Tag Archives: marathon training

Counting Down to the Vermont City Marathon

Ok – so I took a short blogging hiatus, but trust me – I was still running. The Vermont City Marathon is less than two days away and I am getting nervous excited. I have one measly little two-mile run left for training and then that’s it my friends – go time.  My current total mileage is resting at 518 miles. Here’s a quick snapshot of the past few weeks:

Yup – as you may have noticed, there was a total slacker week in there – it was called the week of my 30th birthday. Yikes! I felt I deserved to go a little crazy and depart from my plan a bit to live it up.  Hubby and I had a busy weekend attending the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and then another friend’s birthday party on Saturday night. It wiped me out. But we had soo much fun and we got to try on funny hats!

But now it’s time to get serious. There is marathon happening on Sunday. I will be running it. It will be my fifth marathon and it will be Hubby’s first. He had a leg injury issue earlier in the month, but now he’s pretty confident that he’s ready to do it. Also, he’s raised almost $1,500 for his charity efforts in honor of his father

That is very impressive. I tried to do a charity thing at the end of last year and struggled to raise even $500. He did awesome – his father would be so proud.

So the obsessive weather checking has begun and I have to stay that things are looking okay as of right now…dare I say almost perfect? According to weather.com (both friend and foe depending on the day you talk to me), the forecast for Burlington, VT on Sunday is mostly cloudy with a high of 73 and low of 55 degrees. It couldn’t sound much better to me. Knock on wood, cross your fingers, say a little prayer and all of that. If that forecast can just stay in a holding pattern for two days, we will be all good.

I’m also super excited that Hubby and I will be running as a “team” – meaning we will be wearing matching shirts.

Realistically, we may start together, but I have a feeling he will leave me in the dust. He’s much faster than me. But I love that we will be wearing our matching “Team Chief” shirts in honor of his father. A small team, but a passionate one. So if there’s anyone else out there reading this that’s running VCM – look out for Team Chief!!

Ok – that’s pretty much all for now. The next post will be the big one – the marathon recap. Wish us luck!! See you on the other side!

Last Long Run and Tapering

Well it happened – I ran my last long training run for the Vermont City Marathon this past weekend…and I lived to tell!

With a 22 mile run planned, I was more than happy that I would be running it in upstate NY rather than around Central Park again. My last 20-miler in CP was great, but I needed a break from the park.

So I headed upstate by train on Friday and was out the door by 8:15 a.m. on Saturday morning for my last long training run.

Since my last run went so well without my waterbelt, I wanted to try that approach again. I have really been hating that belt this training season, so I planned to carry a small bottle of water with me from my parent’s house and then stop at my friend’s house about halfway through to pick up another bottle.

My run began and it was the perfect temperature, overcast, and I felt pretty good. I planned a tough route with a bunch of major hills, but at this point I was feeling ready for it.

Here was my route:

I covered A LOT of ground. From Latham to Watervliet to Loudonville and back to Latham. I felt really great during the first 12 or so miles of this run. The second half of my run was MUCH slower, but I also had some major hills, so it’s kind of understandable. Here are my splits:

I included the elevation so you can see how huge some of the hills were. Mile 13 was the biggest and that hill is slightly insane. And me not taking my water belt worked out. I carried a small (8 oz.) water bottle filled with some NUUN water with me and drank it all by about mile 8. Then I stopped at my friend’s house around mile 12.5 to grab a second larger bottle. That got me through to about mile 20.

Overall, I am pretty happy with my last long run. I was hoping to keep all my miles slightly under a 9 minute pace, but with some of the hills I added, it just really wasn’t possible.

But I finished feeling pretty strong and my parents even commented that it didn’t look like I had just run 22 miles. They have seen me looking pretty awful after some runs, so that was a good sign.

The rest of the weekend was busy but also relaxed – I got to see some family and friends. I also did a short shake-out run on Sunday (4.5 miles) to bring my weekly mileage total to a record (for me) 50.34 miles! That is my new weekly distance record. I wasn’t so sure I was going to make it, but I got there. Pretty impressed with my 50-mile week!

