9 weeks down, 9 to go. Yes, we have arrived at the halfway point of NYC Marathon training. Ummmm when/how did that happen? Was it only just yesterday that I was cramming in my first long run of NYCM training before all the DJ3K festivities?
So week 9 brought the first 20-miler of the cycle. And I think for the first time ever, I did not have any type of organized group run/race to accompany this 20-miler. Therefore, I was gonna be flying solo. Which may not be such a bad thing, as I could just take it easy with the pace and focus on completing the distance and make my own creative route which others may not like, but I know it will work for me. Plus if there was ever a mental test, doing the first 20 solo was it.
So I set out on my route on Saturday morning. Run to Columbus Circle. Embark on a full 6-mile clockwise loop of the park. But I took a little detour out of the park at Engineer’s Gate and ran north on 5th Avenue…to around 120th. And back to 90th. And repeated that again. I think you could figure out what I was doing here…re-aquainting myself with that evil 5th Avenue hill that hits around 22-23 miles into the marathon 🙂 I figured it couldn’t hurt to work that into some runs now instead of waiting til the “last 10 miles” run next month, right? As that was my slowest mile of the race in 2008, I’m hoping to mentally flatten that hill so that come November 6th, it will be toast 🙂
Back into the park, I completed my loop then backtracked a little and exited around 6th Ave…60th street to the Queensboro bridge. Over the bridge then headed to the Pulaski Bridge. Over the Pulaski and made my way through the Williamsburg/Greenport streets to my final destination, the Bedford Avenue subway stop. But on the way, I had to do a mile on the track at McCarren Park because as you know, I can’t get enough of that place 🙂 But partially because it looked like my mapped route was gonna come up a mile short and figured it would be easy to make up the mileage there. And considering I hit the track around 18.5 miles into the run, my legs were toast…maybe from all the climbing, maybe from the sidewalks I had to run on? And the track surface felt so good on my legs at that point.
So wasn’t the quickest run ever (Mr. Garmin said I averaged around 9:20 pace, though the signal was probably off in some spots) but was glad to have the first 20 done. And once back in Manhattan, made a bee-line for 16 Handles for “refueling” 🙂
As for the first half of training-so far, definitely so good!! If the race results have been any indication, things have been right on track, if not a little ahead. And the coaching I’ve been getting this time around has been working well-knows how to push me without burning me out, as I have not been feeling as dead as I felt this time last year while training for Chicago. And I guess I have surprised myself during a workout or long run or 2…
As for the next 9 weeks-only race on the agenda is the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly Half, a race that has been good to me twice before (back when it was called the Philly Distance Run.) Maybe I do have a goal time in mind, maybe I will or won’t reveal it (I’m thinking I’m due for one of my “guess my race time” polls) but if the weather is good, i think I can do some damage to the course. Besides that, it’s all about about getting in the mileage and staying uninjured. I don’t think I can truly rest easy until I know I will get to the start line healthy!