NYC Marathon Training: Weeks 9-12

Here we are with less than a month until marathon day.  Mega congrats to all of the runners who raced their hearts out yesterday.  There was the Chicago, Portland, and Long Island Marathon and not to mention all of the half marathoners – Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Newport, R.I.

Yesterday wrapped up the 3rd round of training with weeks 9-12.  To recap, we’ve got weeks 1-4 here and 5-8 here.

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Marathon Training Tips for a Newbie

Part of the fun of this marathon is that it (somewhat) celebrates my 10th year of running.  I started running after school back in 2006 around the track simply as a way to pass the time before my mom could pick me up. It was also a way to keep in shape for soccer.  One thing led to another and soon found myself running every morning at 6am training for cross-country.  Fast forward 10 years, 13+ half marathons, and countless other races later and it’s time to run a marathon.  Having lived in New York for 3+ years and volunteered for the New York City Marathon twice, I thought it would be the PERFECT race to run.  Not only that but it happened to serendipitously fall on November 6th – my half birthday and halfway to 26.

Once I decided that I wanted to run New York, I knew that I wanted to earn my spot by running NYRR’s 9+1.  Sure running 9 (or more) races starts to add up but it was a wonderful experience and I thrived on the racing culture.  I have learned that last year was a crucial year of training because it got me motivated for the full, helped me earn the guaranteed entry into the full, and (sometimes) kept me from getting injured prior to actual marathon training.

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So we may not be running right now but finding November Project and fellow runners such as these gals have truly transformed my outlook on running. 

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NYC Marathon Training: Weeks 1-4

It’s true that I’ve never really considered this blog a “workout blog” per se but I do happen to upload quite a few running related items.  When I first started the blog, I had planned to create this quasi food/lifestyle/workout theme and share certain runs and races to keep myself accountable.  As you will note, this has fallen by the wayside but there is no time like the present to get back on that wagon.  I’m going to attempt to make note of my training and random thoughts along this journey to 26.2.

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Week 1 – July 18-24 (and 7/16)

Saturday 7/16 9 mi (Montrose loop @ 8:40 pace)
Monday 7/18 – 
5 mi (8:18 pace) in Fairbanks prior to departing
Tuesday 7/19 – Hike steep/slow 4 mi in Denali
Wednesday 7/20 – Walk (transport 6am-9pm)
Thursday 7/21 – Run 6 + hike 3 + walk 3
Friday 7/22 – 3.8 run + walking around town
Saturday 7/23 – Walk + transit (watch said ~ 8 mi)
Sunday 7/24 – 10 min bike + 45 min elliptical

Thoughts: I considered taking this week easy since I never really gave myself a true break after the Brooklyn Half.  Eh, it was a so-so week, making do with the territory I had.

Week 2 – July 25-31

Monday 7/25 – 45 min elliptical + kayak
Tuesday 7/26 – 40 min elliptical + squats + 1 hr stand up paddle
Wednesday 7/27 – 30 min bike + 15 min elliptical + 3 hour “bushwack” hike
Thursday 7/28 – 60 min bike + 2 hr stand up paddle
Friday 7/29 – 40 min elliptical + 4 hr kayak
Saturday 7/30 – transit/off – only steps around Stika
Sunday 7/31 – 11 mi (9:00 pace) along my old XC trails.  Meghan was nice enough to run with me and my slow pace on the condition that I didn’t complain (especially about how much I had eaten on the trip).  She didn’t exactly say all of this but I know she doesn’t like the complaints.  Man it was struggle city out there but that’s another long run in the books.  I worked to focus on the landscape instead of my running and was shocked at how rivers and ponds that once were scattered along the trail are practically non-existent.

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Thoughts: Well, vacations are fun but not always conducive to 1) maintaining your figure and 2) your workouts.  I have found myself to be somewhat of an all or nothing gal (not good, I know) and let’s just say that coffee with copious amounts of half & half with dessert three times a day for at least 1-2 weeks does nothing for my running.  That being said, it was interesting to see how reliant or obsessed I can be on my routine.

Week 3 – August 1 – 7

Monday 8/1 –  Swim 30 min – I was working from home but wanted to wake up and get the 700+ emails sorted before chaos ensued.  Swimming midday was good but I never feel like I accomplish much (probably because I’m flopping around unlike Katie Ledecky or Missy Franklin)

Tuesday 8/2 – 4-6 miles of walking + evening Intervals. ~ Speedwork: Meghan and I ran with California Republic in East LA at 8pm.  I normally don’t workout this late (or in the evenings at all) so it was sure going to be interesting.  Total miles 5.5 with 4×1200 thrown in.  The goal was 1) marathon pace 2) 1/2 marathon pace 3) marathon pace 4) 10K pace and no one followed.  If I ever run a 7:10 marathon or 6:58 1/2 marathon…yeah maybe in another lifetime.

