Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 9: Halfway Home

Chronicling on a week-to-week basis my progress on this training plan has had nothing but positive effects on the actual training. The old adage “you have to put it out in the world to make it happen” or something along those lines has forced me to hold myself accountable. I am at the start of Week 9 which means I have crossed the halfway point, hence the super clever and original subtitle for this thing.

This week is one of the 3 peak weeks of the training plan with 50-54 miles as the weekly mileage. I already skipped the optional 4-mile run so 50 it is. When I was shopping around for (free) plans, I thought that a week like this looking fucking impossible, now I’m so used to this thing that all I can think of is if I will get home from the 18-mile run in time for the start of the Giants game. No doubt sitting through a Giants/Bills game is going to be a way worse three hours then the run. Probably will be sorer from it as well, as I internally rage and pop a blood vessel or take a kitchen knife and gouge out my eyes to save myself from the misery. If I have to listen to Troy Aikman, Troy fucking Aikman of all god damn people, defend the Giants and Eli Manning against Joe Suck for my Sunday afternoon my ears are going the way of the cameras of Jeffery Epstein’s cell, off. Nailed that joke 3 weeks too late. Man the Giants have a way of getting me off script.

It is a testament of how sticking to a plan and continuing to push yourself can really pay off. I swear when I started this thing I thought the concept of having to run 18 miles sounded impossible. I knew how gassed I was after running half marathons and an additional 5 miles seemed like a worse torture then being a cornerback on the aforementioned Giants last Sunday. Now I’m thinking that after the 5-mile run on Saturday I might hit the gym and get a little extra work in. Crazy.

On the subject of progress, I have to say that taking a week off had noticeable effects on my running last week. I mentioned that my body had felt great after not running which was wonderful, but I feel like I struggled to get through the Wednesday 8-miler and the Thursday 7-miler. Those runs felt absolutely torturous and the only things I can really attribute that too are the weather (maybe?) and the break. Perhaps not for the first time but certainly this was noticeable to me, I actually worried that I would be unable to finish the run. I almost started walking, which to me is equal to quitting. I was fucking gassed after both of those runs. I don’t think it was exhaustion from the interval run, but I definitely was exhausted. Terrible. On a lighter note the rest of the week went great, the Friday tempo run I really cruised through, I ran the 10-miler on Saturday with no issues, and Sunday’s run was torture but for different reasons well documented here: https://swordsandsports.blog/2019/09/10/new-balance-5th-avenue-mile-race-review/

So what am I looking at for this week. I mentioned already that the long run is an 18-miler, which I will be doing the NYRR training run thingy for (review to come). That obviously is an enormous challenge, but after the relatively successful 16-mile run (minus almost drowning and having rain drops assault my bald dome) I hope to cruise through it. I ran the 6-mile Hill run this morning and it was relatively easy. I will see how the 8-mile, 7-mile, 6-mile tempo, and 5-mile runs go but I really don’t foresee any problems. My hamstrings still feel absolutely murdered but that will fade. Alright time to stop talking about it and instead get too it!

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 8: Back and same as ever

Back from a not-so-well deserved vacation is the number 204958028 blogger in the world, here to tell harrowing tales of his adventures in foreign lands. Actually no I am not doing any recap of Colombia in this blog because I am terrible at coming up with ideas and need to save that for another day. What I am going to provide the world with is a progress report on my quest to run a marathon.

Kind of like what college football did with week zero actually having official games, we are officially at Week 8 of this thing after last weeks unofficial Week 8. Actually that doesn’t relate at all but I do want to say calling something week zero is either bad-ass or the stupidest thing ever. Since college football is boring as fuck, I vote stupid.

As you can see from the lovely picture above, I clearly did not run once on my vacation. I have to say taking a week off was the most bizarre feeling I have had in a while. Not since I went to Ireland last year have I taken more then 4 days off consecutively. I just felt kind of lost, especially since this was in the middle of an intense (for me) training program where I am so used to running at a minimum five times a week. But let me tell you, allllll of my nagging injuries and aches and general physical pain is gone. While I normally scoff at the idea of rest, I still scoff at the idea of rest.

