Now, to recap Week 12. Here’s the stats:
- 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:
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!
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, and a regular GU at mile 13. At mile 15, 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 :)
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 :) )
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:
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.