NYC Marathon Race Recap

I didn’t have the race I wanted and expected but I guess that’s what makes me so infatuated with the marathon. I’ve done 9 marathons and 2 ultras since March 2012 and I can’t really say any of them have ever been similar. A lot can happen in 26.2 miles. For some things you can prepare (train, gear etc), other things, you rely on the luck of the draw (weather, stomach, etc). Luckily, I am somewhat of a racing addict so when one race goes bad, I know I have another one lined up for redemption.

After having a few days to reflect, I’d say I did enjoy the NYC marathon even if large events like these are no longer my style, it was exciting to run through the streets I grew up in and be part of something that big. However, there’s a lot of things I did not enjoy about the NYC marathon that I’ll get to as I recap, but for the most part if I didn’t think it was incredibly overpriced, I would run NYC again. Maybe in a decade or so, I’ll enter the lottery again and seek redemption on the same course that killed me this year. We’ll see.

So let’s start from the beginning. Luckily, since it was daylight savings time, I got an extra hour of sleep! I woke up bright and early at 5AM even though my alarm was set for 5:45. I made a few pita bread peanut butter sandwhiches to take with me. I was VERY concerned about getting hungry between waking up and starting the race at 9:45.

My dad dropped me and my very favorite marathon assistant at the ferry around 6:40.

NYC Marathon Ferry TL

We got on the 6:45 ferry. I was a little freaked out because according to the NYRR people and etc. they can’t guarantee you will start on time (9:45AM) if you take a later than 6AM ferry aka complete and utter bullshit to cover their asses. I decided the hell with my 5:45 AM ferry sticker (that NO ONE checked). Besides, worse case, I start in a later wave. I’m not exactly elite and my best marathon time is still from RnR USA marathon where I started 20 minutes late due to a broken train. I’m a pro at dodging people and toeing the line at the last second. Reflecting back, I could have probably taken the 7:15 ferry and still been okay but that wouldn’t leave much room for error since they stop letting you into your corral at 8:40 or so. 

Anyways the ferry ride is definitely the way to go for transportation.

NYC Marathon Photo Brooklyn Bridge

I think that might be a view of Brooklyn?

NYC Marathon Ferry Sunrise

NYRR basically take over all the Staten Island Ferries for the marathoners and leave the locals in the dust with no bridge, and no ferry to get them off the Island. Tony learned that in a mob of about 300 angry Staten Islanders who an hour later got a ferry.

Security was in full force starting with the ferries. National guard was on patrol. All bags were searched. FYI, you can have a friend or family member take the ferry with you with a backpack. They will however, search through it. Your family member and any other backpacks,etc. will not be allowed on the bus from the ferry to the village.

NYC Marathon Ferry Bridge

The bridge that looked so long and mean, seemed hardly that long when I ran on it at the starting line.

NYC Marathon Ferry

These are the views you will miss by not taking the ferry. There are other options to get to the village. You could take a bus from midtown, but I think that also gets you to the village around 8AM. I’m not sure why it takes them so long to drive over there since I can’t imagine there would be that much traffic at 7AM but who knows. My other option was getting dropped off at the village.

The Verrazano Bridge closes to traffic at 7:00AM “promptly” so I would have been chilling all by my lonesome self at 7AM. All my other friends were starting in later waves or were too busy being special in the ING bus ;). The bridge is 3 miles from my parents house, and was a much quicker drive than the drive to the ferry, but I decided if I’m going to experience the NYC marathon, I had to take the ferry with it.

Me in half the layers I had for the starting line.

As for the rest?

NYC Marathon Layers

Purple hoodie that I finally left behind, an old winter coat that finally got donated, long underwear, and a pair of sweats that were just too big and annoying for me to ever wear. Under it was my running outfit of sports bra, running shirt, long sleeve and capris. I also had a hat, gloves and an extra pair of socks. Needless to say, being cold, was not going to be a concern for me.

NYC Marathon Village

While the ferry ride took about 20 minutes, I think the bus ride from the ferry to the village was about 30 minutes. I thought the ferry was only a few miles from the village but maybe it was further than that. Expert on Staten Island, I am not.

To enter the village, I think every NYPD officer who wasn’t working on a different part of the race was at the village. They had metal detectors, dogs, and your number and bag were checked before you could walk in. We were only allowed an official clear athlete bag and one clear bag that you could check. Nothing more. No sleeping bags, no camelpaks. I saw a very nice pile of camelpaks and sleeping packs that could make someone a nice fortune if they resell. To be honest, I felt a little like I was entering a prison camp and not a marathon. Had there been a cavity check, I don’t think I would have been shocked. The whole experienced really saddened me about how to feel secure we had to do all this.

Now the athletes village is HUGE. Like you can seriously burn you legs out just trying to navigate around it. The bus conveniently dropped me off in the blue village. The NYC marathon is so big, it’s broken up in 4 waves and each wave has 3 colors, blue, orange and green that run slightly separate ways until they reunite at mile 8. I think over 50,000 people ran it this year, making it the world’s largest marathon.

