This has been a month of increased fitness activity overall and a slow return to running after a couple months mostly off. After a late July move, I’ve had access to a few forms of fitness I was lacking: tennis courts, an erg, and a spin bike. I joined Peloton (but do not have one of their bikes) and have loved having it for rides and am starting to explore their strength and HIIT content.
Up to now, I’ve only raced 1 virtual race this year, back in late May, and ran it with a mask on and 2 minutes slower than my 5K PR. I’m hoping to tackle some old PRs this fall either on the track or on a flattish course. I’m thinking 5K and 10K as my softest and some of my oldest PRs (August 2017 for 5K on a hilly course and April 2018 for 10K on a good course but a warm day). I’m also tempted to finally try a trail race; it’s virtual but the course is technically available to run at your own time. I bought some Nike Wildhorse 6’s on a friend’s recommendation and am excited to try them out. Hopefully some virtual race reports to come!
I really miss ClassPass and all of the boutique fitness studios I used to frequent in NYC that have been closed since March. I sort of bopped around to a bunch of them and never took the same classes (or even instructors) enough to fully get into the community vibe that a lot of regulars seem to get, but I still liked the energy. For a couple of years now, I had drafted a post with a list of all my favorite spin, barre, strength, etc studios that I had visited. I really hope they’re all eventually open to reopen safely.
After taking off the hottest months from intense baking and cooking, I’m also back at that as well! A few recent experiments below.
I’m looking at February as a big month of base building. Just over 100 miles for the month and a push toward medium volume (for me).
2/3-2/9: 30 miles of training, finally. By only half a mile, this is my highest mileage since when I ran the NYC Marathon in November 2018. I did a trail run at South Mountain Reservation in New Jersey with a group, which was fun. It’s pretty easy to get to and just challenging enough for someone like me who loves running on trails but doesn’t yet have trail shoes with a rock plate.
2/10-2/16: 12.5 miles since I moved my long run to the following Monday, President’s Day while also missing my Thursday tempo and Saturday 5-mile Open Run.
2/17-2/23: 34 miles, including the final long run. Amazing eats at Golden Unicorn, Smith & Wollensky, and The Dough Club.
2/24-2/28: x miles plus a short shakeout 2/29 before spectating the Olympic marathon trials
Next up in March: Atlanta Half 3/1, cheering the NYC Half and the UAE 10K, eating my way around Montreal, and some more trail running.
I’ve been more consistent getting out there a few times a week and my long runs were going well enough in the low double digits. The lack of Polar Vortex weather has helped me get outside, plus I have treadmill access at New York Sports Club which has a ton of locations. I’m doing speed training Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is also helping.
January 13-19: 29 miles. This is my highest weekly mileage since April, right before my plantar fibroma ended my spring/summer season.
January 20 – 26: 21.5 miles out of a proposed 31 because I moved my long run then didn’t get it done.
January 27 – February 2: 28.6 miles, including a 4 mile race. I wanted to extend my warm up and cool down to hit 30 for the week, but was pretty beat after.
Winter/Spring race calendar so far:
February 2: NYRR Gridiron 4 Miler
February 16: 10 miles as a tuneup race
March 1: Atlanta Half
April 5: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC. I’m in but need to secure accommodations and travel.
Early May: Ragnar Cape Cod May 8-9. I’m also in for Broad Street Run in Philly May 3rd since I had to defer in 2019 (and 2018, sigh). I don’t think I should race and relay three weeks in a row.
May 16: Brooklyn Half, after much agita getting in.
I’m trying to pick an actual 5K or 10K to hopefully PR, but might put those off until summer.
Eats: I’ve still been eating and cooking tasty things, but not taking a lot of pictures of them.
2019 was not my best year for running (though many other good things happened in my career and personal life). I hit just over half of my yearly mileage goals (~640 miles out of a desired 1200), only eked out one PR (Richmond 5K), and DNS multiple races (most due to my injury and then sadly Ted Corbitt 15K in December due to illness). My mindset suffered even once I was cleared to run and I was definitely scared to put the pressure on my body and risk injury again. Then just before the holidays in December, I took a little week-long break from running due to mental fatigue and due in part to a murder in one of my local parks which shook me up.
