WEEK 14 NYC MARATHON TRAINING: It’s our Anniversary & Bronx 10 Miler Recap

One year ago, I married my favorite man. Here’s a song for today. (Tony Toni Toné)

We spent Wednesday-Saturday in Philadelphia to celebrate our anniversary, and I was still getting over my sickness, so, marathon training was kind of lackluster…

Here’s the pictoral evidence:

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Stats:

  • Total Running Miles: 20
  • Longest Run: 13.61
  • Total Cumulative Donuts: 291
  • Total Workouts: 3

Tuesday night, I decided to get some miles on my new shoes on the road instead of the treadmill, and went to Prospect Park. It was dark, it was hard. It hurt a little bit, and scary, because I was out there alone, and at night. But I did close to 5 miles, “by feel” which translated into probably more walking than I wanted…but I was rewarded with a pretty cool view at the end of the run:

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We did a LOT of walking in Philly, including the Mural Mile walking tour, which was super fun, and we decided to do that instead of going into the Philly Museum of Art (though we did take the obligatory pics in front of the Rocky Steps:

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Here are some pics from the Mural Mile Walk:

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I was “good” and brought my gym clothes to Philly in an effort to keep up with my marathon training, but the truth was I was still sick when we left. I tried to go down and do some miles, but it was hot and I couldn’t focus, and only managed to do about 2 miles, then biked while C was finishing up his 1.5 miles. That would be the only mileage “running” during the trip…

Here’s a cute pic of us (I’m SO SHORT!) after a great dinner in Philly:

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ANYWAYS—so, C’s favorite race is the NYRR Bronx 10 miler, which he ran in 2012, but could not because it was our wedding weekend last year. I agreed to run it this year on our anniversary both because, NYC Marathon Training waits for no anniversary, and I wanted to experience the bliss that he seemed to experience. SPOILER ALERT: There was no bliss on my part, only because I wanted it to be cooler, and we ran (RACED) 2.5 miles from Harlem to the start (shout out to the old hood, and the Starbucks that welcomed me for a bathroom break), and I was already spent before the race began.

If you’ll recall my open letter to NYRR, about the lack of water near the end of the race…I was certainly keeping open eyes to make sure that my experience matched everyone’s experience. And I’m here to tell you that each water station was filled with water and gatorade all the way until the end!

Bronx 10 miler is an out-and-back course which I tend to like. On the way “out” I’m thinking: YAY DOWNHILL. OH WAIT. THAT WILL BE AN UPHILL COMING BACK. Or vice versa. I was praying that the sun would still be behind the buildings on my way back, and for the most part, it was–enough–even though I definitely have sun-kissed shoulders. Because my pace has been MAD SLOW lately, I worried a bit about my pace for the race. Because the race is a road race–on Grand Concourse in the Bronx–they have a stricter time limit to get the streets back to normal for the folks in the neighborhood we take over. There was an honest-to-god sweep BUS creeping at the end of the runners, and yall, that put fire in my belly to make sure I was NOT ON THAT BUS. I swore I would rip off my bib and pretend to be a street runner before I got on the bus. If you’re familiar with NYRR rules, generally the course limit starts “after the last person crosses the starting line”, and so when I went to line up, I made sure that I was “somewhere up there” near the middle of the pack to ensure that I could get a few more minutes. I also went out too fast to give myself a “buffer” but having already spent everything on the 2.5 miles before the race, after the first mile of the race, I WAS BEAT, YALL. My pace dropped considerably and I just struggled to hold on, ahead of the struggle bus.

Anyways, I finished. C and I were re-united, spoke to some NYRR officials who asked to meet us on our anniversary…and I wobbled to the train. I’m still breaking in these new shoes, and I definitely felt it when I stopped running. I wanted to do at least one more mile when we got to Brooklyn, so we got off the train a stop early, and ran around Bed Stuy–C even paced me for a few fast blocks near the end, for my second-fastest mile of the run– before coming home.

We set out our cake to defrost so we could eat it on our anniversary day, and besides the fondant, it came out pretty good after a year–literally–in the freezer!

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It was the lemon piece of our cake, and it was certainly sweeter than I expected….but still delish, and I’m not sure I”ll eat more of it, but C certainly instructed me to save the rest!

In other news……………..

I’m one race sign-up away from completing another 9+1. Tomorrow I’ll head up to NYRR and complete my volunteer component….then participating in 651 ARTS’ conversation series, Love in the Time of Brooklyn., and Tuesday, I will attend Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Classic Cocktail Party; so excited!

