Sunday, September 2, 2012

NYCM Week #7: Two major milestones, a tweak in my training schedule, some shoe porn, and a relationship gone sour...

Another week of training has gone by, and overall, it went extremely well. I hit a couple of important milestones, and signed up for a couple of group runs. Unfortunately, I realized that I might be ending a relationship. More on that later on.

Scheduled Rest Day
As my mileage increases, these days are becoming more and more important to me. I could never imagine running 7 days a week. 

7 miles w/ 4x800.....or not
When I woke up Tuesday morning, it was thunder-storming, and raining really hard. Of course, by the time the rain stopped, and it was perfect running temperature, I had to get ready for work and wasn't able to go. After work, I went home, relaxed a bit, then finally got out there. 

As usual, my watch decided to be a drama queen and not pick up a signal until I was already half a mile into the run. Then, I realized that my first two miles were pretty close to marathon pace. At that point, I decided to turn what was supposed to be an interval training run into a MP run, and see how long I could keep the pace. 

To my pleasant surprise, other than a couple of water stops, I kept going, and going, and going, and even decided to add on another mile since I was feeling so good. It had already started to turn dark mid-way through the run, and the prettiest part was doing a double loop of the reservoir, which was illuminated only by the moon and some street lamps scattered around the loop. A part of me was worried that I would trip and fall on my pace, but thankfully, that did not happen.

When I got home, I realized that my average for the 7.5 recorded miles was exactly my goal marathon pace of 9mm. I don't know where I got the energy after a long day of work - maybe it was my desire to get home before it got too dark, but either way, I was very happy with my 8 mile speed workout.

Medium Long Run 

I originally had eight on the schedule, but since I had done eight the previous evening, I decided to take a mile off and make it a 7 mile run. Since this run was done barely 12 hours after my evening speed work, I expected it to be a total slug fest. Somehow, it wasn't. 

My legs felt sluggish at first, but after the first few miles I felt my energy come back, and slowly but surely, got faster towards the end. The weather felt very nice, and my Garmin even cooperated and I got a signal right away.

Easy Run

I had 6 easy miles on the schedule, and that is pretty much what I did.  The pace felt right, and it was an enjoyable run. 

However, that night, I must have had some weird blood sugar incident or something. I was supposed to go see Batman with the siblings, but for some reason, I suddenly felt exhausted, and after eating and drinking, still felt like I was about to fall asleep any second....which I did at 8pm. I stayed asleep until 1am, then drifted in and out throughout the night, before waking up the next morning around 6am

Ok, I admit it, these are probably junk miles....

I realized that this day was August 31st, and as of that morning, I had run just under 197 for the month. Although I felt really funky last night, I was completely fine in the morning. I asked myself whether I would feel better taking my usual rest day, or whether I would beat myself up for the next few weeks over not hitting 200 miles for the month of August. So, against better advise, I went out and decided to run a few very easy miles. I stuck to the east drive because I heard they were spraying the west side for west nile virus. I only needed 3.09 to make the 200 miles....and I ended up with 3.15 and got 200.06 for the month. I rewarded myself with chocolate milk after it was over. To put things in perspective, my previous personal best mileage month was 156.87 from December, so hitting 200 was a major deal for me. 

My first 20 Mile Run

I initially thought that I would have to do this on my own, but thankfully, I was able to convince Meaghan to join me. We met up at the subway stop nearest me (she was nice enough to commute from Brooklyn) and once we got a signal, we started running towards Central Park.

We decided to do 3 full loops of Central Park, plus one loop of the reservoir to reach our full 20 mile goal for the day. At least for the first couple of loops, the miles passed by quickly. Meaghan and I hadn't really run together for a long period of time before, and it was nice to have someone who runs very similar paces. We discussed our goals, our training, and even came up with a bunch of running platitudes (many of which escape me at the moment).

After we finished our one round of the reservoir, I remembered that my friend Beth was once again waiting on line for Shakespeare tickets, so we went to find her. We quickly realized that she was sleeping, so we continued on our merry way.

We started to really feel tired during the last loop. It had gotten much warmer out, and our legs were starting to feel tired, so to mentally pep ourselves up, we reminded ourselves that every hill we did would be the last time we did that hill. We finally got to saw Beth on line, and we fueled for one last time before finishing our last three miles. The frappes we got at the end were completely worth it!

