Another wacky week

Another week where I knew I’d need to play let’s move the workout. That only intensified as the weather forecast for the weekend worsened. I knew I’d be out of town but the plan was to find somewhere to run near mom (trail is closed due to bridge construction) or borrow a car to go to the Lake. And then we got a n’oreaster forecast on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. What is it with the end of October storms?

I’m really loving playing with the Garmin, although it hasn’t quite learned my stride for indoor runs yet. The data is fascinating. The transition to a lack of music in the watch has mostly been a non-issue. Outdoors I’m fine, indoors I put a couple of podcasts and some music on my phone. I’ll need to figure out a better system, i.e. actually carrying my tablet with me if I plan to go to the gym.

I’m actually contemplating NYRR’s training plan for Lebow. It starts November 11 so I have some time, but it’s appealing. I recently dropped RunkeeperGo as the training plans were the only aspect I used, and I found they weren’t working well (technical, not practical). I’ve regularly adapted Higdon, but I feel like I might be ready to stick with something a little more formal. Any recommendations that you’ve used? 

Can’t believe we’re nearly to the final home stretch of 2018. I’m already thinking ahead to 2019 goals, running and otherwise. I runfess that I had the best intentions of joining Runfessions and Tuesday on the Run this week, but life got in the way of both.

Don't go chasing waterfalls, PRs are much more fun #RunTheYear Click To Tweet

Weekly Wrap with Holly and Wendy:

but first, a rewind to last week to pick up Friday. I theoretically left the office in time to get a couple of miles in at the gym. Theoretically. Ended up about a mile and a bit due to some tech issues, namely forgetting to start the Garmin. So short, but quality with trying to go as fast as I could. Baby steps and better than nothing.

  • Monday: I knew this was going to be another challenging week due to after work events and being out of town for the weekend. I planned to take the morning off work when I returned from Rochester as I had some personal errands, including Peapod delivery and hoped I’d get in a long-for-a-weekday run. What did I do after a 6:45 grocery delivery? Go back to bed. It was needed. I got in a couple miles on the reconstructed esplanade. I don’t love the stairs to and from it, but they’re good practice. Felt nice to be outside on blustery fall morning. After work I had an event across from my gym and went for a good stretch & strengthen to go with kettlebells since I didn’t plan to run Tuesday.
all the colors! Matching, what’s matching?
  • Tuesday: no formal exercise, but ton of steps due to walkable meetings.
  • Wednesday: a very weird day. Originally thought I couldn’t run due to after work event, but then that event was rescheduled. Plan then was to run in the Park after work, but it was chillier than I expected and once I finished at work it was too dark. After arguing with myself about whether I wanted to go to the gym or just go home, I went to the gym knowing I’d regret it more if I didn’t since it was looking increasingly likely I wouldn’t be able to run over the weekend. It was easy to get my choice of treadmills and while not sure exactly of my planned workout, I quickly got into a groove. After a quarter mile warmup at 5.5 mph (yes, it’s really time to increase that, but I never remember when I’m on the treadmill!) I went to 6.2 and decided to see how far I could go in 20 minutes. BAM. Stuck out 6.2 for 1.75 miles and a total of 2.03 overall. That was certainly unexpected and it’s probably time to see if I can do 5K at that speed. I think I can at least in the controlled environment of a treadmill. Was super happy with this run.
  • Thursday: speaking of happy. Office run group soldiers on with two of us and we have a fairly steady 5K ish (3.3 mile) loop that we enjoy. I was thrilled at 10:09 for the first mile and even the Cat Hill pace wasn’t a wreck. At one point during mile three our leader mentioned that we were running a 9:30 pace. I didn’t notice him speeding us up but I had mentioned earlier that I’d done the speed work the night before and my surprise at being able to hold a sub 10 mile for so long. This is what I love about an experienced runner, increasing pace without it being super noticeable. I was also personally happy that I wasn’t struggling to breathe on a cold night. Glad last year’s issue hasn’t recurred. I mentioned what my 5K PR was and that I thought it was in sight when we hit mile three. We came close, but not exactly for 3.25 at 33:32. It’s about four seconds/mile off my PR. I’m still really happy with this run as Cat Hill is no joke and I was trying to carry on a conversation too. The leaves in Central Park are starting to turn and I’m bummed I missed the photos, but didn’t want to fish phone out. I do miss my fall photos though.
  • Friday: Quick stop at the gym before heading upstate. I tried to run but had no focus. The free rower was broken so I went to the LateralX for a strong, solid mile.
Holy avocado toast
  • Saturday: we had a n’oreaster and a delicious lunch. There were no steps, never mind exercise. This was delicious and I don’t regret a single bite.
hello fall!
  • Sunday: the storm blew out overnight and morning dawned cool and partially sunny. With the trail closed I decided to head toward the Hook as it’s relatively flat and minimal traffic once the sidewalks end. As has come to be my normal, miles one and two were awful. I wanted to turn back, but I talked myself into going as far as the elementary school and by then the Hook was less than a mile away. Baby steps. Takeaways from a mostly great five mile run: suburban road runners super friendly, fall is popping just 30 miles north (my phone died or I’d have more), fall air is good for the soul.