 

What’s My Plan?

Marathon training is hard enough; the miles, the miles the miles. I have been pretty public with my training so as to hold myself accountable, and to document for myself, AND to show that folks of all sizes can work towards the seeming impossible.

I confessed to my friend Jess one night when she asked me how it was going, I simply said: “I’m tired.”

When she asked me to elaborate, I said something to the effect of: I’m tired of thinking about everything and how it might impact my runs: am I eating enough?/ am I eating enough of the right things at the right time?/when do I need to go to bed to get enough sleep?/what time do I need to wake up to get to the gym, run my miles, shower, and walk to work to get to work on time?/did I pack the clothes I’m going to wear to work tomorrow?/ do I have enough GU for the long run Saturday?/how many miles on my shoes before I need new ones?/how much salt is good for tomorrow’s humid long run but too much for normal hypertension aversion?/ do I have a bagel for my breakfast before the long run in the morning?/do we have pasta, tomato sauce, protein for me, for C?/where am I going to run?/what am I going to wear on the long run?/wait, before I decide that, what’s the weather going to be like approximately during the hours of 7am-1pm?/ what percentage of humidity is too much?/if I eat kale with dinner tonight will I regret it in the morning during the run?….AND ON AND ON AND ON…

But I think about other things that could be on this list. One thing I’m thankful to not have to think about is: how far do I have to run today? What’s my plan?

As I have been  mentally preparing for the TCS New York City Marathon, I went through my favorite running blogs, and started reading their race recaps. I also found some new favorites. I discriminated against running blogs with runners who did sub-4 marathons because I just couldn’t relate. At All. These are the people who call 10+ minute miles SO SLOWW and well. That’s me. So, you won’t get my eyes or my time. I stumbled upon this one compelling blog, and read through her archives (OK, I’ve read it twice.) for the 2013 NYC Marathon, and was intrigued by her mentioning she had a running coach. I didn’t act on that first intrigue. Well, I went to the Running Coach’s website, and read through how super-fast she is, and qualified for Boston Marathon on her first run (that is a pretty big deal, BTW). I thought, that’s cool that she has a coach, and continued to modify Hal Higdon’s marathon plan for myself and try and figure that out on my own.

And yes, my feet are doing the running, but I don’t have to be alone. And yes, my husband is running/training for NYC Marathon, also, but he’s so fast, and I just wanted someone I could talk to about my struggles and concerns (turns out there would be a lot of it!) and who could create a plan FOR ME. It’s part of my new belief (another post on that later) that if I am able to, I should go down the path of least resistance, and the “sacrifice” (in this case, the $) would pay off in peace of mind, in letting experts do what they are trained to do and not try to be one, and it would take one more thing off my plate.

So I contacted Abby and she agreed to coach little old me to the marathon! We’ve been working together since about July 15, and I can say it was the best decision I could have made. Hands down. I get a monthly plan, and we check after each run, and I have someone–who is not my husband–to cheer me on, to hear me out, to tell me how far I should run, for how long, and when. She (might) doesn’t judge my SLOW PACE, and even, when I whine about not getting faster, she tells me–I’m probably faster than I think I am, and challenges me to push myself a little bit more.

If she’ll have me for future races, I’d continue to work with her again and again….

WEEK 13 MARATHON TRAINING: Harder to Breathe

So this is the song of the week. Maroon 5 “Harder to Breathe”–I realize I’ve used this title before, but, it applied to last week’s training.

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Stats:

  • Total Running Miles: 11
  • Longest Run: 4 (WOMP WOMP)
  • Total Cumulative Donuts: 279
  • Total Workouts: 4

Monday I had a little bit of DOMS from Sunday’s 18 mile run, and found myself walking around tightening my quads for some reason, I think to make myself feel more stable. That worked itself out into some runner’s knee pain on Tuesday’s run, but I worked through it. And except for one stop to shake out the knee, I ran all 4 miles straight and strong. I told myself: 4 miles in the context of 18 is NOTHING. :) They were also some pretty fast miles for me.

