Monday, October 15, 2012

NYRR Grete Gallop 13.1

I was very undecided about this race. My stomach was a mess the day before. I also knew that because of the 10:30 start time, parking would be tricky.
I had thought about arriving early to get extra miles in, or staying late and getting extra miles in.
Genine was already in Central Park. She left very early for the 6:30 Duathlon start.
I woke up around 7:30. Stomach seemed alright but I didn't drink much if anything because I didn't want to have any trouble before getting to the city.
The drive was simple enough but as expected, street parking wasn't going to happen. $20 to park in a lot. Ah well. At least I have time to walk around and stretch out a bit this time.
So what's the plan? Practice marathon pace, then add extra after the race? It's a really nice day but Genine will already be on her way home by the time I finish. Well let's just see how this goes and I'll figure it out along the way.

About 10-15 min to start, I eat an entire pack of clif blocks. I've got 2 GU's with me.

First 2 miles are pretty congested and I'm working my way through the crowds. It's a big race. I think 6,000 finishers. I'm looking at my splits and seeing that I'm on 9:00s. If I'm going to to follow marathon pace, I should slow it down... Mile 3 is an 8:33. You know what? My cardio is fine with this. My legs?? I've run 20 miles already this week. They are feeling alright at the moment. There are plenty of good prediction models out there figuring out your possible Marathon finish based on Half Marathon finishes. Let's do this.

I definitely went into this race under hydrated and with fewer calories in me than I'm used to. Instead of trying to run and drink at the aid stations, I've been walking so that I down the entire cup. It's a warm day and I'm definitely losing fluid. :45 min in for the first GU. :30 min after that for the 2nd.

At the 10 mile mark, I started to think about what my PR is at this distance. 1:50:xx?? That was back in 2008. I don't think I'm on pace to break that but I also know I've only got 5K to go. I start to really focus on pushing the pace where I can. (mile 12 turns out to be my fastest mile @ 8:20)
Did I mention I'm not wearing a hat? Why does this matter? Well I'm really grey for 42 and as we get into the final half mile, any older men that I pass, suddenly find another gear and make a point of passing me back. It's kind of funny.

1  9:08
2  8:59
3  8:33   Decided this is my pace for the day.
4  8:44   Walked the water stop.
5  8:36
6  8:35
7  8:34
8  8:45    Congestion as they split lanes for faster finishers
9  8:26
10 8:36  
11 8:34
12 8:20
13 8:27
.1 0:55

1:53:17  8:39 min/mile

I'm happy with this. My 1:50:xx was when I weighed 175. I'm guessing I'm 190 right now. And yes, I visualize myself carrying a 15-20 pound dumbbell during many of my runs and it's frustrating.
The good news is that if I get through the marathon without injury. I feel that I'm in a really good place in terms of momentum. I'm hopeful that some of these nagging injuries the last couple years may be behind me. I find myself thinking about Columbia Tri and MontTremblant 70.3 2013. Keep up the training and drop the weight and those will be a lot of fun.

For now, it's taper time for the marathon. It seems like a really long time to taper, but what do I know about Marathon tapering? Just follow the plan and see what happens.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A big week of running. NYC marathon prep

This will likely go down as the longest training report ever.

The week following my 18 mile run wasn’t so good. I knew I had to get back on track to make sure that I’m prepared. So I followed the next week’s schedule completely even tho’ it meant running in less than perfect conditions.

Tuesday was 5 miles: I forgot to put on my compression sleeves. I was feeling good, but 2 miles in my right calf started to grab now and then. Wasn’t awful but kind of annoying having that happen so early in a run.

Wednesday was 9 miles: The humidity was unreal. Not terribly hot low 70’s perhaps. I was completely soaked at the end of the run. If it were a longer run my toes would have pruned up. The run went well tho’. Legs were fine, I had remembered to wear my compression.

Thursday 5 miles: With compression, another nasty night of humid running. 5 miles doesn’t seem like such a big deal tho’. I’m just glad that my legs have felt good right from the start.

After every run, I’d have 4 ice packs out, feet and knees. I’m not having any major issues but I’m trying to keep it that way.

Friday and Saturday the weather was fantastic. I was very tempted to do my long run Saturday because of this. I knew this was likely to be my peak volume week tho’. (the schedule wanted the next week to be the peak). So I wanted to make sure I had proper rest going into the long run.

