Total Mileage: 33.8
As I begin this new marathon training cycle, I feel like I have to start by saying I am sorry for every time I complained about the cold weather on my winter runs…. As I run into the summer, I miss the days of being layered up, back when there was no humidity. These days I am happiest when the weather blesses me with a light breeze and breathable air.
I often take Monday as a recovery day, either resting completely or doing a yoga class, and after a weekend full of travel I opted to take it as a complete rest day. Not the strongest start to a training plan, but rest is an important part of training, and I need to take care of myself if I want to make it through this whole training cycle injury free. Plus, the travel was so worth it – I had gone to Atlanta to be a part of my cousin Jen’s surprise engagement!
When Dad and I met up for a Run/Ride on Tuesday morning, my training mileage officially began. I recently moved out of my parent’s house, but the move only took me one town over so we can still meet up for our morning miles. When I stepped outside the morning chill was nice enough that I pulled on a long sleeve running top for the beginning of the run, which I eventually removed once I warmed up. We got in 6 miles, with some little hills throughout the run. I mean, its still the south shore of Long Island, but it’s more hills than my usual route near my parent’s house has. Dad loves to pick a route that makes me run in circles around the hills, directing me to turn one way or the other as we reach the end of a block.
After work on Tuesday I headed to planet fitness with a few co-workers to get in some strength training. We focused on arm and core workouts, with a routine that took us a little over an hour. We have been going to the gym together for about two months now, getting there twice a week after work. It has been really great to have the structure of going right from work to the gym, and having a workout partner makes it so that I can’t bail just because I am feeling a little tired after work – an excuse that I often find myself using when I rely on my own motivation to do strength training.
The first swim of the week was on Wednesday morning, since I was too exhausted to get there on Monday. This called for a 5:30 AM wakeup, and a half-asleep trek to the aquatic center. The pool was set up in a long course configuration, which means that the lanes are set to 50 m per lap. Usually I dread long course configuration, as I find it more challenging, but I really hit a groove with it during this workout. Feeling good after the swim, I decided to ask the head coach, Lisa, about the open water swims that the team has now that the weather is nicer. When I told her that I had never done an open water swim, she insisted that I try one, and even offered to loan me her wetsuit. Well, that was exactly the motivation that I needed to bite the bullet, and agreed that I would attend one the following Wednesday night. Dad had taken his bike to the park, so he rode by as swim ended for a quick selfie.
On Wednesday night, I flowed right from one workout into another. I headed into the neighborhood around work with my co-worker, making sure to run by the school that Dad works security at to say hello – just a quick fly by as we continued into some hills. To avoid busy roads, we eventually dipped into an area that was more residential, but equally hilly. My morning runs typically are about 12 ft of elevation. This run? 218 ft of elevation gain. Once we finished a three mile loop, we parted ways and I headed to the next event of the night: A Merrick Bicycles Tri Team track workout.
MBTT track night are lead by the team coach, Jackie, and she always has a challenging workout ready for us. Being a generally competitive person, I really push myself at these workouts, as I am always chasing after a faster runner. She kept us doing 5k and 10k pace repeats varying in distance, with a body weight exercise waiting for us between laps. Once my legs had been thoroughly thrashed by these repeats, she revealed the last workout of the night would be full on sprints, between the goal posts at the center of the track. By the time we were done, I was exhausted in the best pace, and super pleased with my moving pace – an average of 7:44 min/miles over the 5 miles we had logged.
While I was super pleased with myself on Wednesday night, my legs were dead when it came time to roll out of bed for my Thursday morning run with Dad. I may have overdone it just a little the day before with a swim and 8 miles of running – more than half of those being quality miles, but I was willing to pay the piper, in the form of a slightly torturous morning run. I only made it through 3 miles, each one progressively slower, before I declared that it was time for breakfast, and thus the run needed to come to an end before I passed out as a result of fatigue… yes, on a three-mile run. It was just one of those days.
But a slow run and sore legs didn’t keep me from heading to they gym after work. It was Thursday and I had a commitment to fulfill with my accountability buddies. We did a quick core routing consisting of hanging leg raises and dynamic movements like jumping squats, followed by a dumbbell arm circuit.
The night was not yet over – the last activity of the day was a spin class with Jennie! We met up for a class at iSpin studio, and got in a great hour of spin.
Now, as I was going through all of these activities, did I feel like I was overdoing it? No. I felt like I was socializing and enjoying time with my friends, all while getting my workouts in. Looking back at it though, I feel like I was bound to hit the ground after putting in so much so fast – sometimes I forget that I’m not in peak condition at present, and workout as though I am at the pinnacle of marathon season, pushing through 20-milers on the weekend. As I write it all down though, I want a little bit to shake week one Kelly and tell her to chill – but being me, I of course pushed on, the calm before the storm.
