Getting Back into shape is tough. Adding a marathon in less than a month doesn’t make it any easier.
The goal was to slowly add mileage and see where time takes me. As I mentioned in my September training log, my goal for the New York City Marathon is to start and finish healthy. I don’t have a time goal and I’m not going to cram my month with too many miles. I know I’ll find myself injured with something else if I do that.
6.5 miles with Haley
Easy 30 minutes
6.5 miles with strides
Easy 6.2 miles with Jen M.
Swim 3000 meters
Easy 45 minutes
Cow Town 10 miler (1:15.00)+wu/cd 15 miles
The week itself went fine. I’m still having some hamstring tightness (not hurt, just tight). I’m hoping it slowly goes away with a few more ART sessions with Dr. Craig from Dr. Kemenosh.
It was fun to run with a don’t have a lot else to say about the week. I’m happy to be running healthy again.
This race was rough in many ways. First, it was my first run “fast” in 5 weeks. Second, since it was a point to point, we dealt with a headwind most of the race. Third, I opted to run in a costume which I quickly discovered was not breathable. During the race, I decided 7:30 was what my body felt like and I stayed there. Hopefully, fitness comes back soon.
I had a lot of fun running and even though it was a PW (personal worst), I don’t regret doing it and ripping the bandaid off. As far as my hamstring goes, it is sorer than I hoped, but it’s not terrible. I don’t feel it when I walk or live life, but did feel it during our running cool down.
The next few posts are going to be dedicated to the marathon. I could possibly spend 2 weeks talking about various aspects of my training but I don’t want to bore you too much. I won’t be doing “an expo recap”, a “race recap parts 1-26.35 (because Garmins are more accurate then the NYC course itself) or traveling” ect. Type of posts. I trained for this race for close to half a year so I do have a lot to say.
Here are just some of the posts I’m working on but feel free to let me know if you have any other questions or posts you are interested in (or any you don’t want to hear about).
The full marathon recap (2000 words but there are photos!) Training lessons (below) Physical marathon lesson thoughts Taper Review The Carbohydrate depletion and load review Advice for running New York City How I’m recovering and future marathon plans
I learned a lot about my first marathon via training and physically running the race. These are lessons I think I could only learn by experiencing them for myself. I did a lot of things I don’t regret but I also made a lot of poor decisions. I didn’t make poor decisions because I meant too, I made them because I didn’t know what the proper thing to do was or what would work for me.
First my training as a whole:
I thought I had moderately good training for the full. I got the most important thing in: the long runs. I did 4, 20 mile runs and 1 half marathon and then added 7 more to make it 20+. So I did 5 long runs beforehand. I got the mileage in despite traveling and moving.
What I didn’t do were workouts that resembled the pace I wanted. In the most critical time of my training was when I lacked the most crucial part (speed). I think my legs had forgotten what pace I wanted to hold for the marathon. For my first marathon that was fine and a lesson learned. I wanted to use this race as a learning experience.
Here are positives I liked about my training:
I ran averaged about 70 miles weekly with a rest day. It gave me confidence and also gave my body a day to recover. I truly think resting and having easier mileage is what has kept me injury free.
My only speed workouts were races and it made running by myself or with others enjoyable.
I was never stressed about marathon training. Yes, I wanted to a 3:10 but at the same time I wanted to enjoy the process of training for my first marathon and enjoy myself. I had an umbrella goal because I was going in and not knowing what to except.
Here are things I think that hindered my training and that I will change for my next marathon (which won’t be Boston but I do plan to run many more):
First I won’t be moving or traveling. I can honestly say after I moved, the last 2 months my training were not exactly what I wanted. I enjoy living outside of running and training though so I don’t regret anything.
I didn’t do speed workouts that resembled my marathon pace. Looking back I wish I had done more speed workouts or races leading up to the marathon. I would have liked to do a couple more half marathons, 10ks, 5ks or anything really. The half marathon I had my eyes on in Texas happened to be the week my knee was feeling off so I didn’t do it. Multiple race options didn’t exist in Del Rio (unless I wanted to drive 3+ hours every weekend) but I have those options in New Jersey.
I gained weight. I gained about 5 extra pounds in the last month which I don’t really relate to marathon training but moving in with a significant other, enjoying life…ect. I’m not worried about it but it was just a note of interest. I’m not saying I have an interest in losing that weight but when you are used to running at a certain weight and all of a sudden you gain 5 pounds it’s a point of interest.
I didn’t do core work or weight training like I wanted. When life fell by the wayside, I don’t regret it but I know I should have done more of that.