Overall a solid if not perfect week.

Plan for the Week:

Definitely trying to keep this on the calendar as work gets crazy leading up to the gala.

  • Monday: off. Not ideal as I probably can’t run Saturday, but hoping to be able to run Sunday.
  • Tuesday: run or cross train
  • Wednesday: run. This seems to be my speed work day. Not a huge Halloween person so I don’t mind “missing” the holiday.
  • Thursday: office run group
  • Friday: off, going to NYRR Night of Champions which I’m looking forward to.
  • Saturday: long run, hopefully the December 15K course
  • Sunday: marathon cheering. Let me know if you’re running so I can keep an eye out. I’ll either be at mile 17 and/or the grandstands at the finish line. So excited as I’ve never done the latter.

FALLing into chaos, week of 10.14

You did it! You made Cheerios #1

 

how many 80s children get that caption reference? 🙂

Guaranteed entry to NYC Half. Check

Registration for Fred Lebow Half. Check

In 2018 I ran three half marathons: Lebow, Fort Lauderdale and Brooklyn. In 2019, I’ll run three in the first three months, repeating two of 2018s. I think that’s a good start to the year. 3 on the eve of 39 and I’d say three in my 39th year, but I’ll probably add another. I only ended 2018 at three since I never found another of interest that worked time wise.

Looking forward to a half marathon trio in 2019 Click To Tweet

2019 Half Marathon Goals:

  • I’m excited about doing Lebow again. My goal there is improving on my time as it’s not a PR course with the hills. I think 2:40 is reasonable. Maybe better depending on how hill training goes
  • Fort Lauderdale could be a PR. It’s a flat course other than the bridge over the Intracoastal at mile one. Humidity did me in last time and I walked a lot. We’ll see on the weather.
  • NYC Half: have fun, enjoy running between two boroughs and through Times Square

I may or may not flesh those out as the races draw closer.

In the mean time,  incomplete weekly wrap with Wendy, Kim and Holly:

I was slated to be away Friday to Sunday and I took that as a challenge. While my weekend long runs might suffer for that, I was determined that running overall wouldn’t. It meant some adjustments to my typical running schedule, particularly challenging given I had a number of weekday evening events and wanted some off days coming off four days running. How did I do with this challenge?

  • Monday: this should have been a complete off day. I realized when I got to the gym that I had nothing even for a 2K row so I just stretched. Barely got my step goal. I didn’t do the kettlebell workout as I wanted to run Tuesday and the soreness from kettlebell squats has been real.
shouldn’t every meeting have this view?
this view > gym view
  • Tuesday: plan was to leave an afternoon museum tour and then hit the gym. I even carried my gym bag with me. However I lingered at the reception and subsequently decided to walk back to Manhattan. I’m not anti treadmill, but this view better than any gym one. Step goal happened.
  • Wednesday: knew I had book group and wouldn’t make it to the gym after it so this was one of my “running won’t suffer” adjustment days and I got in a quick two miles before work. Better than nothing and it was a beautiful fall morning.
  • Thursday: office run group on a blustery fall day. Ear warmer came out, although I didn’t need it for the entirety of the run. It’s our standard loop, slightly slower this time as we got into a heavy conversation. What I noticed is that a paused Garmin doesn’t reflect in the time, but I’m not too worried about that. It was a good run and I felt strong. Cat Hill wasn’t evil and practice is making better.
  • Friday: scheduling this before I leave for the airport but the plan is to hit the gym between the office and the airport to have the weekend not be a total wash. I’ll report on this next week.
  • Saturday/Sunday: off. I’ll have my run gear in Rochester but I don’t foresee time for one.

