Archive for April 2014

Taper Madness

Injury

Instead of the glorious slow taper into moderately simple nine mile runs I had envisioned for the last two weeks, my tapering has looked a lot like this ->

Some mystery injury near my ankle had begun to flare up shortly after my second to last long run. I took it easy, iced it, and completed my last long run, which I was particularly worried about squeezing in before I was less than 2 1/2 weeks out from the race.

The last long run was awesome, I felt great, and my muscles weren’t even that sore the next day. Sweet!

The only thing was, with in a day, that phantom foot pain returned. Fine one day, bad the next, fine again, visibly inflamed the next. Some further googling (not recommended, terrible idea,) led me to be fairly certain that it could be Peroneal Tendinitis. And thus, the unholy trinity of running disasters (not running because of an injury from running thereby eliminating all foreseeable running), brought me to my own tragic meltdown in the middle of the week.

The Mister and Runner Brother talked me through it and somehow two weeks that should have been a carefully crafted, reduced distance runs, looked like this:

The No Running, Hail Mary, Injury Curing Taper:

1. As stated, no running. And since we need a “hard heal,” no biking, jumping, lunging.

2. Ice. Ice. Baby (that foot). 20 minutes, after work. Once or twice a day.

3. Ibuprofen. Every other day roughly.

4. Hydrate. Since I have so much restless race prep energy, I might as well nail the other nuances of running a marathon. Like properly hydrating the next few days. Might as well carb-load while I am at it too, amiright?

5. Mental Inventory. One thing I learned during my long runs was how important the mental aspect is during distance events and, for me personally, how important it is to relax. I feel wholly mentally prepared for this race, and that might be even more important than having logged XYZ amount of miles or having executed the perfect. I trained well up through my last long run, and as long as my foot (tendon? who knows) holds up remotely, it’ll work out.

6. Shoes. Last spring I went to Paragon Sports, near Union Square, and walked away with a blessing and a curse. The blessing? The new Adidas Energy Boost shoes which would be, and still are, the greatest running shoes I’ve ever tried/owned. The curse? The associate who introduced me them said you get double the millage of other shoes and the he personally put on over 1,000. 

Totally jinxed me. I’m all for replacing running shoes in due time. But I’m also a procrastinator, poor-ish, and inclined to believe unrealistic shoe expectations.

The Mister went back to Paragon with me and treated me to one of the best birthday gifts ever.

energy boost shoes best running shoes ever

Ironically enough, pink was the only color they had. This, after a very long and heated discussion with the mister about whether or not the TCS New York Marathon Training Shirts coloring options are sexist. (Spoiler Alert: they are).

A Bear of a Race: Getting Ready for My First Marathon

Even though I have now qualified for the marathon of my dreams (the NYC Marathon,) I wasn’t entirely sure that it should actually be my first. I didn’t want to find myself standing on Staten Island freaking out about all of the unknowns that come with 26.2 miles; I want to be like “I got this lil’ thing” and enjoy every second of the race as relaxed as is possible when one finds themselves trying to go fast enough to hit their pace goals and slow enough not to burn out over the course of said distance.

So last December I signed up for The North Face Bear Mountain Endurance Challenge.

2014 North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain Marathon

2014 North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain Marathon

Last year, I ran a 10K while my Runner-Brother ran the (insane) 50 miler. The whole weekend was a.) located in the beautiful Bear Mountain State Park and was b.) awesome, in general. It doesn’t get much more inspiring than watching 200 people volunteer subject themselves to 50 miles on an extremely technical trail course.

Ultrarunners

The 50 Miler racers waiting at the Start approaching 5:00am (May 2013)

I am incredibly excited to be running my first marathon in less than 3 weeks. I have been training as steadily as possible through the winter (a challenge in itself,) dealt with the unpredictable, sorted myself through some could-be injuries, and now I’m just about to finish up with my “new territory” training. In other words, my last long run will be tomorrow and I’m very excited.

Of course, I got a jump start freaking out about the taper about three weeks ago. On one hand I am stoked because I know I will finish this race and when I do I will have finished my first marathon. On the other hand, this course is extremely technical and I worry the combination of hills and distance is going to annihilate me, despite my training.

Like running to the top of Mount Washington during a marathon.

Running up 4,222 feet is almost equivalent to running to the top of Mount Washington.

For example, assume a typical fast male marathoner will run between 2:30:00 and 3:00:00. On Bear Mountain the first 2013 male runner comes in at 3:58:01. Followed by 4:10 and 4:20. So that is an extra hour and a half of quad crushing hills.

So with an estimated 4:10- 4:30 current projected marathon pace, I think I’m looking at around 7 hours. Which is good, because we only have 8 to run our race.

And Runner-Brother? He’s running the 50 Miler. Again.

 

 

The thing about long runs….

…is you find the mile where the chafing starts.

Today I took advantage of a short work day and the most beautiful weather the city has seen so far this spring and did one of my favorite things-  running home from work. The only catch was I desperately needed to get in a training/distance run for my upcoming May marathon. So instead of cutting up the east side of the park for an easy 6 home, I looped around the park 2 1/2 times not unlike someone stuck on a hamster wheel.

Old school I-pod nano

Look ma, no USB cap!

It was awesome. I ran the first six miles with no music to break up the run a little. I switched over to my old school i-pod nano. Unfortunately, despite a night of charging, it completely kicked the bucket on me by mile 13. Wont wont wahhh.  I switched it up with a little Spotify, but I missed out on some of my favorite running song reserves which I was really hankering for at that point.

I also feel like I missed the mark with fueling, but I’m still in the early stages of nailing it down for runs longer than 13+. I had a ton of carbs yesterday, and all weekend for that matter. This morning I had a cream cheese bagel, a banana, and an espresso at 11,  and a cliff bar about an hour before my run. I took in 4 shot block gummies at mile 4, and 3 more around mile 10. However, today all the gummies and water seemed to be bouncing around in my stomach at various points. And since a full marathon is on the docket in less than five weeks, I need to nail this down and it is becoming apparent that shot blocks and water is not going to cut it for me.

Most notable moments of the run:

1. A squirrel ran across my path and as it approached I saw it was carrying something. Something that looked small, fury, and dead. What kind of squirrel does that? Carnivorous squirrels? What! By the time it was near me I decided it was probably a baby squirrel. Doesn’t this crafty carnivorous-and/or-mama squirrel stop right in front of me- like one foot away. And I eeked, loud enough for the two folks on bikes passing to laugh at me.

2. In the harlem hills, there was a woman struggling up one of the longer steeper hills in a hand-peddled wheelchair thing (I’ve seen the super low ones, but never one like this). And this guy running just a head of me ran over to her, asked if she wanted help, and ran/pushed her up the entire hill. 

garminBoom. But that’s not all.

Not quarter of a mile later, as we are going up the next decent hill, he realizes this hill is going to suck too and he goes back, asks her if she’ll accept another hand, and pushes her up the second hill. 

Wow. Coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

Total miles for the day: 17. My longest run ever! I might just survive Bear Mountain yet.

Might 😉