Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 6: PR’s and progress

Yes it is Tuesday. Yes I know the title of this blog series is Marathon Mondays. Yes I know that means that a blog about training for a marathon that is titled Marathon Mondays should be posted on Mondays not Tuesday. And I am also aware that this is the second time I have done this. Well guess what. I fucked up. So here it goes!

Welcome to the Monday* rendition of the my progress whilst training for my first marathon! If you are just joining in, this blog series is mostly whining about injuries and making excuses so buckle up. Lets start with how last week finished up.

Once again I skipped the flex day run, actually taking a day off instead of doing some type of cross training or running. My legs were just beat the hell up and I really did not think I could even run one more mile without something snapping. It was a great choice. Tuesday was a 6-mile hill run as well as a soccer game later on, so I seriously needed to be fresh or I wasn’t going to make it. The hills were great, I keep meaning to take a picture of the bridge I run up on 14th street in Hoboken. I think it’s 14th street at least. Whatever it is about .35 miles long so it works. The workout went swimmingly, I did 7 sets of .25 mile repeats up the hill. Some lady walked up that hill twice, once in the beginning of me starting the hills and once at the end. So all that lady saw me do was run up and down this hill, since she was walking slow as shit I had to run past her like 8 times. The last time she just laughed at me like look at this fucking loser. Fuck you lady with your old woman walking ass, go play in traffic. Just kidding she seemed nice and even waved the last time.

The rest of the week was pretty standard, though the 8-miler on Thursday was pure fucking torture. You know sometimes its just hot and muggy and you are shot and every step feels like you have been laying on a mirror in the middle of the Sahara wearing a gimp suit? Maybe that is just me…

Tempo run really felt like I loosened up, my gf was doing an 8-mile tempo run that was 1 mile at tempo, .25 mile recovery, for 4 miles so I did 3 miles of that with her. It wasn’t too bad prob kept around an 8-8:30 minute mile for them. Either way I got through it.

And finally, the long run. I set a new distance PR on Sunday with a lovely 14-miler. That run was honestly the first time that this whole running 26 miles thing seemed possible. We set it up pretty solidly, in front of my apartment I had a Gatorade (yellow of course. yellow is a flavor don’t @ me) so when we ran about 7 miles we passed the apartment and refueled for a good 30 seconds. That made all the difference. Well the weather made all the difference really because it was gorgeous. Whatever it felt great.

Taking a look at the upcoming week it seems to be a down week in terms of day-to-day runs so I am looking forward to getting some cross training in. I did some hot yoga yesterday and while my downward dog still looks like dead dog I really do recommend adding yoga to your routine. I feel astronomically better today than I did yesterday. Once I learned to accept that I am always going to suck at yoga and to not be embarrassed about it, I have way more fun. I still try all the hard shit and fall and stuff, but what are you going to do. Like I tried to do this pose where you are in tree thingy and you grab your big toe and extend the leg out, but my hip almost snapped off and I stumbled and gave it up. It would have looked sick though. I think this is it.

Today, I have an 8-mile interval run and I think this will be the most challenging thing I have on the agenda so I am glad to get it out the way. No soccer tonight the seasons over. We sucked. The long run this weekend is 10 miles so nothing too crazy there. I even have a 3-mile run on the schedule, what will I do with all the time on my hands. Maybe finish a fucking book…

Journey around the Wheel of Time

The Great Hunt Audiobook Update 6: Endless worlds, endless possibilities

I would like to take some time out of your regularly scheduled program to honor a true hero. A man that has faced ridicule, faced trials and tribulations, faced haters and doubters, and has rose above adversity to lead his people to greatness. I am talking of course about the legend number 8 of the New York Football Giants, Daniel Mothafucka Jones. Hi pocket presence, his ability to read the defense, his pure athleticism caused the drive that was heard round the tristate area like a local car dealership. What does this have to do with The Wheel of Time you might ask? Well my friends, in short, everything.