And you know what that means… it’s time to TAPER!! The taper has commenced this week, and as usual, I have no desire to run at all. I need to remind myself that taper does not mean “stop running altogether.” The dreary weather really doesn’t help matters, but I’m just also feeling really lazy.

I skipped out on Monday’s run and then Tuesday night I managed 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym. I’m supposed to hit 34 miles this week and I’ll be lucky if I get to 25. Ugh – my motivation is apparently lost.

I know that some runners really hate tapering and have a hard time with it, but I feel like I go the opposite way. I want to take the taper to the extreme a just take a break. I’ll have to push myself not to become a totally lazy this week.

What about you – if you are a marathon – do you enjoy the taper, have a hard time with it, or take the taper too far ever?

Happy hump day all!

20 Miles to Remember

I’ve had some ups and downs this training go-round. I had a run-in with strep throat that slowed me down and made me feel super tired, I had some moments where I lacked motivation and chose to go out drinking for St. Patrick’s day rather than run a long run (oops), and every now and then I’ve had some ITB pain.

However, today’s long 20 mile run made everything better. It gave me a renewed sense of trust in my training and my strength, and it was really, really needed. I know not every run can be a good run and I accept that I need to have some bad runs to appreciate the good ones. So I am going to appreciate the heck out of this run. It was pretty much perfect.

20 Mile Run
So the run was great, but it didn’t start off well-planned at all. I was originally supposed to head upstate this weekend and run 20 miles there, with a short 5k plugged in the middle. At the 11th hour, Hubby and I decided not to go, which meant we were both planning on doing our long 20 mile runs in Central Park.

That my friends is the first problem. Central Park and I have had a love/hate relationship for a while. I love CP when I have to do a short run (8 miles or under), and I love that a lot of the NYRR races are held there–so convenient to my homestead, and it’s always been a big part of my marathon training. But that’s where the hate part comes in–sometimes I get pretty bored with Central Park pretty quickly during training. I feel myself dreading running there because I always know what comes next and where the hardest parts are.

So you are probably asking why I don’t just suck it up and try running over to West Side for a bit and then finish in Central Park? Fabulous idea–except for the fact that today I really needed to be close to water fountains because I decided to ditch my waterbelt.

What? You’re probably saying: “Girl, you’re crazy!” And Hubby looked at me the same way when I left the house. But I managed to pull off this long run without the belt…and it was pretty freaking awesome. Here goes:

Miles 1-7: Running to the park and one loop around. Easy breezy! Don’t follow my example here, but I didn’t take any water this first loop. The air was cool, I was moving fast and feeling great. I held off on water but formulated my plans.

Miles 7-13: Now I was heading into my second loop, which meant enjoying Harlem Hill another go ’round. Surprisingly, I still felt pretty strong and was cruising and pretending to be speedy. As I reached the top of Harlem Hill, I decided it was time for water. I missed the first water fountain after HH, but beelined it to the second one. I had to wait for two people to finish up, then I gulped down some heavenly water and headed back out.

Apparently the water tasted so good when it hit my lips that my body screamed for more. So I pulled over again after finishing the three rolling hills on the West side and gulped some more. I was on my way and still feeling okay.

I decided to actually buy a bottle of water and carry it around mile 12. I was on the East side, running past the stinky horse area and I was drawn to the vendor ahead. Two bucks later, and after possibly cutting in front of some tourist who couldn’t make up her mind, I had my delicious overpriced water in my hand and was back on the road. As I finished up my second loop, I sucked down a chocolate Gu and prepared myself for the last loop.

Miles 13-20: Third and final loop. Here we go. Things got tough for a little bit. Harlem Hill on the third try REALLY kicked my a$$ pretty good. But I pulled through. I finished my bottle of water as I reached the top and then made the wisest decision of my run: to not throw it out, but refill it instead. BOOM. How DID I get so smart? I refilled at the next water fountain on the West side and shuffled along. Actually – I really wasn’t moving that slow. I was kind of impressed with my pace throughout the whole run.