I was going to meet a friend at the ING tent but when I asked a volunteer where it was, they mentioned having to walk far and then walk up a hill and it seemed like a journey. The Blue village is also conveniently where the corrals start so I decided to just chill around.

Dunkin Donuts earlier were giving out hats, but by 8AM they said they were all out. They also had some coffee. I heard there was hot chocolate in the village and almost came to tears when they said they didn’t have any. At about 8AM I ate my first peanut butter pita sandwich. I ate half of a plain pita at 6AM before leaving the house as well. I also drank about one bottle of water.

The village had plenty of portypotties but I felt like the line moved a lot slower than it did in Boston. I don’t know, maybe i stood on the wrong line.

At about 8:25 the corrals open up. At 8:45 I was told if I don’t get into the corral, I will have to start in the next wave. Meanwhile, I read somewhere that they were suppose to close at 8:55? Guess not. I’m freaking out and they tell me that the clear athlete’s bag I have for village is not allowed into the corrals that I’ll be waiting in for the next hour!

I’m getting pretty cranky as I try to shuffle my stuff out of the bag as they yell at me to hurry up because I will be locked out of the corrals. Anyways I grab my extra socks, my phone, sandwich, gels, and leave my bag and magazine behind.

Into the corral I went, kinda like down the rabbit hole. The corral did indeed have a ton of barely used bathrooms. However, at 8:55, we got kicked out of the corrals onto the bridge! O and by the way, any layer you wear to get on the bridge, won’t be donated? Yea, wtf! I’m suppose to freeze my ass off on the bridge, with no bathroom. It was worse than being on a delayed flight with the seatbelt light on. I ended up giving up my winter coat because I couldn’t bear not donating it. I kept the rest of my layers.

NYC Marathon Pace Group

I found the 3:15 pacer. There was a single pacer from what I saw for each time. Yup, this is how we stood for the next 50 minutes. I changed my socks, ate my second sandwich because I’m stupid, drank more water, until I pretty much was ready to pee my pants when the race started.

You know, they kept warning that peeing on the bridge is illegal, and will get you disqualified, yada, yada, but if I was a guy, I probably would have went for it too. Standing on the bridge, cold, with no bathrooms in the stink of anxiety and Bengay. I’m not gonna lie, I saw more than a fair share of men peeing on the bridge, and even more so, right after they got off the bridge.

Oh and by the way, while you wait those 50 minutes standing to start, they’re playing ads for sponsors the whole time, giving you a headache. A little music would have been nice? No?

Anyways my race is divided into two parts. Mile 1-15 where I stuck with the pacer and had a good time. And miles 16-26.2 after my disaster on the Queens-borough bridge.

NYC Marathon Liana

In case you’re wondering what I’m doing here. This is me trying to give my headphones to Tony after mile 8. The first 13 miles or so are in Brooklyn and I don’t mean to brag, but Brooklyn really is the best. The crowd support was amazing and the bands were around every half mile or so playing awesome songs and covers such as Ramones or Lit! I was having a ball in Brooklyn which is why I gave up my headphones to Tony.

NYC Marathon Brooklyn

Seriously, the first half in Brooklyn, probably makes the NYC marathon worth it alone. I had so much fun and I felt great! Everyone is dressed up from superheros, to their country flag, to random voodoo things that might be something spiritual? I’m not too sure, but I loved it all!

There’s about 2 miles or so in Queens before you hit the Queensborough bridge. Around mile 15.5 or so, I started to feel really sick to my stomach. I think it was the combination of eating too much and holding in my pee for too long and excitement and anxiety and everything in between. I usually run on just a piece of toast and peanut butter, so having 3 times that amount was not working out well after less than 2 hours of running. I also never really got a chance to go to the bathroom and do my business since I thought I would have time and then didn’t.

My life was going to flash before my eyes. I’ve heard that runners can have involuntary reactions while running and OMG I thought it would happen to me, on video, or camera or something. I started to walk, to try to calm my stomach and freaking out and panicking and that’s when I got nauseated as well. Luckily, that was a little easier to solve than my other potential problem. I walked to the side and threw up a little. Sorry, I like to share all the details. Bodily functions happen. I saw a few men peeing on this bridge as well! I don’t generally have penis envy, but during races I can’t help but be resentful. My stomach was still upset, and I’m not gonna lie, I contemplated my odds of hoping over the barrier to the other side of the bridge to do what had to be done. It’s times like this that I really miss the freedom of running on a trail! (Although I haven’t had to do that yet).

A lot of thoughts and prays went through my head and I think when I saw the bathroom at mile 16, I have never felt more relieved! It was also there that I might have shed more than a little bit of tears for the end of my race. My 7:25 average pace was dropped down to 8:10. When I tried to run, I could barely get above a 9 minute mile. The Queensborough bridge really took it all out of me.

