Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 10: Amateur hour is over

That seems more like the title of a bad action movie or like the fourth season of a sports movie that went straight to DVD. Maybe when they reboot Air Bud they can borrow my subtitle. Either way it is week 10 of this magnificent series as well as the 10th week of my marathon training so let’s talk about it.

Last week was nothing short of brutal. Just a heavy workload capatalized by the monster run on Sunday, which of course you can read all about in the previous blog if you are so inclined to hear more whining. To be fair hill workout’s are slowly becoming my absolute favorite workout so to start the week off like that was ideal. I mentioned before that I did some hot yoga later that tuesday night and I fully credit my success for the rest of the week on doing that class. Two-a-days are a lot to put on your plate, they consume an enormous amount of both time and energy while depleting an already drained body, but yoga has almost the opposite effect. Besides the obvious stretching aspect I just think it helps so much with strenghting without straining and reenergizing the body by increasing blood flow. So if you are a dude who is too masculine to do it well you are a bitch.

So I switched up the 7 and 8-mile runs to accomadate my schedule, but I am convinced that those Wednesday/Thursday mid-week medium mileage runs are the hardest runs of the whole training plan. Something about those two days absolutely murders me. Wednesday I ran in the morning and had planned on doing the extra mile but physically I just called it quits, which is crazy considering it was only an extra mile. Could have been an extra 10 miles for all that mattered because I just couldn’t do it. It’s weird that I can have such a bounce back for the tempo run on Friday, which went excellently. I mean 2 1/2 miles at a 7ish minute mile pace is great for me. Felt good after it as well

But taking a look at this week there are a few things to note. It is certainly a de-load week, which at this point I know I need despite my body feeling great. I am headed to Fort Lauderdale for the weekend so I squeezed in a workout yesterday to try and find my abs in order to flex for social media. Sadly they are still lost. I am highly encouraged that I was not really sore at all the day after the 18-miler, so I want to keep that momentum and push it with the extra workouts. I did the intervals this morning, they went fine. No other running workouts this week which is a blessing. Just gotta knock out a 10-miler at some point then straight lounging on the beach. Till next week . . .

Final Notes: Pray for Daniel Jones. O lord.

Race Reviews

TCS New York City Marathon Training Series 18M Race Review

Date: Sunday, September 15th 2019

Distance: 18 Miles

Location: New York, NY (Central Park)

Time: 2:44:51

Welp the big training event before the marathon is now officially in the past. I learned a lot about what to expect, what I need to work on, where I am at with my fitness, what kind of runner I am, and how much I dislike central park all in the course of almost three hours early Sunday morning.

First off lets get to the gear. For some reason I can only imagine was due to overstock, the gear for this race was the ever practical arm sleeves. The arm sleeve, as history commonly accepts, was not made cool until Allen Iverson wore one. In of course, as many readers are aware, a sport that involves your arms. So just to get it out of the way, these arm sleeves are wack as hell. They look like bad stained glass windows. I already have tattoos I don’t need fake ones. Of course here they are for reference. Make your own judgement.

Moving on. The race itself went surprisingly well. The start time of 7:00 AM would normally have me throwing a fit, but I actually think with this distance it was a blessing. I had little time to think about the task at hand, as I was mostly focused on staying awake and maneuvering the PATH and subway. I wound up taking an Uber to the start line anyway. But because it was early I just woke up and got right to it.

The weather was great for it, I think it was high 60’s low 70’s for the entire time, if the race started any later it would have been a nightmare, as it crept up to 80’s later on. I had planned on taking my sweet ass time for this, really emphasizing the “training” part of the race, but I think I either got caught up in the moment or just had a good day out there. I am by no means a great runner, I would say for my age I usually sit about average, but I was extraordinarily consistent throughout the course.

Originally I planned on running 10:30-11:00 minute miles in order to focus on just getting the distance in without injury, but around 3 miles in I noticed that I came out the gate faster than I would have liked. I know I have the watch, but I kept trying to do the math every time I passed a timer, which by the way they had at every mile, and I was surprised that I was moving quicker. I thought I actually slowed down at some point but clearly I stayed consistent throughout.

For anyone who has ever done a NYRR race or ran in Central Park in general, they are familiar with the fucking up-and-down nature of NYC’s one redeeming place. The race was three loops around the park, which is not only really unoriginal but also means you know where the hills are and can start dreading them. Now this wasn’t really an issue for me until the 3rd time around, by which point I was working on miles 12 through 18 and knew exactly where every incline was. That third lap was torture, I hit like a physical wall around mile 15 where I honestly questioned if I would be able to go another foot.