Sunday morning was going to start in the mid 40s and not get much higher than low 50’s and it was going to be raining mid/late morning. Then on/off all day. I had set my alarm to wake up early to try and beat the rain but I didn’t fall asleep easily, so I abandoned that idea.
Now I had decided that I should use this to prepare for a possible cold rain on race day. So I decided to run from the house rather than going to the canal path or something. This was going to allow me to stop at the house 3 times. Which meant I wouldn’t have to carry water unless I decided that I should.
I set out a rain jacket, trash bag, extra shirt, hat, nutrition and water. I planed on starting with no hat or jacket tho’. I decided to wear my reflective vest because it’s grey enough out there that I figure it would be a good idea.

Just before 10, it starts to rain. I down a whole packet of Cliff Blocks. I start running on the hour. For the first time this week, my right leg seems to be tracking well. That’s a really good sign. Oddly enough, my left shin was the tight problem area to start off. I close to 2 miles in, I stop under an awning and squat down to give those calf/shin muscles a good stretch. I can really feel that left side as I do this. When I start running again, it’s noticeably better. The thing is, on race day, I’ll barely be off the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. I really doubt I’ll have the opportunity to do this once I start. I’ll be in a flood of people with some 30,000+ people behind me. (seriously, I believe that there are going to be 47,000 runners this year.) So I’ll have to really work on these stretches before the race. My hands were cold the first few miles as well.

5+ miles in, I stop at the house. Chug some water, a bit of EFS gel, bathroom break and back out the door. Heading out the other direction this time. Initially I was thinking of running 5 miles this way, but realized I could go 6+ easily which would give me options the 2nd time around to go longer or shorter if needed.
I was feeling good but I was soaked. Just like at Mooseman this year, I realized the extra weight was keeping me warm. I was very glad that it wasn’t windy. That would have made things worse. As I was heading back to the house, I was thinking what I should try for the next couple laps. Hat? Rain Jacket? Trash bag? But then it stopped raining. Well mostly.

Nearly 12 miles down:
Back at the house. Change into dry shirt. Drink water. Take EFS flask with me. Bathroom break. Out the door to repeat the first 5+ miles. The dry shirt feels good. It would have been smart if I would have towel dried my hair and threw a hat on. Not that I’d have these options on race day.
Legs are feeling pretty good. Keeping my mind occupied by trying to think of things I’d need to take with me the morning of the race if it’s going to be a rainy day. My pace still feels right although I have no idea what that pace is. I’m hopeful that it’s around 9:30.
As I’m getting close to home once again, I realize I’ll have 17 miles in. Schedule calls for 19. Which would be a new personal best. Thing is, I’m not sure I’ll get a super long run in next weekend. We’ve got a half marathon in Central Park Sunday and I’m not sure that we will have time to tack on the extra miles before or after it. So I decide I need to find some things out right now. I’m going to go 3 or 4 more miles on this final leg.

17 miles down:
Stop at the house. EFS is gone, Down a GU with Double Caffeine, Water, Bathroom Break. Out the door. I look at my watch and figure it’s likely I’ll be running 10 minute miles from here on out. So 40 minutes to go. Shouldn’t be a problem. I can cut it to 3 miles and still hit 20 if I need to.
Getting started is kinda rough but mentally I’m still in this which is good. The beginning of the 2nd mile has a long down hill.  At the bottom I could turn and make it into a 3 mile out and back. The legs are not enjoying hills, up or down. I’m going keep it a 4 mile loop tho.
At the turn around, I’m at 19. When I walk and high step to stretch my legs I’m now starting to feel that there is a possibility that something could cramp. They are really tight. Every step is a new PR for distance tho’. I visualize the fact that the way home will get me in and out of the Bronx on race day.
I start to get into a bit of trouble tho’. Not my legs, my back. My weakness has finally caught up with me. Low back, left side is now very tight which of course carries into my glutes and hamstring. So things are getting uncomfortable. Which I suppose is not surprising at this stage of the game. When I stop to walk, I’m finding it very hard to get started “running” again. (I had to stop at a couple intersections). So I make a decision to not stop unless it’s absolutely necessary. I’ll have to keep this in mind on race day, towards the end of the race.
I get back to the house, look at my watch and see that I’ve finished at 1:20 PM. So 3hr 20 minutes. Or 200 minutes.