Running through first avenue was still fun but not as great as Brooklyn. The next four miles were a blur where I went between nausea and sadness. I think my spirit broke afterwards, I went through another awful sick feeling at mile 19/20 on the bridge to the Bronx when I tried to eat a shotblock to get some food back in me and I just couldn’t swallow anything besides liquids. Someone mentioned it might be motion sickness since I only felt that awful mid-bridges?

Mile 20-24 were a blur as well. I remember entering Central Park and being so happy to be in the park and not on the hills of whatever Avenue we ran down. At mile 24, I saw my friend Michael cheer me on and that got me through mile 25 without a walk break. After that I saw Tony and that got me to mile 26 without a walk break! As for the final .2? I ran as hard as I could because I just wanted to be done so badly with this race!

NYC Marathon Final Mile

I’m not gonna lie, crossing the finish line did indeed feel magical, but then again, it always does for me.

As soon as you cross the line, you want to sit, take a break and catch your breath. But the volunteers won’t let you. It’s their job to get 50,000 tired, runners across the finish line and out of the park and they do their job well. You feel like a sheep, a cranky sheep as you try to regain the feeling you once had in your legs while being forced to walk another mile to exit.

About a quarter of the mile you get the space blanket and a little shortly after that you get a bag with water, a very tasty apple, and some other snacks I didn’t really look at because the last thing I wanted was food.

And then you keep walking, and walking, and you’re wondering will I ever be able to sit, will I ever get out of this park, am I doomed forever in this nightmare of no break?

Eventually, a long time, or what feels like forever, you exit the park and if you selected no baggage option, you get the most amazing, warm fleece lined poncho. Yea, it’s orange and won’t ever leave my house afterwards, but that thing really keeps you warm.

NYC Marathon Everyone

P.S. My friend to the right, ran NY in 3:13!

10677 2008 415 7392

It’s not exactly the results I wanted, but I got to go home with my bling regardless! Luckily, I got RnR Nola in Feb & Georgia Marathon in March to attempt this all over again!

How do you handle a poor race? I sign up for many more!

NYC Marathon Expo Tips and other eatings

So I made it from Boston to NY, got my number and all that. I think after trying out Greyhound, Megabus and Bolt bus, I highly recommend Bolt Bus over the others. Paying 10 bucks more is worth it. Although I still miss Fung Wah (may they rest in peace until they return, please return). While on the bus, I got their wifi to work and decided to play around with the ING app.

NYC Tracking

We made a 15 minute stop for lunch and bathroom.

NYC Expo Burger King Veggie burger

Sadly our stop was at a Burger King. I’m more of a McDonalds type of girl (they have more bathrooms, look cleaner and better food options), but I was hungry and didn’t feel like eating the healthy yogurt and fruit I dragged onto the bus with me. Instead I ordered the veggie burger which is the only edible thing off the BK’s menu in my opinion.

NYC Skyline

I don’t know what I did while I was on the bus besides a ton of fidgeting to the dismay of my window seat neighbor, but before I knew it, 4 hours later, I saw the skyline. My heart still skips a beat each time I see the skyline as I return home. That dreamy state ends when I get off the bus, see the crowds, trucks, and way too much general traffic. I guess it’s hard to be as romantic about NYC when you grew up here before it became the hipster paradise it is today.

My dad waited around the city for two hours for me! But then he waited some more as I walked over to the expo. Aren’t father’s the best? Who else will drive, wait and pick you up, just to take you home?

Luckily bolt bus drops you off about 3 blocks from the NYC Marathon expo. So if you’re coming from Boston, it’s one of the best options for the NYC Marathon expo.

Now, I’m no expert on the expo since I was there for just a little under an hour, but I did learn a bit.

Besides all else, like with everything else in NYC, pack your patience! There will be lines. They test your marathon skills with a marathon of queuing before all else. More lines than I’ve ever had at any other race expo. Although, the only other large marathon expo I can compare this to is Boston. But who knows how much queuing I’ll be doing in 2014 after the Boston Bombers have basically turned all runners, and their families into terrorist suspects for all future events.

You start with security –

NYC Expo Security

If you don’t bring a purse or bag with you, you can bypass through an express line but it will be hard to see because we’re not really all too great at queuing in an organized line. If you do have a bag don’t freak out, all the security guards want to do is see the bottom of your purse. They don’t care about our water bottle or tampons.

NYC Expo LInes

Next order of line after security is to enter the expo. If you’re not there to pick up a number, don’t get on it. You don’t need to and can just enter the expo where people are exiting. If you are picking up a number, you will need to have a registration card printed or PDF saved on your phone or email. You can do that by logging in to your NYRR account. If you forgot your password, don’t worry, they set it quickly.

