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St. Pat’s Half Marathon Race Review: The last race in America

Date: Saturday, March 14th, 2020

Distance: 13.1 Miles

Location: Rockaway Park, New York

Time: 1:41:06

Presented by RockapulcoRun

HELLLLLLO I know everyone was waiting with bated breath for how I was going to handle the cancellation of the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon and I am here to tell you I handled it real well. When I found out Tuesday that the race was no longer happening, I quickly scrambled to find another race. Lo and behold there was another race! RockapulcoRun happened to be putting on a St. Pattys day half that saturday, and it was still going to happen so I quickly signed up. Crises averted.

When the race coordinator was explaining the course to the runners, someone shouted out something like “Thanks for hosting the last race of America.” I would love to take credit for that as I take pride in my big crowd shoutout jokes, but in good faith I can not.

There were certainly some last minute concerns with this. First, it was Saturday instead of Sunday, meaning I had to cut out the final two mile run out. Prob not an important run anyway. Second, it was about an hour drive from me. Despite some closures I got there relatively easily. There were a lot of people there that had done what I did, so it’s good that RockapulcoRun was still putting on the event, I think there were maybe 200 people there?

As for the race itself, no real fancy packet pickup, simply a stand at the race start where they were safely handing out the race stuff.

As for the gear, let me tell you I was taken for a loop on this one. I have gotten a bunch of different swag, mostly shitty t-shirts (this race included), but never ever have I received a loaf of Irish soda bread. Let me tell you it was fantastic. There also was a medal and a solid looking bib, take a look for yourself.

Okay it is race talk time. Funny enough, this course was the first half marathon course I had ever run. I think in 2017 I did a different RockapulcaRun half marathon, so I already knew what I was in for. Two loops of 6.5ish miles, all flat course and a view of a very grey boardwalk. In terms of sights to see, not my favorite course though running along a boardwalk isn’t to bad. A little windy.

I had a goal for this race, well not exactly this one but whatever. I wanted to run it in 1:45:00 and had followed the Hal Higdon Intermediate something training plan to try and hit that goal. Let me tell you, based on my time, I destroyed that goal. It was fuckkkkking painful though, for real I almost debated dropping out at the half way mark as I was exhausted and felt I had nothing left. The only reason I kept running was I realized that I had smoked the first half of the race and even if I had a poor second half I would crush my previous PR of 1:49:10.

This feeling of death happened for a few reasons. I came out the gate wayyyy to hot and this almost cost me the race. A 7 minute mile was not the way I was supposed to start this race. I tried to maintain a 7:30 pace and for a while I was doing alright, but I started to fluctuate around 5th mile and kept a 7:40 to 8:00 pace. I took a gel at like mile 5, and every couple miles I had a little more of it. I also took water at mile 7 and mile 10. This pace truly pushed me to the limit, I had been training intensely to be able to run faster miles, but I think that maintaining that speed for a full 13 miles was something that I am going to need to work on. I am not going to say I felt undertrained, because obviously I did a great job on beating my goal, but I think that my race strategy is really shit and it is costing me precious minutes. I make it much more difficult on my self because of my inability to set a good pace from the beginning. Whatever, I am fucking jacked up that I was able to beat my goal by that much. I already can’t wait to get started on another one.

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Marathon Mondays Week 11: Penultimate or something

We are one, yes one week away from completing the second iteration of the masterful, inspirational, emotional (half) Marathon Monday’s blog series and let me tell you I am jacked up. I am also aware that this blog is coming out on a Wednesday, which happens to not be Monday but fuck off i’ve been sorta busy.

In Week 11 there is still plenty of work to be done. I guess in a 12 week plan there is not a lot of time for de-loading because this and last week were the two heaviest weeks of the entire plan. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, I also am saying that because I already finished the running workout for this week. Trust me I did not feel that way on Monday.

