NYCM Training: Workouts and 5ks

NYCM Training: Workouts and 5ks

This was the first week that the weather felt as though it broke. It’s been so hot the last few weeks, so it was nice for better weather. Unfortunately, towards the end of the week life, fatigue, and everything else caught up with me. I was left both exhausted and tired. No big deal and I was still able to get quality races and long runs in.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 6X800s with 800 jog between (total 12 miles)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Book It 5k (2.9-3 miles) average 6:30 pace (total 9 miles)
Sunday: Long Run (18 miles)
Total: 58.5 miles

As I mentioned last week, when I run easy runs for an hour, I just average them to be 6.5 miles. They might be 6.1 or 6.8, but it doesn’t really matter. I just run easy, and the pace isn’t that important to me.

Workout Wednesday: 6X800 with 800 jog in between

I wanted to switch it up from doing 400s so ran 800s.  I do all of my workouts on roads.  It was perfect weather, and while I didn’t feel great, I didn’t feel terrible either.  I was happy with the workout, and with a warmup and cooldown, I ended up with about 12 miles for the day.

Book It 5k:

The Book It 5k is out of the Cherry Hill Library. It’s a great cause, and I enjoyed it last year.

The course was short, and I didn’t feel great but was able to run about 6:30 miles. I think I would have probably finished around 20 minutes which untapered is where I thought I would be. It was my first 5k since June, and I have forgotten how painful they are.  It’s hard to get a good idea of where I am fitness wise with the 5k because that course was short, I felt like garbage, and it was a mix of terrain.

cherry hill book it 5k

I look forward to doing more 5ks under my belt. I probably won’t taper for many, if any, but they will be good workouts.

Long Run: 18 miles
2 miles easy.
4 miles (average 7:07).
4 miles easy.
4 miles (average 7:05).
4 miles easy.

I would have liked to have been closer to 7 for harder effort, however, I racing the day before that didn’t happen.  I’m happy with the long run and realistically, my goal is to stay healthy from start to finish of the race. It was raining but it felt a lot better than the heat.


In all, I’m happy with my week.  I’ll probably plan to have something similar next week.  I don’t plan to do a lot of 20+ mile runs as I don’t want to get injured.  I will do at least 2 more 20 mile runs but I have no plans to run much longer than that (if longer at all).

Posts from the Week:

Air Force Half Marathon (1:31.12)

I Have a Fall Goal Race

Vanilla Almond Recovery Protein Smoothie Recipe

Questions for you:

Do you prefer shorter races or longer?

How was your week of training?   


I Have a Fall Goal Race

And it’s the New York City Marathon…

Sometimes I start to type a post but leave my computer without saving or creating a “publish date”.  Then once my computer goes into hibernate, it posts automatically.  So sorry if you saw this on Tuesday (along with 3 other posts).

Anyway, for the last few weeks I’ve tried to figure out how I wanted to type it out… The race itself, is only 6 weeks away but it isn’t as if I haven’t begun preparing. I ran 20 for the Boothbay Half and I’ve run a few 16-18 mile runs in the last 2 months.

I don’t want to be too prepared but I do want to finish healthy.  I’ve made the mistake of being overprepared which is probably how I tweaked my butt for my last marathon 3.5 years ago. Right now, I strongly believe if I went to run a marathon this weekend, I could finish.

If you are a long time reader, you might know I’ve done two marathons:

My first was New York in 2013.  I ran a 3:17 after moving across the country. I had never run a marathon and had no idea what to expect.

My second was Phoenix in 2015 and I ran a  3:14.59.  I had great training but the week before I tweaked my butt and kind of hobbled to the finish line.  I never walked but it was a positive split and unenjoyable.  I still PRed but Phoenix is a much faster, net downhill course, and I’m far prouder of my race in New York. After that, I decided marathoning wasn’t for me so I took a break.   I raced 5ks, PRed in halves and have enjoyed the shorter and faster stuff.

So this whole marathon thing probably comes as a shock to you.   If you have read training logs with a microscope recently, it might not be “as surprising” (but who does that LOL).  No one runs 17 or 20 miles for fun. Some of my close friends have known for a couple of weeks.  I haven’t hidden it from anyone who asks in person but I’ve been waiting until everything has been finalized.

