Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 16: O crap this is really happening

We have approached the final rendition of the Monday (or Tuesday, or even in this case Wednesday) marathon training blog. If you are reading this for the first time well the context is pretty easy to figure out if you have any type of awareness. Sunday is the TCS New York City Marathon and I will be participating in it. This is my first marathon so I have no idea what to expect. The only thing I know is baring death I will finish it. So if you never see another blog posted on this illustrious site know that I am not resting in piece.

Might as well talk about last week, though at this point the recap is just to put off having to talk about the future. Last week was one of the lower mileage weeks as the taper is in full effect. Tuesday was a murderous tempo run that I thought I flew through. Every single tempo run in this entire plan I have absolutely dreaded, and every single time I finished the tempo portion I have never felt better. There is something about pushing myself that really feels good. This was no exception. Like even if I am bone tired I seem to be able to push it for an extended amount of time. No one may care but if for some reason you see tempo run and think “fuck that,” well try it. Or don’t I do not really give a shit. Word.

The rest of the week was simple. The Wednesday and Thursday runs were easy enough, and the long run went really well. I see that I clipped off the Sunday run in that image but I am not going backwards so I ran five that day as well. Honestly that week felt nice, I did some yoga and flipped unto my ass trying to do a head stand and the instructor laughed. I mean I laughed too so whatever.

Lets talk about this week. Two 5-milers, a 3-miler and a 26.2-miler. The strategy is simple: don’t worry about time and try and have fun. Fun comes second, I didn’t do all this training to fuck around, I plan on finishing this and doing a respectable job. The strategy is going to be very similar to how I was doing those long runs. I will start by hydrating every 5 miles and will continue to try and keep that up as long as possible. I plan on having gel at miles 6, 12, 18, and maybe 24 though that seems like a lot. I do not think I am going to be able to have a little bit of a banana but whatever.

I will be sure to take enough pictures to make a somewhat decent race review but I make no promises. It is kind of hard to write about this the last week because at this point it feels so close that I just want it to happen but instead I am here writing about it. O well.

Final Note: Not really sure how I am getting to the race so there is a chance none of this happens. That is what I get for not selecting transportation when they asked. Go me!

Also I kind of mailed it in on this blog so if for some reason you actually read to the end of it don’t judge me on this try reading another one.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 15: The calm before the storm

Not really sure what I am going to do to replace this Monday series after this is all said and done but with just one more blog to write after this one maybe I should focus on the task ahead. The title of this blog says it all, with two weeks left until race day this is the time to really focus on making sure my legs will function properly come time. At this point I am delirious with running, it has consumed my every waking moment. I wake up sore as hell, whether it is my calves twitching like a addict in withdrawal, my lower back feeling like I spent the previous day carrying overpriced textbooks I never planned on reading around campus, or my hips feeling like I just finished shooting an adult film, my shit hurts. Those were some A+ analogies.

Week 14 on paper did not seem to be the worst thing, in practice it felt horrible. The week started off with some solid intervals, as I previously mentioned I was going to do 2 minute intervals and I did. 2 minute intervals are god damn torture. Maybe that is why last week sucked, I don’t think I ever truly recovered from the intervals. Moving on to what should have been a nice easy 4-miler. If you were in the tri-state area on Wednesday, you may remember the tsunami. I ran in that. NEXT. Thurday was actually not too terrible I ran with my favorite running partner (that would be my gf, yes a blogger who reads fantasy books can have one of those), and Friday was of course the greatest day of all. I’m talking hills! Also hit the gym Friday night not to brag or really just show how little I have going on in my life that I can work out twice in a day, on a Friday no less. I promise I have a 9-5 job. I also so Post Malone Tuesday night. Not like I saw him while I was out, I paid money to see him preform. No real reason to include that in this but here you go.

The long run physically was difficult in the sense that I felt as if my body was already starting off sore. I didn’t do legs at the gym, but my body felt as if it was stiff and it never really seemed to loosen up. Fortunately my mental game seems to be on track, I just listened to my audiobook and knocked it out. No gels or anything, just a quick pit stop at the water fountain around mile 8.

Looking at this week there really isn’t much to talk about. The 6-mile tempo run tomorrow will probably be the most difficult thing I have to overcome, and since that is in the beggining of the week at least I will get that out the way. I am taking off today, and while I have a day off on thursday, I think it is crucial to get in a yoga class. The long run of the week is 8 miles, so no real challenge there.

Wrapping up this whiny ass blog it really hasn’t hit me that this training is almost at an end. I am not one to get wrapped up in the moment so it still doesn’t feel like I will be running the marathon in two weeks. As someone who had always had ‘running a marathon’ on his bucket list or whatever you want to call it, I am surprised that the buildup hasn’t broken me mentally. Perhaps running those crazy long training runs, and slowly building up to this distance has just made it seem like a tangible goal as oppoosed to a pipe dream. Who knows maybe I will freak out next week. Lets get after it.

Final Notes: For your own mental sanity please don’t ever watch nor bet on the Giants. Shurmer calling a draw on 3rd and a million when we needed to convert that first down to keep the games hope alive has haunted me since yesterday. Also the decision to take the ball out of the end zone after the Cardinals field goal and not just take the touch back, essentially negating using the two minute warning as a time-out was one of the worst time management coaching decisions I have ever seen. So bad.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 13: Come on how long is this training

I know how long this training is because I understand how numbers work, but seeing something and doing something are two very different things. I also get that, but holy shit my life has been consumed by running. I am on the final quarter of the training plan, with the last week being of course marathon week, so while all that other stuff was important this quarter matters the most. Meaning it is time to push it.

