So Much To Catch Up On!

Wow. Sometimes you live your life and realize that it’s been DAYS since you last updated your blog. So, let’s do it! Four days of marathon training, condensed into one post.

10/15/2015: Morning Run, 6.2 Miles

After November Project NYC’s intense Wednesday session, Thursday morning’s run felt like a welcome return to form. Straightforward loop of Central Park. Not much to report. I also hit the gym at lunch to do some core and stretching work.

10/16/2015: Morning Run, 8 Miles

As this past week was my final week of high mileage before the marathon, I wanted to get in at least one additional long run before my final 22-miler. I really wanted to run 9, but the extra ten minutes I spent in bed before the run prevented that. No big deal. The weekend mileage more than made up for that one missed mile.

Later on this day, my girlfriend and I hosted a horror movie marathon for some friends. We curated a list of meta horror films, including “Scream,” “Murder Party,” “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil,” and “The Cabin in the Woods.” We scheduled five films in total (the fifth film, “Return of the Living Dead,” is not meta horror but amazing nonetheless) and, while we only made it through three, I applaud our friends for sticking around into the wee hours. In fact, both Melissa and I were shocked that anyone RSVP’d yes at all! We will have to do this again.

Scream the Movie

10/17/2015: Morning Workout: 180 Pushups, 180 Situps, 56 Burpees; Afternoon Run, 5.2 Miles

November Project NYC’s Friday workout involved no running. Instead, the Tribe performed 180 pushups, 180 situps, and 56 burpees. Ouch! When I saw that workout posted on Facebook, I thought, “Damn, I have to do that because #solidarity.”

This was a tough workout. It took me about half an hour to complete all the moves. I started by breaking it down into manageable chunks: sets of 20 pushups, 20 situps, and 6 burpees. After doing five sets like this, I changed the set to 10 pushups, 10 situps, 6 burpees, 10 situps, and 10 pushups. I picked a spot of grass near the 72nd Street entrance to Central Park, and people took pictures of me, cheered me on, laughed at me, and stared awkwardly. Sounds about right for NYC!

After depleting most of my glycogen, I ran 5.2 miles through the Park. This was a surprisingly good run on a gorgeous day, although it took me about 20 minutes to find a rhythm.

Later that evening, Melissa and I went to our friends’ CBGB’s-themed murder mystery party. My character was based on Billy Idol, so I spray-dyed my hair platinum blonde, painted my nails black, and wore tight pants and Doc Marten’s. Melissa was a Cyndi Lauper wannabe, so she wore lots of bright colors and turned her hair pink. I got so excited about the evening that I actually wrote the song that my character wrote based on his bio. Such a fun evening! We’re thinking about doing one of these mystery parties at our place. Just need a theme . . .

Murder Mystery Party

Melissa and Jim, a/k/a Anna Filaxis and Byeezus Idolatrus

10/18/2015: Morning Run, 22 Miles: The Hardest Run of the Training Season

So, not surprisingly, I only slept about six hours each night. I also failed to pick up GU packs for my long run. No worries, I thought as I threw on my running shorts on Sunday morning. I’ll replace the GU with a sandwich bag filled with candy corn! I also skimped on pre-run nutrition, eating only Greek yogurt and a spoonful of peanut butter before the run.

Because I’m running the NYRR 60k two weeks after the marathon, I wanted to use this run as both a final long run and a training session for that race.  For the marathon, I wanted to perform a training run that lasted about as long as I anticipate being on the marathon course. Dr. Maffetone talks about the benefits of this in his book The Big Book of Endurance Training, and other anecdotal evidence from friends who have run marathons supported this theory. So, as my goal time for the marathon is 2:55, I thought that 22 miles at my maximum aerobic heart rate pace of 7:45-8 minutes/mile would do the trick.

For the 60k, I wanted to preview the course, which involves a 5.2 mile loop of the Park plus eight 4-mile inner loops of the Park (72nd Street transverse to 102nd Street transverse). So, I figured that I’d run a 5.2 mile loop and four 4-mile loops to get to 21, and then finish it off with another mile. I thought it would be a good idea to get a sense of what it’s like to run Cat Hill five times.

A few things went wrong almost immediately out the door. First, the weather had dropped 10 degrees from the previous day, so I wore gloves for the first time this year. This made it more difficult to check my heart rate monitor during the run. Second, the annual breast cancer awareness walk happened to be that morning, so the Central Park loop was completely mobbed, despite the fact that the walk was supposed to be confined to a lane the size of an NYRR race. This made it difficult to get to water fountains and to maintain a steady pace. I had to duck through groups constantly, and wound up running on the grass every couple of minutes. Third, because of the crowds, I drank much less water than usual (once every four miles as opposed to once every two). And finally, candy corn, a/k/a pure high fructose corn syrup and food dye, provided no energy boost.

So, by mile 21, my legs were screaming. A combination of frustration at the crowds plus poor nutrition and water intake plus OK-but-not-great sleep plus the new angle of not being able to check my heart rate constantly added challenges to the run. It took a lot of willpower to fight through that final mile. I ran slightly harder than I wanted to as well, ending up with a 7:34 minute/mile pace (which included a jogged first mile). Maybe worse was the hardcore sugar craving I had after the run, which lasted most of the day and involved some sodas, Halloween candy, a mocha frappuccino, and a milkshake. That’s how you nail your pre-marathon nutrition plan!