Last week was rough, I mentioned in the Week 10 blog that I was going on a snowboard trip so I was going to have to do some shifting around with the runs. This always messes up the rhythm that I get in on these training plans and it results in some pretty shitty runs. So I moved the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday runs up a day, and did the Saturday run Thursday morning. If that is confusing, because it is confusing me, the picture of all the runs will clear it up. This also happened to coincide with me starting a new job, so it is safe to say I was all over the place. At least the tempo run went well, I feel confident that I have gotten significantly faster as a direct result of these workouts. So while I hate them and dread them every week, they are necessary. The long run was an 11-miler, which I ran immediately after driving for 4 hours from Whiteface back home. The snowboarding was great though it is not exactly easy on the old legs. That 11-miler was torrrrttture but I did it.

Looking ahead, well I guess at this point looking at the present, I have another heavy week. Since I am doing my long run on Saturday, I am looking at a 38 mile week, which is a lot to be running the week before a race. I feel confident that I am in good enough shape that 38 miles should be just fine. The running workout was roughhhhh though. Ten rounds of quarter mile intervals is absolute torture, and the jog parts were so fucking slow but that is in the past now. The long run is a 12-miler, which I find a little crazy because I am running a half-marathon next week, but this is what ol’ Hal Higs says to do so I trust the process. Next week is the final countdown, lets get it!

Marathon Mike

Marathon Monday’s Week 5: Frozen fun for everyone

Welcome back to the personal journey of one blogger’s attempt to be the most amateur runner of all time. With a corny subtitle for the blog, lets dive right into it.

Last week had it’s challenges as it has truly become the dead of winter and is now obnoxiously cold. It is the point of the winter where I see these former track runners out in nothing but dick showing shorts and maybe a long sleeve shirt and I realize that I will never make the sacrifices needed to be a great runner or a fucking try-hard. If you are going to wear short ass shorts why do it in the freezing cold when your dick is going to look all shriveled up. Sure you look tough I guess, wearing nothing out there in the frozen tundra but these tiny flaps that show all your bony ass cheeks and withered tree branch legs, but all anyone is going to care about is that lack of bulge. Not putting yourself in a position to succeed. Or maybe I am just projecting my own insecurities. Continue on please.

Dick rant over, last week I had two challenging runs. The tempo run I thought went extremely well. After the first 20 minute tempo I knew that I had some more gas in the tank and could handle the second part without suicidal thoughts. I think for the first part I averaged close to a 7 minute mile, the second part maybe 7:30. Not too bad. I mean those runs at this point are going to be as long as my long runs, the workout topped out at almost 8 miles so they are not quick workouts. I can see that even from the last time I did it there was an improvement in both speed and endurance, maybe this fucker Hal Higdon is on to something. The long run was nothing crazy, I did an easy 7 yesterday as I had to shift the runs around. Add in three gym days and I would say I really got a good week in.

Which takes us to this week my friends. This week things are starting to pick up a little bit, the 3.5-miler from last week gets upped to a 4-miler, and now that it is at the 4 miles I am debating switching Tuesday’s and Thursdays so that I can do hills on Thursday’s without it affecting my speed workouts. Did that make sense? Whatever no going back now.

The workout is back to the interval’s, just throwing another one into the mix. I know that my workout says 5 miles, but now with 7 rounds of intervals it is def going to be a little longer. The long run is 8 miles. An 8 mile run is right about where I start considering the long run to be long enough that it impacts my day. When I am not training for something I rarely run over 6 miles unless I am feeling rambunctious or try-hardish so anything above 7 starts to feel like work. Which means it’s time to go to work, have a good week everyone. What a closing line, and while it may seem like I am ruining it by adding this, I would be remiss in my duties of self-promotion if I did not take this time to point that out.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 3: Thursday is basically Monday

Though my commitment to putting out this blog series every Monday has already fallen to the wayside, I am still committed to getting it out weekly. As we all know by now, I would never deign to make an excuse, but if I did I would perhaps put the blame on Florida’s beaches. A man can’t be expected to sit inside and write a weekly blog series that nobody reads when faced with such adversity as trying to stay awake in a lounge chair staring at the ocean. So if you want me to get these out on time, perhaps you should try and contribute to pollution so the beach is too gross for me to relax on. Ball is in your court.