Week 7 of the program was a monster. Having not ran on the Sunday for Week 6, I had to run 10 miles on Monday, leaving no rest day heading into Week 7. This would have been fine in a normal week, but due to scheduling I really had no other day besides Thursday to do my long run. So I followed up that 10-miler with a not terrible tempo run and then I guess my recovery run was the 7-miler on Wednesday. I was dying on that run.

The real fucking challenge was of course the 16-miler. I set a new distance PR (everyone loves hearing about other peoples PR’s I know). As you may have noticed, the run was broken up into two parts. This isn’t because I did like 12 in the morning and 4 at night, it’s because after running 12 miles the fucking skies opened up like a lady of the night to the point where sidewalks flooded and I physically could not run. I had to take cover in a hotel parking lot for like 10 minutes until things calmed down a bit. I looked like a jackass because of course I was running with no shirt and I was just standing there with my thumb up my ass shirtless freezing my nipples off. Things were going surprisingly smooth throughout it which is the real frustrating part. Either way it got done.

This week is another calm before the storm week. I ran the 5-miler I never got to before I went on vacation when I got back Monday morning. Went straight from watching Avengers: Endgame, through customs to hitting those streets like a lady of the night. Thats a callback joke right there . . . I think. I also have never seen any of the Avengers or like the last 12 Marvel movies so that was certainly something. Feel like that Thanos guy gets a bad rap. He was a hardcore motherfucker.

Since I am publishing this late Tuesday night I also got to admit I already ran the 6-mile interval run. It wasn’t too bad. Looking forward to having a nice week to ease back into things. Not looking forward to doing that tempo run on Friday. I am firmly anti-tempo gang. Lets get itttttttt.

Final Notes: Really excited for the next few weeks on the blog, I finished three books over the course of the vacation so I am chomping at the bit to get these reviews out to you guys. One of the books I have blogged extensively about and I can’t wait to whine like a spoiled white child who doesn’t get to eat cookies for dinner. God that is just not a funny joke. The other two are a surprise!

Also FOOOTTTTBALLL is back this week. I know college is already back, but right now I have on this Notre Dame vs. Louisville game and I am getting my yearly reminder that college football is fucking boring. I mean they are showing this fucking Notre Dame coaches vacation pictures from Ireland and Scotland. Jesus Christ. Might bring back Mat’s Money Makers, the ultimate fail gambling blog.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 7: Third times a charm

Marathon Mondays Week 7: Third times a charm

It’s Tuesday. I know this. Moving on.

Well officially Week 7 is in the books. I have to say that this was probably the easiest week since maybe week 4 but still fraught with it’s own challenges. I last left off talking about having an 8-mile interval run, and honestly it went great. Here is a breakdown of workout. Just realized that it is much easier to post what the workouts look like instead of trying to explain them through words.

God I love loading those workouts into the watch. I had assumed that a GPS watch wasn’t going to impact me too much, especially since I still wind up taking my phone on most of my runs, but features like having the watch breakdown the workout while running it has made doing these workouts astronomically easier. This workout though was not at all easy, by the 8th set I was fucking gassed. I felt like I was making good time, I do a good job at maintain the hard, short stuff if you know what I mean. Boner joke! But the next day my hammys were tighter than a . . . I am done with the inappropriate jokes.

Which led me to the rest of the week, as you can perhaps see I had back-to-back 8-milers. That wasn’t too bad. The rest of the week seemed like a de-load. I did my long run on Monday because I was in PA all weekend, watching some band called Florida Georgia Line. They are the ones that sing that roll your windows down song. WHO KNEW! Pretty sick. The run went fine, I tried one of those gel things, I think the brand was LAKJ:LKJ (no free ads). I mean for a 10-miler I know that stuff isn’t necessary, but I want to start experimenting with drugs, I mean gels, so I know what to expect. I remember my first gel.

That was the corniest joke I have ever written. Meaning it was great.

