NYCMarathon Training : Week 9 + 10
Alright, I kind of disappeared last week because it was hectic socially and professionally. What are you going to do? The good news, I did not lose any ground running…for the most part in the last two weeks. The bad news, I completely neglected this blog so you now get a two for one recap!
Monday - Cross Training - REST – Dodger Game – One of the best times I have ever had at a game. Great seats, a great game and a Dodgers victory!
Tuesday – 4 Miles - REST – When your team is on a historic roll and the stadium is on the way home…why not go to two games in a row? I scored some seats on a ticket brokerage site for cheap in the first row of the upper deck… a beautiful view but man was it hard to watch the game from above the field. The Dodgers did not pull this one out. Hitting the Dodger game meant I had to postpone my run to Wednesday. It was a step back week so I knew I had an extra day of rest that I could work with and I figured it would probably be better to rest my ribs on back to back days. In other words, I was not upset with myself about straying from the routine a bit.
Wednesday – 5 Miles - Since I opted to push my runs back a day, my run switched from 5 to 4 miles. I decided to hit the trail for 4.5 miles after work instead. A solid run considering the heat had returned. My ribs were steadily improving all week, I was almost pain-free and was feeling only a little bit of restricted breathing. 4.5 miles @ 8:16/mi pace.
Also worth noting, I FINALLY BOUGHT MY PLANE TICKET FOR NYC…step 1.
Thursday – 4 Miles - I woke up bright and early to get in 5 miles before work. It was one of those mail it in runs where every step is a burden. I zoned out for the most part and was happy when it was over. The lungs and legs were both a little crappier than my previous run (less than 12 hours earlier). Completed 5 miles @ 8:44/mi pace.
Oh but wait, it’s not over yet. I forgot I had a fantasy football draft on Thursday night and one on Friday night so in order to stick to my runs I opted to double up on Thursday night so I could sleep in a bit on Friday. No big deal usually but since I had run on Wednesday night and Thursday morning it meant 3 runs in 24 hours…thank god it was a step back week because otherwise I would be totally against cramming all my mid-week mileage into a that window. I hit the trail after work and was pondering repeating the same run from Wednesday night but due to the excessive heat I opted to double back once I hit 2 miles to ensure I didn’t exceed 4 miles on tired legs. 4 Miles @ 8:39/mi pace. My legs actually felt slightly livelier than the morning, which was a surprise.
Friday – REST – Took a half day at work to try to avoid some of the holiday weekend traffic. Fantasy football draft number two was on Friday night and it went very similar to my other draft. Almost the exact same lineup. I fall in love with certain players and I am able to get them because everyone else goes after bigger names. Mainly, I have Colin Kaepernick, David Wilson, AJ Green, Pierre Garcon, Rob Gronkowski, Le’Veon Bell and Jordan Cameron in both of my leagues…which is kind of crazy but it makes my decision-making process real easy come Sunday morning. Anyway, I doubt anyone cares about this except for maybe Megan.
Saturday – REST - I had originally planned on going out to my brother’s place in the Palm Springs area for the weekend but a last-minute change of plans took that off the table. I pondered heading to San Diego or Santa Barbara but then chose to stay in Pasadena for a STAY-CATION! I did whatever I wanted and it still cost me less than one night at a nice hotel. I ate at my favorite restaurants, watched Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen’s new movie) and played tons of Super Mario Bros Wii. I hadn’t spent that much time playing video games in roughly 10 years and it was awesome!
Sunday –13.1 Miles – This step back week had only one run on the weekend, a half marathon. I am assuming that I was meant to hit race pace but with the rib being so close to healed, I didn’t want to push it and risk a set back. It was also in the low 80′s with a ton of humidity, when I stepped outside it reminded me a lot of my half marathon last year in Hawaii, weird weather. Even though I decided to take it easy I also wanted to hit a negative split. I was able to keep it consistent over the first 6 miles and even more so over miles 6-11. I was feeling pretty strong and decided to step it up a little bit over the final two miles and almost hit the high sevens without pushing too hard. I was very satisfied with the run. In order to hit my marathon goal time of 3:35, I have run roughly 8:15 per mile, which I think is attainable and I feel like I am on track so far in training (all things considered).
So what is better than two Dodger games in one week? Yep, three. My buddy came across some tickets and next thing you know, we are sitting behind the visiting dugout and baking in the hot September sun at Dodger stadium. I would like to pretend it was awesome but I was literally sweating…which made this even better….