My strategy going in was water every 5 miles and some bee goo around the halfway mark. This did not happen, I took water/Gatorade at miles 5, 9, 12, 14, and 16 which shows me that I need to be aware of how necessary hydration is. My fear with water breaks is that as I slow down to grab a cup that I just physically won’t be able to pick it back up, but experience has shown the actual opposite effect. It’s not like when I have to stop for stupid cars that I just collapse, idk what kind of mental block makes me think it is going to happen during a race. I also think I need more of those gel packet things.

Either way, I smoked that last mile finishing nice and strong. Physically the largest challenge I had was in my legs. My groins were killing me, which is surprising as usually my hamstrings are the first thing I feel. I honestly thing doing yoga earlier in the week was the game changer. My quads felt like bricks by mile 16, I am not sure really how that is going to change besides just getting in better running shape, but it has motivated me to keep going to hot yoga torture chambers and get a few more gym sessions in before the big race.

Ultimately I finished and considering I wasn’t “racing” this race I am beyond happy with my times. This was a huge validation of my own ability and the success of sticking with the program. No more races on the agenda until the big one, so it is on me to stay focused. Bonus picture of me looking like human death at the finish line at the end of this.

Final Notes: Same thing as last week about the Giants, I don’t want to hear it.

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.

Race Reviews

City Manager’s 10-Mile Race to Remember Race Review

Date: Sunday May 26th, 2019

Distance: 10 Miles

Location: Long Beach, NY

Time: 1:34:42

Fresh off the heels of the Brooklyn Half I ran the City Manager’s 10-Mile Race to Remember in the beautiful city? (I mean a city in the Long Island sense of the term) of Long Beach for a nice 10 miler. No goal in mind which was a good thing because it was at least 400 degrees and I am not sure PRing was going to happen. I was still also feeling the damage of having done the Brooklyn Half. Not damage in terms of soreness, but if posting a picture of myself last race review revealed anything besides the fact that I’m looking low key jacked up, I am also bald as a cue ball. My dome got torchhhhed. Like peeling all week torched. Like wear a hat to work torched because the three seconds of sun I see on the walk from Herald Square to my job is too much. Like I wore my tank top as a durag for a solid 3 miles before I gave up on even trying. Always thought it looked gross when old dudes had bald skulls with different colored skin. Well I learned that it is not that hard to have happen. Not a great look.

There is a reason for it. First poor planning. But second is that I hate running with a hat. Style wise it looks way better, and while normally I only care about looking good, my head just starts overheating. Same reason I hate using sunscreen on my egg head. Clogs my pores, or at least I think that is what happens, and I overheat and sweat straight sunscreen into my eyes. I think my biggest injury from the race on Sunday was my eyes were stinging. Point being, this is way too long to complain about being bald.

This was my third time doing this race so I am really familiar with it. In fact this was the first race me and my gf ran together, yes you are allowed to go “Awwwww” here. It also was the longest I had ran at that point of my life. As a local race goes the course itself is not too original. It kind of zig zags back and forth, but Long Beach is a cool, gorgeous area so that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The highlight of the race is the two miles of boardwalk between miles 3 to 5. You get to experience one of the best boardwalks on Long Island with an incredible view of the water without having to look over the gross ass people that go to Jones Beach. The rest of the race winds through neighborhoods, some of the roads are pretty narrow but I kind of liked that. Though there were a few people biking on those streets, you got to be a real loser to bike on a narrow street that a bunch of people are running on, there are 8 million different roads you can take your bike and you choose to weave through people.

In terms of amenities, the end of the race has an awesome, all time spread. Easily one of my favorites. There are no swag bags at the end, instead at the end there is a million bakery goods, some hotdogs, Gatorades and water bottles. I might be missing some stuff, but any race that has baked goods at the end is already an amazing race. I grabbed myself a blue Gatorade and glazed doughnut and was instantly a significantly happier person. TAKE NOTE have bakery goods at the end of your race. The shirt was a change from the prior years, it fit me a little weird but I think that it probably fits the general population better. It’s a hard cotton shirt but the design is cool, a good blogger would have a picture of the shirt ready to go, so I will do my best next time. It was blue so use your imagination.

So the part no one cares about, my performance. I ran it in 1:34:42. Nat and I were running with another couple, who were running their first race together (can you believe the coincidence!!!!!!!!!!!! So cute I’m going to regurgitate that glazed doughnut) so we stuck with them for a little bit and I went solo dolo around mile 3. I hung out with my sister who was nice enough to come watch, nothing to do with her also going to the beach, for a few minutes. Lots of excuses for this run. Might as well mention again it was as hot as the Seven Cities in MBotF. For reference I ran this race in 1:25 during a monsoon last year. Haters going to hate.

FINAL NOTES: Keep your hair. Warriors in 6.