Friday, March 7, 2014

NYCH Training Updates

My last blog entry was January 21st, and today is March 7th. So much for getting better about regular updates...

Anyway, when I began training for the NYC Half that will be on March 18th, I made up this whole detailed training plan, which included 16 mile runs and regular weeks in the 30-35 mile range. I had done this before, and would be confident that a repeat performance would not be a problem.

Then a polar vortex hit. Then another. And another. 

Since I was injured last winter, I had forgotten how hard it was to train during that time. To be fair though, when I last trained for the NYC Half in 2012, the winter wasn't nearly so terrible, and running outside wasn't nearly as big of a deal. But the two things factored together just took the wind out of my sails.

After a week or so at sub-par mileage, I eventually sucked it up and started hitting the treadmill, but I knew that I would not have the mental fortitude to do as much on a machine as I would have done outdoors. 

Despite the weather and motivational issues, up until last week, I managed to average approximately 24 miles per week, and even raised my treadmill tolerance level to a degree. I was able to run for 60 minutes straight without wanting to commit homicide, and these days, 6.5-6.7 can now feel easy on the treadmill on any given day. I can even do 7.5 mph (8mm pace) for a short length of time without flying off the treadmill! 

In addition, I did two half marathons as training runs since my last entry. The first one was the Fred Lebow Half Marathon on January 26th. It was absolutely freezing outside, and the course was not an easy one. Thankfully, I had excellent company the entire time once Wallis realized that she wasn't going to go for sub 1:50. We ended up running the entire thing together and finished in 1:57:02

This past weekend, I participated in the Frozen Penguin Half Marathon out on Shore Road, which is near the Brooklyn side of the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge. Initially I signed up for it as a final long training run before NYCH, but I almost considered attempting a PR. Ultimately, I decided to take it easy and see how things turned out. 

The last race I did there was the Festival of Lights 10K under pretty miserable conditions, but this time, the weather was much more favorable. Other than a small icy patch near mile 11 which made two way traffic between the people going and coming slightly difficult, the roads were easy to run on, and this time, there were no giant waves splashing me. My time for that race was ultimately 1:54:10 or so. 

The splits can be compared below - the one on the left was from Fred Lebow, and the one on the right was from the Frozen Penguin HM.

Although I technically had a better time at the Frozen Penguin HM, I felt that I had a better performance at Fred Lebow - there was only about a 10 second difference per mile when I had a harder course and harsher weather conditions during the first race. 

At first I felt discouraged, but I ended up learning things about myself as a runner by comparing the two sets of circumstances. As much as I love NYCRuns races, the fields are usually small to the point where most of the time, I didn't really feel the same race mentality that I would have in a field of thousands. In addition, whenever I run with another person, I usually end up going faster on race day than I would have otherwise. In addition, as much as I love the idea of flat half-marathons, in reality, I wasn't used to not having rolling hills in my races. It felt odd not having anything resembling Harlem or the West Side hills.

But what does this all mean for the NYC Half? Even though I got some decent training in, I don't think that I will be in PR shape by then. Despite this, I will race this to the best of my ability, and see what happens. If I could get a course PR of below 1:52:28 that would be great but time will tell how this pans out. 

Unfortunately, I have been sidelined by a cold and stomach issues this week. So much for setting a high mileage month for 2014. The bright side? At least this is happening during taper time. Hopefully I will be able to run both days this weekend.

Thanks for reading!