Apparently, running a marathon and writing a recap about it sapped my energy so much that I’ve neglected to write here for two weeks. I think I did need some time off in more ways than one, so no regrets. I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things. I have another race recap to post (my Thanksgiving Day turkey trot!) but I felt like I needed a refresher post first – what I’ve been doing since the marathon and how I’m bridging the gap to my next one.
Shall we go with section headers? I like those.
After running the TCS NYC Marathon on November 4th, I didn’t run for 8 days. It’s generally recommended to not run at all for at least a week post-marathon, so I felt not one whit of guilt about this. In fact, it coincided nicely with a trip to L.A. to visit my sister and her family, and attend a beautiful memorial for my friend Hal.
The visit with family was nice, albeit fraught with some tension: upon landing, I discovered that their Malibu house was in danger of burning down. There were wild fires burning all throughout Malibu; many whose homes were still standing had mandatory evacuations, including my sister. So we spent the weekend in a hotel in a safe-from-fires area of L.A. This was not a problem for me, but I felt bad knowing that their house, belongings, and neighborhood were in danger of being destroyed. (Fortunately, over a week after I returned to New York, their home and surroundings had been spared and they were allowed to return.)
That weekend in L.A. was strange and bittersweet in a lot of ways. Hal’s memorial was really special. It took place, appropriately and perfectly, at Whisky a Go Go; it was a beautiful amalgamation of performance, visual media, music, memories, and love. As his friend who spoke put it, “It was so Hal.”
He even got on the marquee.
I was happy to not have to run, especially in L.A. I did make a point to do some kind of yoga or stretching “workout” every day. Some days it was only 10 minutes. Others, maybe 30. No weights, nothing strenuous. I also took a vacation from worrying about eating well. Not that I constantly ate like crap, I just didn’t think too hard about nutrition. This was especially evident during a day trip to Knotts’ Berry Farm, where I invaded the candy shop and loaded up on chocolate, licorice, and cookies meant to last me a couple of days but were gone in about an hour.
I like the idea of spending one week post-marathon doing this. No running, no carefully monitoring what I’m eating. Just relaxing. Breathing. A reset, in a way. Seeing my sister and her family was a bonus.
THE AIRPORT RUN
I did my first bit of post-marathon running 8 days after the marathon.
To save money, I had booked each trip as a one-stop, which meant changing planes halfway across the country. On the return trip, I found myself in Houston Airport with far less time than I had anticipated to get to my next flight. I was also horrified to see that the second flight was in an entirely different part of the airport: I was in “C” and the flight was in “E” – seemingly only accessible via a shuttle train. I was sure I wouldn’t make it, but a customer service agent assured me I could if I hurried.
So I ran like hell through Houston Airport to make an evening flight, not knowing what time the next flight would be if I missed it and not wanting to find out. I only had a small rolling suitcase which I alternated between dragging behind me and holding in my hands as I ran. At one point, seeing a choice between an escalator filled with people standing and a long set of stairs, I chose the stairs, hoisting the suitcase on top of my head and bounding up the steps two at a time. Is this Crossfit? I thought as I made it onto the shuttle train with seconds to spare.
Luckily, I was wearing my old Saucony Kinvara 8s – the shoes I used to wear for fast runs and races. Yoga pants also helped me stay flexible. Thank god I am not fancy.
I arrived at the gate exactly two minutes before the door was to close. The guy who took my boarding pass raised his eyebrows when he saw which flight I had come from. “Wow, you did really well!” It’s true. I had done really well.
Every other passenger was already on the plane. I made my way to the back, red-faced, sweaty, mildly embarrassed but relieved. I found my seat but went to the bathroom first to remove my sweaty t-shirt and bra, leaving only my hoodie on my upper body. I was happy to have made it, but didn’t want to stink.
I’m 100% convinced that my running skills got me on that flight. Otherwise, I may have had to sleep on the floor of Houston Airport. Thanks, running!
FIRST WEEK BACK
The next morning, I ran 7 miles in Central Park. It was cold and rainy and everything felt perfect. It was so nice to move again, especially without the threat of a missed flight. I kept it easy, as I have done with most of my runs since then.