The thing about training is that you also must exist outside of working out. Something I often discuss outside of blogging is I want to be known as Hollie. I don’t want to be known as Hollie and all she does is work out/run. I think it’s very important to realize that even though I didn’t dedicate 100% of my focus to this training cycle, I had a very enjoyable time both with running and in the outside world. I am dedicated and got my miles in but there were several occasions that I skipped the gym/lifting weights or a second run in order to relax or hang out with friends.
It all worked out though and I learned a lot that I never would have learned without exper it for myself and training how I did.
Questions for you:
What have you learned from your current or last training cycle?
Tell me something that you do outside of reading blogs, working out, cooking of baking.
I’m extending on my previous post and giving a bit more in-depth coverage filled with pictures and more thoughts. Since I ran for over three hours I have a lot more to say.
Time to begin then.
We stayed in a hotel in Flushing, NY. For me personally, I don’t do well with big cities (que social anxiety) and I like to have my own personal time. It doesn’t even make sense of why I was dead set on NY being my first marathon because I hate big, crowded cities. So I woke up at 3:50 took all the trains to the city (led by my train savvy brother). We made it to the ferry around 5:30. I waited for a while and ended up taking the 6 am ferry followed by waiting in the terminal, riding a bus and getting to my orange corral. It was very organized and streamline.
Like I said before, I didn’t do my research on the NYCM course like I should have. I knew it was a “hilly” and challenging course but I didn’t anticipate how hilly or challenging. I ran this watchless. My watch broke the day before the race completely then the new one I purchased wasn’t working correctly so I had no other choice. I wish someone would have said “Hollie this is one of the harder marathon courses you can do”…but no one did. Honestly even if they did it was where my heart was dead set on this being my first marathon so I wouldn’t have taken their advice
Before the race I was utterly freezing. I had disposable clothing, drank coffee and hot water but it didn’t seem to help. The wind was piercing through my jacket. Next time I plan to wear multiple layers because waiting around for 2 hours chilled me to the bone. That was my first lesson learned. The wind was my only nature complaint but you can’t control weather.
I talked to Adam and Susan at the start which made the time go by super quickly. It didn’t feel like we were standing on the Verrazano Bridge for close to an hour.
The Actual Race:
Once we started the cannon went off, I took into account what everyone told me. Make the first mile your absolute slowest, don’t waste time and energy weaving through people. So I didn’t waste energy and didn’t weave. While the clock said I had done a 9 minute mile I later found out this was 7:10. Thank you mom for buying the text tracking for my splits.
The first two miles were up and over the Verrazano bridge. The helicopters were swirling by and I tried to get myself on TV. I kept yelling Tyra I am America’s Next Top Model but for some reason they didn’t pick me out of a crowd.
After mile 2 I focused on getting to the 5k…then 4 miles. I knew my brother and dad as well as the Oiselle team were going to be standing around 8 miles so it gave me my first point of interest to look forward too. It was also when the other bib colors converged so it was one big mess. I never saw my brother and dad but saw the Oiselle team. Seeing them made me girl cry all emotionally. From that point on, I continued to keep a certain mile or mark in my head to get too. Once I hit that mark I would think of the next one.
After mile 8 I focused on making it to mile 10. I like the number 10 and thinking in terms of double digit runs so it was the next step. There were quite a few gradual mile long uphills that started to take their toll on my legs. As with the half marathon 10-11 is my least favorite mile. I can say it ranks in the least favorites here too. I don’t know why but it felt neverending.
Mile 12 I focused on getting to 13 then 13.1. In my mind the second half would go by quicker than the first half. That is how my training runs go and most races right? Wrong the second half didn’t even start for me until mile 16.
Mile 13 was on a bridge and I started to think about my next gel at 14. Then I saw Laura and Heather with sweet signs at 14.5 and that was cheerful, especially when we were going into the queensboro bridge.
I could write an entire post about the mile span on the Queensboro Bridge. That single mile goes down as my least favorite mile ever ran in my entire running career. (including miles in middle and high school gym class).
Mile 15 went over the Queensboro Bridge and I can say this is where the wheels started to fall apart. My quads and inner thighs were on fire. I thought to myself again, how the hell will I get through 11 more miles? The first half of mile 15 was up the bridge. It took so much out of me I don’t remember going down the second half. Then I began to feel my quads. It was the only thing that bothered me throughout the entire rest of the race. By bothered me,I mean I mumbled every word under my breath about it the rest of the time. I haven’t been doing any hill work after leaving Oswego so I felt and suffered through it. I felt my quads with every single stride for the next 10.2 miles.
After rejoining the real world of NYC I focused on getting to mile 17. The crowds were going wild and louder than anything I have ever experienced. Around this point was when I first got a glimpse of Granato racing. I tried to pull myself together, seeing them lifted my spirits for the first time. Between seeing them and Ashley (thank you for the awesome photos) I was able to be slightly less in pain mentally.
