Monday, September 19, 2016

Race Report -- Marathon Tune-up

Well that went better than expected.  Sunday was the NYC Marathon Tune-up 18 Miler. It is designed to be a hard long run, 7 weeks out from the NYC marathon, but I decided to use it as a last long run/gut check before deciding whether to run Chicago on October 9.  The 18 miler last weekend was a miserable slog, and left me with little hope that eight miles more would be anything other than extended misery.

This week turned out to be a different story.  I felt a bit sore from Friday plyo, so, again, I wasn't too optimistic. Walking didn't feel great, so how could I actually run 18.  There was a pretty good bunch of us from the South Brooklyn Running Club in group E, so we all lined up together.  Marcus was going to run with Caylin at a good clip.  Andrew was going to find the 9 minute pacers and run with them. Sara was gonna run 9:30s.  I had no particular plan . . .

My main thought was to let the crowd slow me down for the first mile or two, and then see how I felt.  This worked pretty well, and just as I sort of got up to speed, the 8:57/mile pace group went by.  Andrew, who was with me, latched on, I went with him.  Marcus and Caylin were off in the distance vaguely visible.  For much of the rest of the race, I found myself yo-yoing with that pace group.  I descend quickly and climb slowly, so I'd drift forward on the downhill, and backward on the uphill.  I believe I was driving the pacers nuts . . .

Coming back up the Harlem Hill, Marcus came up on me from behind.  Caylin was run walking, and he didn't want to.  We ran pretty much the rest of the race together.  He kept me honest going up, and I pushed the pace going down.  The downhill miles tended to be around  8:30-8:45.  The uphill miles 9-9:30.  My average was either 9:00/mile per Strava or 9:12 per NYRR.  Either way, that was respectable, considering where I started back in July.

The big story is that I didn't slow down much at the end. Mile 18 was 8:53, and the last half mile kick was at an 8:20 pace.

So, I went ahead and bought my tickets. I guess I'm gonna run the Chicago Marathon.  I'm still quite modest about my goals.  Aiming at fun and no injury.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Couple of Good Runs

Here's to the fitness effects of the long run -- even a miserable long run like the one I did on Saturday.  On Sunday I slogged through a long cross-training workout. 2200 yards swimming, followed by a double spin class.  Needless to say, I spent a lot of last weekend napping.  Monday, my legs were mostly recovered, I did a comfortable 8 miles at a 9 minute pace.  Historically, that's nothing to write home about, but it's the first time that 9s have felt comfortable in months.  I took Tuesday off (too much to do at work), and then had a really nice fall run on Wednesday.  I averaged 8:30 for 8.6 miles. Mixed in amongst the 8:30+ miles were an 8:10, a 7:54 and an 8:11.  I felt good the whole day, focused on form and kept my cadence high. It was my best run in months.  It's good to be back.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Meh to Bleh . . . But got it done . . .

Well, yesterday was do or die on the marathon training schedule.  18 miles or bust.  When I showed up for the 7am meetup, I was pretty sure it was gonna be die.  Heat, humidity and dead legs -- the trifecta.  Worse yet, only the fast guys showed up.  I told them not to wait, and went out at my own pace -- slow. . .   To get back in time to meet up again at 8:00, I took the short Prospect Park loop.  The speedy gang went by me like I was standing still going up the hill.  This would have been depressing, but I bumped into my long lost running buddy, M_, who was in town from New Jersey.   We ran together for a bit, and then back to Carroll Park.

The air in the Park was still.  By the end of the first loop (7 miles), I was drenched and despairing.  We gathered another gang of runners at 8:00 am, including some slowpokes, so I had company from mile 7-11, at the far side of the Manhattan Bridge.  From there I soldiered on alone, up to the Williamsburg Bridge, through Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, and then home.  It was miserable.  I was in survival shuffle mode pretty much the whole way.  But I slogged through it and got it done.