I made my way around the lower loop and headed back up the East side. I chucked my water bottle around mile 19, cleared out of Central Park and headed home for my last mile.

So here are my mile breakdowns:

I crept into the 9’s a few times, but most were when I was buying water, stopping for water, or refilling my bottle at a water fountain. And here’s how three lovely loops in CP looks on the map:

You’d think it was only one easy loop if I didn’t tell you!

And lastly, a few of my random thought during this run:

  1. I am pretty sure I saw Tim Tebow running the CP loop…carrying a football under his arm. Or it could have been a Tebow look alike that was trying hard to convince people he was Tebow. If the latter is the case, the imposter did a good job – or I was just moving too fast and a person walking wouldn’t have been so easily fooled.
  2. How the heck were people wearing winter sweatshirts and long sleeved shirts in 70 degrees? I did not get it. But I saw so many people who were waay over-dressed.
  3. I found my running pace twin. She doesn’t know we’re twins, but we ran about mile 11-18 pretty near each other. She kept stopping for water too or stretching or whatever she was doing, and I would pass her, and then she would pass me, etc. Normally, I might find this annoying. But this chick wasn’t all up in my space or anything and it took me a while to even notice it. But she was cool. We were running friends…even if she didn’t realize it. See ya around soon new friend – a.k.a. girl with the gray shorts and pink t-shirt.
  4. Throw your stuff in the trash, not on the ground. So I understand in a race if you’re taking a Gu, you might just fling the wrapper on the ground. You’re in a freaking race and you gotta move it – understood. But when you’re running during your free time in CP, have the common courtesy to hold it until you pass a trash can or something. Geesh people. Earth Day – ever heard of it?

So those were my random thoughts during today’s almost 3-hour run. And here’s what a happy runner looks like after finishing a fabulous 20-mile run:

And now it’s time to foam roll, roll with the marathon stick, shower, and EAT!

Happy weekend!

Mid-Week and Mid-Mileage

Welcome to Wednesday (deep sigh). Hope you are breezing through your week. My week has been busy and moving along pretty quickly. I’ve been enjoying reading some of the Boston Marathon recaps that bloggers have been posting already. Good for them – it just might have taken more than a month to finally post my recap. Oops.

It’s good old Wednesday and that means we’re halfway to the weekend and MAYBE for some, halfway through your training week. Now, if I had actually gotten up this morning to run, I could say that was me. But nope. Tired and slept right through my alarm. So after-work run, here I come. At least it’s not 90 degrees outside today. I still don’t know how the Boston Marathoners did it. Seriously, majorly impressed with any and all finishers.  

So far this week, which is lucky number week 13 of training, I logged an 8-mile run on Monday and 5 miles on Tuesday morning. Yup – you read that right. MORNING. I don’t know how it happened, but it was a beautiful thing. I mean, I really do LOVE running in the morning. It’s not too hot, it’s beautiful, the running areas are pretty clear, and I feel great afterwards. Come one – what’s not to love? Right – not being to drag myself out of bed.  It’s just so darn hard!

Yesterday I managed because I had happy hour plans after work. A few of my old colleagues and I tried a German Biergarten called Loreley on Rivington Street. Being that it was 80 degrees out yesterday and sunny, we obviously wanted some outdoor seating. This place did not disappoint. They have a decent sized back patio space with picnic tables. If you don’t mind possibly sharing your table with a random person or two, then you should be just fine.

(Source)

We had a few beers, snacked on some pretzels, ate a cheese plate (not very good), and a basket of pork meatballs with fries. It started to get a little crowded and loud as it got later, but nothing intolerable. Overall, I would definitely go back to this place. It’s pretty unnoticeable – you would never think to stop in just based on the exterior, but I recommend it!

In other news, I am currently reading “Real Food: What to Eat and Why” after reading a recommendation and I’m really liking it so far. I will definitely try to post a review on this one. Then next on the list is “Fifty Shades of Grey” for book club and I’ve heard a lot of mixed things. Should be interesting.