After wrapping up work and flying across the country on December 18th, I did a PureBarre class in Las Vegas, then hiked a few miles in Zion National Park, then finally felt the urge to run again in San Diego. And it’s been decent ever since, whether on treadmill or trail or road. My mental game is getting stronger; I guess doing various workouts and even some heart rate zone training on the treadmill helps. I’ve bundled up and gone outside to run during cold gale warnings and I’ve been pushing myself to run in the rain more often, though it can be a bit annoying since I wear glasses. My new mental mantra as I try to push toward some speed or grind up some hills is the simple yet effective “You can do hard things”. I’ve got the same PR goals as last year in mind (sub-24 5K, sub 52-10K, sub 1:55 Half) and am signed up for a 4 miler, two 10 milers, and a hilly half in Atlanta between now and early April. Other races and possibly a fall full marathon TBD. I’m not sure where the spring season and 2020 will take me, but I’m excited to enjoy the process.
Some fun eats were had both before and during my travels, notably fish tacos in San Diego and getting all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ twice. I started drinking more nitro cold brew on the west coast, but have eased back into my normal coffee routine back in NYC. Plus that stuff’s usually $5+.
Mid-November through Mid-January by the numbers:
Longest long run: 11 miles with Gabby, including 3 before the Joe Kleinerman 10K and 2 after. I’d only planned to do 8 but it was so great having a warmup and cooldown partner and getting to catch up. So now my long runs are set until my half 3/1 and second 10-miler 4/5.
States run in: California, Virginia, and Massachusetts (and New York), plus some hiking in Utah and some PureBarre in Nevada (thanks to ClassPass).
Fastest speed: 7:19 minute mile in the wild/outside a couple times and 6:00 minute mile on the treadmill at Barry’s Bootcamp.
Hot yoga classes taken: 4, 3 of which were at Y7 on ClassPass. I’m surprised at how much I love this!
My action shots from MarathonFoto are so awful, so there aren’t many photos to share. But I had a really great race, despite it being only my 2nd in the last 9 months. The others were Al Gordon in February where I was sick, then a tuneup 5K last weekend. And of course, many months of being injured in between. I’m so glad this was my comeback! I was hemming and hawing about doing the half in Richmond but knew that I wouldn’t PR and didn’t feel extra ready for the distance as my long runs had dropped off since mid-October. Plus, by the time I signed up, the half cost $100 and the 8K was only $40. Done!
After flying in Thursday night and going to bed at the late hour of 11pm, I skipped doing a shakeout on Friday. After picking up my packet, I ate way too much at ZZQ, Richmond’s new Texas-style BBQ joint. Then I had some pasta for dinner and slept poorly until my 5am wakeup call. The 8K went off right at 7am, so I hopped out for a 1 mile warmup and settled into the corrals. Times under 48 minutes were Corral 1, and I was shooting for 43. My previous 5 mile best time was 43:28 and I was pretty sure I could get this under an 8:43 pace.
I met a fellow NYC-er in the corrals and we chatted for 5 minutes, then we were off! I took it out a smidge too fast then got concerned on mile two (plus that mile had the most elevation increase). Then after the turn onto Mulberry and move to Grace Street came the cobblestones. At one point, my foot got temporarily lodged into one and I stumbled. That was a real adrenaline rush and I recovered then was able to speed it up on the fourth mile. Then came the real downhills. I remembered the finish from running the Richmond Marathon two years ago and loved it again.
I was done by 7:43 and met my parents at the post-finish party. I rang the PR bell, ate a banana and my Dad kindly purchased me some Richmond gear to warm me up until we got back to the car. My pockets are bulging with the snacks I took at the end, though I skipped the Papa John’s pizza this time.
Then I met up with college girlfriends and we ate amazing food at Perch.
If my lottery entries for Berlin and NYC in 2020 are both no-gos, then I am strongly considering running the Richmond full again. I recommend their race series to everyone.
This post originally titled Richmond Half 2019 Training and was supposed to cover everything in September, but then I never published it in September. Or October. My running has been pretty good (some weeks higher in mileage than others) but I’ve kept my weekend long runs right around 10 miles for the most part. Essentially, I feel like I could run a half at any time, but I couldn’t hit a PR. I got medical clearance from my doctor and PT to run a half this fall/winter (but not a full marathon, which is fine). But the consistency of training never really happened. So I’m just going to do the 8K in Richmond on 11/16/19.
I moved out of Brooklyn in September and have been exploring Central Park a lot more. There are so many paths and trails and things to see (namely waterfalls) off the main 6-mile path. My goal is to run them all, plus run the entire perimeter of the park on 5th Avenue and Central Park South/West/North. It’s a lot easier to get to the many NYRR and other races in Central Park now, so I’ve popped by to cheer on friends or pace long runs.
In late September, I did a Tracksmith-sponsored long run in Rockefeller Park State Preserve and loved hitting the trails. The hills were killer, but I stayed steady and on the slower side. Obviously I wore Tracksmith.