Wednesday, I decided to check out a spin class. It was all right. Certainly, my quads were still stiff, and I basically just pedaled at my own pace for the 45 minutes, and gave myself permission to skip out on some of the jumps. The instructor did the obnoxious thing of running up to people to incite them to work harder, and I know it looked on the outside like I was phoning it in, but honestly my legs could not move any faster than what it was. So the instructor bops over to me and is like, “COME ON YOU CAN GO FASTER THAN THAT” and I just said, “I ran 18 miles on Sunday.” and she goes, “YOU SHOULD BE RECOVEREDDD” and then I proceeded to neither speed up NOR do practically anything else she was asking me to do. I finished up, and then did some leg exercises and assisted pull ups and dips. It felt good to do some weight things. Doing a pull up was a goal of mine a longgg long time ago, and so I hope to continue to work towards that goal. I did 1/2 of my body weight, which is still significant, but a good ways to go. Hopefully as I drop weight, the pull-ups will get easier?

Thursday’s run: 4 miles + strides. It was like a run out of the movies. So smooth. So fast (for me)–it even elicited a  “GREAT JOB” from the coach :). I felt on top of the world, and had such great hopes for Saturday’s run.

THEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.

Friday night, I bought some new shoes, new GU/Power Gels, bought my pasta and treated myself to a Dough Donut for the 16 miles. Went home, cooked it. Loved it. Went to sleep at a decent enough time. Everything by rote; I’ve been doing it for 11 weeks now. I knew it was getting fuzzy when I couldn’t focus enough on a route to run 16. I was just going to basically meander around Brooklyn, rather than try to do it all in Prospect Park (or 4.75 loops of the park. For someone who has run 12 miles on a treadmill, I really should be shying away from this). Anyways, that was the first indication that Saturday was going to be not fun.

Alarm clock goes off, and I fight with it for an hour. AN HOUR. I knew the temp for the day was going to get pretty warm and humid later, and the later I stayed in bed the more likely I would be to run in those conditions. I fix my bagel, drink my 16oz NUUN water, pack my spibelt and water bottle and just think: If I get out there on the road, I’ll get it done.

WELP. I’m here to tell you that sometimes the body can win over the mind. I was struggling to catch my breath at mile 1. I thought at first it was because I wasn’t running a race, which could certainly be a reasoning for me not running as fast as my 18 miler–or that I was on the streets of Brooklyn instead of in a park without stoplights, and concrete sidewalks and worrying about tripping over things. It was just mental. I was just complaining. I kept going. Mile 2 went by and it was just as bad as the first. Usually, if I can get past 1.5 ish, things clear up and I convince myself that whatever was trying to stop me from running is over….but it was not. I passed by the Avenue that intersects the street that I live on (except I was like 10 blocks north), and walked home. I immediately got in bed. Did not pass go, did not collect $200.00.

C came in from his 12 miler all jolly and happy. I told him I didn’t finish my run. And went to sleep. We were going to meet up for dinner and I was going to go to his Urban World Midnight screening event. We went into the city for Chinese (yum!), and during dinner, my eyes glassed over, my nose became congested. C sent me home and straight to bed. Even going to sleep was hard though; as soon as I went horizontal, I couldn’t breathe. IN ADDITION: my knee was starting to bother me….and would last until today.

Sunday I thought at least I’d be able to run. NOPE. I couldn’t breathe. My head was fuzzy. You could hear it in my voice.

I let my coach know that I couldn’t do the 16 miler, and she kept checking in on me for Monday and now today. I’m feeling like it’s getting out from under me, finally–after more sleep, and things–and hope to resume running plan soon. This means though, I have to add 6 miles to the 10 mile race on Sunday (OUR 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!) and I was looking forward to “only” 10 miles….Coach believes this won’t mess me up too much.

In other news. ONLY 40 DAYS TO NYC MARATHON. #GULP

Hows training? I think I’m going to write a #marathoneats post pretty soon…I’m loving the Nutritionist, and Nutribullet and the #moregreen movement that I started for myself :)

Open Letter to NYRR and Race Officials Everywhere

*UPDATE: I received an appropriate response, and will continue to hold NYRR accountable.*

Dear New York Road Runners,

I have been a member since 2011, and have run 23 road races with your organization in the last three years. I won’t count the races I registered for and did not run, for which, you received my $, I will only talk about the 23 road races that I ran and finished.

I’ll start by saying as of today, September 17, 2014, I’m just coming out from under my injury, however, I am still running over weight, which means, I am running slower paces than some of my earlier races. This is significant and important. You see, the earlier races, I finished somewhere in the middle-back of the pack averaging 10:22-11:30 miles, a pretty average (some might call it “slow”) pace in those days. I would line up in my corral (I was SO HAPPY to move up a corral when I clocked those 10:xx miles) and run my race, and finish, and cheer on the folks coming through the chute behind me.

