Sunday, September 22, 2013

NYRR 18 Mile Marathon Tune Up 2013

Wow, time flies when you’ve got a 70.3 Triathlon, a 107 mile very hilly bike and an 18 mile run all in a 22 day span. The first two events didn’t concern me so much as the 3rd
A couple days after the 107 mile bike, I went out for a 5 mile run. I knew going into it that my right foot was feeling odd. I figured I’d stop if anything was painful. The run went well. The next morning, I couldn’t step on my right foot without it hurting…. That is not good. The 18 mile run was starting to look questionable and of course I couldn’t help but become concerned about my marathon. This is the window of time where you really get into the big runs that give you the endurance and confidence to run 26.2. What to do??
After work on Wednesday, I iced my foot for 10 minutes. Let it warm up (20 min maybe). Then iced it again for 10 minutes. I think I did this about 6 times. And I slept with the “boot” on. (holds your foot in a stretch all night). The next day it was better. I wasn’t limping as much. I got a massage. He only worked on that calf and foot for 60 minutes. Then I iced it when I got home. Friday it was even better but I really didn’t want to risk running on it. Same deal on Saturday, so Saturday we got our road bikes out. I was riding around the parking lot when I realized the saddle was about an inch and a half too low. It must have slipped at some point during the 107 mile ride! I even commented to someone about how my knees were really moving oddly towards the end of the ride. I think this is the source of my foot problem. I have no idea how long it was like this, but the result would be that I was pushing down on the pedals at a pretty strange angle. Seeing how my garmin read over 27,000 pedal strokes for the ride, I think an over use injury from this makes sense. Not to say that running couldn’t contribute. It’s just that I haven’t run that much. (Relatively speaking).

Race Day:
Sunday morning was another 4AM wakeup to get us into the city just after 6AM to pickup our numbers. Todd was looking to run fast, so he wanted to do a warm up run. I didn’t dare to. 18 miles was going to be long enough. My longest run all summer has been 14 miles at the beginning of August. This was going to be a challenge.
I started out feeling rather poorly. The course has you running the hills of Central Park right away. I wasn’t in a hurry. I just hoped things would settle in once I’ve got a few miles behind me. My garmin instant pace is useless, I had to wait for the mile splits to find out what my pace was. My HR had me thinking that I was pushing way too hard, but it was just the hills and not having done a warm up. I was rolling along somewhere near a 9:15 pace. I figured it was probably a touch too fast but I just kept rolling with it.
By the 6 mile mark, you kind of get settled into a pack. Everyone is close to the same pace with some random fast people that may have started late rolling through. You then start to notice the people that haven’t run hills in their training. (I’m kind of middle of the pack there myself). Around mile 9, the leader of the race goes rolling through having completed 15 miles to your 9. That’s always impressive to me. I wish it inspired me in some way that gave me more energy but that’s not the case.
Mile 12 heading back into the hills for a 3rd time, as I’ve said you are kind of in your group but I may have overstated being a middle of the pack hill runner. It turns out that I pushed pretty hard through those hills and held my pace even with the previous laps. Unfortunately, it may have been a bit too much. When I reached mile 15 I felt everything start to get tight/short. Fortunately it did not feel like I was going to cramp up. I just lost my ability to extend. So my pace went from 9:15ish to 9:45-10 from that point onward. This is not terribly surprising. I haven’t trained for this distance. This IS the training run. So finishing in 2:48:46 at a 9:23 average pace is a great starting point for my Marathon training.
I’ve still got some things to figure out before race day. I’m wondering if I need to hydrate more and if I do will my legs cooperate with me for another few miles? Every mile is going to matter. Tight legs at 15, means 11 miles on tight legs at the marathon. I know I’m going to suffer a bit out there, but I’d prefer not to suffer for a full 2 hours!!
I’m also uncertain about my nutrition. In the past, I felt that my stomach handled anything without much of an issue. Now I’m finding myself with a bad stomach during some of the longer runs. Fortunately I have time to work on this but the Marathon will be here before I know it!

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