I went to Chicago in mid-October to spectate the marathon (for the third time in four years) and see friends from across the country and eat deep dish pizza. I ran a Nike-sponsored 4×800 race at Soldier Field and was pleased enough with my time. If anything, it made me want to get back to the track a bit more. In my injury-prone state, I haven’t been doing much speed work. Also, our team met Colleen Quigley!
Fall by the numbers:
Longest long run: 11 miles
Fastest speed: I hit 10 mph (a 6:00 minute mile) for maybe a minute during a Barry’s Bootcamp treadmill session and didn’t die or fly off the treadmill
I ran my first race since February, a 5K on Randall’s Island in 26:26, about 90 seconds off my PR.
I ran in Saratoga Springs NY, Chicago IL, and San Juan Puerto Rico.
Plus, I went to a driving range for the first time in over a decade, got into sourdough bread baking, am a happy owner of a Theragun, and kept up eating delicious stuff all over town (and other places).
I’m been running irregularly for the last 6 weeks, plus a fair amount of strength and cross-training as well as weekly physical therapy. I’m not signed up for any races this fall but am building a base to start training for the Richmond Half November 16. I’ve made progress in PT in terms of hip strengthening but still have a ways to go. The plantar fasciitis is 90% gone (pain-wise). I’m definitely regretting running through it for so long before, during, and after the NYC Marathon and not getting it checked out sooner. Having my current health insurance with my job at a health system means no co-pays for specialist visits or physical therapy, which really helps. I’m planning to see my physiatrist again soon then do a re-assessment with the sports medicine doctor to see if there are improvements in my form.
Summer so far has been very sweaty, both through heat wave temperatures and a lot of working out. Vacation #1 was to Fort Lauderdale in early June, which was hot, sunny, and unbearably humid. But the water was clear and warm and we rented a red convertible Mustang and zoomed around South Florida, eating stone crabs and Cuban.
Back in NYC, I’ve been taking a lot of workout classes through ClassPass, random deals, and getting a free birthday SoulCycle class that turned into 3 when my class was unexpectedly canceled due to a fire drill. Otherwise, it’s been a lot of time on the elliptical as well as doing my PT exercises and some strength training. Runs have been mostly solo, but I’m looking forward to getting back in with a group.
I only kind of have full fall marathon training FOMO because the temperatures do not have me missing the Saturday long runs. I have another month of base building before half training kicks off (if I follow a 12 week plan), and while the heat won’t break before then, I’m happy to skip it. Plus, Vacation #2 is to Austin, Texas and it’ll be even hotter there. I’ll hopefully get back on track with checking in weeklyish before then.
Now for a brief and highly curated selection of eats lately.
So the perks of doing a 12-week plan are that even after 2 weeks (and especially after a mentally iffy second week), you still have 10 more weeks. And then you go on vacation and get food poisoning and all your runs are still at a ‘tough’ or ‘massive’ or ‘historic’ relative effort according to Strava reading your Apple Watch Heart Rate Data. Huh. Shruggie arms emoji. I’m happy with the state of my long runs this early on, since they’re already in the double digits but I definitely have work to do on the quantity and length of weekday runs.
Monday 3/4: Rest Day, which was a relief since the Sunday night snow was heavy and wet and not everyone had shoveled sidewalks the next morning.
Tuesday 3/5: 3.2 quick-ish miles in the lower part of Central Park with a Jackrabbit store sponsored run trying out some On Clouds shoes. Got donuts for Fat Tuesday.
Wednesday 3/6: 5.7 miles in Central Park in the late morning. My plan called for 7 miles Tuesday, 8 miles Thursday, and a rest Thursday but I needed to modify. For now, I’m better off doing short runs over more days than the 4 days of very long runs and workouts. I’m hoping to adapt better in a few weeks with the increase in volume then really take to the lactate threshold workouts.
Had more donuts just because.
Thursday 3/7: Rest day
Friday: 3/8 8.4 miles in the PM around Prospect Park.
Saturday 3/9: Skipped long run in favor of getting brunch last-minute with a friend and his daughter, trying to bake a pie from scratch (dough is so hard!), and having an early dinner of omakase at Sushi Lab.
Then I met my bf for cocktails and okonomiyaki at Bar Goto.
Sunday 3/10: Woke up to pouring rain and a lost hour of time and skipped my club’s new member run in favor of relaxing. Saw Captain Marvel and loved it! Then baked another pie and made Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken.
Total: 17.3 miles. I shocked myself by not running at all over the weekend but I guess I still have some time to get my mental game on track and prepare my legs for the 30+ mileage again.