This past Sunday, despite so many odds (the injury and being over weight I mentioned earlier), I finished the 18 Mile Marathon Tune-Up. It was the farthest I have had to run. I won’t say it was the hardest (because, the humidity the week before in the park certainly wore me down quicker). But I finished it, and I was so proud of myself, but also disappointed. I was at the back of the pack, you see. I only really had two goals: 1) finish before you pulled up the timing mat and 2) run as many of the hills as possible. I accomplished the first goal, and 2/3 of the second, so I’ll call it a win. I’m almost ready for November 2, but, I have a few concerns for that race day that only you, NYRR, can help me with, because it has to do with race-day amenities and providing for EVERY finisher that finishes within the race time (How you described it on Sunday: 4.5 hours from the last person to cross the starting line).
Let me explain a little bit more: It was made clear that the course had a 4.5 hour time limit. It was made clear, also, that Power Gels would be provided through the course, and gatorade at two stops during the race, and water at almost every mile marker through out the race. Because the race was 3 full loops of Central Park, you could get away with your 5 water stations and just keep it stocked. You didn’t need 18. You didn’t need 23 like you’ll need on Marathon Race Day. Just, 5. Just keep 5 water stations stocked for 4.5 hours after the last person crossed the starting line. Given that I wasn’t the last person to cross the starting line by a long shot, and it took me 7 minutes to cross the starting line, and the race started at 7:00am, by my calculation, there should be water, gatorade, and Power Gels at your 5 water stations for each of the almost 5000 runners until about, say, 11:40 AM, no?
But on the contrary. I’m slow. I know I need to keep a certain pace to finish on time. When I made my way around the third loop of the race–at this point, only 3 or so hours in, there was no gatorade at the 1,7,13 mile marker, as promised. Because it was clear that it would be provided, I did not run with water. Additionally, the West Side water stations–2,8,14 and 3,9,15 were packing up, and had no water set out for the runners who were still on the course with me. Of course, you can imagine if there was no water, there was also no gatorade OR Power Gels, during the critical points of the run.
I was thankful to find water and Gatorade at the Mile 17 station as I was finishing up the run, and EXTREMELY THANKFUL to find cheerful volunteers at the finish line, with water, Gatorade, bagels and apples.
But I think I should be clear at this point: if I am the first or the last runner to cross the finish line within the time limit, and if I pay the same price to run as every other runner, I should have access to all of the race-day amenities I am promised upon paying for the race. 
Because as I said, I have been a member since 2011, having run 23 of your races, ad not been slowed by injury before–I usually experience the uninterrupted joy that is NYRR race–free-flowing water, Gatorade for all–but I was extremely disappointed in running by water stations to find tables stacked up, volunteers *emptying* the water bins, and none set out when there was easily an hour left to the race, and other runners in the field, indicated by the race bib you ask each of us to wear.
I really hope to not pass by an empty water station during those critical miles of the Marathon, or that should I need Gatorade, there will still be cups for me to grab as I continue on my way, or I hope that when I get to mile 18, there are still Power Gels (as advertised) left for me to make it to the finish line on November 2!
But actually, before that, I still have the Bronx 10 Miler on September 28, and the Staten Island Half Marathon on October 12. Will there be water enough for me, too, at the end?
I would love to hear your thoughts on the plan for such a dream.
Sincerely,
DéLana

WEEK 12 MARATHON TRAINING: The Climb (plus 18 Mile Tune-Up Race Recap)

This is the song that got me over the last hill in the 18 Mile Tune-Up. 

Now, to recap Week 12. Here’s the stats:

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  • Total Running Miles: 34.6
  • Longest Run: 18 miles (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  • Total Cumulative Donuts: 267.15
  • Total Workouts: 5

OK so I’m going to work myself backwards from most recent to recap this week, because I’m still in shock that I finished the 18 Mile Race on Sunday, yall.  The other little runs can be summed up: I felt strong, I ran all of them, and added some speed in. :) Now to the meat-and-potatoes of the week.

