Marathon Mike

Marathon Monday’s Week 9: Halfway to happiness

YUUUUR it’s another update on one mans journey to read 52 fantasy books in 52 weeks, creating 52 . . . wait that’s the wrong tagline. This series is the running one. Right. Well it’s proverbial Monday and I forgot to do this last weekend so lets get straight into it.

Some weird ass workouts both last week and this week, really messing around with my pace and stuff. I did a fartlek workout last week that I honestly just made up, based on a few different workouts I saw. I don’t know why I found it necessary to convert meters into miles, but this is America or something.

That’s a fartlek. Do with it what you will. Last week ended with a time trial, which actually went really well. Ran it in 1:41:47 which is just 40ish seconds slower then my PR. Either that means my watch is off, or I really am improving. I took it as a positive, considering I knew it was a time trial but I really wasn’t killing myself for it.

This week we have some odd ones as well, today I ran an odd fartlek, which involved running a hard 1:15 every 6 minutes. I found that to be one of the weirdest, most fun ones. The rest of the week is an 8-miler with a pace increase in the second half, a standard interval workout, than a 20-miler. Tough second half of this week. Lets get it!

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Marathon Mondays Week 7: Consistency in running, not writing

Welcome to another edition of Marathon Monday’s which pretty much never happen on Monday’s and more just happen whenever I feel like writing these. When I was just blogging, and if we are being honest, killing time at work, these were much easier to crank out on amore consistent basis. Now that the world has ended, there are much better distractions.

But as the subtitle says, I’m always consistent on the running front. Here are the last week and a half of stats to prove it. Also people made way to big a deal about Garmin getting Tom Hank’sed in that captain movie, my runs synched just fine despite the app telling me they couldn’t. Keep pushing on thats what I always say sometimes because that is a problematic philosophy.

Last week and a half has almost gotten into the meat of the workout plan. There has been some shit, last Wednesday I had to run the ol’ weekday niner, that autocorrected to diner which is where I want to be right now. The workouts haven’t been miserable, today I had that odd 6-minute interval workout I had done in Week 3 or whatever. That run sucks man, its like a tempo except you know it isn’t one. Never know how much effort to give on it. The long run last week was a 17-miler with 5 miles at marathon pace. I reallllllly find those to be absolutely brutal, like running 7 more miles after I just ran 5 at a fast pace is torture. But since this is skewing crazy negative I admit that those are probably doing a lot of good for my running abilities.

Coming up, I guess this really depends on when I next write one of these but let’s assume I write one sometime next week, I have my first 20-miler of the year. WEEEEEE. And really that is about it. I guess this blog will be picture heavy. O yea it’s been fucking hot out. This blog took 8 minutes to write, which as an interval would make way more sense. But also putting in the pictures to the blog, I am realizing that I was supposed to run 7 miles, not 6 so I guess I am going back out there at some point. I don’t think that has ever happened to me. What a mess.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 5: First quarter finito

A little language lesson for you, finito translates to finished. First and foremost this is an educational blog, never forget that. With 4 weeks behind me, it’s time to do a little look into where I’m at and hope to achieve in the next 12 weeks.

Last week was one of those weeks that had some tough fucking runs in it. Lots of pushing the pace, which just kind of leaves me feeling stiff and tired. I guess that could be said of any period of intense working out, so not a novel observation. It started with a 6-miler with a 3 mile brisk pace. Still not sure what a brisk pace means, so I treated it like a tempo run. Prob not the best idea because I really pushed it which had to have effected the rest of the week. The other workout was a 6-miler with 3 rounds of 6-min intense, 2 min rest intervals. This was one of the weirdest interval runs I’ve done. I guess the hope of this, is that if you run a 3:30 marathon then each of these intervals should be close to a mile, but for me I think I hit like the .85 mark. I mean I personally am happy with that, but it is an odd distance to run.

For the long run, I elected to do it on Saturday, and prob will be doing most of my long runs that day as I want to not panic every Saturday night thinking about having to get up at 5:30 and spend all Sunday recovering. The 5 miles in the middle at marathon pace was absolute hell on earth. Not super encouraging for the real event, but I do have some excuses lined up. First off, those 5 miles were the only part of this run I was in the sun. Second, I am not good at this. See? Settled that. Brutal run. Yes as you can see I also later went on a bike ride, it was also horrible.

Next week should be one of those weeks where I hopefully get my legs back under me. The workouts are another weird hill workout, this plan has some odd ones, as well as a standard interval workout. Wednesday run gets shot up another mile, so the workouts will be separated by an 8-miler. Sad that I look forward to that. The long run has the option for a 10k race (where the fuck am I supposed to do that?) or a 13-miler. I will be doing the latter. Enough complaining, blog over.

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Marathon Monday’s Week 4: Oops I forgot a week

The subtitle says it all, I forgot to blog about Week 3. That is all I have to say about it at this time. Let’s get right into it: the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is cancellllllled. They did offer a generous package of options, including a refund or guaranteed entry into 2021, 2022, 2023, so Chicago I will have my day in 2021. For the record, this is the same thing that the TCS New York City Marathon offered. So for now I’m registered for the Rockaway Half & Whole Marathon, which is put on by Rockapulco Runs, the same company that put on the half-marathon I ran in March when a different NYRR race got axed.