Week 9 Summary : As I mentioned earlier, I was on a stay-cation, and what do people do on vacation? They eat like crap. My weekend was filled with desserts and I estimate I probably ate about 3,000 calories in just sweets over 3 days. Cupcakes, donuts, frozen yogurt, candy and ice cream sandwiches. You know what? It was AWESOME. In regards to running, I took it very easy sans a 3 runs in a 24 hour period from Wednesday night to Thursday night and my half on Sunday morning…overall it worked out alright.
On to Week 10!
Monday – Cross Training – I might as well just change Monday to “REST”. Labor day meant a lot more of doing nothing. I pondered a BBQ but I was too lazy. I pondered a movie but again, too lazy. Instead, I watched some movies and tv shows from the comfort of my couch and continued eating whatever I wanted. I played more video games and finally busted out some canvases that were collecting dust and painted this…
Tuesday – 4 Miles – I am trying to take advantage of as much time on the trail as possible because sadly, the extra daylight will soon disappear and trail running midweek will vanish with it. I am not looking forward to Fall backward, AT ALL. I dragged my buddy out with me and promised to run easy because it was ridiculously hot, still in the mid 90′s at 6:30pm. We took it very easy. Worth noting, my buddy only wanted to run 3.5 miles but I talked him into sticking with me for another mile. Something about motivating others to push themselves makes me really happy. I was also psyched that my run was pretty much pain-free! I didn’t really push myself so I couldn’t tell if my breathing was 100% back but it felt like it! 4.6 miles @ 10:01 /mi pace.
Wednesday – 8 Miles – Hump day spike in mileage this week. 8 frickin miles on a Wednesday? Not psyched on it but for some reason I didn’t feel like waking up early and hitting the road so I saved this one for the evening to hopefully get on the trail. I got home a little late which meant the trail option was out so this turned into a road run. The heat wave was strong the entire week and this run was brutally hot so I put it in cruise control and stayed there. 8 miles @ 8:41/mi pace. My first 100% pain-free run in a month! It was so hot, after my run I sat on my patio to cool down…I didn’t stop sweating for about 20 minutes.
Thursday – 4 miles – Since my Wednesday run went so well I decided I wanted to push myself a bit. I again chose to postpone my run to the evening so I could hit the trail and this time I got home with time to spare. It was by far the hottest day of the week at that point but thankfully my body adapted to the weather and although it was hot, I didn’t feel unbearable. 4.55 miles @ 7:59/mi pace. Very pleased with the pace, especially considering it was on the trail and the temperature was in the mid 90′s. From here on out, I no longer have to update you on my ribs, this run was the proof I needed to know that I am past my injury!
Friday – REST – Hung out after work, played some video games and relaxed!
Saturday – 8 miles – If Thursday was considered hot, I don’t know what you would call Saturday…holy hell. I rode down to the Rose Bowl around 8:30 am expecting it to be in the 70′s and I swear it felt like the high 80′s with 80% humidity. The sun was scorching. I planned to run 8 on the trail and thankfully I figured out a way to pass my Vespa at about 4.5 miles so I could grab water if I needed it. 3 miles into my run I realized that I was going to need to stop and get water. It was insanely hot and I was dripping sweat. How hot? Well, when I got back to my bike to get water, my music stopped just as I was about to pause my run, I looked at my phone and it had completely froze, in the technical sense obviously. I pulled it out of my armband and it was hot and sweaty. My sweaty hands didn’t help cool it down so I immediately dried it off and got it out of the sun. I tried everything for about 5 minutes and during that time I realized how hot it was and how I had no motivation to run another 3.5 miles. I decided to abort the rest of the run and head to breakfast instead.
When I got to breakfast I realized that my phone was still dead. I was hoping it had just overheated but apparently it was slightly more serious. I then became worried that the humidity, heat and added moisture from being enclosed in the armband had killed the phone. After breakfast I made an appointment with the Apple Genius, then tried every trick in the book to revive the phone. Nothing worked. I knew it wasn’t going to turn back on, literally, as stupid as this may sound (and I know it sounds stupid), I felt like there was no energy in the phone, like it had literally died…haha…so lame but I can’t explain it any other way. Just a stupid phone, trust me, I wasn’t crying, I just thought it was funny that I had mentally assigned life-like feeling (and absence of it) to a piece of technology. Anyway, I was bummed that I had lost my run data (again, I know it sounds stupid) and about 300 photos. There were actually a ton of photos that I had planned to share on this post but alas, gone, and you must settle for Instagram images and text instead.