But before I do that, I want to shout out to my husband who has been getting MAD NYRR love. First, it was the picture from the training run last year. And then, yesterday, when he rocked out on his own 18 mile race, he was asked by NYRR for a quote to put up on the race report. You can find that here: http://www.nyrr.org/races-and-events/2014/tcs-new-york-city-marathon-tune-up-18m/race-report/marathoners-in-training

OK. So, last week I decided to prep for this 18 mile–or 3 full loops of Central Park–by running in Central Park with ALL THE HUMIDITY. I’m so glad that I did, honestly. I familiarized myself with Central Park (it had been so long since I ran it) and it’s twists and turns and minor hills, and of course, with the big hills–Harlem and Cat. Saturday I was watching results come in for the 5th Avenue Mile and was SO JEALOUS of the weather and prayed that it would be similar come Sunday’s run.

It turns out that it would be cooler, but also sunny, with some wind. I was OK with that! Saturday C had a film event, so I went to that to hang out for a bit, and see some awesome films, and then headed home to cook carbo-loaded food. Pasta, sauce, etc etc. The usual. I had a hard time going to sleep like I wanted to, and played around on my ipad in bed reading folks’ 18 mile tune-up recaps and mentally preparing for the hills.

We woke up at 4:45am. I fixed breakfast and finished packing up our stuff, and were out the door by 5:25am. It was still dark. I was questioning my sanity. But we were really gonna do it! It was supposed to be 50 something in the am warming up to 60 something by noon. Because I knew I’d be running until almost then, I needed to dress well. I brought a long-sleeved T-shirt to change into after the race, and wore a short sleeved shirt for the run. It was so chilly though that I decided to run with my long-sleeved shirt for the first mile (and to keep warm before the start) and it was a good decision.

We got a picture on our way to the start:

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When the gun went off, I kissed C good-bye and good-luck and we were out on our own. The race started at 102 transverse, which meant, we got Harlem Hill out of the way pretty early. My coach told me to take my time, and try to run up all of the hills, and walk at the top if I needed to, so I set out with the goals of: 1) finish before they pull up the timing mat and 2) run as many of the hills as possible.

I accomplished goal #1, though it was CLOSE! After a shaky mile 17 (Cat Hill for the 3rd time), I got a second wind from somewhere and ran the last mile.

Here’s the quick and dirty:

HILLS: I ran all of the hills for the first two loops! Having run Harlem Hill made every other hill feel inconsequential, honestly. Like I remember getting to the West Side Hills and be like: THAT’S IT?! Surely, it’s mostly perception, but, the first two loops went by as quickly as my feet would let them. The third loop, I kept bargaining with myself: “run to this stop light” lol, “run to this tree”. One of the West side hills had a water station on it, so I just walked that one, and then Cat Hill for the third time, I walked and almost thought I had used up all of my energy and may have to walk the rest of the race…..Here’s a picture of the elevation chart……Hold your heart!

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FUELING: I have to say my fueling was ON POINT. I never felt fuzzy-brain. I think near the end I might have taken in too much water, and felt a little water logged (also at mile 17), but once I ran through that, I felt as on top of the world I could have ever felt at mile 18…I picked up two PowerGels on the course and used them at mile 3 and 6, then took a GU Roctane at mile 9. I took an electrolyte tab and drank some gatorade at mile 17 and that fueling strategy got me to the end. Would I change something? Probably not. Maybe all PowerGels–they have more carbohydrates per package. They are more liquid-y and easier to get down.

BODY CHECK: I had some debris get into my shoe that annoyed me a little bit but not enough to stop and empty the shoe. I was on a time crunch and every minute was so important. Everything else felt strong and good except some chafing from my t-shirt sleeve at the end. THE STING was something serious when I changed shirts, yall. But given the hills, the distance, and my pace, I’ll take that as my only road casualty, and it’s 100% preventable next time. Here’s another picture from the run :)

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PACE: I’m slow, and I’m not proud of it. So I won’t talk specific numbers, however, I will say that my pace was 1 minute per mile faster than my 16 miler last week. I did not stop my forward movement for any break, so it was my first long-run without any pausing of the garmin, so my elapsed time and running time are the same. I walked, but not nearly as much as in any of my other long runs, and my pacing in the first 8 miles shows that effort. Basically, I ran up the hills, walked for 20 seconds to recover, and then took the downhills (I held back, but still used the downhill to recover from the walking drop in pace). And the only other time I would stop to walk would be the water stations. I held this pattern for the first 8 miles, and maybe walked 1 other time in between for some of the miles after that.