What are you reading right now? Any great recommendations? I think I am next on the book club list to select a book. Ohh the pressure – help!

 

 

Week 12: A Needed and Appreciated Cut Back Week

Week 12 of marathon training in O-VER! We are slowly inching closer to marathon day and I gotta tell ya – this warm weather is making me a little nervous. The Boston Marathon will be run tomorrow in 80 degree temps in the middle of April. What will it be like by the end of May? I am very scared that they will either cancel our race Memorial Day weekend or it will be truly torturous to run in crazy hot temps.

But, there’s no use speculating and getting myself all worked up right now. There are still 6 weeks of training to go with two more tough long 20 mile runs ahead of me.

I’m getting ahead of myself again. This post is a recap of week 12 of training, which was a much needed and appreciated cut back week, as the title says. This week I had 34 miles on my plan and I came in pretty close at 33 miles for the week. Here’s what the week looked like:

Monday: 6 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: rest day (a.k.a. – lazy and tired day)
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: 13 miles

It was a pretty light week, which was super nice considering I was tired and lacking in motivation – as Wednesday clearly showed. I just came home and wanted to nap rather than run. It happens sometimes when you are in the thick of training. At least for me anyway.

But, by Saturday morning I was feeling more motivated and ready for a longish run. My plan called for 12 miles, but I ended up running nearly 13. I was running through Central Park starting around 9:20 a.m. and got caught up in some race going on. It felt weird to be running with the group when I wasn’t really in the race and I kind of just wanted to get away from them and do my own thing. Because of that, I ended up running some of those first miles faster than planned to get away from the other runners. My splits looked like this:

Yeah – it was a much faster run than I expected. But it also felt good to push it a little.

After my longish run, Hubby and I headed out to an afternoon show. At the Colon Cancer run we won tickets to a show and today was the day. We headed to the theater district to see:

It’s a new show that came over from London and I thought it was really good. It was very funny. I’d recommend it. The main character REALLY likes eating and I could totally sympathize with him – especially now during the peak of marathon training. I seem to be devouring everything and have a real sugar addiction.

How serious you ask? Well after the show, I made some homemade “healthified” nachos for dinner, and then proceeded to eat half a bag of hugs and half a box of sweettart hearts. I NEED to stop. Sugar is bad. Sugar is bad. Sugar is bad. I keep telling myself this box/bag of candy will be the last one and I last about 3 days and then go buy another. HELP!!

Anyone have any tips for cutting down on sugar and beating those terrible sugar cravings?

Easter Dinner Success!

Living in NYC and away from our family can be tough sometimes when it comes to planning for holidays. We understandably can’t make it home for every holiday. We try to go upstate as much as possible, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. When Hubby and I started signing up for 2012 NYRR races this year, we completely forgot to check what weekend Easter was going to on. So, we signed up for the Scotland run and didn’t realize it was on Easter weekend until a few weeks before it. We decided that maybe this year we would spend Easter weekend in NYC. Sometimes it’s also nice not to have travel on a holiday weekend with all the masses and crazy drivers.

This meant that the domestic and traditional side of me decided I needed to plan a nice holiday dinner. Yes, it was only the two of us. Yes, there was no particular need to go all out. But my inner Betty Crocker had some plans of her own.

After church and some spring cleaning on Sunday, I set to work to make a respectable Easter dinner. I decided earlier in the week to make ham – note that I’d never made it before. If you’ve made ham then clearly you know this was the easiest part of my meal. I don’t know what I was expecting or why I had built up in my head that this was going to be an undertaking, but it was not. I bought a ham at the store, took the plastic wrapping off, added 1/2 cup of water to a pan, put the ham on the pan, covered it with foil, and cooked it in the oven for an hour. Boom – ham done. Simple as that. I even bought a pre-cut ham, which made the whole process even easier.  

Next up on my list was scalloped potatoes. This was kind of a process. I would say my prep time took about 30 minutes for all the slicing and dicing of the potatoes and onions. Here is the recipe:

Au Gratin Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 onion, sliced into rings
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 1 quart casserole dish.
Layer 1/2 of the potatoes into bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the remaining potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.  Bake 1 1/2 hours in the preheated oven.

