthday cruise.

Wednesday 7/13 – Saturday 7/16: All work and travel, no workouts. But I got family and Rufus time.

So according to Strava and NYRR, Mondays are the start of the training week. I mentally consider it to be Sundays (is that a holdover from MapMyRun?), so here’s to some thought shift.

Sunday 7/17: I ran 3.5 miles while at home in VA around 9am, which meant that it was 80 out and 85% humidity (with a dew point in the 60’s). Needless to say, this was disgusting. I also ran it on an empty stomach, which I don’t usually do. The good news is that I tested out my SuperGoop sunscreen and it survived the sweat test. Then on Monday, it was back to NYC for my first real week of training.