Week 2 is here meaning that things have really gotten going. Terrible start to this blog but maybe I can pull it together. Welcome to another edition of one man just documenting his journey running races in a most average manner.
Last week was the start of this thing and I think it would be dishonest if I said anything beside the fact that it was relatively easy. The workout was an odd hill workout where I ran up for 30 seconds then down for 30 eight times. It kind of resulted in me steadily climbing up the hill and by the end of it I was awkwardly like in a crosswalk. I didn’t think it was particularly difficult and the whole workout was less then a mile so I still had to run 3 more after that. Kind of weird. The long run was a 9-miler, and honestly it was fucking hot as hell. One of those runs where I was sweating straight foam down my leg. Such a bizarre thing to have happen.
Looking ahead, well today is Tuesday, so looking at today and the rest of the week the plan quickly starts to pick up steam. The week consists of two running workouts, two 5-milers and a long run of 11 miles. Already I have to do a bunch of shifting around, since I am taking a lovely trip to the Adirondacks for some good ol’ hiking. I’m moving the Saturday run up a day and the long run to Monday.
The workouts themselves aren’t exactly challenging, I mean 3 miles at “steady” pace I really don’t know what that means so I am treating it like a tempo run. The other run is an interval run which I normally enjoy, though a 1:30 is a long interval to run hard. O well we will see how it goes. I feel as if I did not pull this together. I tried.
GUESS WHATS BACK? Well if you read the title then you already know. If you are still reading it at this point, then all power to you. The plan is to run the BOA Chicago Marathon but I might as well say it, I highly doubt that the race is happening. The TCS New York City Marathon already got cancelled, and that is later in the year. So I don’t think this is happening. Regardless, the backup plan is to run some marathon in Scranton, PA, which is the same day. So lets break down the training plan.
I’m trying a new marathon training plan for this one, if you want to go back to my last marathon training blog series you can read all about my experience using the “Advanced” training plan from NYRR. I didn’t really test the effectiveness of the plan, as I didn’t push it 100% on the actual running of the marathon, but I will say I think it was an excellent plan for people looking to advance their own running abilities, specifically running higher-milage weeks. My biggest complaint about the plan is actually personal only to me. I documented completely how I was so exhausted, and all the running certainly was the major factor, I mean I was training for a fucking marathon, but it was all my extra-curricular’s that really did me in. I played soccer once a week for maybe the first half of the plan, and never really slowed down my physical activities.
So when choosing another plan I needed to consider that it was super unlikely I was going to completely shut down other activities. This was a big reason why I choose the Intermediate 2 Half Marathon Training Plan by Hal-Higdon for my half marathon in March, which I documented in a different blog series. It gave me enough speedwork days to get faster, but had enough flexibility and rest days for me to continue strength training and playing soccer. This led to me setting a PR with a time of 1:41:06.
What I decided on was Runner’s World Basic Marathon Schedule: A 16-week training plan for runners looking to finish between 3:30-4:30. Kind of a terrible name for a plan, but it had what I was looking for. One absolute rest day on Friday and one optional rest day on Monday. This gives me the option of shifting my weekend runs to either Friday or Monday if I’m going on vacation or have some type of plans that absolutely will impact my running schedule. Or move the weekday runs around if I have a game or something. I also can continue to do some strength training, either on my rest days or doubling up. With 2 speedwork days during the week, the runs I am doing will be much more efficient, instead of piling on miles and days run. I am not saying that is a bad strategy, my first marathon I needed to increase my ability to pack on miles as I had no capacity for consistently running long distances, but I now know a little bit more about myself and recognize that I am not likely to cut out anything else, so I need a plan that doesn’t burn me out but I can still improve.
