Marathon Mike, Race Reviews

2019 TCS New York City Marathon Race Review

Date: Sunday, November 4th, 2019

Distance: 26.2 Miles

Location: New York, NY

Time: 4:40:02

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.

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!

Race Reviews

New Balance 5th Avenue Mile Race Review

not me…obviously

Date: Sunday, September 8th 2019

Distance: 1 Mile

Location: New York, NY (5th Ave between like 62nd and 83rd St. or something)

Time: 0:05:59

I was looking for the format I used last time for one of these race reviews and realized it has been almost two months since I last ran a race, which for someone who runs consistently seems like a really long time. In actuality doing races is almost getting in the way of the actual training. For example, this race is only one mile (which you probably got from the name of the race). I had to run 10 miles on Sunday, so after finishing the race I would have had to either run before the race or after. If I got a medal for the race or any other swag, I would have had to either run with the stuff or leave it. I keep all this stuff hypothetical because they gave no after race stuff so this didn’t really apply. I also did my long run on Saturday so I had to run 4 after the race which isn’t bad at all. Point is, the races can in theory get in the way of training, or at least force it to take way more planning around, hence why I only signed up for two races during this 16 week thing. One of those is the 18 mile training run, which lines up with my 18-mile run so that is actually great.

Complaining about things that didn’t actually happen at all aside, the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile race is a really cool concept. They do the race in waves (they might call them heats but it’s the same concept) broken up by age so you actually line up with a bunch of people who are in your own age range, as opposed to around your same speed. It definitely has an actual person against person competition feel to it, because you know everyone around you started around the same time as you so anyone you pass you beat. If you care about those things. Which of course I do because I am hyper competitive.

With 9,172 running this thing, broken up into a lot of groups over not a lot of space, it seems like it would be an organizational nightmare, but NYRR does an excellent job of keeping the thing moving. My wave, the 25-29 age group, went at 9:20 AM, if I remember from last year that is an hour later than last year. Last year’s weather was trash, this year it could not have been more perfect. I think it was 60ish and sunny.

This is an awesome race. That being said, I fucking hate it. I easily think it is the hardest race I run. This is entirely my own fault and has no reflection on the race. Last year I flat out sprinted the first quarter mile because I tried to keep up with all the dudes in the front, and after that quarter mile I felt as if death had come for me. I spent like 20 minutes after this thing hacking up a lung.

This year was still not great, though I didn’t feel like death so that’s an improvement. I spent much more time loosening up, stretching actively and statically in an attempt to get my hammys at the minimal working. I also came out much more reserved. This helped a lot, as I cut off 18 seconds from the year prior.

Still though, after I passed the quarter mile timer, I had fleeting thoughts about bailing on running hard. I honestly think I would have if I didn’t think that stopping would have caused me to flat out tear my whole leg. The second quarter of the race is slightly uphill, so all I see in my vision is emptiness, very uninspiring. At least the second half is better, it starts off downhill and I could see the finish line so at least I knew my torture was coming to the end. I felt my hamstrings pulling the entire time though. I tried to kick it up another notch at the 200 meters left sign, as I saw that I was getting close to getting under 6 minutes, but I didn’t realize that I had started like 8 seconds after so the timer at the end line was over 6 minutes I was too deflated to run harder. Good thing I didn’t slow down though because I was literally one second from not being under. That was not intentional at all.

Either way, if you are great at running a mile this race is probably a blast. I mean I came in 408 of 825 in my age group. As I said I am irrationally competitive, so even knowing I am not a great mile runner, the fact that 407 dudes finished ahead of me is infuriating. And on top of that I was basically dead average. I hate this race. At least at other distances I don’t really care as much because I know I suck at it. This one hits harder for some reason.

The gear though for this race is sweeeeeeet. Last year they gave out the wackest hats known to man, I don’t even have mine I threw it out instantly so no picture. This year though they gave out a pair of running shorts, but like really nice ones that have pockets. The women’s shorts don’t have pockets but I am a man so that is zero issue to me. Here they are:

I didn’t take any of my own pictures because I forgot my phone in the car, for some reason bringing my wallet instead, which of course is very useful for running a mile. So my apologies.