If you don’t have your NYC registration card with your or on your phone. You will be directed after this line to a new line. They will sort it out for you, but it will be another wait you will have.

NYC Expo Languages

I loved seeing all the Welcome signs in all the different languages!

Now you have smaller lines to get your number. If you didn’t select your transportation, there’s a line for that too and they will give you a ferry sticker. I asked what happens if I miss my ferry, she said you could get on any of them, but if I get on a ferry later than 6AM she can’t guarantee I’ll get to start on time for 9:40 (In my head, I’m going are you fucking kidding me NYRR). I thanked her and moved onto my next line.

This line was to scan my number to go pick up my shirts. The scanning line was short. However, the shirt pick up line was a few minutes because everyone is trying on their shirt and switching sizes. The wait was similar to Boston.

Finally, you got your number, ferry time sticker, shirt and you are ready to explore the expo.

It will be packed no matter what time you go. This is NYC, everything is more packed anywhere, anytime.

I walked around quickly through the expo, because my dad was being a great dad and waiting for me. I wanted to pick up some NYC Marathon arm sleeves or gloves that I saw online. Until I saw them in person and realized that they’re not tech but cotton. Sorry Asics, I love some of your products, but I wasn’t impressed with your NYC Marathon accessory selection. I’m spoiled now and expect higher quality. If you are still looking for arm warmers, check out the Saucony area. There’s only cost a little extra and they’re tech, soft and nice!

I also wanted to look for a new handheld, since my current one is dying. However, it was packed and there were many baby carriages and I decided I rather do my shopping online.

One highlight was stopping by the Vega table. They gave me some awesome samples of their plant based protein products. I saw a couple of protein bar tastings but nothing you could take home with you.

Then again, I walked through all the exhibits in about 10 minutes so maybe I missed something good?

NYC Marathon Swag

These are the goods I left the expo with. Highlights are Vega Sport. I also got a nice race calendar book from Running USA. The chia shots are awesome if you’re traveling and want to have them in your oatmeal. Why Dove only gave out Men’s deodorant in my swag bag was a little meh. I don’t want to smell like a dude thank you very much! Somehow Tony always wins when it comes to my race day swag.

NYC Expo Dinner

And best part of my Friday?

Chinese take out from my local place where I used to live in Brooklyn.  It might have been half a decade since I’ve had good Chinese take out! Yum yum yum!

Do you like going to race expos?

Do you ever buy anything there?

What’s your favorite race expo?

NYC Marathon Goals and Halloween

Hope everyone had a great Halloween! We had some very adorable trick or treaters (babies!!!) and some way too old trick or treaters (high school boys running around shirtless as Romans eww)..

Yup me and Jack had a blast.

Photo: Are we tired from giving out candy or eating it ourselves? #neverghost #halloween #catsofinstagram #catmama #furbaby

I don’t know what made us more tired, giving out treats or eating them ourselves. Did you know that one snack size peanut butter Snickers has 130 calories. Oops.. Good thing I’m running a marathon this weekend.

Speaking of marathons?

The weather predicted for Sunday has been dropping from 58 to 54 to 48 degrees with winds up to 19MPH! At rate the rate the temps are going, I expect it to be Antarctic weather by the time I get to start running.

So I packed everything I own! I’ve been procrastinating with dropping off my donation bin so I had a ton of throwaway layers including a very old winter coat I used for snowboarding.

So the goals:

Do I have goals? Hopes? Dreams? Sure! Reality? I’ll be happy running and finishing. I’m trying a few new things this round. Tapering.. Yea I’m not sure if I believe in this taper theory but we’ll see. I’m at about 20 miles going into the race. Then again taper is all relative considering Bill Rodgers ran 120 miles the week he won the NYC marathon. Yes, that was a drop down from his usual 160 mile weeks. So it’s all relative. Kinda like speed.

Goal A – Sub 3:20 – I’ve been trying this for a while. We’ll see.

Goal B – Sub 3:24:15 – Everyone loves a PR?

Goal C – To Finish

My plan is to start with the 3:15 pace group and cling for my life. Yea, I read all the warnings about how this should be a negative split race, but I’m all about being positive. I run fast when my heart and soul is in it. My heart and soul gets tired after 20 miles, no matter what pace I go at. As soon as the last 10K comes, I mentally tend to check out and start to hurt. So my apologies to my imaginary couch, I will start faster than I should but I’ve run enough marathons to know myself better than science.

My training. My training lately has been right on cue. I’ve been hitting most of my running goals. I’ve done most of my long runs and the majority worked out. Only thing lacking? I wish I had a bit more medium long runs under my belt. Those midweek 10-15 milers I usually like to do in a training cycle. That didn’t happen. I ended up breaking them up into an 8 miler and a 4 miler on a good day. Can you do a run in two parts and still have the same effect? We’ll see.

Anyways, I’ll be off to NY now on a bus from Boston. My plan is to hit up the expo after 5PM with giant bag and all.