NYCM is a lottery system and I’m long past the lottery…So how did it happen?

First, I was never in the lottery. About a month ago, I was talking to my boss and store owner at work.  (I work in a run specialty store.)  He was getting ready for a marathon so we were just discussing marathons. I mentioned I wanted to run New York eventually again but couldn’t commit to lottery deadline.  Due to the military life, I don’t really think I will ever be able to commit to a big lottery system without the risk of losing a ton of money.  I’ve risked it and lost and risked it and been fine.  NYCM or big marathons is a lot of money to gamble with. In fact, the first time I ran NYCM, was a week after I moved from Texas back to the East Coast. (Which was 100% not planned).

My boss said he might be able to get a bib for a brand rep and I said I wouldn’t turn it down if he did.  A few days later, he called and said if I wanted to run NYCM, he had a bib for me. It took me a second to even process it. Me? Marathon? I mean…I said I wanted to run it again didn’t I? I just didn’t think it would be so soon. Whether it’s moving, job, running, or even kid I don’t think there will ever be an ideal time. So I said yes.

After running two trail races and being on my feet longer than ever before (longer than either marathon), I thought another marathon was doable.  Right now, the only marathon I wanted to do again was New York.

Sure I could run another marathon like the Philadelphia or more likely Richmond but New York still intrigues me.  I don’t want to run a marathon for the sake of “running a marathon”.  I don’t need to feel cool, or a real runner, by running marathons each year.  I feel as real of a runner when I slog through a 3-mile training run as a finishing a marathon.

So why New York?

New York is a brutal course.  It’s hilly, often times windy, and you have to be up before the light to get to the start.  Like the trail races, it’s not easy.  The crowd, the people, and the experience make it worth it.  I loved my experience at NYCM in 2013.

Running the NYCM 2013

That is why like the trail races:

My only goal is to start and finish the marathon healthy.

Since marathoning, I’ve run PRs in every distance. I’ve run a 1:22 half and I’ve run a 1:22 half in Carlsbad, CA as well.  That equates to well below a 3-hour marathon but I’m not a marathon expert or pro.  After taking over 3 years away from marathoning, I’m treating this as my first one all over.

I will, however, be in the sub-elite corral.

It’s crazy but it’s also a once in a lifetime opportunity. I might be running most of the race alone, or I might spend the entire race getting passed but I don’t know when, if ever, I’ll get the chance again. Heck, I might even come in as the very last sub-elite finisher and you know what?  I’m okay with that because someone has to be!

I have no shame if I’m the very last person in the corral. I’ll be lining up behind the elite men (not with the elite women who go off much earlier LOL).

This is the first time I’ve been excited to run a marathon since Phoenix. I wouldn’t involve myself in something running related, I’m not excited to do.  2018 has brought a lot of: OMG, I never thought I would be doing this races…but here we are.

Questions for you:

Have you run NYCM before? Will you be there? 

Setting Goals

I was asked by Becca if I thought it was a wise idea to make a goal time for a first marathon.  To make this sound less awkward I’ll just rewrite the question like it’s an interview.

Do you think it’s a good idea to make a concrete goal time for a first marathon?  Do you regret it?

First, I regret not looking at what the NYC marathon course actually consisted of.  I regret not knowing that there were big elevation changes outside the bridges and not realizing that gradual uphills would be the death of me.  If I had known that I probably would have changed my goal to 3:15.  (Who could predict wind).

I think your primary goal for any road race (especially when you don’t know the distance) is to finish.  Finishing a marathon, half marathon, 10k, 8k, 5k, ect injury free is a huge accomplishment.  Never take it for granted.

I don’t regret making a goal time though.  The marathon is like any other road race just longer.  It involves more training but if you train appropriately you will finish.  A 5k requires more training then finishing a 100 meter dash.  (notice I said finishing).  When I completed the marathon a wide range of emotion went through me. While yes I successfully completed my first marathon I don’t feel like it changed me.  I don’t feel like some new women who only has to do marathons.  I don’t feel like I had a life revelation and now can become inspirational.  I feel exactly how I did before running the race.  My opinion of running hasn’t changed.