So in review, this race is really cool and probably a ton of fun. Unless you are me and find no joy in anything. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Jenny Simpson won this thing for the 8th time. What a fuckkkkking beast. Who cares about the guys. Also Tiki Barber I think ran this. It infuriates me to no end that this guy is apart of NYRR. Stay tuned for a race review next week!

Final Notes: No comment on the Giants game yesterday. Leave me alone.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Monday’s: WEEK TWO COMING AT YA!

Brutal title, brutal series name. All around just an insulting performance. Will I change it? No the time has passed for this. Buttttt without further ado or to do – I never really know what the correct way to say that is, and in keeping with the mail-it-in Monday theme this blog has already undertaken in the first two sentences/title I will not correct it – lets dive into week two. What a sentence, what a week.

As you may recall from the previous rendition of this, I have started my 16 week training plan (that will take 17 weeks) last Monday. Meaning that the first week is done! It went pretty well, I mean it wasn’t a real uptick in my normal weekly mileage, I think that things will start to heat up when the long runs get to the 14 mile and up range. As you can see, this week had no hills or tempo runs or any other misery, so it wasn’t a challenge to get it done in terms of mileage. I did screw up and read the wrong week and ran 10 miles instead of the allotted 8 mile run but whatever not that big a mistake.. Realizing that I can just screenshot my Runkeeper app, I can post my runs for the week to show that I don’t just talk a bad game, I also play it. Have fun with this data. I know I should be using Strava but idc let me live my life. If they want to sponsor an amateur runner with a hybrid fantasy/sports blog that has amassed almost 30 followers though…

Not to complain, but also to complain, I kind of jacked up my knee playing soccer Tuesday night, so these runs while not long, have been pretty painful. They have teetered on that just enough to bother me and think about the whole time, but not hurt enough to sideline me. If I can run, I’m running. The blog’s resident doctor, Dr. Nathalie Ruiz, DPT, told me that my quad is so tight that my kneecap is jerking up or down or is loose or something like that, hence the pain. She said I’m good though so whatever the grind continues. I’ve been told I will not be getting her take on things, but I would love to get a “This is what you actually did to your body” take on all my injuries, instead of me spinning it in a way that makes me seem less hurt.

The long run was painfulllll though. Felt like Teddy Bridgewater out there. I ran it Saturday instead of Sunday, due to scheduling conflicts, so I really didn’t have a short run the day before. That gave the knee no time to heal. On Thursday, my off day, I hit the gym and did a bunch of hamstring, groin and hip exercises, and I’m thinking I hit the hammys too hard because those things still are not healing. I overdid it with the good-mornings, so now none of my mornings are good. Most toolish two sentences in this blogs history. I know that is a hilarious joke so you would tend to not believe I actually did those, but I did. To get through the run I really tried to foam roll a shitload the night before and prior to the run. I also used that weird Biofreeze gel they give out in the NYRR post-run bags, but I think the only thing that is really going to heal it quickly is rest. So heal slowly it is. Sorry Doc.

Looking forward to the upcoming week. Got a nice 0-4 mile option today, going to shoot for 4 but if I start to feel my knee stiffening I might just forego the run altogether. Fortunately this week seems to be easier, I do have a tempo run Tuesday but it’s only like 4 miles so I shouldn’t be too hurt for soccer that night. The 7 miler Wednesday is going to suck but other than that, I should hold up nicely. I really should get a running watch it makes it so much easier to do those tempo runs. Have a great week everyone!

Final Notes: I went to the New York Red Bulls vs. NYC FC game last night and I think I am all in on the MLS. Not that I am ever going to watch it on TV, but the live games are fun as hell. The speakers were broken last night but the crowd was so loud I didn’t even realize it until like the 25th minute. The highlight of the game was the NYC FC defender kicked a ball out and the line ref called for a corner. The Red Bulls were like fuck that and just threw the ball in while the NYC FC players were jogging back to get set up to defend the corner. They were caught completely flat-footed and gave up a beautiful cross that ended up in a Red Bulls header for the go-ahead goal. What proceeded was legit 10 minutes of arguing. Best part? I bet the Red Bulls baby.