21 Miles! My first 40 mile run week! 3+ hour run!
That is a good list of Firsts for me.

Once I’m back in the house, I think I’ve made one mistake. I should have bought the bags of ice for my ice bath before my run. Then I realize, if I got in the tub right now, there would be a chance I would not be able to get back out! I’ve got to stay on my feet and keep my legs moving for awhile.
I mix up my recovery drink and down that. Energy wise I’m feeling much better than I did after the 18 miler two weeks ago. I think that’s because I put too many calories in that day and my stomach got funky. I can’t say for certain that is why but I had no stomach issues at all today.
The low back thing concerns me. Fatigue is obviously the cause so I guess I’ve got to get a few solid weeks of planks in. It can only help.

That is likely going to be my peak week. I love the fact that I was feeling pretty good to mile 19. I’m very hopeful that I may feel better beyond 19 miles because I won’t be running 19 miles the week leading into race day.

Eventually I felt like I was good enough to hop in the car and go pick up a burger and a couple bags of ice. The heated seats in the car felt great on my back. Getting into the tub was slow going but I got it done. (whomever gave me the clue about adding the ice after you are in the water, thank you).

Then I had a massage at 7PM. It would have been nice if it were scheduled a few hours earlier but it was still effective for sure.

Finally it occurred to me that I hadn’t figured out just how slow my run was. So I fired up the pace calculator and found out that I averaged a 9:32 min/mile. That time included all the breaks. I was not in stopwatch mode. I just used clock time. That was very encouraging.

Walls are being broken down people. Physical and mental walls. This can be done!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

One Month to NYC Marathon

After the 18 mile Central Park run, I was feeling pretty optimistic. That run went better than I expected. Unfortunately, the next 7 days were awful. Every run took me at least 3 miles to feel like things were moving the way they should. So the first 3 were no fun at all. On top of that I had some crazy headache that had been building for over a week. My balance was being compromised as well which made me think that it was in my ears. I eventually realized that taking some Sudafed might actually help. Fortunately it did, I was going to the doctor the next day if it didn’t. I was getting very uncomfortable. I’m hoping that whatever is going on in there clears out soon. (I’d blame the pool but I haven’t been there.)

Sunday I went out for what I planned to be a 2 hour run. It ended up being about 70 minutes. As I said it was a bad week. I was probably 45 minutes in before my legs started to feel alright. Which was about the time the sky was looking really really black. I decided to get out of the storm and call it a day and call it a bad week.

So I knew that this week I had to get it done. Last week was practically a recovery week so hopefully things will get better.

Tuesday 5 mile run: Legs feel good right from the start. 2 miles in my right calf starts tweaking randomly again. Guess I should have put the compression sleeves on. I got through the run without too much trouble but I’m sure I was compensating in an attempt to not aggravate that muscle.

Wednesady, 9 mile run: This run went really well. I had my compression on tho’.  The last 5 miles still felt the best. I can’t believe how humid it is out there. I finished this run looking as if I took a shower somewhere along the run. I can’t imagine it could be like this on Nov 4th. It will be much bigger challenge for me if it is.

Obviously I’ve been running much more that I have in the past. I’ve also switched from running in the morning to running after work. My legs are much more stretched and ready to go in the evening. Which I’m hoping will help keep me from being injured. Also, when I finish my run. I have time to ice my feet and knees. I never had time for that if I ran in the morning. Anyhow, our town is a pretty safe place but I’ve definitely been running into more groups of teens lately that have been shouting stuff as I go along. Not that big of a deal but I’m definitely noticing them being more obnoxious now that I’m running in the dark from 7ish-9PM. Guess there’s another reason to go back to running at 5:30 AM.

I had to go back and do more work on the car again last weekend. The brake on one side still seemed to get hung up from time to time. With Genine home it made it much easier to test things out. It’s impossible to spin a wheel and work the brake pedal at the same time. This week I adjusted the emergency brake cables. Of course in the back of my mind is the comment the guy at the garage had made a long while back. He said that one of the cables was frozen in place. That didn’t seem to be the case when I had the brakes apart last weekend but this weekend I had access to both ends of the cable. It took some time to get the center console apart to get to the cables but it wasn’t difficult. Once I got there, I took all the tension off the cables and sure enough… they worked perfectly. All I had to do was adjust the tension, the one side had tipped significantly and was pulling on that side just a bit even when the brake handle was all the way down. Pretty simple job. Hopefully I won’t have to do anything with the rear brakes on this car until the rotors need to be replaced.

Projects like this are keeping me from getting out on the bike or getting to the pool on the weekends. Which honestly, is fine with me. The marathon is the goal and it’s getting all of the attention. I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to the swimming and biking tho’.
Soon enough, only one Month to the NYC Marathon!