2019 planning, and a new Garmin

My new Garmin came on Wednesday! I didn’t get to take it home and play with it until Thursday night. All the notifications! I turned them off nearly immediately, so pardon my continued lack of response to texts while running. 🙂 I haven’t figured out friends yet or anything, but happy to add anyone.

what, you don’t pose in the bathroom mirror for a leggings & Garmin selfie? 😉

***

NYRR 2019 calendar through April is up as is early bird member pricing. Decisions!

I was slightly disappointed to hear on Friday that the Lebow Half is not going to be part of 4/6 next year. Instead, it will be replaced by the Manhattan 7 Miler. This fits with the general drop in the 4/6 series’ distances. Queens is a 10K and the Bronx is 10 Miles with Brooklyn and Staten Island still half marathons. It’s not a huge issue for me, personally, as I wasn’t planning to go the guaranteed entry route for the 2020 NYC Half, but I wonder what it’s going to do for the non Brooklyn races’ appeal. (That one always sells out in a heartbeat). I think it’s probably going to be fewer guaranteed entries for the Half, which might make it easier for Road Runners to accommodate their other runners.

speaking of guaranteed entry, this is nice to see officially

NYRR Races I’m thinking of for the moment:

  • Joe Kleinerman 10K – January 5
  • Lebow Half – January 20. I’m honestly torn. It was my first, and it’s Fred Lebow! and I’d like to do it again but I’m not sure I’ll be ready for a Half with those hills in just over three months given what my schedule is like due to work. I don’t want to be undertrained like last year, but I know I’m coming in with a better base. Is that the sound of someone waffling toward yes? Probably.
  • Gridiron 4M – February 3. Dad’s birthday. I’ll almost definitely do this as it was a favorite.
  • NYC Half – March 17. I’m doing this for sure.
  • SHAPE Women’s Half – April 14 – I was excited for this and have been talking on and off about doing it instead of Lebow for a Spring Half, but it’s just so much more expensive. I don’t think I’m going to do this, or at least I won’t decide until much closer to as there’s no early registration deadline.

I did sign up for Run the Year for my third year. Looking forward to the motivation there.

Planning for #RunTheYear 2019 and exploring @NYRR race options Click To Tweet

Are you running any of these?

***

Back to 2018, I was still trying to wrap (no pun intended) my head around whether Grete’s Great Gallop was a PR. I didn’t realize how few Central Park races I do that are more than 5 miles. I knew I couldn’t compare it to the Manhattan 7M as that was a literal hot mess run/walk. It wasn’t fair to compare it to my first 10K as that was almost a year and a half ago (but hey, PR!) and the two Minis run the opposite direction. So I decided to look at the splits for the Lebow Half.

NYRR Manhattan Half Details

My 10K split was 1:12:22 and I think that’s representative as I didn’t walk until after the Harlem Hills. Grete’s time? 1:11:28. So a nearly one minute PR after avoiding hills? Yep, I’m happy with that.

No formal race recap, as I don’t have that much to say. It’s nice to be able to roll out of bed and run to the start. I didn’t struggle as much on the Harlem Hills as I feared I might, and overall I felt strong. I know what I need to do to get stronger on the hills ahead of either of the Central Park Half Marathons, and I need to do it. Sometimes not overthinking is just perfect.