I think I fueled pretty well. I had a bowl of cereal before leaving, and I fueled at miles 6, 12, and 17. The moment I got home, I did what any 26 year old would do.....brag about this glorious achievement on Facebook. I was appreciative of the supportive response of my friends, and of their confidence in my training, but I am pretty sure that I will NOT be qualifying for the Boston Marathon in November. To qualify for Boston, I would need to run a marathon faster than 3:35, which is an 8:11 pace - and I can't even run an HM at that pace. However, sub-4 is still within the realm of possibility, and I will be thrilled if I get that.

I haven't done my Sunday run yet, since I have friends coming up and one of them was interested in running with me, so I'm briefly going to discuss other things.

The New York Flyers host the Three Bridges Runs every year, and this year, I decided to do both of them so that I would have experience running over the bridges of the marathon a couple of times beforehand. Since they were only $10 each for non-members, I figured that it was a good bargain. In order to fit both of them in my schedule, I decided to switch things around so that instead of my long runs being 20-18-13-20, they would be 18-20-13-20 (I got permission from my advisor before doing this). This also worked out very nicely because now, I can do the NYRR Tune-Up without worrying about adding two extra miles either before or afterwards.

The Complaints Department
Regarding it would be about anyone else....

This brings me to my next topic - my swiftly going sour relationship - two years ago, I met someone, or rather, an organization, that allowed me to participate as a complete amateur runner in all of their events. I quickly fell in love with NYRR, and did at least 20 races in 2011 and learned to enjoy the simple pleasures of beating my personal bests, and learning how to deal with disappointment when I did not reach my goals. 

However, it has become clear that the regular runner is no longer a priority to the organization. Over the last year, prices have increased dramatically, communication to the membership has become non-existant, and the posting of registration dates and course maps have been getting slower and slower. In addition, the races have been oversold, and overcrowded to the point where the first mile has been annoying to get through. There have also been problems with either placing people in the wrong corrals, or lumping everyone over a nine minute pace in the back. But the straw that might break my back is the announcement that there will be no baggage check at one of the biggest marathons in the world - long after people have already paid hundreds of dollars to participate and have already started training. While I personally have parents who live nearby, the vast majority of people will not have that luxury, and were counting on being able to change from their sweaty, cold clothes, into some pants and a fresh top. 

If I renew my membership, it will only be if I do enough races to make the savings of each race worth the price of membership. But unless NYRR really steps up to the plate and starts showing more concerns for their members rather than their profits, they are going to find that they will lose a lot of people, especially since other organizations, such as NYC Runs, have started putting on races. It's time for NYRR to return to it's roots as a running club, and not the money making machine that it has become.

Easy Run + Cross Training with friends

Anyways, off my pedestal, and back to the weekend at hand, now that the day is finally over. I invited a few of my college friends up to my parents country house for the day. One of my friends, Zahava, is a competitive swimmer and has run in NYRR races before, so I convinced her to join me on a four mile run while everyone was up there. To my pleasant surprise, our other good friend, Lauren, decided to come as well. She was inexperienced, so we took it real slowly, and stopped as often as she needed to.

Considering Lauren is no runner, I believe that she did a fantastic job today, especially since we went during the hottest part of the day. Mercifully, we had plenty of shade and water with us. I believe that she ran at least 3/4s of the distance - Zahava and I would get a little ahead, then loop back to make sure she was ok. Towards the end, she even suddenly started speeding down a hill for fun, and I had to scramble to catch her. I don't know if I'll be able to convince Lauren to become a runner, but it was nice to get her out there at least once. I ended up running 4.15 miles due to some looping back and forth

My weekly total ended up being 48.51. It was supposed to be 45 miles, but I went a little over planned due to reaching my monthly goal. 

The rest of the day was spent swimming, kayaking, playing board games and BBQing with Zahava, Lauren, Abe, and Paul, and we all had a really fun time. After dinner, I drove them to the train station - it was mostly light on the way there, but it was really dark on the way back, which is quite an adventure, even knowing how the roads go, considering they were not lit up at all. Thankfully, I made it back ok, and am now finishing up this blog entry.

Not only will tomorrow be a rest day, but I won't have work, meaning that I can sleep in. Perhaps I will go on a bike ride, a swim, a kayak ride, or a combination of the above. Either way, I have no set agenda, and I look forward to having an amazing third part of my three day weekend.

Although I am not breaking any milestones next week, it is time to say a very important farewell - to the Asics 2160 model. Since they are no longer being produced, I couldn't find any in my size, and have bought the Asics 2170s for the first time. Tuesday will be my very first run in them, so well see how it goes. 

Aren't they pretty?

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great running week, Dahlia. I cannot wait to see what you can do.

  2. Thanks Damaris! I look forward to seeing what you can do in Berlin!