Marathon Mike

TCS New York City Marathon Training: It Starts with a Step…

Before I dive in to what can only be described as the most laissez-faire approach to an intense training regiment, let’s all take a minute to acknowledge the artistry involved in crafting a title that both repels and engages you all at once. Essentially a clusterfuck. I’ve been told that is my charm. Also it took a solid five minutes to figure out the correct way to write laissez-faire and to see if I used it correctly. That’s the level of efficient blog writing I bring to the table.

As the title makes crystal clear, it officially is day one, week one of my 16-week marathon training program. If you are wondering why I am undertaking a 16-week training program when there are 17 weeks until the marathon, well I am going to Colombia August 24th to September 1st to go on a cocaine sabbatical and since I neither speak the language nor have a very healthy ticker, it is in my best interest to just repeat the week before and pick it up when I get back. Also this trip is purely tourism, as fun as a cocaine sabbatical might be to some, that really ain’t my thing but it sounded funny. And my hearts fine, except for right now because I slugged down one of those Dunkin’ Energy Cold Brews since I had a free beverage thing on the app that I needed to use today, and my heart rate is through the roof.

Tingling feeling creeping down from my heart to my left hand’s fingertips aside, I am feeling like I am in peak physical condition. Having ran about 30-40 miles a week for the last few months, on top of a weekly gym session or two, occasional millennial hot yoga and some rec league soccer, I think I am ready to take on this next challenge. I have also come to the conclusion that writing all that out made me seem like a fucking losssssser. Please bear with me. Or don’t, it’s okay this stuff is for me anyway.

As for the plan, I am doing a modified version of the advanced NYRR stock training plan, which you can see at the top of this blog. By modified I mean I am making a few changes to fit my scheduling, not that I am changing it in any way. Remember I am an idiot not some fitness guru. The first change is the obvious repeat of week 8, which I know is going to slow the progression and make the following week where I have a long run of 18 miles brutal, but I really don’t have a solution for it. Besides, I signed up for the TCS New York City Marathon Training Series 18M and the plan lines up perfectly with that race if I repeat the week while I am on vacation. Gotta find the good in things. The other modification is swapping the Wednesday/Thursday runs. My girlfriend has a lot of similar runs to what would have been my Thursday runs, so for the sake of getting in some training together the swap makes sense. The things I do for love…

Being an eternal pessimist I already know where I am going to struggle with some of this stuff. The first and most glaring problem I already foresee is the obvious heavy workload for a guy who has never run a marathon. I want to say I know my body’s limits, but what I believe I can do and what my body can actually do are two completely different things. Some of the heavy weeks are way beyond anything I have ran before. I am terrible with rest days and this plan does not have many of them, so it is crucial that I actually rest when I am supposed too, especially during those crazy weeks. Honestly, if this plan is proving too much for me I will just switch it out with the NYRR stock intermediate plan, which is very similar with it’s long runs but is a little less intense during the week. Not exactly a great attitude but if I am realistic going in, then if I have to do it I will at least be prepared, albeit disappointed in myself. Nothing new there. Another problem I am going to have is doing the tempo and hill workouts. I really enjoy just running to run and am not at all one of those “need to go an exact pace” kind of runners, but it was proving impossible to find a plan that didn’t have any speed/hill workouts but also had enough running for me. Wow that sounded weird. I hate doing tempo shit, but I did do like 4 miles of hills this week and it wasn’t terrible. Maybe I will be alright. The last issue I have is that I am going to continue to play soccer and whatever other sports come my way, but will not skip any runs for them. The injury bug comes for everyone. Stretching and proper care are essentials that I often neglect. Gotta be better about it.

Well there you have it, these are just some of my thoughts on beginning a journey that is going to last the next four months or so. I am pretty jacked up about starting this thing and while I can’t promise I will update my progress every week, I will do my best to give at least semi-regular updates. I hope that I will get the chance to talk about my experience with some of the gear I use, some of my struggles with specific runs, and some of the cross-training I do, amongst other stuff. I also hope I can get my girlfriend to write a few guest blogs describing her own experience with her plan in order to offer the zero readers of this blog a different perspective and approach to marathon training from an actual expert of the human body instead of a guy who thinks he knows everything and researches nothing. Either way it starts with putting pen to paper or taking that first step, so just by writing this blog I have taken that first step!

