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.
Ok, finally. I think many of you already knew from Strava or other forms of social media, but I had a great race on Saturday 11/11/17. This post will be a little light on the images because my parents were so busy cheering (and it was cold before and after) that they didn’t take any photos and I didn’t run with my phone.
Start: It had dropped below freezing the night before and was still in the low to mid 30’s for the 7:45am start. I wore a longsleeve cotton shirt and pajama pants as my throwaway clothes over my PPTC tech t-shirt, Lululemon shorts (same outfit as last year’s NYC Marathon), makeshift arm warmers, DarnTough socks, and Lululemon gloves (a Christmas gift from a friend last year). I ended up choosing my Brooks Launch 4s as my shoe since I did most of my marathon miles in them, especially the last 8 weeks.
Miles 0-7: My corral (#4) was pretty crowded, but we got off to a decent start 6 minutes after the first wave did. We turned a corner and then we were running west on Broad street. And boom, at mile 0.5, there were my parents cheering in the median. Nice! I took the first several miles faster than I meant to, closer to a 10:00 pace than the 10:15-10:30 I meant to do.
I meant to take a gel at 45:00 but due to the spacing of the water stations (every 2 miles, I believe), I held off until closer to 1 hour on the clock. I started with a Salted Watermelon Gu, one of my favorites. We were climbing up a hill at Mile 6 but I didn’t notice too much, as I was chatting on and off with other runners, I had started behind the 4:30 pace group, then I passed them, they passed me, and I passed again. At Mile 7, there is a significant downhill after crossing the James River to go from the West End to the South Side. This felt great. I spent the next couple of miles along the river taking in the beautiful views and sunshine. I chatted up a woman wearing a JMU long-sleeve (my alma mater) and took in some of her cheers as my own. If I do another Richmond race, I’m definitely rocking the purple and gold.
Miles 8-15: South Side was fairly uneventful, as I was mainly trying to not overdo the pace. After we climbed out from the River, I still felt pretty strong. I chatted with a runner from Chicago who was shocked at my choice of shorts and a NYRR employee. I had my second gel of the day, Toasted Marshmallow and it was AMAZING. I hadn’t tried it before (I know, nothing new on race day) but it was delicious. Around the half mark, I took some mini gummi bears from one of the candy stops. We ran alongside traffic for several miles of Forest Hill Ave and Semmes Ave, which I didn’t love, but some of them lended us cheers or music. Right as we turned to take the bridge back north across the James River, my parents surprised me at the 15 Mile marker. The bridge is fairly windy and an incline, but the boost from my parents helped so much. I had also latched on/decided to draft a couple who was also shooting for under 4:30 but wasn’t with the pace group. On the bridge, the pace group caught up to us, then we peeled away and I never saw them again (spoiler alert).
Miles 16-20: I still felt good but tentative, as I expected things to get harder in the 20’s. I slowly ate my mini gummi bears and had another gel, plus water every couple miles. We ran through some more familiar territory of West Main Street, then past the Diamond on Boulevard. I remember still feeling strong and passing people who were starting to fade. The stupid grin hadn’t left my face yet.
Miles 21-25: These miles turned out to be both well-populated by great spectator groups and the ones where I felt great and realized I was going to surpass not only my A goal of 4:29:xx, but my A+ goal of 4:26:03 (a 30 minute PR from NYCM last year). I believe that in lieu of a 4th gel, I just had a single Salted Margarita ShotBlock and increased the blue Powerade consumption since the frequency of the tables increased. I supplemented this with a banana from a nice lady around Mile 22. I turned down the beer and other junk food on offer, as well as the pickle juice. I had told myself to hold off the pace from miles 21-24, then up the gas if I was still feeling good. My parents showed up for the 3rd time at Mile 23.5 and I yelled to them “See you at the beer truck! Hurry, I’m picking up speed!”. It was true! See my splits above after Mile 21; I knew the end was near and almost nothing could stop me.
Mile 25-26.2: There were a few small bumps/hills before the big finish. At 25.5, I was passing people left and right and really turning on the juice when a woman told us the finish was “around the corner”. Well, we knew it wasn’t. I heard a girl comment on this and despite running at my half marathon pace now, I agreed with her and we talked about how we hate when people shout stuff like that about the finish when we just want to SEE the finish. I turn to look at her better and boom, she’s an internet running group friend! I managed to choke out my name and we both screamed. What are the odds? I knew we would get the final half mile in together, and boy did we ever. The downhill was ours. All of the pictures are of me talking to her (lol) and flying down faster than my 5K pace. We hit the finish, threw up our moose ears, and were done.