While I was disappointed in how I performed on this run, I am so glad that it happened now and not on November 1. It just reinforces things I already know: 1) sleep properly; 2) relax in the crowds; 3) eat and drink properly; and 4) when you perform poorly, your body gets out of whack, which inspires additional poor nutrition choices. I’m probably being too hard on myself, but hey!  want to rock the marathon.

Here are the route and mile splits from the run. That last mile was a real pain.

Central Park Run22 Mile Run Splits

I finished up Sunday watching the Rangers lose to the Devils with my friend Sam at MSG. We talked all things training and marathon and Rangers hockey as my legs recovered, and my emerging favorite player Oscar Lindberg notched his fifth point in six games as a rookie. As Sam said, no one has told Lindy that he’s not supposed to be this good yet, and that’s a good thing. I then got dinner with my friend Nick, who is back in NYC from San Francisco.

New York Rangers Oscar Lindberg

LGR!

All in all, a good training bloc, and an even better bloc of fun and good times with good people. It’s taper time, so I’m envisioning about 20 miles this week plus lots of time in the gym to stretch and do core work.

NYC Marathon in less than two weeks!

Happy running, everyone!

Race Preview: The Bronx 10-Mile, September 27, 2015

Bronx 10-Mile

Reposted from nyrr.org

With the Bronx 10-Mile plus eight additional training miles scheduled for this Sunday, I am taking today and tomorrow off from running. I’ll hit the gym for upper body and core workouts, and maybe run an easy two miles tomorrow morning, but otherwise I will be spending time off my feet.

Bronx 10-Mile

Previous Bronx 10-Mile start. Reposted from nyrr.org.

Yesterday, I wrote about race preparation, and offered three pieces of advice: 1) know your pace; 2) know your course; and 3) be willing to adjust. I’ll add a fourth: nutrition before and during the race. Here’s how I’ve followed my own advice in preparing for the Bronx 10-Mile:

1) Know Your Race Pace: I’ve overcomplicated this question, and here’s why: Because I’m running the NYC Marathon in five weeks, I don’t want to hurt myself or ruin my strong training base by going too hard during this run. However, I have only raced once since March (at the Percy Sutton 5k), and am pumped to be racing again. I also plan to run an additional eight miles for marathon training after the race, so running the race hard—at a pace faster than my anticipated marathon pace—will likely lead to muscle soreness and extended recovery. But! I want to see how my right hip has healed post-injury, and a hard run will provide some insights. Also, racing is fun!

So, the answer to the question is not that difficult: If I choose to race the Bronx 10 Mile, I will try to hit a 6:15/6:20 minutes per mile pace; if I choose to tempo run the race, I will hit a 6:35-6:45 minutes per mile pace. Which option I choose will likely be a game-time decision.

As for overall race pacing: I plan to start out slightly slower than goal pace, adjusting for downhills and uphills, and pick up steam throughout the race until I’m pushing well past goal pace for the final 2.5-3 miles. During that final push I will focus on passing other runners and maintaining my position.

2) Know Your Course: The Bronx 10-Mile course is an out-and-back on the Grand Concourse, with two additional out-and-backs between miles 4 and 7 (Bronx 10-Mile Course Map). With eight aid stations (at miles 1, 2, 3, 5, 6ish, 7, 8, and 9), there will be plenty of water. Since NYRR did not publish an elevation map, I created my own (rough estimate) using MapMyRun. Outside of a mild uphill between miles one and three, and again around mile 6.1, the course is fairly flat, and features a generally downhill final three miles.

Bronx 10-Mile

Not 100% percent perfect, but a rough estimate of the Bronx 10-Mile elevation profile.

Thus, besides the limited uphill portions, this is a “let ‘er rip” kinda course. As long as you recognize that you will run miles one through three and mile seven slightly slower than goal pace, you can post a solid time by maintaining your pace on the flats and exceeding it on the downhills.

3) Be Willing to Adjust: Because my knowledge of the course came from a self-created elevation map and other runners’ recaps of past Bronx 10-Miles, I might be missing something. Therefore, I am willing to accept that I could encounter additional uphills or wind resistance or other factors that make the race more difficult than anticipated. And that’s OK. The only expectation I have for myself is to finish and to have fun.

4) Nutrition: I wrote briefly in a previous post about my interest in learning more about the low-carb high-fat diets that many ultra endurance athletes favor. While I might embrace that method in the future, for now I’m sticking with what I know: carbo-loading two-three days before the race, and either a gel or a pinole/chia snack about 4-5 miles into the race.

The following comprises my meal plan for the next couple of days:

Breakfast: non-fat Greek yogurt with a teaspoon of added honey; two slices of sourdough bread with peanut butter; two-three eggs

Lunch: baked chicken with sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce; kale salad with carrots, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese; one cup cooked brown rice

Dinner: another cup cooked brown rice, chicken or other protein, baked or stir-fried vegetables

Snacks: vegetables, bananas, nuts (my current favorite are cashews, but almonds and walnuts are also tasty), and lots of water

That’s about it. I will spend the next day or two overthinking whether I want to race or train this run, but in all likelihood, I’m going for it. I’ll be heading up to the race with my sister and my friend, Mike.

Are you running the Bronx 10 Mile? If so, good luck and say hello!

Happy running, everyone!