MUSIC: I didn’t think I would go practically the whole race without music, but I did. I think having so many other things to think about kept me busy. I was remembering passages from Marakumi’s “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” and thinking about running as meditation, and I had maybe 3 choruses on 3 songs on repeat here and there, but for the most part, I was checking in with my body, focusing on the ground to get me up the hills, and giggling at folks run-singing around me. At mile 15, as a “treat” I gave myself the ipod, and I listened for about 2 miles, but it didn’t seem to be helping, or else I couldn’t find good enough music worthy of the task, so I took it off around mile 17.5 and went without for the rest of the run.

It is a lonely road when you’re as slow as I am…..by the time I was finishing up the last 3 miles, the park was filling up with tourists and other runners. I thanked every volunteer who cheered for me at the end, and it really did help me power through. There was one runner who passed me miles ago that I was inching up on. She was walking with another runner–they didn’t seem to be friends, but were with each other to get through the end. I was walking too–they were a few feet ahead on Cat Hill, and I thought, “If I catch up to them, maybe we can support each other to the end,” because I thought I needed it. It was the dark 17.5 mile Cat Hill hour, and I knew I would finish, but I didn’t know how strong, or if the timing mat would still be there, or what on earth my husband was doing waiting for me… (he was finishing and posting on instagram :) )

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Anyways, I caught up to the two women after the hill, when I got my final final wind, and decided to jog the straight away on the east side (THANK YOU LAWD FOR THAT!) and the final stretch to 102 transverse. I passed them, said some niceties, and kept it moving. I made it to the finish, and folks were packing up and gettin ready to go, but I wasn’t the last and I got so much individual attention that it felt good. They probably felt sorry for me, but I felt amazed. Amazed that this was my strongest run yet, and also the longest. The longest I’ve ever run in my life, and I FELT GOOD!!

Once the adrenaline wore off, I realized I had no appetite, but forced an apple down, and we walked a little bit where I changed my shirt and learned of my chafing issue (OUCH–RIP skin on my right bicep), and it took us FOREVER to get out of the park, but I thank my lucky stars I packed my compression socks. We were trying to decide if we would stay in the city and eat, but I just wanted to get home. We go into the train station to find that the trains weren’t running downtown that we’d have to go uptown, cross over and come back down. HELL NO. We might as well have stayed on the east side—-I picked up my stuff in the station and told C i’m buying us a cab home.

And we made it. And this was my situation for the rest of the day:

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Today, I’m a little stiff, but nothing worrisome. I feel strong, on top o the world, and starting to believe I will finish this marathon….But not fully believing it yet. I’m a realist.

WEEK 11 NYC MARATHON TRAINING RECAP: Turn Down For What

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The last couple of updates I forgot to do the stats. So let’s go!

  • Total Running Miles: 25.6
  • Longest Run: 16 miles (!!!!!)
  • Total Cumulative Donuts: 244
  • Total Workouts: 5

This past week’s training included a PDR (personal distance record) and some mediocre runs during the week. If you don’t remember, I’ve been having some hip flexor issues and just running a few miles on the treadmill has been causing me so much strife that I just kind of let them slip up and focused on the long runs, for good or for bad. I joke with my friends who know about my hip pain that my hip just gave up on me; because I was so determined to keep training, it just threw its hands in the air and said, “so you’re really going to do this, huh?” and I said, yep! and gritted my teeth (literally) and did what I could.

I had to split Tuesday’s run up because I went to the gym that decides not to run AC in the morning and I just couldn’t handle it. But perhaps, I’ll learn later, it was a perfect test-run for ALL THE HUMIDITY that would be Saturday’s long run. Anyways, I did some stairs after the run cut short, and stretched, and went to work. After work, I had my first meeting with a nutritionist! I’m excited to get my eating right, and find the best fueling strategy for the BIG RACE THAT IS LESS THAN 2 MONTHS AWAY. I asked my coach for a suggestion, and the person she recommended didn’t have time–everyone is running this race!–but she recommended a few people. The first one she recommended, the folks at Nutrition Energy seemed to be a win! I called them up, gave them my health insurance information (even though I was fully prepared to pay 100% out of pocket), found out that it’s covered (woot!) and scheduled a meting for Tuesday afternoon.