I realized my goal now is to 1) NOT BE STUPID and 2) NOT GO OUT TOO FAST.  That should save me some trouble down the road.

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Wednesday 8/3 – 2 miles round and round with NP_LAX + burpees thrown in.  6 mi later in the evening with one helluva hill (thank you for bringing down the average pace), which left me wondering how I ran all of those hills in high school.
Thursday 8/4 –  Yoga x 2. Was feeling ever so sore and decided to use my flex day to stretch.
Friday 8/5 –  12 mi (9:00) pace.  Started the first 7 with my friend Sarah and sister Meghan in Altadena and then slogged through another 5.  The quads were shot but it was a better pace than last week so that’s a success! Fueled with a Honey Stinger waffle pre-run and acai gel mid run.
Saturday 8/6 – Bachelorette weekend in Palm Springs >> 2ish mile hike (around 5,000 steps for the day)
Sunday 8/7 – 10 holes of golf

Week 4 – August 8 – 14

Monday 8/8 – 3.5 mi shakeout run in the evening (after a red-eye and minimal sleep the previous weekend).  Well this was somewhat disappointing.  I felt like a hippo (though my sister reminds me that hippos run fast) logging around the lower part of Central Park.
Tuesday 8/9 –  Intervals with the track crew. 5 miles (1 mi warm up – 1×1600 + 2×800 + 4×400 – 1 mi cool down)
Wednesday 8/10 – 3 mi trot around NP.  I was planning to fit in 3 during the 5:30 workout but didn’t get my butt out of bed in time.
Thursday 8/11 – 9 mi around 8:56 pace and … PHYSICAL THERAPY!  Lots of insight and readjustment and so grateful for NY Custom PT.
Friday 8/12 –  Biked 2.5 to the Brooklyn Bridge + 2.5 Jog with the backpack (not smart) + mini NP workout (I half-assed it) + walking around and around looking for apartments.

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Saturday 8/13 –  14.8 mi (8:34 pace) Ran from 18th and 1st up to 72nd and down along Summer Streets with some stop and go into Brooklyn.  I probably should not stop as much but they say just to get the miles in…right?  Best part was getting ice cubes in Brooklyn to put in our sports bras and my hat. Genius plan. Fueled with 1/2 Honey Stinger Waffle and 1/2 Banana – mini cliff sample about 6ish miles in and NUUN for the win.
Sunday 8/14 – Couple of miles jogging before Brooklyn Mile (6:21).  Hot and humid and all the possible speed.

Thoughts: Marathon training is tough.  Fitting in all the workouts + strength + stretching is tough.  I haven’t even done all that I could or should but the goal is to enjoy the process and it’s going alright thus far.  Now onto weeks 5-8!

“It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.  It’s the hard that makes it great” – Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own. 

Run + Brunch at The Butcher’s Daughter

If someone were to ask me what I enjoy doing, I would probably answer “working out and eating.”  That’s a reasonable response, right?  Well, maybe not for everyone, but I’m a unique personality so let’s just roll with it.  Right now I’m in the midst of training for my next half marathon and so every weekend, I pick a new place to run and log those training miles.   A few weeks back, I decided to create a route that took me down along the East River path, around Battery Park, and up the West Side Highway to finish at The Butcher’s Daughter.  My good friend Marnie was kind enough to join in the fun and off we went to explore lower Manhattan.

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While I had a place in mind for breakfast, we were happy to stumble across some street art and secret gardens.  It really is true that some of the best adventures in life are the ones that are not planned but rather created in the moment (or in our case, discovered by accident).

IMG_1966Sitting outside would have been an excellent option, especially since we were a tad bit sweaty.  This may require a slight wait since brunch, especially Sunday brunch, is THE thing to do and everyone and their mom is out and about.  No really, brunch is a family affair.

IMG_1967We opted for the inside dining experience, first at the bar near the window and then moving to the table in the far right corner.  It’s more of a communal dining experience, which fits in the whole juice/earthy/slightly vegan-ish atmosphere and ambiance.

IMG_1972IMG_1969^^ How can you resist those white walls and green planters?  It’s like we have found some sort of evidence that nature DOES exist in this concrete jungle.

IMG_1970IMG_1968IMG_1971^^ As you can see, the options were endless but sadly my budget was not (though if it were, I would be ordering EVERY SINGLE BEVERAGE, even those sketchy “biodynamic wines”.  What does that even mean?