The end result? A total success! This recipe made a LOT of potatoes. We’ve pretty much been eating them all week. Along with the potatoes, I baked some asparagus. I placed the asparagus in glass pan, covered it with butter, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and onion powder, then put some foil over the pan and popped it in the over for about 30 mins. And here’s my plate:

I also threw together a tossed salad for us and enjoyed some wine. And we even used our diningroom and ate at a proper table. I know that probably sounds weird to a lot of people, but I feel like most NYCers will get it. I think that a lot of city people, with small spaces, tend to eat in their livingroom areas for the most part. A lot of NYC apts don’t even have a diningroom. And although we have one, we RARELY use it and I don’t really know why. I mean, it looks really nice and inviting, right….

So we had a very proper Easter dinner in the diningroom and everything. How fancy. And lastly we had some delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

How was your Easter? Did you travel to visit family? Stay at home? Host a dinner?

And now we’re into the next week already, which is Week 12 of marathon training. This is a cut back week for me and I’m really liking it so far. I ran 6 miles on Monday night and then managed to drag myself out of bed on Tuesday morning for a quick 4 miles. I’m hoping the rainy drizzle will end by later today so I can squeeze in 7 miles after work.

It’s so strange for me to think that last year at this time I was getting ready for the Boston Marathon. It does NOT feel like it was a full year ago. What an amazing race. Of course, with the new, ridiculously hard standards, I’ll never make it back there again. So I will just relish the memories!

Who out there is running the Boston Marathon this year? Good luck to all you runners!!

Not So Sexy 17 Miles

Sometimes the best long runs aren’t the ones where everything goes as planned, but you just plain get it done anyway. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to today’s long run. My weekly running plan hadn’t worked out right and I ended up having to run 3 miles on Friday night after work. Ideally, I like to take the day before and after a long run off completely. My two days of rest for the week.

Well, since I skipped my Monday run I had to end Friday with a few miles. Nothing crazy, but I hated it nonetheless.

So this morning I woke up around 7:30 a.m. and started this process of getting ready. Breakfast was the usual oatmeal, coffee, and water with nuun. But then I could not figure out what to wear – short or capris? Long sleeve, short sleeve or tank top. For some reason I was totally unsure. The decision was made (shorts and short sleeve shirt) and run-time was inching closer, but (excuse me for sharing too much info) my bathroom visits were not over. I ended up leaving about 15 minutes later than I wanted, still unsure that I wouldn’t have to stop somewhere along my route.

But I was off and made my way to Central Park. I don’t know what it is about CP, but it spurs my competitiveness. Although, it may not be completely competitive–sometimes I just don’t like running next to a person (or way too close) for a prolonged period of time. I start saying in my head “come on, just hurry up and pass me, if you’re gonna” or “come on Lindsey, you are totally crowding this chic, keep it moving.” And then inevitably, I end up going faster than I planned to put some space between me and the other person.

Does anyone else who runs in CP have this issue or am I totally weird that I don’t like being too close to other runners?

Today’s run consisted of two large loops (12 miles – 6 mile loop each), one bridal path loop, and then another mile on the main path, with a mile run to the start and back home. And what does that equal? 17 Miles!

Surprisingly, despite the rocky start, I felt pretty good at the end of my run. Here are my splits:

And the route…

I gotta be honest, the Central Park loop, while fueling my competitive drive, is getting a little monotonous. I’m not sure how I’ll get through next week’s 18 miler and then 20 in CP. I might need to get creative.

And after all was said and done, I was still able to smile after 17 miles!

I guess that probably means it wasn’t such a bad run, right?

And now, the rest of the weekend will entail a trip to NJ for dinner with friends and then a whole lot of cleaning tomorrow, including about 4 loads of laundry!

What are your plans for the weekend? How do you handle the laundry pile-up when more than one person in the family is exercising or training a lot? Do you do it all in one day or throughout the week? I’m tempted to start the throughout the week approach…

Have a great weekend!