Mile 18 was a bit of a blur and once I got to 19 I concluded that I only had about an hour to go. I saw my pace was starting to rise and people were passing me left and right. I just wanted to finish.
At mile 20, I started my quest for the bathroom. (I also took another gel around mile 20). Since I didn’t see a single girl using the restroom on the side of the bridge at the beginning I didn’t want to be that girl. Dozens of males were just peeing on the side on the bridge but no females had. (Keep in my mind we were lined up for the corral 45 minutes without a restroom before the race.) My quads had been burning for the last four miles and now I was physically exhausted too. I contemplated stopping and walking but I knew I would never start running again.
So around mile 21 I found an open bathroom. Lucky for me I was in and out in about 1 minute and I felt like the wall had been lifted for a mile. The rest of mile 21 felt decent from my brief break and my quads had temporarily stopped hurting. I don’t regret stopping at the bathroom and honestly the time I lost I am positive I gained back because I felt a lot better afterwords. Unless I become a sub 2 hour marathoner I think I will always need to stop and restroom because my bladder is tiny.
The rest of mile 21 went quickly since I was looking forward to the Oiselle water stop at mile 22. After the water stop, my pace slowed again and I just felt like dog meat. After this point, I only focused on one mile at a time. Mile 22 was focused on getting to mile 23. Mile 23 was focused on getting to 23.1 (5k left to go).
Mile 24 was when I saw the most amount of people (well most amount of people not hitting this wall and passing me) but most amount of people watching and cheering. Seeing the whole #GranatoRacingteam made me smile to the power of 10,000 suns (both times!) as well as seeing Laura, Heather, my dad and brother did. I tried to muster up the energy and wave and it was hard. People told me I looked strong afterwords but I really didn’t feel that way. My brother knew how hard I was riding the pain train though. He was the only one who told me “Hollie I knew you were in some serious pain when I saw you”. For everyone who told me you looked strong at mile 23…false.
The final two miles in Central Park were the hardest. The hills weren’t over and it felt like the longest 15 minutes of my life. I contemplated walking at least 15 times (once per minute).
After seeing the ½ mile to go and thinking it was the 26 mile marker…I cringed. Then seeing the 26 mile marker and thinking it was the end…I also cringed. The last 4 minutes of the race felt like the twilight zone.
Then I finally crossed the finish line and had absolutely no energy. I didn’t pick it up, I didn’t smile for any race photos and I just zoned into the finish line. I didn’t even wave to the finish line photos because I just wanted it to be done. I ended up finishing 210th female overall and 10th in my age group. A side note but the 100th US woman finished in 3:16. So close! A lot of people have said due to the 20 mile winds it was a slow marathon year. I looked back at 2011 and the top 100 US woman finished in 3:10. That is a huge difference!
When they handed me a medal, I smiled and took a few official race photos.
The next part was the hardest and most frustrating part of the entire day. After the race we had to walk nearly 2 mile out of central park to get to the family reunion area. The 2 mile walk took me close to an hour. I was alone, had no cell phone and freezing. It didn’t help that I was in rougher conditions then most people around me. I was walking a lot slower then everyone else. It got to the point where marathoners finishing 20 minutes after I did were walking by me. I was asked a few times if I was okay because I was pale and I assured the volunteers that I was just cold and wanting my pants (which were with my brother and dad).
After meeting up with Matt, dad, Laura and Heather I chatted for a while and got some coffee and food. I managed to eat 2 recovery powerbars and drink the recovery Gatorade right after the race. I actually really like those power bars so I was happy they were giving them out in the recovery bags.
So that is the play by play of the entire race. I enjoyed seeing everyone on the course and the cheering. I have another 2000 word post of my thoughts regarding training as well. For a brief heads up, I spent roughly 6 months focused on this race so I’ll have about a weeks worth of posts.
Questions for you:
Do you eat right after a race?
What is your least favorite mile marker?
For half marathons, it’s 11, and for the marathon, it was 15 (but I think that was course specific).
This week in workouts was a combination of taper and I’m so busy I don’t have time or energy to workout. There I said it. It’s been fairly good that my week of taper has coincided with moving, looking at houses, traveling, being at home, being ultra busy and every other excuse I can think of. As I said before I have absolutely no idea what a good running taper is. I’ve researched and looked at various articles but it’s my first taper for a running race. (swimming I just followed a coaches plan). If this plan doesn’t work, it doesn’t and I know next time I run a marathon not to do this. I know a lot of things not to do next time training for a marathon but that is a post all to itself.
12.23 miles Charlotte, NC.