Here’s the link for the mobile app that can be used to track runners on race day (I doubt the runner tracking part will work as intended)
– My bib number is 7392 (blue start) I will be starting at approx 9:50 (Wave 1, Corral 7)

Will you be in NYC this weekend?

Any last tips?

NYC Marathon Training Week 13 – Let’s get ready to taper!

As I mentioned before, when I taper, I usually try to do a two week taper. I cut my mileage from the 70s to 50s and then I try to do about 20 week of the race. Last week was my part one of trying to stay in the 50s. The weather was beautiful and I finally had some free time after work to get extra running done so it was a struggle to keep myself away from my running shoes.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 10 Miles
74 minutes for an average pace of 7:26. Kept the run relatively steady around the flat lands of the Charles Esplanade. I’m not sure if you’re suppose to taper at your race pace for that long but I wanted to test out my legs a bit on the only straight trail I have nearby.

Photo: Happy taper!

Wednesday – 8 Miles
I didn’t target this to be a fast run. In fact, I started out at a relatively slow 8:15 pace and I was planning on keeping it but I found myself getting progressively faster. It does help that I end the run on a downhill and start on an uphill. Progressive speed? Yes, progressive effort? I’m not sure.

Thursday – 8 Miles
Slower 8:07 paced run around the neighborhood. It got dark before I finished so my last mile was on my treadmill.

Friday – 7 Miles

Friday after work run on the work treadmill. Incline was set to 3 so I was surprised that I was able to run as fast as I do on incline 2. I guess that’s tapering for you. You feel stronger as you rest up.

Saturday – 4 Miles + Barre Class

I was half asleep when I started running that I didn’t realize I had my glasses on, until mile 3! I’ve never run with glasses before but good to know I’ll have options as I get more blind.

I took a Exhale – Barre Class (core fusion) in the afternoon that left my arms and chest feeling like jello. Who knew there’s a muscle near my sternum? 

Sunday – 15 Miles

Ghost Train 15 Miler race at average pace of 7:47.Ghost Train Liana 2Check out the full race report for the details.

Total Mileage – 52 miles

Total Feeling – Feeling good, feeling fast, Physically I’m ready, now I just need a little luck to get me there!

My Taper Final Plan

I read this article on Runner’s world about tapering and my plan is a slight modification of it. Since my average mileage is a little higher than the average marathoner, I added a little bit of extra miles. Most miles will be run around comfortable to easy pace

Monday – 5 Miles

Tuesday – 4 Miles

Wednesday – 5 Miles

Thursday – Rest

Friday – 4 Mile Run

Saturday rest

Sunday – Marathon!

NYC Marathon Training Week 12 – If I had a perfect day, I would start my run this way!

Reflecting back on last week makes me feel confident enough that I’m ready for NYC. Or at least I think I am, and besides the point, I pretty much have to be. With the conclusion of Sunday, the infamous and craze cray taper madness begins. I do a 2 week taper where I start decreasing mileage and increasing my crazies until race day. Although to be fair, with all my races, and hours at work, my mileage has been as unpredictable as a geyser. I don’t know why, I’m thinking of geysers. I guess I’m missing Iceland and adventure.

Monday – Tufts 10K 6.2 Miles
With a day of rest, I plunged into the Tufts 10K. Full recap is up so I’ll leave the details there. 6:51 Pace.

Tuesday – HAPPY 10/15!! 
No running, besides all the post office trips I made for work (long story, don’t ask, but it included some killer sprinting)

Wednesday – 20 Miles
My bosses told us to go catch up on some sleep so of course I went to go catch up on that 20 miler I missed over the weekend. Sure, I had a 50K on Saturday but what’s a marathon training without self-destruction? Don’t worry, I paid the price.

I ran 17 out of the 20 miles outside before it got a little too bright, sunny and hot outside. I wrapped up three more in the darkness of my basement watching Hart of Dixie (don’t judge).Mentally, I did not want to be running since I don’t think I’ve ever done a 20 miler on a week day before. I tried to hold it together but inside I was whining and whining. Barely held my 8:25/8:30 pace on a flat path.

Thursday – 6.3 Miles
7:24 Pace on my home treadmill as I continued on my quest to watch as many Tween drama shows as possible!

Friday – 5 Miles
I usually like to have a rest day before a race but my legs felt laggy from my speedwork & Wednesday long run. I thought it would be a good idea to go for a little recovery run. However, I had no time until the evening which was probably a little too late with a race at 8AM.