***

Weekly Wrap, Week of 10.9. Linking up with Holly and Wendy:

  • Monday: semi-holiday Monday. Wasn’t in the office but did have to work. After breakfast with friends at The Coffee Shop one last time, I headed to the Run Center because I wanted to run Central Park. The weather wasn’t ideal – it was 65 and 92% humidity, but I didn’t have it in me to hit the treadmill. I was glad I stopped at the Run Center because while I had a well packed gym bag, I forgot socks. New Balance aren’t cheap, but they’re cheaper than Blink and I like the socks better.  The original plan was to go long because I could, but the humidity wasn’t going to let that happen. After my watch finally (sort of) got a signal, I ran until a potty break. Did someone say five cups of coffee? That pace was so laughably off I almost just turned off the watch and ran, but when it seemed to finally keep a signal, I went hard for a mile and a half until I just hit a humidity wall. After recovery I decided to close out the loop with a burst of as fast/far as I could. Nice to do some pseudo speed work outdoors, but I really want to get to the track. One day. Followed this up with a good stretch and strengthen session at the gym.
  • Tuesday: off. Tickets to see Gloria Steinem play. This was well-timed as my quads are quite sore from Monday’s kettlebell circuit. Phenomenal production and for anyone who might be in New York through January, I definitely recommend it. Christine Lahti is a fabulous Gloria.
  • Wednesday: Ended up being a cross train day after guest speaking in a class. Why did I go bike over row or walk home? I won’t lie: I wanted to finish Chamber of Secrets. Consequence of seeing Harry Potter: A History of Magic at New-York Historical Society last week and a desire to escape current events and my usual non-fiction habits is a Harry Potter rereading binge.
  • Thursday: exciting announcement about the Manhattan Greenway. I love walking and running along the rivers and I’m really hopeful it will one day be a complete path around Manhattan’s perimeter. Riverside walk > city streets any day. Run group got rained out. The gym was super crowded as I was there early and it took too long to get a treadmill. When I finally got one, I had nothing. Gutting out a mile was all I could do. Having a sore foot from bad shoes didn’t help (one foot only, I think I lost weight in it causing rubbing?) nor did some bad food choices.  Chalked it up to better than nothing and went home to watch my beloved Giants lose spectacularly. Can we get a do over on Thursday?
I love this app display!
and a watch display I can read at dusk!
  • Friday: Can you tell I enjoyed my Garmin’s first adventure? I wanted to get out and play all day as it was a beautiful, crisp fall day. A lunch walk while usually restorative did nothing for my desire to go back to the office and plow through my to do list. Short weeks seem the longest and luckily shortly after 5 there was a mass exodus and I booked it to the Run Center to stash my bags and hit the Park. Could not believe how quickly the Garmin found a signal! I opted for the office run group loop of the last two weeks and was partially curious whether I could maintain that pace solo. YEP! I actually found it easier because I wasn’t trying to talk and because it was a perfect low humidity 57 degrees. I was curious whether the Garmin would hit the mental mile markers that I’m used to with the TomTom and was pleased to see they were roughly the same spots. Makes me confident that the below is a legit comparison. 13 seconds off my July 30 outdoor and August 1 treadmill PRs and this included Cat Hill where those did not. WOW. Can’t wait to run some more this weekend. No music was non issue. As I’ve just learned you can listen to podcasts offline, I have some options if I go that route.
Garmin, but also almost reality
  • Saturday: after early rains the day was a beautiful, crisp fall day. How did I mark it? Being a lazy slug until about 3. I needed it, and don’t regret it one bit. I made a deal with myself though, if I wasn’t going to leave enough time for a long run, I was going hard. After a slightly chilly walk to Central Park, I did a ~ one mile warmup and then completed two loops! of Harlem Hills before repeating the warmup as a cool down. I rarely do that loop of my own volition, and never twice. I think it came from a place of thinking about Lebow. If I’m doing it, I want to be strong going into it. I’m less worried about the distance, but the hills were an issue. I think I can do this. Two laps without walking was huge and gives me confidence I have a solid base to build off. I won’t PR on this course, but I can beat 2018.
OK, I can see why these shots appeal
Closet switch, and purge. #SparkJoy
  • Sunday: another beautiful day. After a late start due to sleeping in as fall also good for sleeping! I needed to drop off the results of my switching season closet purge. Goodwill is a couple of blocks north and as I knew I didn’t want to do any hills so I explored the East River Esplanade with a goal of running to the Wards Island Bridge and back for ~2-3 miles. When I turned south at 96th St. to do that short loop I realized the esplanade was open to the Ferry! Whee. I’m so tired of running up York. So I just continued south to Starbucks for a 1.75 mile shakeout. The stairs by the Ferry aren’t fun, and I won’t touch them when wet as they’re metal, but manageable.  This is the first time I’ve run four days in a row ever/in a very long time and I feel good. Had a good foam roll and will do the same tomorrow at the gym. Rolling my feet while watching football. Lazy Sunday needed.

