Week 13 will forever be known in my mind as the Week It Became Fall. The early and middle part of the week saw temps in the low 70s and high humidity. By the weekend, it was in the 40s. Actually, we skipped right over fall and went straight to winter. Truly bizarre.
This was an exciting and jam-packed week of running, and it wasn’t until it was over that I realized it was my highest mileage week, not just of marathon training, but ever. I’ve been following the 16-week NYRR’s Marathon Virtual Training Program for the TCS NYC Marathon. Which is happening soon. Extremely soon. So. Very. Soon.
Here’s my summary of Lucky Week 13!
Monday, as usual, was my day off from running and my Fitness Blender upper body workout (plus crunches). It was probably also laundry day but I can’t remember at this point because I write these posts way too far after the fact. I almost always do laundry Mondays at 5:45am. Doesn’t everyone?
Tuesday I had intervals prescribed but due to a bit of outer right calf soreness, I decided to switch it with Wednesday’s easy run. So I did an easy 5 miles in Central Park, including once around the reservoir for a nice, soft surface. Earlier in training I’d had some inner right calf soreness for a few weeks which I seemed to have nipped in the bud. Lately any aches have been on the outside of my calf, but it honestly never seems all that bad while running. Still, I wanted to hold off on the intervals. I decided to keep this run super easy, averaging a 10:21 pace. I hardly ever go slower than 10:00 but sometimes I need to.
Wednesday my calf felt better, and I was relieved because I really wanted to tackle this interval workout. It was in the 60s and super humid this morning (as it had been the day before) and I wondered when or if summer would ever end. I would know the answer to that question in three days.
But for today, I headed to Riverbank State Park to use their great track. I’m so lucky to live just a warm up jog away from it.
Here’s what I was prescribed: an 8 mile workout with two sets, each with 3 x 400 and 1 marathon pace mile:
- Warmup: 2 miles (nice and relaxed)
- Set #1: 3 x 400 meters (0.25 mile) 1 x Mile
- 400m Pace: Start at 1:59 on 1st 400-meter run and work down to 1:53
- Mile Pace: 8:39-8:50 per mile
- Recovery: 2:10 active recovery after each 400-meter and 5:00 after set
- Set #2: 3 x 400 meters (0.25 mile), 1 x Mile
- 400m Pace: Start at 1:59 on 1st 400-meter run and work down to 1:53
- Mile Pace: 8:39-8:50 per mile
- Recovery: 2:10 active recovery after each and 5:00 after set
- Warmdown: 2 miles (nice and relaxed)
So a nice, solid workout but nothing crazy. The “1:59” refers to the time once around the track but I prefer to know the pace as it’s easier to gauge while I’m running, so I just plugged the numbers into a chart so I knew ahead of time how fast to run.
I felt really good during this workout and even did the second set faster. Here are all the paces I wound up running (excluding the warm up and cool down miles):
- Intervals 1-3: 7:56, 7:41, 7:28
- Marathon Mile #1: 8:38
- Intervals 4-6: 7:41, 7:24, 7:08
- Marathon Mile #2: 8:24
When all was said and done, I wound up running 9.98 miles because my watch counted all the recovery jogs in between the intervals. No matter – I just ate a little more that day.
Thursday was another humid morning, and I was to run 5 “AYF” miles, meaning 5 miles as fast as I felt like. I went to Central Park, looping once around the reservoir before heading back home for a total of 5.62 miles (because it’s always hard to run exactly 5 miles there) at a 9:29 pace. I feel like right around 9:30 has been my “whatever” pace for so long – the pace I run when I’m not paying attention to pace – and I wonder if it will ever get faster than that, or if that’s pretty much it for the rest of my life. Or at least until I start slowing down due to my aging, decrepit body.
Under “pros” for this day I wrote “everything felt okay” and under “cons” I wrote “humid.” Nothing too memorable about this run except for the fact that I could still taste summer.
Friday I had a 5 mile “regular run” scheduled, but I decided to do something a little different and meet with my running club the NY Harriers. I haven’t done many runs with them lately since I’ve been following this NYRR program, but I saw what they had planned for Friday and thought I could substitute it for my prescribed run.
We met on the east side of Central Park at 6:30 am. It was still dark out. There were two groups running that morning: those training for the marathon and those training for shorter distances. I had this idea I’d run with the marathoners, but they took off first while I was still figuring out which group was which, so I ran with two other runners who hung back to do the shorter distance. This actually worked out in my favor, as the marathoners are really fast – like, really fast – and I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with them for more than a quarter mile, if that. Someday.
Luckily, the two other runners were perfect to run with. They’re both generally faster than I am, but I could keep up. We wound up doing a tempo run: 2 x 2 miles with just a minute of jogging in between. The mile paces we hit were 8:28, 8:05, 8:10, 8:16. This is faster than my marathon pace but slower than my 10K pace, and was more exhausting than I’d anticipated. With the runs to there and home, I wound up running just under 8 miles that morning. So a little more than I was supposed to.