Moving on. The phone was replaced that day and I am up and running again (pun intended).
Sunday – 17 miles – I was proactive and did my water drops on Saturday morning after breakfast. I also made sure to get lots of rest on Saturday night so I could get out early on Sunday. I started my run at 6:40 so I could beat most of the heat and get home with enough time to shower and eat before the 10 am start for my Cincinnati Bengals game! All was well, except for one small thing, my stupid new phone was not tracking correctly! It announced, “one mile completed, time, 7:45 per mile”. WHAT?! I was neither running fast nor at a mile yet. Thankfully I know mileage markers and Pasadena like the back of my hand, so I stopped and calibrated my phone thinking that it may help. When mile two hit I realized it was still off. It was crediting me with roughly a 1/10th of a mile for every mile I ran. I knew my route would get me to just over 17 miles but it was frustrating to hear inaccurate paces. It was definitely playing with me mentally but thankfully I now know what pace I am hitting based on effort. I figured, as long as the phone kept announcing roughly the same pace that I was at least staying consistent and on track. As far as the run goes, outside of data, everything went well. I took my first gel pack at around 5 miles, and my second at 11 miles. I didn’t want to bonk so I took both a little earlier than normal. I had water at the start of my run, a bottle hidden at mile 8 and another at mile 15. I felt really strong until about mile 12. I started feeling a little achy in my knees so I walked for a few seconds and did some movements to break up the monotony. That seemed to do the trick, I still felt tired, but not achy after that. I was definitely struggling mentally, I was thinking way too much about how many miles I had left and if my pace was on track. When I hit the home stretch I was able to focus for the last two miles. I was giving myself a pep talk, here is an example of what was running through my head:
Of course you’re tired, you’ve run 15 miles so far…remember how crappy you felt when you ran this last year? You’re killing it in comparison. You’re almost done. It’s a process. In 7 weeks you’ll be running 9 more miles than today, suck it up today and push harder for marathon day.
It seemed to work a little bit but I the conversation within was getting real annoying. I finished and when I walked in the door I immediately grabbed some water and walked around my apartment for about ten minutes while rehydrating and refueling. It was then that I realized that I was feeling just fine after running 17 miles. Last year after some of my long runs I felt like I was going to die if I didn’t lay down, this year, I had some stiffness but for the most part I felt great. Victory! I am estimating my total mileage as just over 17.20 miles completed @8:42/mi pace (total time 2:29:43). Later on I looked at the settings in my Nike+ app and realized that since I had to delete the app and reinstall it on my new phone that it did not turn on “location services”. Long story short, it was not using GPS, it was calculating the mileage based solely on the “accelerometer” which is why it was so off. I will still need to do some calibrating but thankfully I have time before my long run next weekend.
Summary Week 10 - Except for Saturday the week went great. I pondered going out later in the day to run the remaining 3.5 miles to reach the 8 that was on the schedule but decided to be flexible with myself and relax. The important run was on Sunday. The week went by so fast and am glad that my body adjusted to the climate during the middle of the week because I am not sure my long run would have went as well if it hadn’t. I just looked at the weather for this coming week and I am praying it changes because although it is supposed to be much cooler during the middle of the week, Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be the hottest days yet…CRAP.
HALFWAY POINT THOUGHTS - Overall I am thrilled with the mental and physical aspect of training. The rib stuff couldn’t be predicted but I think the setbacks were minimal because I was able to fight through most of the pain. I think I can overcome any losses with some extra work in the second half of training. Although I feel great, I haven’t done any core specific workouts or upper body workouts in a month. I have to see if I can even do a push up before stepping back into a Yoga studio or it will be a painful hour. Either way, I plan on getting back at it this week and if I can get through Yoga then I also plan on adding some weight lifting this week. Ideally I want to do Yoga once and lift twice each week through the remainder of marathon training.
The benefits of this being my second marathon training program are huge. Long runs were such a mystery last year and knowing what to expect makes everything much easier. I have two 20 milers on the program this year and I am planning on extending one to at least 22 miles to help eliminate some mystery before the marathon but haven’t committed to that just yet. In less than 8 weeks I will be crossing the finish line in New York! Even thinking about that right now makes me nervous, I will stick to focusing on week 12 instead.
I hope everyone had a great last two weeks and I promise more pics next week!