Taking a look at last week, the real challenge was the 30 min tempo run. I posted the workout last blog, but it’s worth repeating that I broke the 30 min tempo into two 15 minute blocks spaced out by a 10 minute recovery. I think I needed to do this because I was moving during the first 15 minutes of the workout, and without that 10 minute recovery I wouldn’t have been able to get moving again for the second round. This was obviously the hardest run of the week, I think the whole run totaled around 8 miles but damn it felt good to get moving like that.

The rest of the week was pretty standard until I got to Florida. Saturday I did my long run of 6 miles, and since I slept in by the time I got started it was a solid 85 degrees and brutally hot. The last 2 miles of that run I literally felt like Mosses wandering the dessert for 40 years. I am sure he would agree our struggle was similar. For the 3-miler on Sunday, me and the ol’ ball-and-chain actually found a local 5k to take our talents too. Race review is hopefully coming tomorrow.

Lets take a look at this week. Since it is already Thursday half my runs are already done, but for the sake of this blog I am just going to power through it. This week starts the increase of the light runs, instead of two 3 mile runs to round out the week, the Tuesday runs are now going to increase every week. This shouldn’t really prove to be an issue, though in a few weeks it might be time to start slowing down all my other physical activities. The workout this week is the same interval/5k pace quarter-mile repeats from Week 1, though every time I do this workout it adds an extra one. Spoiler alert for next week’s blog, it sucked. Either way the workout is posted below. No long run this week, instead I am supposed to race a 5k. I am trying to look for a local one, but if not I will I guess make my own. For the sake of content and my own boredom, I hope I find one.

That about wraps up this week. Having gone from 75 degrees and sunny to 25 degrees and miserable I gotta say I really prefer the the sunny. Ooooo well. Have a good week everybody.

Marathon Mike

The Return of Marathon Mondays

The time for running with no purpose has sadly come to it’s conclusion, as I am pleased to announce the return of the illustrious Marathon Mondays blog series.

With that horrific introduction out of the way let’s talk about what has to happen to hit some goals. The race is the 2020 United Airlines NYC Half, which unless you have poor reading skills or simply glossed over the name of the race, is a half marathon. Once again this may be obvious, but it takes place in the lovely shit hole of New York.

This time I have some goals beyond simply finishing the race. The low end goal is to simply set a new PR, which for me would be under a 1:49. If I don’t hit that goal then its probably time to pick a new activity, because that would mean in the year and some odd days since I ran that, I will have gotten worse. The middle goal is to hit under 1:45, which is what I will be training for. The reach goal is a 1:42.

In order to hit that middle goal I have to average exactly an 8 minute mile for the entire race. While that is definitely a plausible goal for me, it is not something I can just do with no preparation. So in the most roundabout way, that brings us to a new training plan.

The race is on March 15th, and instead of doing a 16 week plan like I did for the marathon, I decided to do a 12 week plan. Part of that was to not have to finish the marathon and immediately start on a new plan, the other part was that I needed to build back up to race shape. I am trying the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 Half Marathon Training Plan which is a less intense training plan in terms of mileage and workouts then the marathon plan I followed, if you converted that plan for the half distance. That was a mouthful.

My idea behind using a less rigorous training plan is to focus on getting more quality runs in, instead of just simply building up mileage. I don’t really need to build up mileage, so I wanted to focus on speed. With the added rest this plan accounts for I think I will be able to really push it on most of the runs and concentrate on keeping that pace under an 8:00. Hopefully I won’t be too gassed to run hard like I was for the marathon. Since I am probably going to spend a majority of the summer running, I figured with the extra time not running this winter I can indulge in some of my other hobbies. Also it is fucking cold out man I don’t want to be out there like I was all summer.

So without further ado here is the plan!