I probably won’t go into detail about each and every run I do for the time being, as I want to be a little more relaxed now that I’m not in official training. In the past week and a half, I’ve run distances between 4 and 9 miles, with average paces between 9:45 and 8:45. I’m trying to mix it up and not be too repetitive.
It’s a little weird to not be following a plan. It’s just me assigning myself, once again. No NYRR training plan, no coaches, no set schedule, no Facebook group with others also following said plan. What, when, and how I run is completely up to me. There’s a nice freedom in that, but it’s harder in a way – I have to give each run a little more thought and hope I’m doing it right. I actually haven’t run since Sunday as I’ve had a cold. It’s nice not to worry about “losing days” or “falling behind.” If I need to rest, I rest.
I broke in a new article of clothing last week: the Brooks Canopy Jacket (thanks 20% coupon at Paragon Sports!). This is the same jacket Des Linden wore while she broke the tape at the 2018 Boston Marathon. If it’s good enough for a pro to wear while winning Boston in a freezing torrential downpour, it’s good enough for me. I really like it. It’s super lightweight, soft (not plasticy like a lot of jackets) and kept me dry. I barely realized I was wearing it.
(This is not an ad. Brooks does not know I exist.)
After the NYC marathon, I found I needed some new sources of motivation, and what better motivation is there than more races? I LOVE having races to look forward to, so I’ve recently signed up for a few. Including… yes… a MARATHON. I’m so excited for all of them!
Ted Corbitt 15K (December 8): I ran this last year as my first 15K. At the time, the distance (9.32 miles for those not well-versed in the metric system) felt daunting. I ran it cautiously but strongly for me, at an average 8:45 pace. I’m hoping to crush that this year. Or at least, gently smoosh it. I think I might be able to do somewhere between an 8:00-8:15 pace. One nice thing about the race’s Central Park course: it skips Harlem Hill.
Midnight Run (December 31): Here’s how old I am: I ran this race on New Year’s Eve of 1999! That one was called the “Millennium Midnight Run.” Unfortunately, for some reason NYRR does not have a record of that race’s finishers* so I’m not sure how I did. It was a 5K at the time, and now it’s a 4 mile. I don’t really have a big set of friends in NYC anymore, and I don’t have New Year’s Eve plans. So to hell with it – I’ll run a dang race in Central Park that starts at midnight. Then I’ll walk home. Infinitely better than going to a bar.
*I just looked it up and apparently the 1999 midnight run was not a NYRR race, but sponsored by Asics and Runner’s World! I guess that explains it.
Fred Lebow Half Marathon (January 20): I also ran this race last year, my first ever half marathon. I think I had only run 13 miles twice before that race, but I did okay. I ran an average 8:39 pace, managing to squeak in under two hours. Like the 15K, I assume I will do better this year. I might not run my Brooklyn Half pace of 8:08, but this Central Park course (which does hit Harlem Hill – twice) is a bit tougher. Also, the hat we got last year is amazing and I still wear it in very cold weather.
Cupid’s Chase 5K (February 9): I’m so used to doing NYRR races that I sometimes forget there are others out there. I discovered this one through Elite Feats, the company that organizes many of the Long Island races I’ve done. (I like them because they send you a text with your results just moments after you cross the finish line.) I’ve been hoping to do a flat 5K at some point, as I’m convinced I haven’t fully lived up to my potential with this distance (case in point: my last somewhat hilly 5K was a 7:44 pace and my last somewhat hilly 10K was a 7:43 pace?!). When I discovered that not only is this on a flat course, but it’s a on a course in Riverside Park I run on all the time because it’s literally minutes from my apartment, I signed up immediately. I am psyched to see what I can do in this race.
Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon (April 28): Yes, I am running a spring marathon! I heard about this race from both my physical therapist and my sports masseuse at Finish Line, both of whom ran it and recommended it. I hemmed and hawed for a while as I tried to decide where to run a spring marathon, and finally just settled on the flat and fast course that’s easy to get to from where I live. I’m super pumped for this marathon. Now that I “get” what 26.2 miles is, I feel as though I am ready to tackle it again with renewed confidence. And with another few months of training, I’ll be even ready…ier. Not sure yet what I’m doing for a training plan, but I have a few weeks to figure it out.
I THINK THAT ABOUT COVERS IT