Weeks 15 and 16 of Richmond Marathon Training: The Taper Weeks, 10/30 – 11/10

I drafted this on the train home to Richmond on 11/9 and meant to post it on 11/10 but was busy carb-loading and furniture shopping. I’ve changed almost nothing to keep my original feelings of nervousness intact. I also took no photos on my runs in this two-week period, which really says something.

After my midweek 20.5 miler on the 25th, I was cooked physically and mentally. But I still had another 2.5 weeks to go before the big race. I got what Elle calls the Taper Lazies (as opposed to the Taper Crazies). I wasn’t crabby or antsy, but I did want to eat everything. Oh, and I moved apartments in this time which sort of rechanneled a lot of would-be running-related stress into moving stress. 5 days later and I still can’t find my speed shoes!

10/30 – 11/5: Just a couple runs once the long run DOMS ended. I wanted to try and get that 10-mile run in that I had missed, but it made more sense to just do 8 one week out before shortening my runs. I spent Sunday the 5th in my favorite race activity of cheering my heart out during the NYC Marathon. It was so inspiring to watch my friends and teammates crush it. Well worth the spitting rain and cowbell blisters. I had some celebratory drinks and cookies with folks afterward and was overcome with excitement.

Cheering my heart out at Mile 7 of NYCM

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More cheering and Levain cookies at Mile 21

11/6 – 11/10: A few treadmill 3-milers Monday and Wednesday, then just 2 Thursday before packing and hopping on the train down to Richmond. Compression socks on just in case (to be laundered and worn again after the race). On Friday the 10th, I did a slow 3 mile shakeout with my Dad riding alongside on his bicycle to calm my nerves. With 11 miles this week and fewer runs (but longer ones) the week before, I was definitely worried I was overdoing it too late in the game.

Race report and separate ~training schedule feelings~ posts to come after the marathon!

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Week 13 of Richmond Marathon Training, 10/16-10/22

I’m writing this the week after and the night of completing my long run. I was in a wedding in Arizona of one of my best friends, so that took precedence over training for several days. But it was AMAZING. And all of the food was on point. And we saw sunrise over the Grand Canyon.

10/16: Evening tempo run in Prospect Park. 1 mile warm-up, 2 miles @ trying to get to goal half pace of 8:48, 2 miles cool-down (1 uphill, 1 downhill).

10/17: Rest day

10/18: PP loop with the Brooklyn Beer Runners, then a pumpkin beer at The Sackett.

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I’m in the back, chugging

10/19: Rest day due to 6:30am flight to AZ. Sonoran hot dogs for lunch and some of the best tacos in my life for dinner.

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El Guero Canelo

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Tacos El Suahero

10/20: 5 miles on the treadmill in the early AM, then wedding time. All I’ll say about this is we wore up the dance floor and ate tacos and pie.

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9 kinds of pie!

10/21: I had hoped to get a few easy miles done but had clearly transitioned to AZ time. Then we drove to Sedona to get sucked into the vortex and catch the sunset. Then we got dinner and REI supplies in Flagstaff.

Iconic Sedona McDonald’s

Took my shoes off to ‘ground’ myself

10/22: Sunrise! Grand Canyon! We walked between viewing spots as the sun rose then I got my National Parks passport stamped. Second national park this year!


In N Out for Dinner


Total: 15.2 Monday – Sunday miles due to postponed long run. (38.7 if we move the Wednesday LR to Saturday as per the NYRR Virtual Trainer.)

Week 11 of Richmond Marathon Training, 10/2-10/8

5 weeks left until the marathon! Alert! This was supposed to be another higher mileage week with the longest run to date at the end.

10/2: 3.7 miles at home while my Dad rode his new bike alongside. This was awesome! I’m already plotting future bike ride/long run routes for home.

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10/3: Tempo park loop at night.

10/4: Rest Day

10/5: 3 on the treadmill, then off to Chicago. I wish I had woken up earlier to do a few more miles but had gone out the night before.

10/6: ~4.2 miles along the Chicago riverfront, which my Garmin then Strava turned into the following “6 mile” route. It felt great, though! And it was fun to see so many other runners. I was really glad I took the architectural river tour last year, as it really helped me get my bearings.