Saturday – 17 Miles
It was supposed to be a 50K but I was mentally a bigger wrecking ball than Miley Cyrus’ new song. In the first 10K loop I was annoyed with all the fast runners breathing down my neck on single track part of the trail. On the second loop I was just annoyed at my legs for not moving me. It was that on my second loop that I decided I’ll do one more and call it a day. No need to wreck my body to exhaustion when I still have NY coming up in 2 weeks. Average pace was 11:10 or so but for how easy the course was, I should have been running much faster and less clumsy. I walked an additional 1.6 miles or so to finish 30K with my roommate who not only ran her first trail race ever but her first half marathon! We then celebrated some good times with Pizza! Although I DNFed, I’ll probably have a write up for the event anyways.

I mean come on pizza or run 13 more crappy slow miles? Clearly I picked a winner!

Sunday – 22.2 Miles

I woke up Sunday and it’s like Saturday never even happened. I felt great! I felt springy and the day was gorgeous. Sure I should have gotten a haircut or done some cleaning or something adult like, but it was a gorgeous day and I decided to strap on my shoes and see how far my legs would take me. Quite far. I did some 4 mile repeats on my 4 mile loop that I love.

I held about 8:05 for 20 miles before I started to cool down. I didn’t want to race my race two weeks early so I was happy that 8:05 felt not easy, but comfortable enough.

Total Miles – 76.7!

Total Feeling – Started high, middle low, ended high! I ran over 70 miles in just 6 runs so I’m feeling good (for now). Knock on wood!

NYC Marathon Training Week 11 – A week in the dumps

I’ve had a stressful many days last week but the highlight of my week was a gift to help in my NYC marathon training.

Kinda Awesome

Thank you! Those definitely helped as I’m running between work and my sneaked in runs!

This week was a very low mileage week for me. It was just out of my control. Could I have woken up earlier or ran in the middle of the night? Sure, but I’m pretty certain my body wouldn’t handle it with my work hours and I prefer to start a race a little unprepared than injured.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 8 Miles
8:15 pace even though I took a rest day before. I was definitely feeling the fatigue of late work nights and high mileage of last week.

Wednesday – 8 Miles
This time I tried to push myself. 7:37 pace made me happy enough. Plus my path gets so gorgeous this time of year!

Woods are lovely

Thursday – NADA

I could have maybe ran a 5 miler or 3 miles at some point in the day, but I was tired and eating apple pie with ice cream seemed like a more productive break.

Friday – 8 Miles
Another early morning run. Tried to go fast to make up for the lack of mileage and once again landed to an average pace of 7:37

Saturday – 15 Miles
After getting home late from work, I overslept my alarm and barely had any time for a run before I had an appointment and work again. I was running at a great pace for 10 miles at around 7:40 but hit a wall after stressing out paranoid about work. Once I wore myself out mentally, my body and legs followed. They started to feel dead and my pace slowed down a lot. Average pace ended up being 7:57 but I feel like I could have ran faster overall if I didn’t have a minor freak-out in my head about work and not being able to get in another road 20 miler before NY. Ideally, I wanted to run 22-24 miles. Lesson here is, don’t worry, just run!

Sunday – Nada
I had the Tufts 10K on Monday and I decided going to the Topsfield Fair was a better use of my time. Come GIANT Pumpkin or running? GIANT PUMPKIN always wins!

Total Miles – 39

Total Feelings – Cranky & exhausted from it all

NYC Marathon Training Week 6 – I’m running again!!!

I’m glad to report that I can finally post about running! Yup, I got back to higher mileage this week and although I had a few, okay several crappy runs, they did start to get better. I’m learning that 70s are still too hot for me to run in. I prefer 50s and 60s and as much as I feel cold at night, fall is my favorite running season.

Monday – Rest – Because it was labor day and I wanted to eat and play instead of run

Tuesday – 10.35 Miles
Legs felt heavy and burdensome, it got dark too early, or maybe I just couldn’t run fast enough. Either way a disappointment after resting for 4 days. 8:41 pace.

Wednesday -10.4 Miles
8.4 miles around the Charles average pace of 8:48 left in a very cranky and disappointed mood. I felt that after 4 days off last weekend, I have lost my complete ability to run at my prior speed. I came home and decided I wanted to force some speed into my legs. I got on my treadmill and did two miles of sprints in the evening at an average pace of 7:13. It was only 2 miles, but I felt a little better.

Thursday – 10.25 Miles
7 miles on incline 3 at 8:22 pace. 3.25 miles in the evening at almost sprinting pace of 7:25

Friday – 5 Miles
I forgot to log this run so I don’t remember the exact time but I think around 8:04 pace on a very easy flat  loop I do around the house.

Saturday – 10.30 Miles
I ran about 6 miles with Tony. He’s training for his marathon and was pacing himself at 9 minutes. I have to confess I was being an awful running buddy and kept pushing the speed more than I should have. After we stopped by home since T-dawg was saving his legs for the big 20 on Sunday, I ran a few little rolling hill repeats for my last 4 miles. Average pace came to 8:44 pace. I didn’t check my splits but I’m assuming my solo miles were closer in the 8:15 range?

