2021 NYC Marathon Training: Week 16

The penultimate week of training. Second week of taper (which really feels like the first week of taper, if I’m being honest). We’re almost there, folks.

I haven’t written about many specific workouts here, but I’ll mention this: For the last several weeks, on Wednesdays, I’ve been running Harlem Hill repeats. This encompasses the northern-most section of Central Park’s loop, and the hilliest part of the park. Harlem Hill repeats are an occasional workout my running club does. Lately, I’ve been doing them every week. I’ve deviated from my club’s plan a bit in an effort to do less speed work and more hill work. Call it a little experiment. So far, I think it’s working.

I do a mix of clockwise and counterclockwise hills, and recently I’ve tried upping the pace just on the hilly sections, using the 102nd transverse as a jogging rest.

I think doing this every week has really helped me get over my fear of hills. I’m a lot more comfortable on them now. And I genuinely feel stronger. And faster! There’s no way I would have been able to maintain those paces on Harlem Hills a year ago, or even two.

I also have to mention the Last 10 – the final long run of the training block. My club, along with many other clubs and runners, always runs the last ten miles of the marathon course two Sundays before the race. This was my first time running the route with the Harriers, and it was a blast.

I mostly ran with Harrier buds Briana, Donna, and Sunny, and maintained about my goal marathon pace. I felt good. Thanks to Mirjam Lablans for the pics of me on the course!

I am running (no pun intended) short on time for this post, so in keeping with all of the running pics, I thought I would just post a couple of photos of my dad at my races. I don’t have a lot of these photos, unfortunately, but he was present at so many of my races over the years. I didn’t really start racing again until 2017, but the ones he could come to, he did.

Here he is in November 2018 with my nephew Lucas. They were there to cheer me on in my first marathon, the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon.

Six months later, in May 2019, my dad came to the Run For the Health of It 5K in our hometown of Northport, Long Island. This was only two weeks after I ran the NJ Marathon and I don’t think I was rested enough, although somehow I managed to pull off a 5K PR that day.

The 2019 Run for the Health of It 5K was a special race: I raised money in my mom’s name for Northport’s Visiting Nurse Service and Hospice. I also got to meet two running legends: Nina Kuscsik, first woman to officially win the Boston Marathon; and Gary Muhrcke, winner of the first NYC Marathon (and founder of Super Runners Shop, the only running shop I recommend).

Here’s my dad, my nephew Dylan, and Gary, who couldn’t have been nicer. (I think that’s his daughter next to him.)

The fact that my dad attended so many of my races is a testament to the type of parent, not to mention the type of person, he was. If one of his children was into something, he was into it, too. He liked what we liked. If something brought us joy, he supported it.

He was a great guy to have in our corner. Whether in the middle of a packed audience in a school auditorium, at the back of the room in a piano bar, or along the sidelines of a road race, it always made a huge difference to me to know that he was there, watching, cheering, and supporting in his uniquely loving way.

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