Tag Archives: Long slow distance

Day 5 of the Holiday Challenge: Breaking the route rut

Today’s adventure was breaking through a running route rut.  A rut of running the same 1-of-5 courses, the same route, the same general area, or the same roads or anything that has the bottom-line sensation of ‘same-o’.

2014_12annapolis01It’s the weekend – so my running adventure is joined by my partner in crime – Jill.   Apparently Jill forgot it is “winter” and we had to rendezvous for the Annapolis run (a  different city from our regular runs) by 6:30AM – meaning the alarm goes off at 4AM – and breakfast is inhaled by 5:30AM.  Sigh.  Sleeping fully will occur another day.

Continue reading Day 5 of the Holiday Challenge: Breaking the route rut

The New York City Marathon – an epic ride

If you only have time for the headlines – here it is:   I started.  I finished.  And I’m going to take some time off to recover.  Just a little.  OK?

Now, if your curiosity is piqued about what this adventure was really like, the nitty-gritty, the behind-the-scenes-adventures – then keep reading.

fortwadsworth_startI could tell you that the story of NYC marathon Sunday was the 20+ mph headwinds for 20.5 miles, the wind gusts to nearly 50mph, the crosswinds that snatched your feet out from under you, or enduring bone chilling 20 something degree wind chills for 4 hours waiting for the run to begin.  I could tell you that 5 layers of clothing and 2 heat sheets were not enough to keep you warm at Fort Wadsworth.   I could tell you that the weather conditions were so severe, that the race organizers had to modify the start for the wheelchair division athletes — so that they avoided the 2 mile Verrazano Bridge. I could tell you how I watched the winds rip loosely fitted clothing right off runners crossing the Verrazano Bridge, and at one point I even felt the need to hang on to my step-daughter Emma who was running next to me. I could tell you how the headwinds in the South Bronx were so strong, that I actually stopped moving forward.  For a few moments, I ran “in place”.  No forward momentum. Continue reading The New York City Marathon – an epic ride

Taper 12: Seeking effortless

 The final long run before the NYC Marathon has arrived.  A shorty (12 miles) by prior long run standards – but possibly one of the most important practice runs of all.   The run that imprints a positive state of mind.

The day began earlier than I would have preferred.   I had over-committed my day, and my running start time would be sacrificed.   My alarm goes off at 4:45, and I’m eating breakfast by 5:00AM.  I’m not the least bit hungry, but force down 1/2 wheat bagel, peanut butter and a banana.  It sits in me like a boulder.  Digestion is taking it’s sweet time, and by 7:30AM my gut is not feeling especially “well”. Continue reading Taper 12: Seeking effortless

A trip down NYC marathon memory lane…

My NYC marathon bid is apparently on a 15 year (approximate) cycle.   In 1985 – I ran/finished my first NYC marathon….followed by #2 in 1999….and #3 yet to come – Nov 2, 2014.   So many things have changed…. Continue reading A trip down NYC marathon memory lane…

Say good-bye to the injury gremlins

This week’s long run was scheduled to be a 14 miler – which fits nicely with the Baltimore Running Festival’s Half Marathon.   While the 13.1 mile half marathon is 9 tenths of a mile short of the goal distance — we made up for this fact by including a 6 mile bike trip as part of the commute.  Close enough!

While my fellow marathoner contacts are busy worrying about “don’t get injured” during the taper weeks before marathon day — apparently this vibe has now rubbed off on me.  Suddenly, I’m becoming hyper focused on that lurking injury or accident!   And while the distance of a 13.1 mile event seems “short” — my mind was busy telling me to stay alert!   The injury gremlins, wearing a scary Halloween costume are waiting for me! Continue reading Say good-bye to the injury gremlins

19 miles of visualizing the NYC course

With 3 weeks to go before the 2014 NYC Marathon, today’s long run was scheduled to be 18 miles.  It was also scheduled to be the final “simulation run” where every nuance from nutrition to sleep to clothing to hydration to temperature and – oh yeah the run – was to build confidence and learn from any challenges.   I will also be visualizing and coordinating my mile markers — with the NYC marathon course.   Now, that’s what I call a simulation run! Continue reading 19 miles of visualizing the NYC course

20.6 miles of pure joy!!

Leading up to today’s planned 20 mile long run – was a monumental shift of my eating habits.   A macro-nutrient shift — so that the majority of nutrients come from Carbohydrates.  Today, I would put my learnings from last weeks “fume run” to the test.   Today’s run – my longest training run prior to the NYC marathon, needed to push back the wall and stoke the fires of my confidence.   I was feeling the pressure. Continue reading 20.6 miles of pure joy!!

16 miles on fumes

Distance running allows time for introspection.   A place for life lessons and learnings to play out.  And, sometimes the most difficult run, can offer the biggest opportunity to learn.

Coming off of a nasty cold, with zero days of physical activity, lots of sleeping, lack of appetite, and a less than optimal respiratory system – I still needed to find a way to run long.  I was feeling better, but not great.  I knew in advance my long run would not be a stellar run, but still – it would be better than no run at all.