It was a hot summer afternoon when a young man, fresh off a grueling and truly terribly performed 8-mile run sat on his couch and tuned into the New York Football Giants. He had just finished listening to an hour-and-a-halfish (yes that’s how long it took to run 8 miles, I am not proud of this fact) of a fantastic audiobook courtesy of the lovely folks at audible (sponsor me please), when a hero first entered the television screen. He proceeded to complete his first pass. I was intrigued. Another play, another completion. My eyes were laser focused on this man-miracle. He dares to throw another, he succeeds in completing this monumental feat. Now I am tearing up, for three in a row can’t possibly be possible. Pray it is no fluke. A fourth pass, a fourth completion. I am full on weeping tears of joy. My dick may or may not be harder than a blood-diamond.  And finally, the grand finale. He lets the ball go, TOUCHDOWN. The sky erupts as the heavens open up in the presence of a god. Lightning is appearing in the sky, the world is sundering at the seams. The fabric of reality is torn. The sheer magnitude of the moment causes a weather delay. I worry how this will affect my bet if they can’t finish the game. I finish my aside. Go Giants!

There is a part in chapter 37 of The Great Hunt where Rand is trying to use a portal stone and it is acting like a shitty motor that just won’t get started. He finally gets the thing working and like a sputtering engine we are treated to six renditions of the word ‘Flicker.’ Now reading ‘flicker’ six times in a row takes no effort at all, but hearing it six straight times was just torturous. Worse than listening to a country song. BUTTTTT what we do get is this sickkkk chapter where Rand lives out like 100 lives and I have to say, I like every other version of Rand better than the one Robert Jordan subjects us too. In one life he is a disgruntled guard with an attitude problem, who goes on to lead the Caemlyn army in a last stand. That is fucking badass. None of this soft ass crying. Also Rand screws up and they launch themselves 4 months into the future. Good job dipshit.

Meanwhile at the White Tower, we are treated to an, wait for it, angry Nynaeve. The source of her anger? She got whipped up on for throwing hands with another Accepted. Nynaeve embodies the world-renowned scholar Aubrey Graham’s famous quote “twitter fingers turn to trigger fingers.” She doesn’t take no shit from noooooobody. I do think it is pretty weak though that Liandrin is able to convince them all to leave the White Tower just because they are afraid that there are Black Aja around. Like couldn’t they just go to the Amrilyn Seat? The precedent has been set that they have at least the semblance of a connection with her, and certainly asking her would be wise. O well they didn’t so off they go.

I do want to address the elephant in the room. Many have been clamoring that Matt in these last few chapters has exhibited elements of what us in the world like to call a “snitch.” In some of the lives Matt sees of himself, he has told people that Rand has been able to channel. Some, those deep dark hating trolls, would believe that this means that our hero Matt exhibits snitch like tendencies, but I am here to say that could not be further from the truth. What traits Matt truly embodies are that of the hero, he is willing to sacrifice even his own friend (who has proven to be a terrible friend on numerous occasions, even deigning to look down upon him) for the sake of the safety of the world. Duty is lighter than a feather, heavier than a mountain indeed. Happy Friday everybody!

Final Notes: I promise some more book related stuff is coming, but taking a break from The Stone Sky and whatever is the name of that stupid ass third book in A Land Fit for Heroes series to read The Ruin of Kings has me about halfway done with three different books. An interesting conundrum.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 5: On to the 2nd quarter

One quarter of the quest to become Marathon Mike is officially in the books. It is easy to look at a plan and think that it seems like an impossible amount of time, but I am here to tell you that it is an impossible amount of time. I feel like with how much I talk to people about this, with all the blogs, and the obvious planning/training/recovering of doing the actual plan, it feels like I have been doing this for an eternity. To think that four weeks is literally a month, not a pleasant thought. If you thought some encouraging shit was coming, MY BAD.

That being said I guess the truth is that if you were a quarter the way through your run you might feel like it’s not that bad. So there is that. I guess. But lets not focus on the negative and get into talking about the runs last week.