This pic was taken before our workout. Look how sparkly we all are.
Saturday I took advantage of the extra time I had, being it was a non-work day, and did an upper body workout first, then my prescribed 5 mile “AYF” run. I did almost the same as Thursday, heading to Central Park, once around the reservoir and back. And almost the same pace as Thursday: 9:31 today, just a hair slower. The big difference between this day and Thursday was that not only was it drizzling, it was in the 40s. Summer was officially over. I wore a long sleeved shirt for the first time this season. I still wore shorts.
I also wore a new purchase I wanted to test out: a little runner’s fanny pack I bought at NYRR’s New Balance store. I’m going to need something to carry my gels and stuff for the race as my shorts back pocket won’t cut it (it can actually fit two gels, but that’s it). I planned on wearing it on my long run the following day, and today was the test run for that day… which would be the test run for the race. I like to be prepared.
Sunday was my long run. This would be the longest run of training: 22 miles. I’d done 20 two weeks before in Central Park, but I was itching to get out of the park for today’s run. I hadn’t yet tackled any of the bridges on the race course, so I thought today would be a good day to do it.
I studied a few maps the night before to make sure I knew what I was doing and that the distance I’d cover would be 22 miles. I had a basic idea of where I’d be going – I’ve lived in NYC for a cumulative total of 19.5 years at this point – but there were tiny things I wanted to confirm, like which street in Greenpoint leads to the Pulaski Bridge, which side of the road the bridge pedestrian paths were on, etc.
I packed 4 Gu gels, a fig bar, and my phone and set off. I left the headphones at home. I wanted to try to emulate race day as much as possible. The only exceptions were that I wore a long-sleeved shirt while I’ll wear a tank on race day, and I wore more sturdy training shoes rather than my race day Kinvaras.
I headed down the west side of Manhattan, running along the water. I stopped just once to use a bathroom, something I hope I don’t have to do on race day. I ran around the southern tip of the island, which I’d never done before, and was kind of shocked as it looked nothing like I’d pictured. I thought it was going to be more like a wide, open space park, but it felt more like I was running through heavily wooded apartment complexes. I stopped at a couple of water fountains because I hadn’t brought any water, something I knew might come to bite me in the ass later.
I’d decided to cross the Williamsburg Bridge instead of the Brooklyn Bridge, as the Williamsburg let out in a neighborhood I was familiar with (Williamsburg) and was farther north. I’d been feeling pretty good up until the bridge. Once I started that slow climb, my left ankle started bugging me. Nothing horrible, just annoying. I was a little over halfway through the run at this point and wanted to finish. I’d brought my Metrocard in case of emergency but I really didn’t want to use it.
I snapped a quick pic on each bridge. Here’s Williamsburg:
Running through Brooklyn was kind of fun because it was so quiet and I’m familiar with the area. I had to stop briefly a few times at intersections but steadily made my way up to McCarren Park where I used to run when I lived there for a brief stint in 2015. (As a running course, the park is small and very flat, but it’s better than nothing.)
I made the correct turn in Greenpoint and the Pulaski Bridge came up sooner than I’d thought. I was really thirsty by this point and knew there would be no more water fountains along the route so I stopped in a gas station and bought a small bottle. Kind of annoying to carry a sloshing bottle of water for the next few miles but my throat thanked me.
Next up was the Pulaski Bridge. This was a little steep but over quickly. This will be the halfway point of the marathon course.
Once over the bridge, I was in familiar Long Island City, and ran along Jackson Avenue until I got to the Queensboro Bridge. This is a monster of a bridge and much longer than you think it’s going to be. It has the illusion of being shorter than it is because at some point you see land beneath and you think, “cool, I’m in Manhattan!” But you’re not. It’s just Roosevelt Island, and you’re not even halfway across yet.
I actually can’t remember at this point what my ankles felt like, but I think I was kind of sore all over. Also, I was supposed to hit my marathon pace for the last few miles of this run, but I just couldn’t do it. I’d felt a lot stronger two weeks earlier on the 20 miler. Today I felt slow. I think I was just tired from a heavy week of running.
Once in Manhattan, I zig-zagged my way back to Central Park, went halfway around the loop, and ended the run on the west side. I almost couldn’t believe it. I had done it. I was tired. And my shirt was soaked in sweat, despite temps being in the 40s.
Here’s my entire route:
Phew, that was a long weekly recap, but it was a lot of running for me. I knew I ran a little more than I was prescribed this week, but I hadn’t realized how much until late Sunday night: I had been prescribed 45 miles but ran 55.77. Oops. No wonder I was tired on Sunday’s run.
I forget what I ate later that day, but it was a lot.
Now, I begin the taper.
Week 13: 55.77 miles