So looking at the plan, I am excited to take it on, and will of course be providing weekly updates on everything. It really helps me to post the workouts for the week, and how all my runs went the week prior. While I rarely actually get to writing these things on Monday’s, I honestly have found it such a fun experience to track my progress and feelings over the length of a training plan. So without further ado, here is the actual plan, I also am posting underneath it the plan I did last year, for comparisons sake. This will be the first time I actually look at them both critically, which seems kind of stupid to have not compared them earlier. But then again that level of preperation would be out of character.
Well if you couldn’t tell by the title of this blog and the accompanying information, I finished the marathon! Though I think it would be hilarious to write a race review for a race I dropped out of, unfortunately for my perverse sense of humor that is not the case. It seems almost to minimize the event to have my entire experience documented in one simple review but I don’t feel like breaking it down into parts so one blog is all this is getting.
I think for the sake of cohesiveness and readability I am going to do this whole thing chronologically. That would mean starting with the race expo. I went to the expo the day before the race, meaning that on a day I wasn’t already in the city I lugged my ass to the Javits Center, which to you might seem like a minor complaint but I really don’t like having to go somewhere to pick up something to go do something else. Whatever.
The expo was surprisingly both organized and awesome. Walking in all the volunteers are applauding and cheering you and stuff. Really a cool way to make an entrance. You go to the booth that corresponds with your number and pick up your bib. If you have any questions, which due to lack of preparation I had several, there is a whole set up of race support. With bib in hand you go get your shirt, which I of course have a terrible picture of for the purposes of showing the full experience. They tell you to not fuck up picking the size of your shirt since they will not exchange it, this is not true they will if you complain enough. They have a whole shirt try-on area to make sure you don’t screw up this decision. They ran out of women’s mediums, which as a man doesn’t impact me at all but it almost screwed over my girlfriend. As I mentioned if you go full Karen you can get anything done. If feet are your thing my girlfriend’s toes are in the bottom of this picture. Sorry babe.
Hard to tell from the picture but that shirt is a long sleeve. Okay moving on. The expo itself was huge, first you go through their New Balance sponsored store, where they have a masssssive amount of gear to spend all your money on. I got a workout shirt, a finisher hoodie, a quarter zip and credit card debt. Worth it. After spending your hard earned money you go through to the expo part. It was all these different booths with their sponosers and other things. If you have ever been to any expo it was pretty much the same thing, but for runners. They had all kinds of backdrops to take pictures at, a million booths promoting massagers (please Hypervolt send me one of those little pieces of heaven, no free ads though) gels, bars and other consumables, and for some reason mattresses. The Honey Stinger booth gave out samples of their waffles and I had a million. I really actually had a great time at this thing and not just because I got to massage myself. That sounded weird.
That was all on Saturday. Saturday night we ate a nice delicious and nutritious meal which for me meant a giant cheeseburger and some mac-and-cheese bites. Got all my stuff together, which included a full sweatsuit, hat, and gloves that I planned on donating at the race start as well as what I was bringing. I brought two packets of Biofreeze to rub on the ol’ knees, not that I really needed it more that I had them lying around so why not. I brought two gel packets, some hand warmers, my Bose Soundsports, my Garmin Forerunner 235, my Birddogs shorts, race belt and my Mizuno Waverider 22’s. No free ads of course. With that all laid out and ready to go it was on to the event.
So for anyone not familiar with the marathon you run through all five boroughs. The race starts in Staten Island, a little shit hole that hangs off of Brooklyn, where their is a massive pre-race town they basically set up. Living in Hoboken it was like a 35-minute Uber to the start. Only time living in Hoboken made getting to a NYRR race easy. Apparently the transportation they provide would have taken way longer. O well not my problem.
Depending on your group, their are villages set up that correspond to your color. These villages are huge and contain all kinds of amenities, which is good because regardless of what mode of transportation you take, you are going to be waiting around for 4ish hours before the start of the race. Yes that is for real. They close the bridges at 7am so you are forced to go super early. To make up for this, they have booths that offer Dunkin’ coffee, Honey Stinger waffles and gels, bananas, bagels and for some odd reason therapy dogs. Also 50 million porta potties that all manage to have a line.