Week Plan?

  • Monday: Cross train
  • Tuesday: Run?
  • Wednesday: Off. Book group
  • Thursday: Office run group
  • Friday: run before work?
  • Weekend: Rochester

TOTR: If I had $1,000

I love Tuesdays on the Run. And I love having the “cheat sheet” of the topics early so I can get these written at the weekend. This week? If I had $1000 to spend on running I’d…

Linking up with: Erika at MCM Mama, Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and Patty at No Guilt Life.

if a had a million dollars, or at least a thousand #RunTheYear Click To Tweet

One thing I know for sure, it wouldn’t be clothes or sneakers. Why not? I’ve tried a couple Under Armor options and didn’t find I liked them any more than RBX. Lululemon doesn’t appeal. And to be honest, I can find the former at TJ Maxx. Sneakers? I like the brand I wear and don’t have where to stash more.

So is it pure running costs, or could it be a racecation? I’m taking liberty and going with a mix of the two. Plus um, blog name? 😀

A couple of years ago when I knew I needed to replace my former laptop and was trying to decide how to finance it, I stumbled upon the 52 Week Challenge. It’s basically the old Christmas Club wherein you put money aside each week. Since then I’ve used it for my laptop, some travel (including the Fort Lauderdale Half racecation), miscellaneous needs and holiday gifts for the kids in my family. I try to spend it on fun things; or fun necessities, not bills.

But if I could spend the majority of that $1300 on running? Whoa. In no particular order:

  • I wouldn’t blink at the entry fees for NYC Marathon or Half. Together they’re about $500. I’m still going to do them, but it would be nice not to raid my regular savings account
  • I might do Cherry Blossom again. I loved the race experience and the race itself is a very reasonable $45, but the related costs are high due to cherry blossom season. I probably won’t repeat this anytime soon as I’d rather experience races in other cities.
  • I wouldn’t blink about whether I was accepted into the London Marathon lottery. No, $1,000 won’t pay for a(nother) trip to London, but it would be a nice offset
    • I’d do an exotic racecation. What’s exotic? My perception is so skewed due to travel I’ve done, but probably an island somewhere
  • I might do one of the Vacation Races series. The altitude on those concerns me more than the cost, but they’re still not cheap. I’d also pair it with a vacation more broadly, because I’m a complete National Parks nerd
  • While I’m not particularly trying to do a race in each state, I’m about 13 states from 50 and it would be fun to tie some of those state visits into racecations

Can I spend it on someone else’s running? Have some friends fundraising for fall marathon races and I’d like to support some at a greater level than I currently can.

Gadgets? Maybe. But I just bought myself a Garmin so that doesn’t appeal right now. If it was after this morning’s run with my watch hiccuping without a Garmin on the way? Maybe.

And yes, I have Bare Naked Ladies’ If I Had a Million Dollars … in my head. Don’t you?

Galloping into October

I feel like it should be a different title since the race from which it takes its name won’t even make it into this Wrap due to weekend travel, but it’s perfect.

I’m in a couple of places about this 10K, which I signed up for even when I was feeling meh about the ten miler. It’s not the same course as the Mini 10K which game me agita earlier this summer, but rather the course on which I ran my first ever 10K. Ish. The start is in a different spot, but the course is within Central Park. I kept both of those, my lack of recent hill work and Sunday’s frustration in mind as I tried to think of a goal. I was also hoping that hating the 10K coming off a five miler would be different to hating it coming off a ten miler and some short runs during the week, but I wasn’t sure. Goal verdict? Shoot for 1:10:00 and finish smiling with a priority on the latter.

Currently reading: Chas Newkey-Burden’s Running: Cheaper Than Therapy and loving it. Less narrative, more compilation of stories.