Which brings us alllllll the way to Week 7, hell week. Why is it hell week? Welllllll I am going to Colombia on Saturday, so I need to get all my runs in over the next 5 days. Meaning my week is looking like an 8-mile tempo run, which I already ran this morning. Looked like this:

And after that, a 7-miler, my long run 16-miler, and a 5-mile hill workout. If by some miracle I wake up at 4 AM on Saturday I will attempt to get the last 5-miler in. Am I concerned about all this? Very very concerned. This is a lot to take on in a short amount of time, but if I want to at least get the most out of this week then I think this is best. Fortunately I will have a week of rest after it, so as long as I am able to get it done I will deal with the consequences later. Let’s get it! Also stay tuned for a review of Colombia, yes the entire country, in a couple of weeks.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 6: PR’s and progress

Yes it is Tuesday. Yes I know the title of this blog series is Marathon Mondays. Yes I know that means that a blog about training for a marathon that is titled Marathon Mondays should be posted on Mondays not Tuesday. And I am also aware that this is the second time I have done this. Well guess what. I fucked up. So here it goes!

Welcome to the Monday* rendition of the my progress whilst training for my first marathon! If you are just joining in, this blog series is mostly whining about injuries and making excuses so buckle up. Lets start with how last week finished up.

Once again I skipped the flex day run, actually taking a day off instead of doing some type of cross training or running. My legs were just beat the hell up and I really did not think I could even run one more mile without something snapping. It was a great choice. Tuesday was a 6-mile hill run as well as a soccer game later on, so I seriously needed to be fresh or I wasn’t going to make it. The hills were great, I keep meaning to take a picture of the bridge I run up on 14th street in Hoboken. I think it’s 14th street at least. Whatever it is about .35 miles long so it works. The workout went swimmingly, I did 7 sets of .25 mile repeats up the hill. Some lady walked up that hill twice, once in the beginning of me starting the hills and once at the end. So all that lady saw me do was run up and down this hill, since she was walking slow as shit I had to run past her like 8 times. The last time she just laughed at me like look at this fucking loser. Fuck you lady with your old woman walking ass, go play in traffic. Just kidding she seemed nice and even waved the last time.

The rest of the week was pretty standard, though the 8-miler on Thursday was pure fucking torture. You know sometimes its just hot and muggy and you are shot and every step feels like you have been laying on a mirror in the middle of the Sahara wearing a gimp suit? Maybe that is just me…

Tempo run really felt like I loosened up, my gf was doing an 8-mile tempo run that was 1 mile at tempo, .25 mile recovery, for 4 miles so I did 3 miles of that with her. It wasn’t too bad prob kept around an 8-8:30 minute mile for them. Either way I got through it.

And finally, the long run. I set a new distance PR on Sunday with a lovely 14-miler. That run was honestly the first time that this whole running 26 miles thing seemed possible. We set it up pretty solidly, in front of my apartment I had a Gatorade (yellow of course. yellow is a flavor don’t @ me) so when we ran about 7 miles we passed the apartment and refueled for a good 30 seconds. That made all the difference. Well the weather made all the difference really because it was gorgeous. Whatever it felt great.

Taking a look at the upcoming week it seems to be a down week in terms of day-to-day runs so I am looking forward to getting some cross training in. I did some hot yoga yesterday and while my downward dog still looks like dead dog I really do recommend adding yoga to your routine. I feel astronomically better today than I did yesterday. Once I learned to accept that I am always going to suck at yoga and to not be embarrassed about it, I have way more fun. I still try all the hard shit and fall and stuff, but what are you going to do. Like I tried to do this pose where you are in tree thingy and you grab your big toe and extend the leg out, but my hip almost snapped off and I stumbled and gave it up. It would have looked sick though. I think this is it.