I just want you to know I am aware how fucking nauseating that last sentence is, I thought about ending the blog on it ironically but just couldn’t do it. This is why I will never write for some big company. Or make any money doing this…

Love you all.

Race Reviews

NYRR Queens 10k Race Review

Date: Saturday, June 15th 2019

Distance: 10 km

Location: Queens, NY (Flushing Park)

Time: 0:48:26

With the doldrums of the workweek beginning it’s time to recap the weekend festivities in an ode to reliving the glory days and keeping our minds firmly in the past. I am told looking backwards is the key to progress, it is also a great strategy to do while running. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

This Saturday I was one of the 11,852 participants in the Queens 10k and I would like to bless you all with my much sought after opinions on the event. After setting the bar way too high by doing my last race report (I want to call these race reports but I think ‘review’ is better SEO practice. IDK though because I didn’t pay for the better version of Wordpress) this is coming a couple of days after. I would offer apologies but I am not offering apologies. I would also like to state on the record the importance of keeping your expectations at the bare minimum required to remain somewhat not miserable, and you will always have your expectations exceeded. This is fundamental to your boss evaluating your job performance, your family asking for help at the family event, and most importantly your significant others expecations for your sexual performance. So strive to get all those people on board with this philosophy and make mediocrity great again!

The Queens 10k took place in lovely Flushing Park, where we were treated to beautiful sites of dying grass in untended fields, the cracked concrete of abandoned parking lots, some weird polluted lake that has a creepy island with a door on it, and that tennis stadium that hangs off of Citi Field like an untreated hemorrhoid. Flushing Park is to Central Park what Queens is to Manhattan, which is the sibling that is just a little sloppier and worse at everything then the golden child. Your parents may say they love all their children the same but in your heart you know the truth.

My goal for the race was to shoot for 47 minutes, and similar to my attempts at writing witty and engrossing race reviews I fell short of the mark. I would like to place all the blame on external factors in order to escape culpability so here are the things that caused me to fail in no particular order:

  1. Global warming. The earth was all hot and shit forcing me to take an extra water break a mere half mile after my first one. This had nothing to do with the fact that I was dehydrated due to poor hydration planning and eating crumb cake a mere 40 minutes before the race. Nor the fact that it actually wasn’t that hot and kind of cloudy. Nope the earth is getting hotter and it messed me up.
  2. The protests in Hong Kong. The extradition policies of the Chinese Special Administrative Region is often on my mind and to see things devolve into such chaos left me no room to calculate my times as I passed the clocks. I simply do not have the mental capacity to do basic math while running and think about why Hong Kong is independent of China. Shame Shame.
  3.  Richard K. Morgan. See my previous blogs for further clarification.

So I think that shows just why I should not be held responsible for not achieving my goals. As for the course itself, despite not being the most eye catching of courses, it is actually relatively flat and though there were some sharp turns and one bridge, it was a solid course for a 10k. There is one part where you run around that giant globe thingy around mile 5 and it blocked out the sun so perfectly. It was such a relief because before that you are in the sun for a bit so when I got too that part it kind of charged me up. That globe is cool as shit, and is also the perfect Instagram spot, as Nathalie was quick to take advantage off. The picture I have is actually of the sunny side, but whatever imagine being on the other side of the thing if you have an issue with it.

The swag bag was pretty standard, the tank is, well here’s a picture of it all so I don’t really need to explain it. The tank is pretty damn comfortable. I would be remiss if I did not mention there were no bee power waffles. Points off for that.

All in all I actually had a great time at the race, I set a PR so while I did fail progress is slow. That’s the motto of the perpetual underachiever. The course was a lot of fun and I didn’t have to take a train there because I got a ride, automatically improving the race. NYRR here is some more unsolicited advice, just give me a ride both ways and I will love the race. 20 weeks to the marathon. Stay working hard everyone. Here the obligatory picture of me. Notice that my head is not peeling like a prisoner of the Boltons.

Final Notes: Noted enemy of the blog Lebron James successfully manipulated another organization into mortgaging their future because Lebron is incapable of winning a championship on his own. How could he not win with noted superstars Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart and 3 first round picks to be named later? Coward.