NJ Marathon Training: Week 10

We’re in the double digits now. Ten weeks down, six to go before I run the New Jersey Marathon on April 28. This was an oddball week. I signed up to volunteer at a NYRR race on Sunday, which meant that everything was shifted: instead of track workouts on Wednesday and Friday and a long run Sunday, I did my workouts Tuesday and Thursday and the long run Saturday. I am trying to be good about not doing hard days back to back.

Only five days of running this week, but my highest mileage week since last fall. It was a good week and I got in a couple of solid workouts at the track and a super long run around the isle of Manhattan. Unfortunately, I wound up making my first major blunder of this training cycle. I’ll get to that.

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WEEK 10: March 11 – March 17

Monday I almost ran. The day before had been my long run failure where I set out to do 22 miles, then decided to make it 17 miles (the distance of next week’s long run), stopping at 12 with the intention of making up the extra 5 the next day. But on Monday morning, I wanted a day off. I decided that those 5 miles didn’t really matter. I would have enough miles for the week without them. I just did my usual Fitness Blender upper body workout I do on Mondays.

Tuesday I was back at the track to do 6 x 1200 @ 10K pace with 3 minute jog recoveries. My 10K paces: 7:44, 7:56, 7:50, 7:51, 7:52, 7:40. I usually try to aim for 7:45-7:55 so I’d say this went well. With the 2 miles there and back, this was a total of 10.95 miles, a nice solid workout.

Wednesday was an easy 7.11 miles at 10:04 pace around Central Park. The basic, usual, 7 mile loop. (The main loop is a little over 6 miles but when I start and end a few minutes outside the park, it’s a perfect 7 miles.) Today and the day before, temps had been in the 30s. At least it looked like they might not dip down into the 20s again. Maybe winter was finally coming to an end.

Thursday I went back to the track for my tempo workout, where I did 4 x 10 minutes at half marathon pace and a total of just over 10 miles. My HMP were 8:16, 8:05, 8:11, 8:11, so right around where they should be. Actually, I’d like to shoot for 7:55-8:00 pace in my next half, but that’s not what my HMP is supposed to be right now for workouts so I’m sticking to the plan. Afterward I did Fitness Blender’s squats & deadlifts workout.

Friday was a glorious 53 degrees! I wore a t-shirt and shorts. I thought I might only run 5 miles but it was so nice I ran most of the Central Park loop for a total of 6.15 miles at a brisk 9:56 pace. Wow, an easy pace faster than 10:00 means I was feeling amazing. It felt SO NICE to wear a t-shirt and shorts outside. (I noticed that people are a little confused how to dress this time of year when it starts to get warm, so there were runners in tank tops and shorts as well as in puffy jackets and leggings.) After the run I did my second upper body workout of the week.

Saturday was my epic long run! This was the run I had been scheduled to do the week before. I ran 19 miles easy followed by 30 minutes… faster. This 30 minutes was supposed to be at marathon pace but it wasn’t quite that. Ideally, my MP is 8:35. I ran miles 20-22 in 9:08, 9:14, 9:30. So yeah. Almost. Not quite. Total miles for the day: 22.26. Time running: 3:48:26. Overall pace: 10:16. I’ll write about this run in more detail below.

Sunday volunteered at United NYC Half, fulfilling the “+1” of my 9+1 duties for 2019! This was a (mostly) fun morning where I collected heat sheets, handed out heat sheets, and ate too many granola bars. Later in the day I did a short and easy lower body workout.

TOTAL MILES: 55.73

Some Noteworthy Things

Remember those 12 awful miles I ran in the cold rain last Sunday? It turns out my hands weren’t the only things affected. This is the rash I discovered later that evening. It lasted for DAYS.

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I don’t normally post pics of my rashes but since it’s running-related, I figured it was noteworthy. Has this ever happened to you following a cold, wet run? I’ve gotten rashes under my sports bra when it’s super humid in the summer, but this is the first time I’ve gotten a post-run rash like this. I’ve found that slathering on the Vaseline beforehand works wonders. I guess I should have done that to my torso.

I had been experiencing some lower calf tightness on my right leg ever since the Washington Heights 5K, so on Thursday I stopped by Finish Line PT. I really like Finish Line and have gotten a lot out of my appointments there. My only complaint is that they do not take my insurance, so I’m not sure how economically wise it is to continue going there if I’m also paying a few hundo a month for insurance. Anyway, my therapist and I talked running (he’s a great runner as well as a running coach), he massaged my calf, we did some exercises, and I even got to use a vibrating foam roller for the first time. My calf felt much better afterward and I haven’t had any issues with it since.

Here is a picture I took at Finish Line of me and my physical therapist.