People did different things while they waited like read, talk, stretch, try to capture the perfect Instagram picture, but what everyone unequivocally did was freeze. Not that it was terrible out, actually the weather was perfect. It started out high 40’s and moved into the low 50’s during the race with absolutely no wind. Easily the luckiest weather situation one could imagine. It was more that you were just waiting around while the sun wasn’t up, which is chilling regardless of what you wear. That is why they recommend you buy a bunch of throw away layers, and encourage this by having donation bins all over the place to get rid of the clothes as it gets closer to race time.
About 30 minutes out they tell you to make your way to your corral, which once again I was surprised by just how organize this was. They kind of move you into this walled up pens, a little prisionish but whatever, and you wait it out until you start walking. It was here that I finally shed my layers, keeping just the Dunkin’ hat and gloves on. There are more porta potties in the corrals in case you panic that you never got the chance to go.
My wave started at 10:10am, so around 10ish you start walking to the beginning of the Verrazano Bridge. Different groups are on different parts of the bridge, but either way there are a billion people all around. The announcer did a great job of pumping up the crowd. I thought I would be more nervous at this point, but I was actually so jacked up that I was doing that thing that would-be-athletes do before intramural games and was like pumping myself up. I was really excited at this point, I am sure I could go into a whole “wow my whole journey led me to this point thing” but that is fucking corny. But for real though I did spend some time getting ready for this, you can see in the previous 16 blogs about training for it if you really care too.
So some, I think Frank Sinatra, song about New York played and the race began. I think I am going to break up this review by borough, so without further ado, the actual race!
STATEN ISLAND (Miles 0 to 1ish)
So you are in Staten Island for a total of like 10 minutes. You literally just run across the Verrazano Bridge into Brooklyn. Starting a race on a massive incline has the advantage of tiring you out right from the get-go and making you really work without proper ally warming up. They don’t call this an easy marathon. After the 2 seconds, 2 seconds too many in my opinion, you are in Staten Island, its on to Brooklyn. Also I don’t have any pictures of anything borough specific after this one, so enjoy. Every week I posted as the feature image to my training blogs an overview of the runners on the bridge, this time I am posting a picture of my actually on it.
BROOKLYN (Miles 2 to 13)
At this point I had just run down the bridge and was feeling pretty damn good. Brooklyn was amazing, the energy was great with live music every mile or so and people packed along the streets cheering on the runners. I was so enjoying it that I didn’t even throw on my music until mile 9. Brooklyn is also flat, which made it an easy enough section. There were all kinds of signs, my favorite was one that said “Don’t Trust the Fart,” because I am immature. Also for real don’t trust it. At this point of the race we were cruising, Nathalie (that is my girlfriend in case that wasn’t obvious) and I were keeping a solid pace, we were doing a good job of spacing out hydration, and feeling overall solid. The crowd was just so lively and vivacious that it was hard to feel pumped. The areas of Brooklyn you run through are really pretty, so it is an enjoyable way to look at things. Right before the halfway point we stopped real quick to pee, and then got on another bridge to enter Queens.
QUEENS (Miles 13 to 16)
A quick popover in Queens to see a bunch of parking lots and factories made this part of the run pretty forgettable. After the bridge our pace started to drop a little bit, but it never got out of hand. Queens had some places with good energy, but it was not really a pretty area so I wasn’t terribly entertained. But of course at the end of Queens is the dreaded Queensboro Bridge, which might be the most unfair obstacle to throw into a marathon ever. SO the Queensboro Bridge fucking sucks, you are in the bottom part of it so there is no sun, it is a steady incline for what feels like at least 5 miles but is actually 1, and at the end it is a steep decline that doesn’t even feel like a break because you have to bend your legs in order to avoid them snapping. I repeat, fuck that bridge. On to Manhattan.