Cross train (elliptical)
11.12 miles home, fast finish (8:25 overall pace)
7.22 progressive run
Wicked 10k (39:28) (total 11 miles)
As most articles suggested, the second week out is the time to reduce mileage by around 20-25%. I’ve gone 102 miles-80 miles-54 miles. So that is falling about into that. (a little more actually). My legs honestly did not feel as good as I was hoping with the cut of mileage. Hopefully they will continue to feel better.
The Wicked 10k on Saturday went extremely well. I’ll have a recap tomorrow but the weather and course made it for a fast race. I was only 8 seconds from my PR and with no speed work I should be happy. Am I happy? I’m pretty happy but alas a 10k PR would have been nice too, especially since I have reduced my mileage.
My last high effort run yesterday went according to the plan. The goal was to start off easier (8:30 pace) progress and hold for a few miles at goal marathon pace (7:15) then push the envelope a little more and drop down to 7:00 minute pace. Even with not wearing racing flats, I was able to do this so it was certainly motivating.
When I had bad tapers with swimming, I never felt good and found myself feeling sluggish at the start of the race. (I swam the 1000m and mile in college). As much as I tried to swim fast, I just felt like I had no turnover or speed. Hopefully that isn’t the case here.
Next week I’m cutting my miles again with a few miles spread out at marathon pace. Nothing left to do but continue to rest and mentally prepare for the race. As I’ve said throughout this training cycle my primary goal for this marathon is to finish. Would I love to run a 3:10? Yes, of course, however with waiting around a cold start for 3 hours as well as running a very overcrowded race it’s very tough to say what will happen. I know if I cross the finish line as happy as when I start, I will be happy.
Something I haven’t talked about much in the last few weeks is how my actual marathon training is going both physically and mentally. I go through the motions of writing weekly recaps but I don’t think that gives an accurate description of my mental thought process. With so much else going on, I have lost the sense of actually talking about how much I love running and how much despite everything, I have truly enjoyed this training cycle.
Mentally for the marathon the more 20 milers I do the more confident I have felt that I can finish 26.2 miles. In the last month I’ve gone from 20 milers scaring the pants off of me to actually feeling comfortable and having decent long runs. I’ve also figured out what has worked for me in regards to fueling.
If you were to ask me about a month ago my thoughts for the marathon I would have told you I’m nervous and honestly I don’t know. I was coming off of breaking my arm, no real long runs and my fuel was basically water.
After spending the last month researching and trying new things during runs I’m feeling a lot more confident. September 3rd was a random Tuesday and I was bidding Laura and Heather farewell (after running the Rock and Roll VA Beach half). The following day I started my move to Texas. In one month I’ll be in New York running a marathon. It’s hard to put that into perspective.
What have I learned in the last month?
Twenty milers no longer scare me. For the longest time in my running career I was scared to run more then 10 miles. I was scared to do it daily. I was scared to hit 60, 70 then 80 mile weeks. I learned by being smart that all of these dreams were achievable. I didn’t go from running 30 miles weekly to 70 but slowly worked my way up to higher mileage and defined myself as a runner. I never worked my way up to 20 milers but throughout this training cyle I have gone from 12 milers being long runs to daily mileage, 15 milers being medium runs and 20 milers being long runs but not scary. Ask Laura about the 20 miler we did in March together. I think I saw the light around mile 18.
If you had asked me after my first half marathon (1:41), in two years do you see yourself running a 1:24.49 and 80 mile weeks? The answer would be of course not. A year ago while feeling defeated with my cyst I would not have seen myself training for a marathon and dedicating the last 5 months to this cycle.
But I have learned so much in training for my first marathon. I have learned that dreams can be achieved and you cannot sell yourself short. When I was hit by a cyclist and initially thought my training cycle was over, I waited and realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The few days after I will be honest and didn’t want to talk to anyone. (By the way my arm is fully healed now). When I had a short knee issue (not injury because I didn’t let it get there) I waited and my training cycle is back on track now.
For me running is a beautiful thing. Each run daily is different. You could run the same route at the same time daily and you will never know how you will feel. Throughout this training cycle if I have learned anything, it’s nothing goes according to plan and you must face it head on and not stress.
As I sit here one month out will the goal of a 3:10marathon I realize despite everything (moving, knees, arms, stress) I have truly enjoyed this training process and it is everything I have hoped my training cycle could be. I have let go of daily stressors and not only feel like a different runner but a different person.
Now I must use the last month to narrow in and focus on small features that will help me achieve finishing my first marathon and finishing strong. My goal has always been to finish my first marathon (which I’ve always wanted it to be NYC) strong but my goal is also to also finish in 3:10.
Will I be devastated if I don’t finish?
Will I be devastated if I don’t finish under 3:10?
No, of course not. Having never run a marathon it’s lofty to make a goal going into something you don’t know what to expect. Then again, 2013 has brought me plenty of things I haven’t expected.