Right off the bat you can see the tuesday run I was talking about. For a 6-mile interval run to start off the week, it wasn’t too bad. I felt like I was getting some good pop off of the speed intervals. I got terrible pop in my soccer game that night, but whatever thats not relevent to the blog. It was kind of nice to open up after a brutal 12-miler the day before, and while I felt my knee teetering on disaster, it held up. Seems like my knee if finally starting to heal up correctly. I think a heating pad on it for 20 minutes three times a day at work, as well as working the quad with a lacrosse ball really contributed to the muscle finally loosening up.

The other stuff was business as usual. I banged out the tempo run on Friday morning, felt really good during it. I ran 20 minutes at the tempo, i think the first mile was at an 8:00 minute pace the second one dropped off too an 8:20. It is really hard to get good speed workouts in when I am so worried about getting hurt during soccer. Tuesday night I literally felt like death had come calling. I don’t worry too much about performing well during the speed stuff, I sprint a lot playing sports. As long as I attempt it I am happy.

I also hit the gym Friday night for some well needed leg workouts. With the knee thing I have been scared to do any legwork, which of course means if I lose strength I am more likely to get injured. A vicious cycle indeed. The long run was a 10-miler which was pretty easy all things considered. I ran it Saturday morning before the oppressive heat.

As for the upcoming week. I am taking today off, I feel like if I don’t take at least one day my legs are literally going to seize up, every time I think about running my calf starts to seize up like a fiend. Plus a 6-miler with a hill workout tomorrow morning is not going to be easy. At least the last soccer game of the season is tomorrow night! Until, the fall of course. The rest of the week should be good, though I will be setting my own distance PR with the 14-miler this weekend. That just sounds crazy, but the following weeks that hopefully will be happening a lot. Have a good week everybody!

Marathon Mike

Marathon Monday’s Week 4: A day late but still great

I’m thinking this is going to be a quick update this week, since I already fucked it up by not blogging it yesterday. This is not the blog of excuses, just complaints masked in poor attempts at comedy, so I’ll just tell the truth. Took the day off from work yesterday, and after doing my 12-mile long run in the middle of the day, I was shot and laid on my bed all day while I was subjected to listening to the Bachelorette, as I was too tired and hot to get up and watch my own stuff in the other room that we are too poor to use AC in. That being said, they did my boy Pilot Pete dirty. Guess that’s what you call a…wait for it…crash landing.

Why did I do my long run on Monday of all days, especially considering it was only 102930 degrees out. Well me and the old ball-and-chain went hiking up Mount Minsi on Sunday, which is located somewhere in the Delaware Water Gap or whatever the hell it’s called. Lovely hike, only took like 4-5 hours to do the whole thing, with time spent trying to capture the perfect Instagram picture, which I will of course share below. Go hiking it is pretty chill. 

As to how last week went, it was solid. The tempo run went well, it kind of seems like all my difficult running workouts take place on Tuesdays, which coincides with my washed up soccer league. Whatever it is what it is. The hills I must say were really fun, there is this giant ass bridge in Hoboken that is maybe 1/3 of a mile long and relatively steep so I just did .25 mile repeats for 2 miles. Next time I do hills I will take a picture of it for reference. I also wrote a sentence that had both a fraction and a decimal to describe mile length. That’s the work of a genius.

Let me get into the meat and potatoes for what I’m looking at this week. It would be better for the sake of this blog to talk about how I’m dreading taking on this interval run in the 90 degree weather but I already did it this morning. That’s the problem with writing blogs late, you lose the ability to project forward. I will say though, doing intervals the day after running 12 miles, would not recommend to anyone out there. That is probably the reason this plan has an optional run on Mondays, for that little thing I hate called rest. Whatever it’s in the past, so might as well talk about it. In my quest to never make things easy on myself I decided to do 5 sets of 2 minutes hard running, 2 minutes slow jog. It was a 6 mile run so the warmup was 2 miles. Overall brutal workout. Cool I’ll stop complaining now. Just kidding, my knee has been fucked all day. Still got to play soccer tonight.