MANHATTAN PART 1 (Miles 16 to 20ish)
This part of the race takes you all the way up First Avenue, which is a cool enough street, if devoid of anything that really stand out to look at. At this point of the race we started to fall off a steady pace a little more. That dreaded 18th mile wall never really smacked me in the face, fortunately seeing a bunch of family and friends helped out a lot here. Around mile 16 I started to feel great, the idea of only having single digit miles to go I think mentally made this whole thing seem doable. I honestly felt fantastic at this point, that changed later on but whatever switch got flipped, it stayed flipped up until like mile 24. We started to hydrate a little more frequently, about ever 2 miles or so. I had also had 2 gel packets at this point (they gave packets out at miles 11 and 18). Another bridge, another borough.
BRONX (Miles 20ish to 22ish)
The Bronx stunk. Not like actually, well a little, but it just was ugly. This could have been because it felt like a tease until the final part of the race, but also there really wasn’t much to look at. There were still a ton of people, and the energy was solid, I just didn’t like this part of the race. Fortunately it was back to Manhattan.
MANHATTAN PART 2 (Miles 22ish to 26.2)
So the last part of the race is quite the interesting little adventure. From an actual running stand-point, mile 23 is basically a giant hill, which is something you always want at the end of a race. You travel down 5th Avenue until you do a quick popover into Central Park, where you go downhill for about another mile or so until it flattens out until the end. This part of the race is brutal, at that point I was starting to lose my little feeling of elation and the constant smacking of the concrete was starting to take its toll. At mile 24 I felt my outer right calf starting to tighten. This lead to my right quad tightening, and it became hard to bend my leg. I was forced to kind of high step it every quarter mile or so for a bit in order to keep the leg from tightening up completely. There was like a good 30 seconds where I wondered what would happen if the thing locked up on me and I couldn’t run, but then I thought there was no way I was stopping at this point so it didn’t matter.
I attribute this to a few things, the first is obvious exhaustion. I had been running for 4+ hours at this point and my body was feeling it. Next was that for the second half of the race, we had taken much more water breaks, as well as gave quick hugs and high fives to people who came to see us. This kind of stop-and-go style led to lactic acid build up. It’s not like we walked at any point, it was more that the change of pace and grabbing water and shit disrupts the run. We were running slower, at the pace we were going it was not the most optimal running motion for me or Nat. The last thing is that it was a god damn marathon and shit hurts. If I ran the whole thing without any type of pain or exhaustion than it wouldn’t be a challenge. Eat shit haters.
Going up and hill and down a hill, the TCS New York City Marathon finish line was finally in sight. The crowd for the second part of Manhattan, and really the whole race, was absolutely going nuts. It was crazy motivational and inspiring and while I don’t really ever feel moved by that kind of stuff, I honestly was blown away by the crowd. New York may be a cesspool of grime and filth and the worst kind of people, but it is still the best place on earth and nothing shows that more then being cheered on by millions of people. The people in Central Park were cheering their hearts out, and it actually did help push us too the end.
Sure enough we crossed the finish line, so ending our adventure. Well not really, they make you walk another mile as a sick, sadistic way to torture you before you are allowed to exit the park. If you selected a post-race poncho you got out of the park a little earlier. I did not. For real though I am not even kidding you actually have to walk a mile out of the park. It takes 45ish minutes and is absolutely horrible. They do give you a post-race bag with an apple some snacks and some drinks. I guess that is cool.
So to wrap up this monster blog, I have a few last thoughts on the race. This is going to be super sappy so if that is not your thing stop reading. You probably have already.
First off a humongous thank you to everyone who came out to support me. Seeing my family and friends during and after the race was something that helped push me to achieve a life long dream and I will forever be thankful. I feel truly blessed to have such great people in my life who are willing to freeze their asses off just to see me for two seconds and cheer me on.