Final: I hit the clock at 4:21:34.2, which apparently rounds up to :35. I beat my A+ goal by 4 and a half minutes, which still seems unreal. And I had the best time doing it! Everyone I talked to on the course was sweet and beyond pleasant. The crowd support was impressive for a marathon of this size. We were handed our medal, the blanket, and the mug, plus a bottle of water.
Then I went off to find my parents at the Beer Truck. Sure enough, I beat them there. I grabbed a slice of pizza and some blue Powerade. I didn’t have my ID, only a sweaty $20 bill, so I couldn’t even get a beer. By the time they arrived, I was able to change then requested that we skip the beer and get straight to Bottoms Up Pizza, the source of my favorite pizzas from my Sweet 16 to my high school graduation. They actually had a table open and I had a Southern Tier Imperial Pumpking, a huge slice, and some Oreo pie to go.
A million thanks to everyone who has commented here, on my Strava, or out in the ‘real world’ plus my parents who cheered and cowbelled so hard. Y’all the best.
Until next time, Richmond! 50 weeks until NYC Marathon!
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.
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!
10/23: I was going to do my long run this day, but after getting home at 8am from the redeye and a lot of traffic, I proceeded to sleep for 6 hours and still felt like crap.
10/24: Got in 3 miles on the treadmill in the AM
10/25: Took off work early to get my long run done in the light. My route included the Queensboro Bridge, a loop around the Central Park reservoir, then I stayed on Riverside Drive until I had to go downhill. I finally made it to the Little Red Lighthouse! The sunset was stunning and I got to see it for several miles.
I finally found a working water station at mile 19 after pausing to buy a Powerade at mile 18 (most of the UWS and midtown water fountains had been turned off). I was planning to do the recommended full 21 (NYRR Virtual Trainer had me doing 17, 19, and 21 as my longest log runs) but finally found an open bathroom at mile 20.5 and decided that would have to do. I shuffled east along Christopher street to the subway and ate a lot of raviolini when I got home.
10/26: Rest day.
10/27: Still sore. 5.4 mile loop of Prospect Park at an easy pace to shake out some of the DOMS. My quads were pretty shredded on the downhills.
10/28: I was supposed to do the last 10 miles of the NYC Marathon with PPTC but woke up and was still super sore. Figured I shouldn’t cause any more muscle microtears.
10/29: Torrential downpour rest day. I made it to IKEA to buy some necessities for my future apartment but also regretted every leaving the house when I could have stayed home and watched more Mindhunter. Canceled my Monday evening Mile High Run Club The Distance speed class in the hopes of moving my long run then.
Total: 28.9 miles but really a lot less since the long run was for the week before. I’m going to have to do another midweek longish run but now those will be a lot shorter (10 miles then 8 miles). Taper time, here I come!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.)
Cutback week with 28 prescribed miles from the NYRR Virtual Trainer (which again, is Sunday-Saturday for me since my goal race is on a Saturday).
10/9: Another Chicago run along the Lake Front Trail. 6.5 miles total, mostly trail instead of road. I hopped off the main path and went around the golf course, which provided some great views.
10/10: 4.25 miles along the Hudson River Greenway to a class at RowHouse with a friend. I miscalculated this run as closer to 3 miles, then had to hustle my way up. Surprise progressive run! I struggled during class (I got there at 6:30 on the dot and hate being late), then we refueled with Sushiritos after class.
10/11: Rest day
10/12: 5.4 mile RunCommute along the Queensboro Bridge then in Central Park to a bar (Bob’s Your Uncle, formerly The Ding Dong Lounge which I frequented in my grad school days) on 106th and Columbus for my friend Allison’s birthday. I had a Breckenridge Agave Wheat beer and some garlic knots.
10/13: Rest Day
10/14: Long Run in Red Hook. I left no pier unturned on this one. The run up 15th Street from Smith to Prospect Park was horrifying (you can see where my pace slowed at miles 7 and 8). I ended the run at Woodwork to watch the Arsenal game with some friends, then shuffled home after a couple of pumpkin beers. 11.3 miles during the main part of the run, then 0.67 home from the bar. I’m going to round up for the full 12.
At night, I went to a bachelorette party and we had some amazing dishes at Bangia in Koreatown (corn cheese pajeon! spicy pork and mozzarella fried rice! soy garlic boneless wings!) then got gummis and Strawbeeritas for karaoke before dessert at Paris Baguette. I had the kouign amann and devoured it. I hope to bake more this winter once I settle into my new kitchen, but I think croissants and koign amanns are still a bit above my pay grade/skill level.
10/15: 3 recovery miles on the gym treadmill. I wanted to watch football but the only TV showing that was in front of the stationary bikes, so I suffered through the end of the movie Taxi with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. I might have squeezed in another mile or two otherwise.
Total: 31.25 Mon-Sun miles. Prescribed 28 miles Sun-Sat and I hit 28.25. Success!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.