Sunday – 22.20 Miles

I came along to Tony’s 20 miler. His pace was 10 minute miles and we stuck to that for the first 7 miles. Afterwards I separate from him for about 8 miles on my own and then joined up for final 7 at his pace. We ran for about 3 hours and 30 minutes with a few water breaks since the temps hit 75 and the sun showed no mercy!

Total Miles – 69 miles

Total Feelings – Feel good about my running but disappointed I didn’t get myself to the pool once!

NYC Marathon Training Week 5 – Skipping the Long Run

Last week, it happened. I didn’t want to but I had to. I skipped my long run. Luckily it wasn’t due to injury but due to fun! So the belated weekly recap!

Monday – 8 Miles
Outside for an average 7:49 pace. I was surprised and happy that I was able to get back into running after the 50K. I started out slow around 9 minutes because I still felt tired but somehow I just got completed zoned out into my run.

Tuesday – 7 Miles
Average 8:08 pace on Incline 3.  Started at 7.1MPH and did pyramids up to 7.6MPH and back down. For the first time in a while I didn’t take an 10 second walk breaks like I usually do. According to a chart my 7 milers at incline 3 are 1,108 feet of elevation gain.

Wednesday – 8 Miles + 2,000 yds swim
Incline 2, 7:44, 8 bitter cranky miles later, I felt more like a human. I also went swimming at night. The pool was mostly empty and for most of my swim I had the lane to myself. A woman decided to practice her backstroke in my lane but quickly changed her mind after she realized I’m swimming laps since you know I was in a lap lane to begin with. I reached a new distance in swimming for an hour or so. I did a few 500yds and then a few 200yds swim.

Thursday 15 Miles
I tried to do my long run on Thursday. I got home, changed in seconds and ran out. Sure it was a hot and humid day but I was determined to be cool and get it done. I got 13.1 miles in a sub 8 minute. 10 miles in 7:52 pace but afterwards I just couldn’t hold the speed even on a decline. It was 81 degrees when I started and humid but cooled off relatively well through the run. I mostly stayed in a shaded trail with pavement. Medford or maybe that’s Malden decided to tear up both sides of sidewalk around a rotary to further try to kill me. That my friends, I did not appreciate. As the sun peaced out and darkness took over, I decided to take pride in my good 15 miles and call it a night because I was tired, hungry, rather than slug out 5 more in misery to reach the infamous 20 miler.

Friday 12 Miles
Two runs because I wanted to reach 50 miles before I left for the weekend. 7.5 miles on the Charles for a flat 8:43 pace. After I got home, I debated about pushing myself through 4.5 more but I wanted to reach 50 for the week. I told myself I could just wake up early on Saturday and run them but I had to be honest with myself. Waking up early to run is not my strong suit. So I got dressed, made dinner and went for an easy neighborhood jog. I ended up picking up my pace to 8:06 for some strange reason but I figured I’ll have two days from running to rest up on.

Saturday – Waterfall repelling
Wasn’t what I would consider a workout but my heart was racing from fear.

Sunday – Hiked Mount Washington
8.3 Miles round trip that took us a little over 6 hours to do with 4,250 elevation gain on rugged boulder terrain that has left my body and quads useless all week. Was it worth it? Yes. Have I been whining all week? Yes.

Total Miles 50 (not counting the hike)

Total Feelings – Great until I hiked. I’m still wobbling four days later!

NYC Marathon Training Week 4 – How long is too long?

PSA – When you pack your workout clothes don’t forget socks because there’s no way to “wing it” on a treadmill without socks. I can get away without a sports bra (it’s jogging haha), maybe even barefoot without shoes, but no socks means no run for me. I get cranky without a run but I have no one to blame by myself. /endPSA

A friend and I were discussing long runs the other day. We were wondering if doing more ultras makes us slower for road marathons. While training for long distance generally makes you faster as the shorter distance, for me personally there is a trade-off in speed vs. more miles.

Why? Because while I can endure being on my feet for more miles and more hours, I get comfortable with running easy, taking a walk break, or just chilling back. I know super fast ultra running people don’t think of these terms but as a middle of the pack runner, it’s what I do to survive. For the most part, until NYC marathon, I’m planning most of my long runs on roads to train in marathon pace. This weekend, I broke away from that. Instead of running 21 miles in 3 hours, I ran 31 in 7 hours, on trails. Will this help me? I guess only a marathon PR will tell.

Monday – Rest 

Tuesday – 16 miles

Three part run 8 miles at 7:44 pace at noon. 3 miles in the evening at 7:47 pace and 5 miles at a slow recovery pace with Bill Rodgers! I wasn’t planning on running 16 miles, but how could I miss out on a chance to run with one of Boston’s most famous marathoners?

Wednesday – 7.4 miles + 1,000 yds swim

My hips felt tight after 16 miles (11 at way too fast speed for me) so I tried running at a recover pace of 9 minutes, but would speed up without noticing to 8 minute miles or so.