IMG_1677So, taking the menu into our own hands, Marnie and I decided to go ahead and split a smoothie (7 Minutes in Heaven) and then dig into our own power bowls – muesli for her and coconut parfait bowl for me.

IMG_1964 ^^ No time for a full brunch affair?  Just next door you will find a quaint market with a good selection of muffins, brunch items to go and all the juices one could imagine.

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Really though, the way those juice boxes are lined up by color just makes me want to purchase ALL THE JUICES.  The colors are memorizing and they have the same effect as when I enter into Target or the Container Store and all the boxes and knick-knacks are separated by shape or color and I end up purchasing far more than I realized/needed/thought possible.  Curse the colors of the rainbow.

We finished off the morning by wandering our way north to the subway, stumbling into a few more stores, picking up a few things at the art store, and adding more eateries to my to-do list.

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The Butcher’s Daughter
19 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012
SUN – THURS 8AM-10PM  //  FRI & SAT 8AM-11PM

The Cheapest Therapy

I started to run back in high school, a time where it was normal to be involved with three sports simultaneously.  At that time I thought I was invincible; pounding out miles upon miles each day and each week,  never really wanting to take a break.  The coach suggested a two week break in between seasons but I had found my crutch or my escape from daily stress (because being a high school is indeed stressful) and that was exercise, or more importantly – running.

PICT0069Bringing up the back of the pack at Mammoth Mountain

My knees started hurting but I pushed through. Maybe if I ran more and ate less, it would be better.  Nope, the knee issues remained.  When I got into college, I continued my “cross country training” at least for the first few quarters of college.  Once I realized I’m not much of my own coach, the elliptical became my new best friend and I found myself participating in the typical “sorority workout” – elliptical + abs.  Thank goodness I did pledge a sorority or I’d feel a little terrible calling it that. Well, there are worse things people could say but I digress.

I slacked off on the speed work, adequate cross training and rest, and every once in a blue moon massaged my sore muscles out with the foam roller.  I began signing up for half marathons with very minimal training and still decided to push my own pace.  Ok, not a problem for a 19-21 year old, right?

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In all truth, I run for me as much as I run for the swag and the thrill of running in a group.  Tiffany’s at the finish?  Why thank you.

Fast forward to today and even though I’ve increased my strength training at the gym and speed workouts by trying to keep up with my friend who did happen to run cross country in college, I thought I was doing a dandy job.   That is until my legs started to cramp up and ache and feel as though I’d just run a marathon and could not run any more. (I’m sure most could reply with a resounding “duh, no wonder you are hurt right now.”)

The thing is, I’ve been reading Runner’s World for years.  Ok, let me re-phrase that – I’ve been subscribing to running magazines and glossing through the pages to see what they say on nutrition (sometimes taking their advice) and mostly reading the juicy stuff about races and looking at all the pictures.  Coffee improves performance and is good for you?  Ok.  Making red velvet cupcakes with beets?  Sounds interesting. As for the workout recommendations?  The stretching and core exercises?  Almost more important than I would admit to and each time I saw one, I flipped to the next page, unsure if I could carry it out on my own; hold myself accountable. 

b967a646623f50b290d60cedf6e0b47aI never (and still don’t) understand how some runners can run for miles every day without feeling the pain or contracting shin splints (yes, it’s like a disease).  The 14-year old who has already finished a marathon on all seven continents?  How college students compete throughout their four years, sometimes balancing Dean’s lists and academic scholarships and a social life. I call them bionic, a term I wish I could call myself sometimes.  I guess it’s a little bit of envy or jealousy that comes out and yes, I know we are all different, but the feelings are still there.

I’d like to say a majority of people who tell me (I’m just talking about me, not stereotyping the public) to cross train with swimming or cycling are not runners.  They don’t know or appreciate the thrill of the open road, the ability to explore new territory, or revisit the old.  I could map out a run in any part of my home town, just to re-visit the funky houses, the known turns, and even the deadly hills.  But, to preserve this love for the road? Yes, I guess I could start to pay attention to training advice.

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I’ve always wanted to run a marathon and even finish a Ironman triathlon.

Today I’m not sure if that’s possible between my life in the city and nagging injuries, but there may be a time in the future; a time where I can dedicate my time to training, strength, and recovering.  Then I might be able to train with a few other people and I guess I could mature enough to listen to expert’s advice as well.

So, for now I go back to the drawing board.  I actually start to pay attention to training advice, I actually read the magazine articles, and I learn how to train from scratch.

There will be times for base work, speed work, stretching, foam rolling, cross-training, and rest, no matter the difficulty in the concrete jungle.

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