Monday 3/11: 5 easy miles, trying to keep it in Zone 3 for heart rate which invariably involves some walking and jog shuffling.
Tuesday 3/12: Rest Day and dinner at Ani Ramen to celebrate my friend’s 50K instagram followers milestone.
Wednesday 3/13: PM Central Park loop for 6.5 miles.
Thursday 3/14: AM Central Park recovery run including the reservoir for 4.4 miles.
Friday 3/15: Early flight to SF and bopping around, visiting friends and exploring the city.
Saturday 3/16: 12 mile long run along the Embarcadero and piers of San Francisco.
Sunday 3/17: Light hiking around Big Basin State Park in CA and checking out the Santa Cruz waterfront. Dinner at Din Tai Fung.
Total: 27.9 miles
Week 4 – Scheduled Recovery Week
Monday 3/18: 5.2 miles exploring UC Berkeley’s campus. The hills!
Tuesday 3/19: Flight to Seattle and dinner at Walrus and the Carpenter.
Wednesday 3/20: 4.2 miles around Seattle. Poke and Dole Whip for lunch in the International District, buying too many Japanese Kit Kat flavors, then beers and burgers for dinner. Falling in love with Seattle one bite and view at a time.
Thursday 3/21: Light hiking and exploring Deception Pass State Park. Then I got food poisoning on the way back to town from Anacortes.
Friday 3/22: I had planned to run 8 miles but chose to take it easy in light of the food poisoning. I went to the UW campus to see a James Turrell exhibit and some other art, then flew back to NYC later afternoon after some final Seattle coffee and touring Pike Place Market.
Saturday 3/23: Rest day – platelet donation, lunch, then seeing US and my friend’s band.
Sunday 3/24: 7 miles as a cutback long run, enjoying the weather. My plan actually called for 9 miles but I had told myself it was only 8 and that 7 was good enough. Yoga in the morning (my first time since late January, whoops). Had huge Italian sandwiches in Bensonhurst after.
I used my guaranteed entry for the Brooklyn Half (from deferring last year’s due to peroneal tendon injury) and am setting it as my goal race for the spring season. I’m also doing the Broad Street 10 Miler again since I had to defer last year’s entry. I’m using a 12 week half marathon training plan from Pete Pfitzinger’s Faster Road Racing with some adaptations. He’s big on mid-to-long midweek mileage (8 miles for a Wednesday run) and keeping the long runs double digits until taper.
Monday 2/25: Day 1 was a rest day and the weather was awful, so I was glad to take it.
Tuesday 2/26: The plan called for 6 general aerobic miles, but I did 2 easy, 3 tempo, and 1 easy.
Wednesday 2/27: Rest Day and my club’s annual Awards Night.
Thursday 2/28: My plan called for 8 miles, but I was so done after only 5.
Friday 3/1: I ended up doing my long run this night, with a loop of the park, then running to and around Williamsburg with my club and ending with snacks and beer before eventually getting pizza. 10.2 miles total
Saturday: Rest day, and I really mean rest. Went to a Korean spa and got a massage.
Sunday: 8.3 miles with friends in the afternoon before more snow.
Total: 29.5 out of a prescribed 31. Not bad for my first real week back at it.
Halves? I’m already kicking off my next half marathon training plan (this one being 12 weeks and very aggressive with the workouts and mileage) for the Brooklyn Half on May 19th. I have a couple tuneup races in April and May but am trying to just build the mileage in March. But I got back from New Orleans February 12th and the rest of the month flew by. Below are some eats and such from the tail end of New Orleans and back in New York.
I did a little recovery run around the Marigny and French Quarter the day after the race, then had to skip a run the day we left New Orleans because it was downpouring and I needed to do laundry and pack. I barely ran the week I got back from New Orleans because I got a cold on Friday the 15th and took 3 days off on what was supposed to be a busy running-filled weekend. I did manage to host a small Galentine’s party and volunteer at one of my club’s races.
I started running again on President’s Day, then showed up to the start line of the Al Gordon 4 Miler Saturday the 23rd feeling pretty unprepared speedwise and still pretty snotty. I was able to do it as a progressive run and not blow up in the back half like last year, so that was nice. I’m hoping my next 4 mile race in April will go a little better. I’m not racing at all in March, but doing lots of easy/recovery miles, going long with double digits pretty much every week, and trying out some speedwork. I’m planning to post training recaps in the hopes that this is my fastest dedicated Half Marathon training cycle ever. My PR of 1:57:04 is from this past October but that was during the height of marathon training. My A Goal at this point is under 1:55, but I’ll see how the tuneup races go.