When I post these screenshots sometimes I almost post sales data from random philosophy books. That has nothing to do with running but if I don’t add something random than am I really even having fun? A question that has no answer.

Last week had plenty of challenges. The main one being those 3 minute intervals. Jesus those are no fucking joke. I’m not used to running intervals that are longer then like a minute and a half or a quarter mile, so that odd amount of time was brutal. For all 5 rounds of it, I checked my watch at like exactly the 2:15 mark, praying I had 20 seconds left. Either way it got done. The long run was a lovely 13 miles, this is the last long run that I consider to be in the manageable territory. Anything over a half-marathon I have to seriously mentally and physically gear up for. And since it is the summer, I also need to do a fair amount of schedule shifting. In terms of extra curriculars, I did the lightest, easiest upper body lift on Friday, and rode my bike on Thursday and Sunday.

This week has it’s own beasts to conquer. In all fairness I already did one of the workouts, which was a 6-miler with a 3 mile tempo in the middle. That shit sucked but the weather wasn’t bad. The other workout is a ridiculous 6 minute interval workout, with 2 minute cool downs. I mean broooo 6 minutes?!? It’s only 3 times so I guess I will live. The long run though has it’s own workout. Its a 15-miler, with 5 miles at marathon pace. Since I am shooting for a 3:45, I think that means marathon pace is an 8:30. I really think that is going to be fucking tough man, but how else does someone get used to running at their marathon pace besides you know, running at that pace. I am not looking forward to this. The grind continues. Stay safe.

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Marathon Monday’s Week 2: Things are heating up

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.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Monday’s: An exercise in futility

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.

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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 12: The final countdown

After many moons it is finally Week 12 of the training plan. That means one thing only, it’s race week! Normally I am not one to mark the passage of time, one day largely feels like another, but the progress I have made over the last 11 weeks has been pretty cool. I mean when I started this thing it was god damn December and freezing, and while it is still cold as shit, at least it is not as bad as when I started. So at the end of this week, assuming this thing doesn’t get cancelled because of the corona virus, I will be taking on the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon. That was not one of my typically terrible jokes, I think it is a real possibility this thing gets cancelled.

This plan was designed to give myself a little more rest in between runs so that I could focus on getting quality runs in, instead of just trying to get as many miles as I could. That has certainly shifted my focus and I think this is a much more sustainable type of training. Granted the distance is a half marathon instead of the full, so I really didn’t have to stack up the miles, but I wanted to focus on actually getting faster and so far I have done that. The 10k I ran in like Week 6 was just a small glimpse of the progress I made, the half I run on Sunday will be the culmination of hard work and preparation.

Fuck that sounded corny, might as well get into last week. I mentioned on Wednesday that last week was going to be a pain in the ass and I was accurate in that assessment. The workout was 10 .25 mile intervals, and I know that every two weeks I just did one more interval than the last time, but every single god damn week it felt like that extra one was going to be the one that killed me. Running hard interval’s in 30 degree weather is a nightmare, but maybe it builds character or something. The rest of the week was light, except for the long run of 12. I took that soooooo slow, I was afraid of overdoing it a week before the race. I think 12 is a lot to run the week before running 13.1 but I have trusted Hal this long might as well trust him the rest of the way. It honestly did not go great, but I guess I ran it so there we are.

Looking at this week, it is much lighter then what I have been doing. There are 3 actual rest days, no even cross training. I think I will prob just do a light lift on Monday, but take actual rest days the other 2 times. The workout is a 30 min tempo. I am deciding not to break it up this time, I am just going to gun it for those 30 minutes and finish up the run. And after that, it is a quick 3-miler to get loose and then race day. Stay tuned for a recap of everything at some point when I get to it. Under 1:45 or die.

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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 Mondays Week 10: 3 quarters down, one to go

In a blog I wrote an eternity ago, I mentioned at great length how a quarter the way through anything is one of the worst milestones to hit. Only having a quarter to go though, is a superbly improved situation. I mean a quarter left feels almost like you are done. On reflection, this really only applies to running, a quarter to go in a basketball game feels like there isn’t enough time in the world. This start to the blog is an absolute train wreck.

With 9 weeks in the books there the end is in sight. It is fortunate that I really feel like I am starting to hit my stride, as I had a great week of running and am starting to feel comfortable at the 8 minute pace I am going to need to hold to hit my 1:45:00 goal. Last week I had two tough runs, the interval run was brutal and the 15k was difficult. The interval run came the morning after a soccer game, so I was already feeling sore, but 9 rounds of quarter mile repeats is going to suck no matter when you do it. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find an official 15k but the ran around Hoboken. While I didn’t really keep the pace I had too, it is always hard to judge my true speed when I have to stop for cars and traffic lights. Overall, the extra day off day from running has me feeling reenergized and ready to take on the next week.

So talking about next week, I have to do quite a bit of run swapping. I am starting the week off on Monday and going 4 straight days. With a little snowboard trip on the horizon, I am going to have to take Friday and Saturday off. The long run is an 11 miler, which is going to be hell after two days of riding but whatever thats the price you pay for fun. The tempo run hits the peak with 45 min, once again I am going to break it up into two parts. Hopefully it goes well. Thats all I got.