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I ran across maybe 3 of these bridges

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Rainbow Cake from Goddess and the Baker & Nutella Brioche from Eataly

10/7: Longest long run of this training cycle so far: 19 miles along the Lake Front Trail to its northern terminus, then onward up to Loyola before turning around. I was trying to avoid the part of the Lakefront below the Chicago River because the big pre-marathon 5K was happening down that way. I still saw a ton of runners doing shakeout runs and others doing their long runs and felt that great sense of community that comes from getting up before dawn to do our thing.

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Sunrise along Lake Michigan

Obviously my Garmin paces aren’t exact, but I felt really good almost the whole time and was throwing down a lot of miles at goal marathon pace of low 10:xx. I flagged a tiny bit at the end, then Beyonce’s “Freedom” came on. Then “Formation”. Then I put on the Sleigh Bells – “Demons (Diplo remix) and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face or tone down the speed in my legs. It was one of those I FREAKING LOVE RUNNING kind of runs and exactly what I needed after a sluggish Bronx 10 Mile and extra 7 miles.

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Then I went to Pizzeria Due for some pepperoni deep dish and a Goose Island 312. I didn’t realize Pizzeria Due was related to Pizzeria Uno. Whoops. Gotta say, Lou Malnati’s was better.

10/8: Spectating the Chicago Marathon. I walked at least 8 miles and found PPTC folks at 3 different spots. I got Italian Beef from Portillo’s and quite a few beers after.

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Total: 36 miles M-Sun miles out of a prescribed 41 Sunday-Saturday. I need to get my Sunday recovery runs back into rotation! I’m happy to have gotten this many, but only have 1 more week that will be higher than this.

 

Week 8 of Richmond Marathon Training, 9/11-9/17

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.

Dusk, looking North

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.

Lin Tianmiao at Galerie Lelong

 

Boneyard by Christian Marclay at Paula Cooper Gallery

 

Ruth Asawa at David Zwirner

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.

Week 7 of Richmond Marathon Training 9/4-9/10

9/4: Labor Day. I woke up in the beautiful woods of Evergreen, CO to the sound of the leaves rustling and the roosters crowing. I’m kidding about the last part but there were chickens on the chalet property. I had enough time to get a run in before the post-wedding brunch, so I managed to make it to the lake and go around. Parts of the trail were closed and crossing the street with few crosswalks and some blind curves was pretty terrifying. But these views and fresh mountain air!

9/5: Early flight back to NYC, then after a nap, I managed a park loop for 5.5 miles.

9/6: The rain picked up a ton in the evening, so I headed to the gym for some treadmill miles. Despite watching the US Open (Madison Keys vs. Kaia Kanepi), I could only mentally get through 4 miles, but it was alternating easy run pace with my goal Bronx 10 Mile pace.

9/7: I attended the US Open and got to see Venus Williams vs. Sloane Stephens then Madison Keys vs. Coco Vanderweghe. I had 2 honeydeuces to drink but should have held out for Fuku, because my fried chicken grilled cheese from Melt was not worth the wait. I also ate way too much from Ben & Jerry’s but discovered how good their salted caramel blondie flavor is.

9/8: Mile High Run Club’s The Distance. I had a slightly late start and just got 5.5 miles in, but it felt like a great workout and I hit some fast paces.

9/9: Connecticut Day

Sculpture Building

Robert Indiana sculpture

Phillip Johnson’s Glass House

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Tomato Pie and Clam Pie from Frank Pepe in New Haven

9/10: I woke up late and wasn’t feeling so hot, so had to move my long run to Monday. I did 4 miles in the late morning before finally getting groceries and seeing IT at Alamo Drafthouse. Clowns remain scary.

Total: 21.7. Would have been 31.7 if my long run had happened where it should have.

Week 6 of Richmond Marathon Training, 8/28 – 9/3

So this was supposed to be a build-up week of 36 Sunday-Saturday miles, but I hit over that last week. Due to this and my vacation at altitude, I decided to make it a cutback week. I know, 6 weeks into the program and I’m being a real renegade here.