I went swimming in the evening. Something I avoided for a few weeks and rediscovered my love for the pool. Mentally, getting myself to go swimming is one of the most difficult things to do, but once I dive in, I feel pretty relaxed. Better than yoga.

Thursday – 1,500 yds swim.

Still felt sore and decided an injury is not worth reaching my mileage goal for the week. Went to the pool after work which was surprisingly empty. With the lane all to myself, I decided it’s time to try to swim further. Got to 1,500 yds in 45 minutes or so before my arms felt like they would fall off.

Friday – 5.9 miles

After a day off from running, I felt great again. The weather was also beautiful so I went out of a light run. I tried very hard to make sure I didn’t get carried away with Saturday being a 31 mile day.

Saturday – 31.43 miles

TARC Summer classic. I dropped down from the 50 miler to the 50K. I wasn’t even going to do the run at all, but was able to get a ride from a friend. Luckily, I went because I had a blast in completing my first 50K as well as the further distance I have yet to run. I’ll have a full recap in a few days.

Sunday – I thought about doing a recovery run but I decided to chill back. Going from an 18 miles to a 50K earned my hips/calves/hamstrings a little break.

Total Miles about 61 

Total Feelings Happy

QOTD – Do you think more distance will make you faster?

NYC Marathon Training Week 2 – A reminder of mental strength for the long run

I picked up the mileage this week, unfortunately it came with a price. A huge lack of cross training. No biking, no swimming, no Jillian Michaels.  Well that’s a lie. I did one other thing. 50 chair leg step ups per leg that 5 days later I am still whining about a lot, a bit.

I did do some shopping though!

It’s a Jamis Ventura Race from EMS. My prior hybrid is also a Jamis from EMS, so I guess I’m a loyal customer at this point. I found a review of it and maybe once comfortable I might upgrade, but I don’t expect to be the next Lance Armstrong, so I think I’ll be okay. Unfortunately, especially the lower end of the market, road bikes are not designed well for petite females. I tested a few models and besides there being a limited amount of good bikes in 48cm to begin with, my options were slim to none that ended up hitting my crotch more often than I would like a stop.  Yes, crotch beating is not what I want from cycling.  If only more bike companies would listen.

Through a mix up, I also got 100 gear bucks on a purchase of $150 so I purchased some bike shoes, and my first pair of bike shorts with the padded butt! Now I’m waiting for my pedals to arrive. I ordered these shimano pedals from amazon. I know, they’re not the fastest, but I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to 100% clip-in style.

Anyways, enough gear ramble… I’ll resume once I get myself more situated. Last week:

Monday – 7 Miles

8:19 Pace Incline 3

Tuesday – 8 Miles

7:47 pace Incline 2, my fastest run on the workmill yet.

Wednesday – 13.2 Miles

This run ended up on an average 7:57 pace. It was just one of those perfect nights where the weather finally cooled off to perfection. I did one thing different. I reversed my path a little. Started on flat 5 miles before adding a hill that I usually start with. I need to remember to warm up, not race straight out, my runs are always better that way even if the first few miles feel boring.

Thursday 7 Miles

8:08 Pace on incline 2. I was only going to do 5 miles, but legs felt happy so I added two more.

Friday – Rest

I wanted to run, but decided it was best to rest up my legs before my weekend long run.

Saturday – 6 Miles

6 Trail miles 13:09 pace at the Fells with a great group of TARC friends. We even had a picnic.

Sunday – 16 Miles

Sunday was a reminder that I’m mentally stronger than I think I am. I waited too long to run (bad sleep, lack of food, lazy) and before i knew it, it was too hot to run. So instead I decided I will run in the evening. Well at 5:30 as soon as I stepped outside, it poured rain. I’m like okay, I’ve run marathons in the rain, I can do this. I kept running, then I heard thunder and decided not to wait for the lightning. How far did I get? .7 miles.

Okay, maybe I could do some miles in my basement treadmill with no AC. I put on a fan, slowed my pace down a lot and got to 11 miles total before I couldn’t bear to be sweating so much anymore. By the time I crawled out of my womanhole, I noticed the weather looked perfect outside! I chugged some orange juice with a strawberry banana GU (yea not a bright a idea) and was on my way. The last 5 miles were pure suffering of lets just get through this. I was running 9:05s on a path I’ve run 7:30s on and can usually run at 8 without much of an effort. None the less, I came home smiling. You know what, I put one foot in front of the other and while I wasn’t getting the pace I wanted, I got my 16 miles done.

Average pace, not counting my break was around 8:37. However I did take a 5-10 minute break after the basement to cool off and hydrate.

It’s amazing that even with a history of so many miles behind me, no run is ever guaranteed. There will be days when 5 miles or 20 miles will be struggle; however, I just need to remind myself, one foot in front of the other and it will get done, even if it’s slower than expected.


How was your training last week?