Thank you to everyone who supported me throughout this whole process. So many of you reached out during and after the race and it meant a lot. Nobody, I repeat nobody, wants to hear someone talk about running and training for a marathon, yet my family and friends were always willing to put up with me blabbing on and on about pace, mile splits, tempo runs and all other running related things. They also listened to me complain about how much time this was taking up, how I had to get up early all the time to get in a run, and how I was constantly sore and exhausted, with nothing but patience and understanding. I apologize for whining and promise I will continue to.
But I could not possibly end this blog without talking about my girlfriend Nathalie. About two years ago, Nathalie set this whole thing in motion based on me mentioning that it was a life goal to run a marathon. She carefully researched how exactly to get into the marathon and got me a NYRR membership so that I could begin the journey. She decided to embark on the journey with me and we began the process of the making the dream happen.
She was with me grinding out the 9+1, meticulously planning our runs, making sure we signed up at the right times, and constantly getting on my case about planning things better. Without her I would never have been able to sign up, get too, and meet the prerequisites to even get into this.
This year we began training for the marathon, and throughout the process she continued to encourage me to push myself in order to put myself in the best position to succeed. Her tireless efforts in her own training were inspiring. She worked her fucking ass off and it showed. She facilitated rearranging our social lives to accommodate our training schedules, she was there every time I needed to bitch about being too exhausted, and her incredible toughness and resiliency motivated me to keep working. She is a warrior.
This was one of the best experiences of my life and I could not be happier to have experienced it with her. We had an absolute blast, and through all the tough times, the fights, the whining, the pain, we always kept the goal in mind and when we both crossed the finish line it was incredible. I am so beyond proud of her and grateful we got to do this together. Thank you Nat. I love you.
While that would have been the perfect place to end this, I want to say that this is not it for me, I will continue to post about training and running and events. I am not positive what comes next, but when I do know I will be sure to write extensively, perhaps to extensively, about it. Thank you all for reading along. O yea here is what the medal looks like.
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.
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.
For some reason in my mind I am celebrating the start of the taper like this is the end of the road and the race is already over. Stupid but I can’t help it. Last week was an absolute beast and from purely time management standpoint the start of the taper will make my life infinity easier. That is not to say it will be easy, the point is to try and get some juice back into my zombie legs but still maintain some fitness.
Last week beat me like I was the Giants secondary. The 10-mile tempo run was brutal, I mean a 10-mile run in general is no walk in the park but the pace changing was torture. I thought it went well, I mean I was kind of rushing it because I was trying to the see The Joker but my watch got messed up and I wound up feeling like I needed to run a little extra. The tempo itself was fast, doing a quick mile 5 separate times really pushed me. To follow that up with a nice 8-miler the next day was death.
As for the other two runs, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself on the day off, Friday’s run came around and I felt great. Kept the pace night and light, ending with 4 rounds of strides, which entailed a pushed pace for 30 seconds followed by a 1:30 minute recoverary. Helped with staying loose.
The obvious beast was the 22-mile monster. I ran it Saturday, which was good because it was a nice cloudy 60 degrees when I started. The run went smoothly, I did a 14-mile loop followed by an 8-mile loop. Took the goo at mile 6, a quarter of a banana at mile 14 and another goo thing at mile 18. Hydrated at miles 7, 14 and 19. No real outlying difficulties besides overall pain in my entire being. My knees were hurting but nothing crippling. I thought I kept a solid enough pace, I mean it was a lot slower than some of my other training runs but I wasn’t too concerned. I listened to almost 4 straight hours of the audiobook though so expect Friday’s blog to be a monster. Having to run 6 miles the next day fucking sucked though. O well it’s in the past now.
Lets take a look at the upcoming week. The big runs are 8 and 14 miles, don’t really anticipate much of an issue with either of them. The 14-miler I might try and push the pace just to get used to running a little harder. Prob not though. The workouts are a 6-mile interval and a 4-mile hill run. Hill run will be the most fun of the week. Well that is all I got. Stay in school.
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.
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
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.
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 . . .
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.