The meeting was for an hour, which, is not enough time for basically two introductory meetings: 1) to talk about training nutrition and 2) to talk about regular nutrition so that I can more effectively drop some weight. Because I read voraciously, and have gone through the whole lose-a-whole-bunch-of-weight thing before, I kept pace with her, and she kept apologizing for going through things so quickly, but honestly, I would have felt some kind of way if she was talking to me like I was brand new to it. I just need guidelines, someone to hold me accountable, and someone to help me through the rough patches. And I’m at a point in my life where I am not ashamed to pay someone to do it! (luckily, though, like I said, I don’t have to pay!!).

Anyways, the biggest surprise was that I wasn’t eating enough!!! Y’all, I have like 3 breakfasts :). Of course I was probably eating “enough” of some bad things, but, where it counted–on the road, in the morning–I wasn’t consuming enough. So she gave me some breakfast and lunch ideas, and asked me to log my food and come back in two weeks. In terms of training, I also wasn’t drinking or getting enough carbs. She told me to “go back to GU” or “at least GU chomps” (even though I’d successfully trained this far without it!, or was it “successful”?) and this time with enough water, I should be OK. Spolier alert: I was more than OK. I did GU Chomps and survived. She also gave me some outline of what to eat (portion sizes, etc) the night before long runs and for breakfast.

So, Friday night I made pasta for C and me–he had 15 on tap, I had the looming 16–and had the two cups of pasta (which is actually more than enough! who knew?! It was super delish, though.

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I forgot to drink my nightly Nuun, but in the morning, dark and early (ugh, I miss the sun a little bit) I had a cup of gatorade as I walked to the train to go up to Central Park to do my 16 miles.

I could have stayed in Brooklyn for the 16 miles, however, I somehow convinced myself to sign up for NYRR’s 18 Mile Marathon Tune-Up which is three brutal hilly miles of Central Park. Because I’ve been choosing relatively flat runs (on purpose, hey!) for my long runs, I decided I needed to give myself even more of a challenge than the 16 miles I’ve never done before in my life. The plan was to run 1 6-mile loop with Harlem Hills, 2 5-mile loops by-passing Harlem Hill.

It was so muggy. I was going to move my run to Sunday, but I decided that a full day of rest was more important to me, so I just went with it. I didn’t have any time goal, just, however long it took me to finish 16 miles (and it was a long time).

Three miles in, this is what I looked like, though:

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UGH. So sweaty. This is right before Harlem Hills. I stopped, took my first fuel, and took a picture of the calm before the storm, lol.

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The rest of the loop, I fell in with the 4 mile race that was happening, and my former co-worker tapped me on the shoulder (as I was talking a walk break, WOMP WOMP) and we chatted for a little bit, and it was nice to have company even for only 30 seconds of my 16 mile run. I made it to my starting point, stretched, and continued on my second loop of the park. During my second loop, when I made it to about 9 miles, I told myself that If I did the long loop (not the plan, and harder than my plan, in this humidity. OH did I mention I was on day two of my monthly. YEP. All of this was going down on this run!) that once I made it to my starting point, I could treat myself to a frozen fruit popsicle. That was all I needed to get down to the starting point, and to 12ish miles.

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The nice guy at the stand also gave me some pretzel salt–I dipped this in the salt a few times to replenish that also. I ate about 1/2 of this sucker, and put the other half in my water bottle, and kept it going. I had less than the 5 mile loop left to go, and the sun was coming out. UGH. If it wasn’t bad enough with the humidity before, at least it was overcast! Now I had full sun on my back for my last 4 miles.

BUT Y’ALL. Y’ALL!!

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I made it. I MADE IT!!!

Here’s a picture of the crazy elevation chart:

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TUNES: This run I waited until between mile 3-4 to turn on the tunes, and I had adjusted it on Friday to have a few more chill songs than normal, because, I didn’t need to get too hype too early and peter out. I’m happy that I maintained pretty consistent through out, and it might be because of the music, who knows. Anyways, I had .5 miles left of my run, and (this happened Thursday, too) serendipitously “Turn Down For What” came on, and I did get hype! And I was on a downhill! What a way to end 16 miles.

Up next:  Long runs: 18 miles, 16 miles, 10 miles to finish up September.

 

 

 

#nycmarathontraining update. I’ve run 196 miles since I started in June (June 16 to be exact). 1.9.6! (I would have surpassed 200 if it weren’t for the hip injury that sidelined me for a few or parts of runs). I’ve also burned an impressive 230 donuts :) I think I have to keep reminding myself that I’ve done so much in such little time. 59 days to go!  8.5 weeks! 8 WEEKEND LONG RUNS!!!!!