As for the rest of the week, it seems like a heavy mileage week, though the long run is only 10 miles. Not really thinking this should be too difficult, assuming my knee cap decides to chill in its uhhhh kneecap for the rest of the week. Who knows!?!?! I will be sure to update on Friday. Probably.

Final Notes: Hope I made up for the lack of words with pictures. Really embracing this blogging work ethic.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Monday’s Week 3: I survived the 2019 Heatwave

Michael Jordan flu game. Isaiah Thomas 2016 playoff run. Robert Griffin III 2013 NFC Playoff Game. LeBron James playing through an almost broken back for the 2018-19 season. These are the moments we remember. Man overcoming injury to glory. Granted those last two examples both those guys lost spectacularly but you get the point. And LeBron’s injury coincidently coincided with his team losing. HMMMM.  I would add myself to the list of the greats, but I just overcame adversity in training. Credit to me, and I guess if I have to give credit, credit to anyone else who ran this weekend. Actually more credit to me, I don’t do it for the camera’s but rather for the love of the game.

As I am sure all my fellow New Yorkian’s can attest too, it was hot as balls this weekend. It was around 100 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday, and as crazy as it sounds it felt even hotter. I mean, it the type of heat/humidity that caused instant swamp ass two seconds into walking outside. I could feel my chest compressing as I was running. I guess that would be why New York Road Runners cancelled their run this weekend. I am not NYRRs though, and the training must be done. I ran the 10-miler on Saturday morning, I even woke up early so I could get going by like 7:30am. I wish I got up at 6. It might have been one of the top 10 hardest runs I have ever done, including some races. I swear at a certain point I was sweating so much that actual foam was coming out of my compression shorts, like a fucking race horse that has been ran to exhaustion. Literal foam. Nuts. Good news is I think the knee injury is really healed up, it didn’t give me too much trouble. Probably because my ligaments melted. Point is, the weekend was tough.

As for the week coming up, I don’t foresee too much difficulty besides the rain that is coming today and tomorrow. As usual, the Tuesday/Wednesday back-to-back can get really tiring, especially when I play soccer Tuesday nights then have to have a longer run Wednesday. I think that my body is getting used to it, or you know like training is actually benefitting me. Tuesday is a 6-mile tempo run, which normally I hate but I am really excited to see how it goes, purely because the Garmin Forerunner 235 (no free ads) has a feature where I can program workouts into it, which should make it much easier to follow along. What a stupid reason to get excited for something I normally hate doing. Kind of like when you get a new suite or gym clothes or something and you get really excited to do something you normally hate just because you got the right gear for it and all of a sudden you think you are going to love it. For me that is pretty much anything involving wearing a suite. Got a new one, obviously thought I looked like hot shit, and was jacked up about wedding season. Ten minutes into the next wedding I was at I remembered that it wasn’t the way I was dressed, it was that I hate socializing and people and events and life. O yea the long run is 12 miles this weekend. Let’s goooooo.

Final Notes: I finished The Obelisk Gate finally, review will be coming at some point this week. A little disappointed in how slow I have been going with the reading lately, I think with no book updates the blog gets a little to me-focused instead of talking about things. Hopefully this inspires me to finish The Dark Defiles, since my boss who has been lending me The Broken Earth Trilogy books is out until next week so I can’t get the next book. It would be nice to be able to but A Land of Heroes trilogy away for all time and never think about it again.

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.

Uncategorized

Snake it Till you Make It: Frank Meza Edition

This is a little bit different then my normal blogging material, but I promise it is well worth the read. Let me set the stage for you. Frank Meza is a retired doctor in Los Angeles who was a proponent of that stupid ass barefoot running craze that led to those weird web shoes. You can watch him in all his glory here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKmo8scMx1I Who gives a shit about some 70-year-old doctor who’s going to die soon right? Well the fucking internet does of course. Because let me tell you about my mans Frankie Meza. Frankie boy is a world class cheater, and his specialty is cheating hippie marathons out in Cali.