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On Friday night, I had my usual pre-long run dinner. It’s always the thing I crave most the night before my long runs: 1/2 an apple sage Field Roast vegan sausage, a mound of chopped carrots and celery, 3 oz. spinach, half a tablespoon of Earth Balance, all sitting on top of a pretty-good-sized baked sweet potato. Seasoned with salt, pepper, and rosemary. It has everything I usually have with a meal with just a little more carbs so I have enough energy for the next morning.

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There is a sweet potato under this

Now I will write about this epic long run!

I decided the night before to get out of Central Park for this one. The weather was supposed to be nice so I didn’t see myself being trapped in a rainstorm or anything. I did want to end up in Central Park – not only is it close to home, but I wanted to do this “30 minute marathon pace” segment on a flat surface. The reservoir seemed perfect for it.

So I glanced at a map and estimated that I could make my way around the lower part of Manhattan and then end up back in Central Park by the time I needed to start my last 30 minutes.

This is the route I wound up doing:

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I decided to listen to Oprah’s Master Class podcast on this run because they are basically monologues (Oprah only does a brief introduction and maybe a sentence or two in the middle), and I thought all the different speakers would break up the run nicely.

I felt strong for the vast majority of the run. It was in the mid 40s, sunny, and much windier than I would have liked.  It was probably the windiest going down the west side. Still blustery down at the bottom around miles 8-10, but there are enough buildings and turns that it wasn’t too bad. Running through this area is always weird – lots of tourists taking pictures of the Statue of Liberty and taking the Staten Island Ferry, so it’s a bit of running around pedestrians.

Once you get past that area, it’s better because there are fewer people, but also worse because it’s just worse.

I have decided that I really hate running along miles 10-13. There’s just so much construction and detours and noise – you’re basically running under a highway. There were times I couldn’t hear what Simon Cowell or Lionel Richie or Cindy Crawford were saying. I know they’re doing construction to improve the area, but right now it makes for a cruddy run.

At some point (maybe around mile 13) there was a nice stretch of clean, waterfront path. That part wasn’t so bad.

I was taking the pace pretty easy, hovering between 10:00 and 10:30 for the most part. I had only stopped twice: once to use the bathroom on the west side and once on the east side to eat a Clif Blok and blow my nose onto the grass. (Sorry, grass.)

Snaking my way through the city to get to Central Park was THE WORST, mostly because I had not realized this was the day of the freaking St. Patrick’s Day Parade. That little thing. How was I supposed to know it was held on March 16th, which is not the holiday? It was before the parade start (I think), but there were already tons of spectators and barricades. It was confusing as to where I could cross, and when, so I wound up just jogging up and down sections of streets trying to find an opening across 5th Avenue.

Look at this sad-ass attempt to cross the street:

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Finally, I reached Central Park. Right after I hit mile 16, I stepped onto the familiar loop. Oh, sweet loop. It felt like home. I made my way to the reservoir by mile 17. Perfect. This gave me two miles to run easy before my final, fast 30 minutes.

I was nervous about attempting this marathon pace 30 minutes. Nineteen miles was a lot, and my legs were starting to get tired. Nothing felt injured or super sore, I was just… eh. Right before my Garmin hit 19, I actually pulled off to the side and crouched down for a minute. It felt good to stretch my quads. I stood up and set off for my fast 30.

I didn’t quite reach marathon pace. I was hovering between 9:00 and 9:15 for mile 20, which wasn’t bad, but also not where I was supposed to be. I was just beat. I did another couple loops of the reservoir and then with about 17 minutes to go, I decided to just run the remainder through the hills of the park toward home. I wanted to be done.

I never managed to run faster than a 9:00 pace for these 30 minutes, and slowed down even more through the uphills heading home. I still ran faster than I had been all morning, so that was an accomplishment. By the time I stopped my watch, I had been on my feet for four hours.

So about this “blunder” I mentioned in the beginning of this post. I am 99% sure that I ran too far on this long run, as the inner ball of my right foot began hurting on Sunday. I didn’t notice it while volunteering in the morning but I felt it later that day. It was still bad on Monday. I’m writing this on Thursday of week 11, and it’s much better now, but the soreness caused me to take a few days off from running. In this training cycle, I have not had to miss one day of running due to soreness until now. I was really disappointed that this happened.

I think with the cut-short long runs I had done the two weeks prior (13 miles, 12 miles), running 22 miles was too big a leap. I should have cut it down to 16 or 17 so it wasn’t such a massive mileage bump. Lesson learned.

One more tidbit: I baked Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky’s Superhero Muffins on Sunday afternoon. I’ve been craving more carbs to go with my post-run protein shake and thought it would be fun to try making these again. I made a tiny tweak and used regular white flour instead of almond flour, and I think this caused them to be more dry than they should have been. They also just… looked weird. But cut in half with some peanut butter and they were okay. I’ll use almond flour next time.

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I promise my training post will be much shorter next week.

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