Last week was one of those de-loadish weeks that was supposed to be a drop off in mileage, but looking at it again I am realizing I still ran 44 miles. Prior to this training plan my longest running week was under 40 miles, so to call a 44 mile week light is almost laughable. But that is what progress is supposed to be.

Like I said, it was supposed to be a light week… So it started off with an 8-mile interval run, which I actually ran as fast as I could because I was trying to squeeze in the run before an appointment. I was making fantastic time, the intervals felt good I was moving well but then my stupid ass watch died. Hence the two tracked runs. Had to bust out the phone for the rest of it. Frustrating in a sense that I was doing great, but in the grand scheme of things not a big deal. I switched a few runs this week, swapping the Wednesday/Thursday and the Saturday/Sunday. No real reason for this besides scheduling. The 10-mile run went fantastic, I was encouraged by this.

Also did some significant cross training last week. Hit the gym later Saturday to get a lot of work in for my legs. My groins have been feeling week during my long runs, so I did a lot of strength training for them, and of course my hamstrings. I also did some calf raises, which I know I need to do, but because of all this running it absolutely murders me for the next few days. They just seem to be getting so tight, they also constantly twitch, even when I am not active. My physical therapist/girlfriend was working on them yesterday and I was legit almost crying. Such a pussy. I also took a yoga class, was the only dude there so I felt weird and kept my shirt on. Ridiculous that I created my own peer pressure. As I said, I am a slang term for being soft.

Let’s talk about the upcoming week. I am actually worried about getting all this done and still having energy at the end of it to run 22 miles. Today is a 10-mile tempo run. That is quite a lot of mileage on top of being a speed workout. I am sure I will feel better after I get through it. The workout itself is similar to the 8-mile tempo run, I am just adding another round. That photo is supposed to say 5 times but I am too lazy to fix it at this point. After that the week isn’t really bad, I mean I actually get a day off which I will wisely use to watch the Giants get smoked. O well this is what I signed up for.

And lastly but certainly not leastly (that’s how that expression goes right?) is the mammoth 22-miler. Look there is nothing to say about this that I haven’t said. I plan on approaching it similar to the 20-miler. I am going to do a 13-mile loop followed by I guess a 9-mile loop, prob taking goo gel shit at miles 6, 15, and 20. Water at 7ish, 13, 20 and any time I pass a water fountain after. Quarter of a banana at mile 13. Let’s get it.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Monday’s Week 11: The Crucible

Stellar original title to represent what will be the most difficult week of physical activity in my entire life. This is what will either make or break me. It is time for my running crucible.

But before we get to the specifics, which I mean since I post the entire plan every week you can kind of just see already, let’s talk about the previous weeks high’s and low’s. The low’s are Florida running. Florida is a swamp. Any time I have ever run in Florida it is nothing but a torturous experience. The weather is psychotic, in the course of an hour run I experienced hurricane rain, it then stopped and became muggy to the point where I was parting the air like Moses did to the Red Sea, to finally completely sunny like the fucking Sahara. I ran 4 miles yesterday and I swear I thought I would just pass out on the boardwalk like the goblins outside Penn Station. Miserable.

SOOO Friday I ran a miserable 5 there, Saturday fortunately it was so cloudy and windy that I think I was just whipped forward like a rag doll for 10 and then the aforementioned Sunday Runday. Not fun. I did get a nice workout in on Friday to beef up the ol’ twig legs. Which is good because I ate like shit. The beginning of the week went well, I think I spoke about the intervals already but I like that workout. I think the one minute bursts followed by two minute jogs is a good but not terrible workout.  Whatever the de-load week is over. I feel not de-loaded.

On to the crux of the matter. Is that how that expression works? This week tops off at 55 miles. Anyway you break that up is going to miserable, but for conversations sake let’s get into it. An 8-mile hill workout kicks things off, as you can see from the workout posted below I am upping it to 10 rounds of .25 mile repeats because I love pain. But truthfully I was so miserable running up the Harlem hills during my 18-mile race I know I need to continue to train on them. Then I am going knock out a “casual” 9-miler the following day. I truthfully think that the Wednesday run is going to be the hardest run of the week. Followed by triple 6’s leading into the long run. The tempo run is going to be a disaster. It hasn’t changed since I have done it but I will post it for consistencies sake.

All this is in preparation for the monster 20-miler on Sunday. The goal is to just get it done by any means neccassary. I am thinking about running like two 7-mile loops and then a 6-mile loop. Or doing two 10-mile loops. Either way after the each loop I will be taking a quick Gatorade respite and will do the goo every 5 miles. I think if I just pace it and it isn’t miserable out I prob will make it. Either way it is much easier to type about shit then to do it. So no more.

Final Notes: I am in love with a man. His name is Daniel Jones. Our hero, our savior, our messiah. The Week 3 GOAT. The future of my happiness. An absolutely masterful display. I walked off the plane Sunday, fired up the game and watched him run right up the gut to win. I cried, I laughed, I fell in love.

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!