Finally, it was Friday. The end of the week, and one more early morning between me and the weekend (not that I would get to sleep in on the weekend, but that’s a whole other can of worms). I groggily made my way to swim again, and was rewarded with a short course pool configuration. After a handful of various distance laps, we switched over to kicking drills to bring us through the second half of class. As we neared the end of the session Lisa arrived, with a wet-suit in tow for me to borrow. She had me try to get it on, but as I was soaking wet and had never worn a wetsuit before, I was less than successful. I put the wet-suit back onto its hanger after the two of us spent a few minutes struggling, and hoped that it would be less difficult next time.
At this point, I honestly can’t remember the last time I got to sleep in on a Saturday. I think it has been at least three months, and this Saturday would not be my day of reprieve. I like to start my training cycles off with a race, so that I can see where I am, and have something to compare to over as I put more work into my training. So, this Saturday I was heading to Flushing Meadows Corona park with Dad to participate in the New York Road Runner’s Queens 10k. I ran this race in 2017 as well, and was hoping to beat my time from last year. I got to my parent’s house around 6 am, and Dad and I got on the road to head to queens. We were at the park by 7, and headed to race day central to pick up my bib. We had gotten there early enough that it was easy to find parking, and Dad broke out his foldable bike so he could explore the park while I was running. Once I had my bib I took plenty of time to stretch out, feeling a little bit stiff from the week’s activities. At 8:30 I headed into my corral, and took a few minutes to make a race playlist on Spotify – not something I usually do, but I felt like I would need the extra push, remembering how hard this race has been for me the previous year. The announcers started to release the runners, I quickly took a GU, and we were off! Dad managed to find me at four points on the course, even if I did only see him three times – part of why I usually don’t wear headphones while races, it makes it tough to find m:y people! I felt good starting this race, and settled into a fast-for-me pace, logging the first mile at a 8:20 pace. I was wearing a new pair of sunglasses – Goodr ones – and I was having a lot of trouble with my peripheral vision. The glasses were so reflective, that I was second guessing every time I tried to weave through runners, and I reminded myself that this is why people say “nothing new on race day.”
I pushed on, being careful in the field of runners as I brought my pace closer to an 8:00 min/mi. Ideally I wanted to be at an average of 8:14 or better, as that would allow me to PR the race. I was able to hang on to the pace through mile 4, but at some point as I put one foot in front of the other, telling myself “DON’T STOP,” I realized that I was starting to get light headed, and that my arm was going a little but numb, so I allowed myself to back off the pace a little, and pulled into the next water stop to grab a drink. While my goal pace quickly slipped away, I was still moving forward, and managing to keep my pace below a 9:00 min/mi. By the time we were circling around the Unisphere I was so ready to be crossing the finish line, but I tried to smile as Dad grabbed a pic of me running by. Then the final descent through the park, the finish line in sight, and a final push to get through the end of the race. I crossed the finish line, slowing to a walk, keeping moving through the finishers chute, collecting my medal and recovery bag – which I immediately opened to get at the Gatorade.
Now that the race was done, I went and collected my t-shirt and then found a shady spot to wait for Dad, who arrived a few minutes later. From there we headed to the car and made our way home. My average pace for the race wound up being an 8:25 min/mi, which was faster than the year before, even if it wasn’t quite a PR.
I had one run left for week one after the Queens 10k – the first long run of this cycle. Sunday was Father’s day, so naturally Dad and I made plans to go on an outing together. I had 10 miles on my schedule, and we headed to Bethpage state park to get the miles in. We stuck to a three mile loop of the trail that was half paved path and half in the woods, so it was nice to have some variation on the run. Plus, the part of the path that was in the woods was so serene that I looked forward to getting back to it every time I was on the pavement. It was a nice day, but I was grateful that most of the trail was in the shade, since every time I stepped into the sun I could feel the temperature rise and the air get thicker. As the miles went on my legs got heavier, reminding me of just how much I had asked from them throughout the week, slowing down a little as the run progressed. But honestly, I didn’t even mind the pace – I was just so happy to be starting this journey again. As I reached the end of the final loop Dad reminded me (several times) to pick up my feet more, find my stride. At long last, we came back to the car and packed up, heading home for the rest of the father’s day festivities, which for my family meant heading to Forrest Hills Stadium to see Roger Daultry perform The Who’s Tommy. It was a late night, full of less-than-healthy food choices, but I had such a great time taking it all in with my family.
Oh, and since this week was fathers day, I want to leave you with the following photos: My dad running the Long Island Half around 1989, and me running it in 2018.