Some mishaps this weekend…

I made some bad decisions this weekend, and I really need to be smarter for the remaining seven weeks…

  • Going to a sports barre class the day before the 18-miler NYRR Marathon Tune-Up in Central Park, which arguably is the hardest 18-miles one will do simply because it is three loops of rolling hills in Central Park. I don’t typically take sports barre due to scheduling but because of my delayed flight on Thursday night, I missed a workout and so I was back-to-back leading up to the long run on Sunday. Sports barre is harder (well for me, at least) than the normal open barre class I take because it is non-stop cardio, yoga, core, and martial arts routines. The amount of squats I did, I knew during class that it was going to be a bad idea. It turned out to be true when I tossed and turned in bed from muscle pain and waking up to a very sore hamstring.
  • Ordering pizza and pasta delivery at 7:45PM on a Saturday night, which took over an hour to arrive. I was waiting for Josh to come home from Yom Kippur services to eat and thought the food would arrive in 30-45 minutes. I was wrong. It didn’t arrive until nearly 9:00PM and two phone calls to check in on the status later. My alarm was set for 4:20AM the next morning, eating this late was a not a good idea.
  • Not drinking enough water during the run and trying to stomach the strawberry banana energy GU was not smart. This Sunday’s run would be the third time I am trying GUs on the long runs. I switched away from the sports beans a couple weeks ago because I wanted to give GUs a chance. While the sports beans have worked for me in the past, it requires constant eating and chewing during a run. At the times the chewing makes me burp more (sorry, too much information) because I’m likely intaking more air and everyone knows I can’t handle additional air (especially hot air!). Anyway, one of my co-workers won a case of GU and he shared a couple with me. A couple weeks ago I experimented with one on my long run in Fire Island and it worked out great. The GUs provide instant energy, so I don’t need to take it unless I am feeling hungry and it seemed to energize my legs (maybe it’s in my head, but I’ll take any positive encouragement I can get). I don’t usually take the whole packet in one shot but split it about half-half. For last weekend’s long run, I tried the mint chocolate flavor which I really liked and doesn’t contain caffeine. I found that the GUs with caffeine make my heart race. Anyway, I went on a hunt for more mint chocolate GUs on the local running store and it turns out that they are discontinued. Since I needed a couple for the run Sunday, I purchased what was available at the store without caffeine – strawberry banana flavor. I think the timing of needing water when taking the GUs threw me off a little on Sunday (the last couple of times, I ran with water so I could take them at any time) along with the banana flavor since I associate it with mushiness (even though I like bananas normally, I just can’t imagine eating one on a run). Without sharing too much information again, let’s just say I had to stop mid-run to spend a little bit of time with the side of the road. The good news is that I came home with a mission to find mint chocolate flavored GUs as soon as possible online. Thank you Amazon (hopefully they arrive soon and not expired)!
  • Wearing a pair of shorts that I was already worried about before the run even started. I wore what I thought were my absolute favorite running shorts. They’re a couple years old from Lululemon. I swear I don’t think they make shorts like this anymore – longer and a wider waistband. Anyway, I usually wear compression shorts or skorts (with compression shorts underneath) for races or longer runs but I wore these shorts for the New Jersey Marathon and they worked like a charm, so I figured they’d be okay for Sunday. I was wrong. As the shorts were getting wetter and wetter (again, too much information, but I sweat a ton), they started to ride up. I don’t know why this didn’t happen in the New Jersey race but they just didn’t work for me on Sunday. I kept tugging them down during the run and unfortunately, I ended up with slight chafing afterwards. I really should stick with what I know.
  • Not bringing a pair of pants to wear after the run. It was cold! I think it was below 50 degrees before the run started and it honestly did not feel warmer afterwards. As we were hanging out afterwards (we had bagels, fruit, pastries, and orange juice waiting for us at our team meeting location – the “rock”), I was shivering. Thank goodness for one of my teammates who let me borrow her pants and then let me return it to her dirty and covered in sweat! I am hunting cheap sweatpants this week at Target or Walmart. With the way the weather is, it is perfect running weather but I will definitely need to keep my legs warm before and after runs and a pair of sweats to throw away the day of the marathon.
Such an amazing group!

All things considered though, this was one of the fastest long training runs I’ve completed, sure I’ve run faster in races (at the half marathon distance), but I definitely pushed myself through probably the hardest 18-mile courses I’ll ever do. Coach Brian wanted us to breakdown the run into three parts – 1) 6-miles at marathon goal pace + 45 seconds to a minute; 2) 10-miles at marathon goal pace; and 3) 2-miles at recovery pace. I am aiming for a sub-4 hour marathon (I’ll honestly take 3:59:59); this is in my opinion a very aggressive goal but it’s better to aim high right? I figured I have the aggressive goal (which would be a 23-minute PR) and then a more reasonable one at around 4:10 – 4:15 (which would be around a 7-13 minute PR). Assuming a 4-hour marathon, I would need to average a 9:09 minute miles. The first six miles on Sunday, I ran at around a 9:55 pace (virtually perfect pacing) and for the next ten, I was a little more all over the place anywhere from sub-9 minute miles to sub-10 minutes. For the recovery miles, I ran one slower and one faster. However, despite the inconsistencies and slight mishaps along the way, my final time was 2:58:22; 9:55 minute/mile. For previous long runs, I have been running at 10-10:30 minute miles which is about right in terms of pacing and even though I know I pushed a little harder on Sunday, it is a good feeling you know you can push yourself and there is something to work towards over the next seven weeks (I can’t believe there is less than 48 days to go).

Coming out of this weekend, I am much smarter and hopefully more prepared for the remaining weeks of training. I come to this same spot, like last year, wondering what I am going to do after November 3rd. I am so lucky to train with such an amazing group of people and in the mean time, I will try to enjoy it as much as possible.

For an interesting snapshot of how I felt at the end of each loop:

Loop 1 (end of mile 6): Feeling good so I’m wasting energy coming up with funny poses as we run past the camera

Loop 2 (end of mile 12): Not feeling as hot

Loop 3 (approaching end of mile 18): Still a little out of it and not excited that I am less than 200 meters away from the finish

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