Before I get into the Wrap, a laugh from last week:

“Yes I am a pirate, two hundred years too late”

Yeah, can’t not think of Jimmy Buffet there. Luckily I’m not (yet) an over forty victim of fate 🙂 Proudly rocking a buff Liz gave me from her run club. and yes, I absolutely spotted the photographer for that thumbs up.

On to the wrap with Wendy and Holly:

  • I missed a Monday: I pretty much knew this. Wouldn’t trade a Will & Grace panel for any workout, and to be honest I was pretty damn sore and needed a physical and mental day off.
  • Tuesday: I knew I couldn’t run. My right achilles was still sore but I really wanted the foam roll so I headed to the gym and after a slow and steady row, I had a really solid stretching session and light kettlebell workout. Also did the row without music as prep for possibly having to do that with new watch. Baby steps.
  • Wednesday: absolutely beautiful fall day. I just wanted a shakeout run so I hit the lower loop in Central Park and gee, did I go out a little fast? Amazing to see how much I’ve progressed over that loop. It’s a fairly accurate measure too unlike the East River path whose terrain has changed a lot due to construction. The run felt good, my achilles didn’t hurt anymore and aside from going out too fast I felt strong.
Yes? YES!
  • Thursday: Office run group is still two strong so our de-facto coach asked me what I wanted to do. We opted for the same as last week (minus a wrong-turn detour) just a smidgen faster. These runs are super helpful for me in I’m trying to keep pace with a faster runner. He knows what I can do and will go just a little faster to push me and I love this.  It’s also helpful in teaching me how to run and talk and understand what a conversational pace is. I don’t know if this is comfortably hard or tempo, or neither. But it felt good to push through my comfort zone, recover my pace after Cat Hill and figure this all out. He’s run 19 marathons and said he won’t offer unsolicited advice but is happy to answer any questions I have if I decide to run New York. He’s already eluding to my training and while I haven’t committed, I am leaning yes.
  • Friday: off. Didn’t even get step goal. Worked late
  • Saturday: 10K. Woke up feeling slightly under the weather. Not enough not to run, but enough to say probably not my best day and I took it a little easier. Verdict? A damn good time despite two walk breaks. Lesson learned. ETA: first time I can recall, NYRR and my watch matched exactly. Of course watch gives better pace as I didn’t run tangents.
  • Sunday: Albany, apple picking. Might find a morning run. If I do I’ll pick it up next week.

Weekly Plan:

  • Monday: holiday Monday, run
  • Tuesday: off, theater tickets
  • Wednesday: run or cross train
  • Thursday: office run group
  • Friday: off or cross train

TOTR: New Balance Bronx 10M Recap and Learning on the Run

I love Tuesdays on the Run. And I love having the “cheat sheet” of the topics early so I can get these written at the weekend. But this week I’m using TOTR for my Bronx 10M recap, which I briefly touched on in the Wrap

Linking up with: Erika at MCM Mama, Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and Patty at No Guilt Life.

I smell like menthol.

Biofreeze had an on course activation and while I didn’t quite see the point of that (and didn’t stop at the “relief” station), I’m oh so grateful for it. My Achilles, quads and lower back are so sore from Sunday morning’s ten miler. I’m more sore than I was for my first 15K, which I didn’t expect.

Rewinding…

Although I signed up for this race a long time ago, I felt very unprepared last week. Not just training wise, which I’d made my peace with, but preparation wise. For that reason, I made a special point of getting out of the office early on Friday to hit the course strategy session.

I love the idea of course strategy sessions, but they’re a personal mixed bag for me. Usually I end up psyching myself out. I went into the Lebow Half terrified of the hills because the coach called out just how many there were-even though I’d run this loop. Brooklyn I was worried about a hill that was longer than Cat Hill. Maybe they’re not the best for an already anxious runner. Coming out of it on Friday I was worried about pacing for the Bronx. I made an early decision to run with the 1:50 pacers aka 11mm. But I left the session super confused because the leaders advocated starting out at a half marathon pace and then enjoying the downhill second half for negative splits. I don’t have a half marathon pace. Well, I do, but I don’t know how to run at a set pace. Blech. Although I’m doing at least one new to me NYRR race in 2019, I think I’m going to skip the strategy sessions.