All I have to do is run 20 next weekend (ugh), and then it's taper.  I still haven't bought my airplane tickets, but it will be worth it, just to see Spencer.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

From Bleh to Meh!

The last few days have felt pretty good.  Saturday and Sunday I ran medium runs (6-8 miles) at an 8:40 pace.  Monday, I ran 14 at a 9 minute pace when I was with folks, and a 10ish pace when I was on my own for the last few miles at the end.  Today I span and swam.  I am not feeling fast but I am feeling reasonably fit.  I bumped into my friend C_ at the gym this morning, and she asked how I was doing.  I said, "I've finally left the zone of Bleh!!"

This is most emphatically not to be confused with a return to form.  But it is a return to feeling healthy.   I've moved from the zone of Bleh to the zone of "meh."

The big question remains: will running a Marathon in a month help me move forward or set me back. .

Monday, September 5, 2016


I'm acting like I'm training for a marathon, but I am far rom convinced that this is true.  I've geared up. Bought three new pairs of shoes -- two low drop, and one cushioned neutral, shorts, and a box of GU.  I've raised my mileage.  And, I'm finally beginning to feel like a runner again.  A 9 minute pace doesn't hurt, and I've been able to string 8:30s together. That said, the idea of going further than 15-16 miles still seems inconceivable.  Maybe I'll be able to break through next weekend . . .

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Yay Spencer! Glad to hear you are back at it. I am crawling back myself, but in a bit of a quandary.  June was a bust, an July I was hurt so could only cross train until Mid July.  This wouldn't be a big deal, except I'm signed up for the Chicago Marathon on October 9.  The puzzle I have been facing is, "is it possible to go from zero base to Marathon in 10 weeks." Well, I'm pretty surprised that the jury is still out.  I've been ramping up the long run - two 13s a 16 and a 12.  I'm beginning to get some pace back, but even a 9 minute pace feels ambitious these days.  If I can manage an 18 and a 20 miler in the next few weeks, a WTF marathon seems plausible.   We'll see.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Training the Marsden Way

Just to bring you up to date.  Last year sucked running wise with achy hurty knees with very little cartilage left particularly on the left side.  Past things happening when I ran faster than 10 minute mile pass.  Lots of exercise physiology and home exercises.  Difficulty adjusting to new gait to minimize further cartilage loss and run more efficiently and breathing while doing so.  Still got in two lumbering half marathons but neither really fun.

2016 a lot better so far.  I did a home-made half marathon in the spring and used the summer to finally get breathing in synch with new gait.  Results are promising so far.  Averaging low 9s in both cool, hot or humid weather with long stretches in the 8s and easy sprints in the mid 7s.  Dropped the hammer this morning on a 4 miler and did a short 6:30 stretch.  If this keeps up, this is more 2006, my only double marathon year, than 2016 as my chrono clock approaches 60.  Main challenge is keeping up my long runs since I haven't done more than 8.5 since my home made half.  Left knee isn't perfect but ice, advil and home exercises should get me to the start line for my September half-marathon.

So how to train?  In the past I have sung the praises of doing it the Rocky Way (wear a hoody and run under the el and up museum stairs) and the Hulk Hogan Way (the training, the prayers, the vitamins and the Hulking up for the big finish) but have switched to the Marsden way (no days off). 

Technically there is a difference between the Marsden Way (#Iruneveryday) and the Waller Way (#nodaysoff) besides the distances and speeds involved.  There are days I don't run, but work out in some significant way like my 10 mile mountain bike in Ojai etc.  And ok, I took off a couple of days when they extracted a tooth under general anesthesia.  Plus there seem to be less farm animals on my daily runs than Phil.  But I completed more than 2 weeks of #nodaysoff and really beginning to enjoy the rhythms of my daily toil.  And as I have learned even a bad day running beats a good day associate dean so the physical gains and stress reductions are both major positives.

Thanks Phil!