Today, I have an 8-mile interval run and I think this will be the most challenging thing I have on the agenda so I am glad to get it out the way. No soccer tonight the seasons over. We sucked. The long run this weekend is 10 miles so nothing too crazy there. I even have a 3-mile run on the schedule, what will I do with all the time on my hands. Maybe finish a fucking book…

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 5: On to the 2nd quarter

One quarter of the quest to become Marathon Mike is officially in the books. It is easy to look at a plan and think that it seems like an impossible amount of time, but I am here to tell you that it is an impossible amount of time. I feel like with how much I talk to people about this, with all the blogs, and the obvious planning/training/recovering of doing the actual plan, it feels like I have been doing this for an eternity. To think that four weeks is literally a month, not a pleasant thought. If you thought some encouraging shit was coming, MY BAD.

That being said I guess the truth is that if you were a quarter the way through your run you might feel like it’s not that bad. So there is that. I guess. But lets not focus on the negative and get into talking about the runs last week.

Right off the bat you can see the tuesday run I was talking about. For a 6-mile interval run to start off the week, it wasn’t too bad. I felt like I was getting some good pop off of the speed intervals. I got terrible pop in my soccer game that night, but whatever thats not relevent to the blog. It was kind of nice to open up after a brutal 12-miler the day before, and while I felt my knee teetering on disaster, it held up. Seems like my knee if finally starting to heal up correctly. I think a heating pad on it for 20 minutes three times a day at work, as well as working the quad with a lacrosse ball really contributed to the muscle finally loosening up.

The other stuff was business as usual. I banged out the tempo run on Friday morning, felt really good during it. I ran 20 minutes at the tempo, i think the first mile was at an 8:00 minute pace the second one dropped off too an 8:20. It is really hard to get good speed workouts in when I am so worried about getting hurt during soccer. Tuesday night I literally felt like death had come calling. I don’t worry too much about performing well during the speed stuff, I sprint a lot playing sports. As long as I attempt it I am happy.

I also hit the gym Friday night for some well needed leg workouts. With the knee thing I have been scared to do any legwork, which of course means if I lose strength I am more likely to get injured. A vicious cycle indeed. The long run was a 10-miler which was pretty easy all things considered. I ran it Saturday morning before the oppressive heat.

As for the upcoming week. I am taking today off, I feel like if I don’t take at least one day my legs are literally going to seize up, every time I think about running my calf starts to seize up like a fiend. Plus a 6-miler with a hill workout tomorrow morning is not going to be easy. At least the last soccer game of the season is tomorrow night! Until, the fall of course. The rest of the week should be good, though I will be setting my own distance PR with the 14-miler this weekend. That just sounds crazy, but the following weeks that hopefully will be happening a lot. Have a good week everybody!

Marathon Mike

Marathon Monday’s Week 4: A day late but still great

I’m thinking this is going to be a quick update this week, since I already fucked it up by not blogging it yesterday. This is not the blog of excuses, just complaints masked in poor attempts at comedy, so I’ll just tell the truth. Took the day off from work yesterday, and after doing my 12-mile long run in the middle of the day, I was shot and laid on my bed all day while I was subjected to listening to the Bachelorette, as I was too tired and hot to get up and watch my own stuff in the other room that we are too poor to use AC in. That being said, they did my boy Pilot Pete dirty. Guess that’s what you call a…wait for it…crash landing.

Why did I do my long run on Monday of all days, especially considering it was only 102930 degrees out. Well me and the old ball-and-chain went hiking up Mount Minsi on Sunday, which is located somewhere in the Delaware Water Gap or whatever the hell it’s called. Lovely hike, only took like 4-5 hours to do the whole thing, with time spent trying to capture the perfect Instagram picture, which I will of course share below. Go hiking it is pretty chill. 

As to how last week went, it was solid. The tempo run went well, it kind of seems like all my difficult running workouts take place on Tuesdays, which coincides with my washed up soccer league. Whatever it is what it is. The hills I must say were really fun, there is this giant ass bridge in Hoboken that is maybe 1/3 of a mile long and relatively steep so I just did .25 mile repeats for 2 miles. Next time I do hills I will take a picture of it for reference. I also wrote a sentence that had both a fraction and a decimal to describe mile length. That’s the work of a genius.