8/28: Unplanned rest day. I was feeling beat up physically from such a tough but awesome Saturday, especially with shorter miles Friday (my usual rest day) and Sunday.

8/29: 5 easy miles @ 10:52 pace on the treadmill at the gym. It was raining all afternoon and evening and I was just not feeling a soggy run after traipsing around Flushing and my neighborhood in the rain. My feet were already wet and cold.

8/30: 2 miles with the beer running group. We were taking photos to be part of the leader’s Airbnb Experiences, so after the staging of the photos and then drinking a beer, I was out of time to get a loop of the park in before my fantasy football draft. This is my 6th season playing and I’m trying to score some winnings here. So I ran home.

8/31: Flight to Denver and lots of walking around. Got some cool new hiking tights at REI, ate some delicious food, and tried a ton of local brews.

9/1: Rocky Mountain National Park tour

Sprague Lake

9/2: 13+ mile long run with Kate who was in town and planned out a beautiful route through 3 of the city’s parks: City Park, Cheesman Park, and Washington Park. We started before 6:30am so it was nice to be done by 9am and escape some of the heat. Apparently NYC was cool and rainy over much of Labor Day weekend, but Denver was 90+.

I had lunch at Biker Jim’s Gourmet Hot Dogs, where I got to try both reindeer and bison hot dogs. And some fried macaroni and cheese bites. And some prickly pear soda. After 13.25 miles, I was hungry.

9/3: Broncos 7K with/thanks to Laura. She had put a code on her site for this race and I realized that the race totally worked for my schedule, so we got in touch to meet up after. I ended up in the B Corral based on my proposed 10K time (I had no hopes of replacing my 8:00 5K time from last week but was shooting for high 8’s). I ran 2.5 miles from my hotel to the start, then we were off…uphill.

As you can see, I took it slow then hoped to pick up the pace in the later miles. This was day 4 at altitude, so I was more confident that my lungs wouldn’t explode but still a bit worried. The finish along the tunnel was really cool, too! We bopped around the expo after to grab some swag. The line to meet Denver Broncos players was very long, so that was skippable since I don’t currently have any of their players on my fantasy team.

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Check out those huge medals


Then off to Evergreen for a wedding with the best food ever. 6 different mini desserts, a make your own Smores bar, and a 20 pound peach and huckleberry pie.

Total: 27.5 Mon-Sun miles plus some light hiking. No altitude sickness, though!

Week 5 of Richmond Marathon Training, 8/21-8/27

Freudian slip on my original post last week when I called it “Week 4 of NYC Marathon Training”. Whoops! Obviously I ran NYC last year and did the NYRR 9+1 this year for entry to the 2018 NYC Marathon, but this year the plan is to run Richmond.

8/21: RunCommutes are back! 6.4 miles home from work with my usual Lululemon ‘Run From Work’ backpack, very lightly filled. I missed my usual turn and cut through Commodore Barry Park and Fort Greene Parks.

8/22: Rest day

8/23: Loop around the park, walk to the bar, then run home from the bar. 6ish miles total.

8/24: Rest day

8/25: 4 easy treadmill miles in the AM. This is the first Friday I’ve run since May? June?

8/26: The most productive running day of my life. 1 mile warm up, then setting a new 5K PR at the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K, then running almost 10 miles through Central Park, down the West Side, and almost to the Governor’s Island ferry (but had to stop at the ATM first).

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Ran into Sam on the train

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Larry caught me during my warm up

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Proud of my splits

I grabbed my stuff, decided to forego the free tshirt, and strapped on my new backpack (Gregory Maya 16) then headed out with a friend from my beer drinking running group.

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14 miles even for the morning (I think) though my watch died at 9.3 and my running buddy forgot to restart his after we paused and we lost 0.3 then we stopped it before I had to SPRINT to the ferry, blue Gatorade in hand. I found my friends and we rented a 5-person surrey to ride around the island. Even after a big lunch and afternoon coffee, I was exhausted but somehow rallied to make it outside again later for frosé and beer with friends.

8/27: 3 recovery miles in Brooklyn Bridge Park after walking 2 miles to donate my bicycle in DUMBO.

Total: 33 miles! My Sunday-Saturday total was 36.6 out of a recommended 34 miles.