Your boy Frankie is currently in some hot water for allegedly cheating at the 2019 Los Angeles Marathon, where he set the record for the fastest marathon ever run by a 70-year-old with a time of 2:53:10. To be fair I just keep reading that he set the record, I have yet to find anything official on that. And also to be fair, he didn’t allegedly cheat, he without-a-doubt cheated. The point of this blog is not to prove his guilt or innocence since he is so clearly cheating, but rather to acknowledge a master of the craft.

Frankie boy has a long history of the long con, this was not an anomaly. You may be questioning at this point, if you have not already seen the story or been on Reddit, just how Frank cheated all these marathons? Well Frank is the master at cutting the course, which involves him exiting the course at some point and entering it at another. He has only gotten better as time has gone on, like literally this grandpa’s marathon times have steadily been improving as he pulls the ol’ Benjamin Button. He has gotten craftier by learning from his mistakes turning into a practical ghost who can teleport anywhere on the course. He specialty is the LA Marathon where he has been improving on his craft since 2015. Here are just some prime examples of places he got caught cheating.

He was disqualified once, from the 2014 California International Marathon. This is where he learned the importance of consistent pacing. See Frankie boy ran his final 10k in 36 minutes, which is awesome. The problem was that this final 10k was at a minute-per-mile pace faster than the rest of the race. Not to be thwarted, he tried this again at the 2016 CIM and of course got disqualified. When he could appeal, he was just like na fuck it.  

One would think this would deter him, as people seemed to be catching on, but apparently my man also is suspect at large at the 2019 Pasadena Half Marathon and The 2018 Long Beach Marathon, where once again his paces don’t add up. The beauty of Frank is you can’t stop him, if you disqualify him he won’t bother too appeal, he will just try it again and again. His determination to continue to cheat is just incredible, he is addicted to the cheating game through and through.

At the Phoenix Marathon this year, he cheated, which was proven by a camera that was set up where he just happens to have never blessed us with his appearance. That could happen to us all, I mean there are plenty of NYRR races where I am not on it, but those are still cameras, not video. Either way he pulled the wool over all our eyes. Granted everyone investigating him said he cheated, but no action was taken. Record set!

But the LA Marathon is where his bread is buttered. His biggest stage. His one shining moment. Frankie boy knows exactly where to cut in, just look at this here picture. While the picture itself doesn’t exactly mean he cheated, I said earlier I am not here to put him on trial, he is guilty.

But see where a loser like you and me might be like “shit got caught, might as well come clean,” Frankie boy has gone the 90’s baseball player route by denying any wrongdoing. This is all part of the craft. When shown the photos, he gave a perfect response along the lines of he ran off the course to pee. This having to pee thing screwed him up the year before because he went into a hotel to pee, so this year he let it fly on the side of the road. Genius move.

Frank is someone to be admired. Not for his actual ability to run of course, he’s a first class loser who is cheating in a totally amateur capacity and disgracing what it means to be a marathon runner or runner in general. But rather for his ability as a world class grifter. For some reason I keep comparing him to the legendary Frank Reynolds, a master grifter in his own right.

Since this race, the LA Marathon loser committee has decided not to disqualify him, but rather to have someone accompany him next year. Que up the injury bug, because I guarantee Frankie boy will have it come time to shine.

Since he was not disqualified for this year’s stunning performance, Frankie must forever be known as a record breaker. Game recognize game.

Final Notes: I got a lot of this information from a site called marathoninvestigation.com. I want to say that while I admire the level of detail this guy went into to knock down a good man like Frank, you have to be an allllll time loser to spend that many hours poring over an amateur’s race data. Like this guy was literally comparing photos and analyzing pace charts looking for discrepancies. The amount of pent up anger you have to have to spend that much time taking down someone is just a classic case of someone who needs to either jerk off or get laid so badly. Game does not recognize game. He did make this blog easier to write though. Thanks!