Let me get into the meat and potatoes for what I’m looking at this week. It would be better for the sake of this blog to talk about how I’m dreading taking on this interval run in the 90 degree weather but I already did it this morning. That’s the problem with writing blogs late, you lose the ability to project forward. I will say though, doing intervals the day after running 12 miles, would not recommend to anyone out there. That is probably the reason this plan has an optional run on Mondays, for that little thing I hate called rest. Whatever it’s in the past, so might as well talk about it. In my quest to never make things easy on myself I decided to do 5 sets of 2 minutes hard running, 2 minutes slow jog. It was a 6 mile run so the warmup was 2 miles. Overall brutal workout. Cool I’ll stop complaining now. Just kidding, my knee has been fucked all day. Still got to play soccer tonight.

As for the rest of the week, it seems like a heavy mileage week, though the long run is only 10 miles. Not really thinking this should be too difficult, assuming my knee cap decides to chill in its uhhhh kneecap for the rest of the week. Who knows!?!?! I will be sure to update on Friday. Probably.

Final Notes: Hope I made up for the lack of words with pictures. Really embracing this blogging work ethic.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Monday’s Week 3: I survived the 2019 Heatwave

Michael Jordan flu game. Isaiah Thomas 2016 playoff run. Robert Griffin III 2013 NFC Playoff Game. LeBron James playing through an almost broken back for the 2018-19 season. These are the moments we remember. Man overcoming injury to glory. Granted those last two examples both those guys lost spectacularly but you get the point. And LeBron’s injury coincidently coincided with his team losing. HMMMM.  I would add myself to the list of the greats, but I just overcame adversity in training. Credit to me, and I guess if I have to give credit, credit to anyone else who ran this weekend. Actually more credit to me, I don’t do it for the camera’s but rather for the love of the game.

As I am sure all my fellow New Yorkian’s can attest too, it was hot as balls this weekend. It was around 100 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday, and as crazy as it sounds it felt even hotter. I mean, it the type of heat/humidity that caused instant swamp ass two seconds into walking outside. I could feel my chest compressing as I was running. I guess that would be why New York Road Runners cancelled their run this weekend. I am not NYRRs though, and the training must be done. I ran the 10-miler on Saturday morning, I even woke up early so I could get going by like 7:30am. I wish I got up at 6. It might have been one of the top 10 hardest runs I have ever done, including some races. I swear at a certain point I was sweating so much that actual foam was coming out of my compression shorts, like a fucking race horse that has been ran to exhaustion. Literal foam. Nuts. Good news is I think the knee injury is really healed up, it didn’t give me too much trouble. Probably because my ligaments melted. Point is, the weekend was tough.

As for the week coming up, I don’t foresee too much difficulty besides the rain that is coming today and tomorrow. As usual, the Tuesday/Wednesday back-to-back can get really tiring, especially when I play soccer Tuesday nights then have to have a longer run Wednesday. I think that my body is getting used to it, or you know like training is actually benefitting me. Tuesday is a 6-mile tempo run, which normally I hate but I am really excited to see how it goes, purely because the Garmin Forerunner 235 (no free ads) has a feature where I can program workouts into it, which should make it much easier to follow along. What a stupid reason to get excited for something I normally hate doing. Kind of like when you get a new suite or gym clothes or something and you get really excited to do something you normally hate just because you got the right gear for it and all of a sudden you think you are going to love it. For me that is pretty much anything involving wearing a suite. Got a new one, obviously thought I looked like hot shit, and was jacked up about wedding season. Ten minutes into the next wedding I was at I remembered that it wasn’t the way I was dressed, it was that I hate socializing and people and events and life. O yea the long run is 12 miles this weekend. Let’s goooooo.

Final Notes: I finished The Obelisk Gate finally, review will be coming at some point this week. A little disappointed in how slow I have been going with the reading lately, I think with no book updates the blog gets a little to me-focused instead of talking about things. Hopefully this inspires me to finish The Dark Defiles, since my boss who has been lending me The Broken Earth Trilogy books is out until next week so I can’t get the next book. It would be nice to be able to but A Land of Heroes trilogy away for all time and never think about it again.