When I first signed up for the NYC back in May I did it on my terms.  I would have been able to train for a marathon 1 or even 2 years ago…but I didn’t feel like it.  I didn’t see the point.  I still felt like a runner whether I have run a marathon or 500 marathons.   I didn’t feel pressure to sign up or that everyone is running a marathon so me too!

Will I run another marathon?  Yes and maybe that marathon will give me the soul searching or new women experience others had.  For now I’ll continue resting and recovering with hopes to run next week.

If you have any questions feel free to ask or email me at lolzthatswim(at)gmail

Questions for you:

What is your favorite running distance?

How did you feel after your first marathon? 

Lessons Learned from Marathon Training

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:

  1. 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.
  2. My only speed workouts were races and it made running by myself or with others enjoyable.
  3. 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):

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 

The Positives and Negatives

They say when you finish your first marathon you are hungry for another.  You want to look at every aspect of your training and what to improve on and what to chop out.  I enjoyed the marathon distance but it hasn’t consumed me to the point that I only want to do marathons now forever.  I was going to add this to the end of my race recap but the post was so long and I figured it would be easier to space it out.  After giving my objective thoughts about the race I thought I would talk about various aspects of the race and my personal thoughts.  I learned a lot of lessons from the race that I would never learn without running it.

First people can tell you this 100 times but you have truly experience it for yourself.  The marathon is not two half marathons.  The difficulty of the race is equal to five half marathons.  For me, I can break the race up as the first 15 miles and then the last 11.2.  Most people say it is a 20 miler and 10k pain train but I boarded the 10k early at mile 15.

The course itself would be one of the most hated and grueling courses if there were not so many people cheering and supporting you.  What I didn’t know prior (because I didn’t do my research) is that people don’t come to NY looking for a fast time.  What people don’t realize is that it has a lot of bridges but when running in the neighborhood boroughs, the road is still a gradual incline.  Since the course is point to point, it doesn’t mean what goes up must come down.

I don’t think I took the race out to fast at all.  My plan was to run the first half in 1:35 and then see where the second half of the race went.  I knew it was very unlikely that I would be negative splitting my first marathon.  I would rather finish happy and strong versus dying.  That was my original goal but you know by now I still finished dying.  Finishing your first marathon not about to peel over is an overzealous goal.

I think I had two phases of bonking.  First, when my quads began to tire and cramp at mile 15.  I was mentally still capable of running the same pace and I didn’t start to die too much.  After talking to several people they tell me due to the elevation of the NYCM course your quads will be sore.  Since it was so hilly it was working quads.  (Before the race I was sure my calves were going to be the most sore).

My second phase of bonking was when my glycogen was completely gone from my system around mile 18-19.  I could have probably eaten a dozen krispy cream donuts and it would not have been enough sugar for my blood stream.  I think that comes from an effort of 7:15 pace for 2 hours.

Incase you wondered what I ate and drank during the race: a gel at mile 8, 14 and 20.  I took Gatorade at every mile except for 7,8 13, 14 19 and 20.  I took water at those stops so I didn’t mix Gatorade and gel.  I believe I read on Janae’s blog to take fluid at every stop so that is how I decided to do that.  I think it worked out really well.  I think my fueling was fantastic for me and I think my bonk came from not running enough speed workouts.

Positives of the race:

I finished my first marathon.  I trained for a marathon and I finished it.

I ran a smart race.  I was 210th woman overall and 10th in my age group.  I am pretty proud of that!

I liked my fueling.

I still plan to run my next full conservatively.  My next goal will be a 3:10 and I will still plan to take it out in 1:35 and hope I have more energy.

What I’ll change next time:

I’ll look for a flatter and less challenging marathon course.  Does that make me sound lazy?  I don’t know but I think on a better day (less wind) I am fully capable of running a faster time.

Final New York thoughts:

I liked the race and I like the distance.  I am not 100% hooked that I need to do marathons and only marathons.  I do plan to do another marathon but I plan to work more on a half again right now (after I have recovered).

Will I do NYCM again? Yes, most certainly.  You cannot beat the crowds and cheering.

Questions for you:

Have you done NYCM?  Have you ever cheered there?

What is the toughest race you have ever done? 

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