4/6 Five Borough Series

What’s the new to me race? The NYC Half. By running Lebow, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx I get guaranteed entry to the NYC Half. Although I enjoyed cheering with the Bakline/MHRC folks and getting in my +1 volunteer credit, I had major FOMO that I wasn’t running that weekend. That was pretty much the only reason I was doing the Bronx, which is probably a bad reason to sign up for a race. I’m really glad I did it this year, as I actually don’t plan on repeating most of these races in 2019. Why? Queens is too far to go with weekend MTA issues for a 10K and it’s an expensive 10K. I’m the odd runner in that bling usually isn’t the deciding factor for me. Personally I’d take a cheaper race with ala carte shirts and bling (part of why I love Cherry Blossom’s structure). Lebow I’d do if I don’t do the SHAPE Half, and at the moment I’m leaning a spring women’s half.

Race morning came early despite well intentioned plans to go to bed early on Saturday. I woke hungry, which isn’t normal for me, but I realized it was probably because I ate my avocado toast on the early side with the intention of going to bed early. So I grabbed a NutriGrain bar, which is something I know I can run on and headed off to the train. I think I’ve partially hit on what I didn’t like about Bronx, Queens and (to some extent) Brooklyn. I don’t like having to travel to the start. I’m not talking about racecations, I love those. But I like being within run/walk distance of the race start. Or even in the case of Fort Lauderdale, an easy Uber ride. I think this is mostly because I’m a creature of habit in general and so many races start just blocks away in Central Park. I built my routine around that and changes aren’t easy. Also exacerbated by the trains being a nightmare to the extent that they delayed the race start.

I nibbled the NutriGrain bar on the train and made my way up to the start. I stretched and people watched before deciding to head to my corral. I think this was another part of my issue. Too much time. When I can run/walk to a race start, I know exactly how much time I need to leave. Because this was new to me and I had to worry about transit I ended up with way too much time. Better than rushing, absolutely, but not conducive to a good run for me. This was exacerbated by the warnings about the crowds and the sweeper bus. I was worried about getting swept more than I ever was about finishing last. I talked to the pacers and they had the perfect words of advice “Stick with us and you won’t get swept”. I decided to go with that despite the advice to start slower, because I didn’t trust myself to play catchup. The pace group was an interesting mix of men and women planning to run this pace for varied reasons. The only one I recognized was a woman who started Lebow with the same pace group I did. Spoiler: I almost stuck with them. I did not get swept.

On top of the delayed start there were a number of remarks. Certainly more than I remember in other boroughs but Brooklyn I wasn’t listening to much of anything in the rain, and Queens I have a vague recollection of not being close to the speakers. That was also a last minute corral dash due to needing a bathroom stop. It was after 8:30 by the time we crossed the start and the first thing I noticed was the crowds. With a large field and a relatively small road, there was not a lot of room to run. I even skipped the first water station because I couldn’t get anywhere near it. I think it’s  time for the Bronx to go to waves or a staggered start. Any time we dipped or could see the road rise in front of us, all I could see was a wall of people. Because we were so late in starting I could see the front runners by the time we were at ~ mile 1.5. I know that drives some folks crazy with an out and back, but I loved cheering in the lead pack as well as some other faces I knew. Speaking of cheering, I also spent most of the race near two Achilles guides and their blind charge. What fun to cheer him on and hear others doing the same. One of his guides had a sign pointing to the racer behind him that said “cheer for him, not me” which I thought was fun. I love the camaraderie of NYRR races. As I said to another runner, the kum-ba-yah was strong yesterday as I think everyone was happy to be out on a gorgeous day.

I stuck with the pacers until about the 10K mark which brought us back onto the Grand Concourse after the Mosholu Parkway sojourn. It’s funny. I read a lot of complaints about the Hanes Point portion of the Cherry Blossom being unbearable but I loved it — mainly because of the blossoms. The Concourse? Not so much, although it has gorgeous architecture. I’m spoiled rotten by park running and while I don’t think I’d enjoy trail races, I don’t love purely street runs as much as I enjoy ones with better scenery. The exceptions to that are Cherry Blossom and Fort Lauderdale, which spent ~ 9 miles along the ocean and 2-3 of the rest inside a park. I think this is part of the reason I wish they hadn’t changed the NYC Half course, although I’m excited to run that even as a one and done.