So I stuffed my pockets with Kleenex, drank half a smoothie (100 calories), filled my carry bottles with water and brought 2 honey packets for my Carbohydrate fix in mid-run.   I set my sights on 16 miles.  Planning for the run transitions into “just do it” the moment I hit the “Start” button on my Garmin.

My run was slower than normal, but someway somehow – I knew I would reach 16.   What I didn’t know when I started, was that I would bonk.  I bonked at mile 12.  Way too early to hit the wall.  Not from lack of fitness, not from lack of respiratory and not from lack of will.   In the aftermath of 16 miles on fumes – I began to seriously doubt whether I could achieve 26.2 in a little over 1 month.   I wanted to believe that all of this was due to my cold and compromised “systems” – but maybe I was wrong?

Time to research.  Time to read.   Time to understand this problem.  I discovered Matt Fitzgerald’s “The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition: A Cutting-Edge Plan to Fuel Your Body Beyond “the Wall”” and read it from start to finish in one day.  What I learned was most illuminating.  I re-read sections just to make sure I didn’t miss any important details.   It was clear.  And, it made sense.  While I spent the prior 4 months focusing on lots of running and overall fitness – there is a second component that I had ignored.  Nutrition.  I was not optimizing my daily nutrition and “while running” nutrition.

I measured my current Carbohydrate daily intake – and it was WAY too low.  Embarrassingly low.   I was only getting 90 grams of Carbs per day on my current eating plan – yet needed to consume closer to 270 grams of Carbs to meet the needs of distance running.  Then I looked at my “while running” nutrition – and realized I was getting around 8 grams of Carbs per hour (sometimes not even that) – and my body needs at minimum 65 grams of Carbs per hour.   I also wasn’t drinking enough.  Both my nutrition and hydration is seriously OFF-base for a distance runner.

Let’s just say – permission to eat Carbs (and lots of them) has just been granted.  Now, I’m not talking the “bad Carbs” (cookies, cakes, processed foods etc) – but good Carbs.   Good Carbs to be consumed in order of volume and priority (1) Vegetables (2) Fruits (3) Whole Grains (4) Dairy.   I needed to find a way to push back “hitting the wall” – by training my body nutritionally.   I had 1 week to overhaul my nutrition strategy.  I also needed to learn how to eat, and drink Carbs while running.  My final long run – a simulation run for the NYC marathon – is coming up 1 week from now — 20 miles.   I need to know that I can do this.

A steamy Philadelphia Half-Marathon

montageOn the road by 4:30AM, and accompanied by triSista Tamar – we made our way north for a 2.5 hour road trip – to Philadelphia for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon.  The Philly Half Marathon has become one of my favorite venues – thanks to the amazing course route that blends both downtown cityscape with majestic parkland along the Schuylkill River.   This week’s long run is 13.1 miles — making the Philly course a perfect location.

We arrived in Philly at 7AM, quickly found a parking space, and stepped outside into surprisingly humid mid-September temperatures.   While the temperatures were in the lower 70’s – the humidity turned this into sweating weather.  I knew I would need to carry extra water – despite the course being stocked with water stations ever 2 miles.   Yes, it was that humid.

Many take to the streets in the Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half Marathon to PR.  Despite the humidity, Deena Kastor handled that on behalf of the rest of us mortals…  While Deena was busy setting fire to the course and doing us “masters” proud (shattering the world record – OK?), Ms. Tamar and I were busy taking in the sights.   Oh sure, we were running AND sightseeing, absorbing the arts district and downtown Philly, listening to the theme from Rocky, hearing support from spectators (“Go Adrianne!!)” – and ultimately becoming one with the views from the Schuylkill River.   Conversations gradually dwindled, GPS watches beeped synchronously at each mile marker, and eventually runners began to tire.    Legs get heavy, and the footsteps get louder, and I would imagine those who listen to tunes simply turn up the volume.  For many that is the ritual of the half marathon.

Philadelphia_skyline_August_2007For me, I run faster the second half of the half.   I even feel like I’m landing lighter.  Relatively speaking.  And all of this could be in my head.  As the countdown to NYC marathon becomes more real, as the training slowly peaks, I have discovered that running a half marathon is now framed as a shorter run.   Who knew I could ever have such thoughts?    After crossing the finish line, and reunited with Ms. Tamar, we collected food and beverages handed out to all finishers, and gradually walked another mile back to our car.  Tami took this opportunity to capture on camera distinctive architecture among the buildings – and I scouted out the nearest coffee shop for treats.   Sweet!

Savoring this moment, cuz next week…is a 20 mile long training run.

More photos

Stoked!!! It’s becoming “real”!!!

Visualizing November 2, 2014….makes the long runs a lot easier!

After watching this video, I can’t wait to be surrounded by my amazing friends and family (Team Sherpa – Paddy, Chuck, Jill & Tamar), run as motha’-daughta team (my NY accent) with Ms. Emma, be inspired by my amazing supporters and honorees via the Ulman Cancer Fund (26.2 for Hope) – in the midst of 50,000+ runners and more spectators than imaginable.  Yep, it’s starting to feel real!  I almost (operative word) want to go out for a 2nd run today!