I’m really not sure what happened in mile six. I’d been consistently just below 11m miles throughout even with the crowds and the early hill at Fordham Road. I’m guessing I just got tired, although I didn’t think I was running appreciably slower and quickly rebounded for miles seven and eight. One thing I’m looking forward to on my new Garmin is the ability to see pace while running. That has never worked on the TomTom as what it displays isn’t what it spits out at the end. I know what happened in miles nine and ten: I walked the water stations because the sun was warm and I knew 1:50 wasn’t happening as I’d lost sight of the pacers. I wouldn’t say I gave up, but I was disappointed and decided if I wasn’t going to come in ahead of 1:50, I might as well listen to my body. I was motivated by sticking so close to them in the first half when it was “harder” and thought I might be able to sneak ahead. Nope.

Some thoughts on why all of this probably happened in no particular order:

  • the course isn’t as primed for negative splits as they said in the strategy session. Or at least not at my level. You hit the exact same hill (underpass where the road dips and rises fairly significantly) at 2/7. Oddly, I didn’t feel the hill at mile five which looks sharper. The downhill finish is nice as you cruise down 161st St. to Yankee Stadium, but it’s not significant in terms of miles to make an impact on race time.
    • I don’t think I went out too fast, as evidenced by maintaining a fairly steady pace for seven of the first eight miles. If anything I should have spend up, which I guess I kind of did before mile nine.
    • This is exactly the same issue I had with Queens. Fast. Flat. Nonsense. I was coming down with something that day and it was warm, but it wasn’t as flat as touted and I think that’s part of why I struggled. I believed the race’s hype whereas if I prepared for a less flat course I might have been better prepared. I have a strong feeling this is ability related. And the words of advice in the strategy session were right, this was way better than anything you see in Central Park. So resolution ahead of 2019 is use those hills in my “home course” to my advantage. Part of why I’m glad I signed up for Grete’s Great Gallop on Saturday. Get back on the horse and all that nonsense.
  • One NutriGrain bar isn’t enough for ten miles. I briefly entertained gels, but as I didn’t use one for either of my recent nine mile runs, I didn’t bring one with me. The London run was fasted, the latest was on coffee and a Munk Pack pouch. I don’t remember whether I took a gel during the Cherry Blossom, but know I didn’t for Corbitt due to frozen fingers. Definitely something to think about ahead of December’s 15K and 2019 Halfs
  • I was undertrained. This is a given and I will be better prepared for Ted Corbitt in December.
    • I don’t know what my race paces are.

 

Socks and an engraved medal

So it wasn’t one thing, it was a lot of little things added up. It’s not :05 I’m mad about, or even 1:05, but rather how well I stuck with the pacers for 10K only to lose it in the end when the back half of the course was supposed to be easier. I know a six minute PR is amazing especially when I’m past the newbie gains phase of running, and it’s not even that 1:51:05 is bad. I just think it overall wasn’t a good race day for me and wonder what could have been if any of the factors had been different. I think I’d also been hoping for a better time since Cherry Blossom had a ton of photos, whereas I didn’t even take my camera out until the last .3 mile coming down to Yankee Stadium. Sure sign I’m not enjoying things if I’m not taking pictures.

The socks were actually a giveaway from last week’s shakeout. Their texture is weird, so I’m not sure I’ll ever wear them but they photograph well. I decided to get the medal engraved despite feeling meh about the run. I had Brooklyn and Lebow engraved, didn’t bother with Queens. I think that I didn’t find a 10K performance I wasn’t thrilled with worth waiting on line. I’m glad I had the engraving done yesterday though as I went to pick up my shirt for Grete’s Great Gallop at lunch and the lines were insane.

I really love this shirt

With hind sight of 24 hours and some conversations today, I’m not as frustrated as I was. I’m not unhappy with my performance as a whole. I did maintain a 11mm pace. I know what I need to improve on my end. I recognize that some factors were beyond my control.

On to Q4. Still smelling like menthol