and just like that, it’s taper time again

Yeah, was it really only a few months ago that I was tapering for some other race?  Where does the time even go?  I guess I have the mild winter to thank, as I was afraid it would drag on forever, hasn’t really been the case.

So since I was lagging in talking about training, here are the last few weeks in summary form:

  • 2/20-2/26: ok week, ended with my first 20 miler of the cycle.  Pretty much averaged 9 on the dot for that one
  • 2/27-3/4: sort of a crap week.  My Monday run the day after my 20 was a disaster, as my legs were dragging and therefore got dropped by the group I was running with not even one mile in.  I even had to cut my run short and stop after 3 miles.  Had an encouraging tempo workout a few days later, but the 16-mile long run didn’t go well.  Felt slow the entire time, had to make a pit stop after 12 miles, and really struggled for the last 2 miles.  Was seriously questioning after this one if I really deserved to run Boston…
  • 3/5-3/11: Ok track workout, struggled on some repetitions later in the week.  My second 20-miler was this weekend…maybe not ideal timing with the NYC Half the week after, but I had to get it in.  I just purposely held back a lot with the pace and I think it went OK
  • 3/12-3/18: NYC Half week!  Read all about it
  • 3/19-3/25: Highest mileage week, last 20-miler.  I braved the Palisades for that run, figuring I needed the hill training.  I had run it twice before-in 2006 and 2007 but this would be the first time with the Garmin.  And I’m telling you, having the info is very interesting.  Though I pretty much averaged around 9:30-9:40 for the run, the mile with the crazy evil hill took me 11 minutes-and no, I wasn’t walking.  It was a nice run though-even though I had to do it solo (due to having to get an early start and of course, being too damn slow) I didn’t need the iPod once.  Though damn, my quads and butt were still feeling this a day or 2 later…

This week?  Cutting down the long run, still keeping the speed for now to try and keep things sharp.

And I got this nice little treat in the mail last weekend! 🙂

It’s when you get the official documents and the bib number, it starts to feel real 🙂

And I really like my bib #-17764.  Number one, two lucky 7’s, 6+4=perfect 10! 🙂  As for corral placement, I made it into wave 2, but the last corral.  (And no, I am not complaining about being in wave 2…unlike this lovely occurrence. )  I actually like this placement-I think I’m better off being at the back of wave 2 instead of the front of wave 3.  I’ve been warned about how overzealous Boston newbies go out too fast in the beginning, and I figure having others in front of me will sort of prevent that.  Also, this isn’t like NYCM with their stupid “honor system” that lets 5 hour marathoners into wave 1-this is seeding by actual time, so there most likely will be other 3:40-3:43 types around me.

17 days to go!  Only a few more days before the weather obsessions can begin again!

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race day approaches!!

Less than 24 hours to go.  In fact, if all goes according to plan, this time tomorrow I will be well into the last 10K of the race…

So the 1st half of the week just wrapping up things at the office for the next few days…and being told by co-workers that I should try and “win” on Sunday so that I could buy our department so we don’t have to work anymore.  LOL.

Then starts what I feel is the best 4-day weekend of the year!!  Starting off on Thursday at the expo…and getting my bib #…thats when it starts to feel real!!

And yes, I know I mentioned a month or so ago that I had gotten assigned originally to wave 2 blue…but thanks to my Philly Half time, I got the NYCM version of the “judges save” and re-assigned to the Local Competitive Start!!  I’m definitely excited about this experience.  I don’t even mind being in green on the lower level…I’ve been orange once and blue once, might as well come full circle no? 🙂  In terms of race day, I know I will really have to rein it in at the start-there are definitely gonna be faster peeps around me, I’m just gonna have to let them go and not get too caught up…run my own race!!

And whether the number is low or high, I always like looking for meaning in my race #’s.  And I’m really liking this one!!  744=7+44=the numbers of Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson-2 Yankee greats!!  How can that not bring me luck? 🙂

As for the expo, was pretty status quo for NYC.  Didn’t stop me from indulging in some running-related loot…hey, the expo is a candy store for runners.  Most excited about my new Sparkly Soul headbands-I wore a thin silver one on my last run yesterday and the thick hot pink one will be running with me tomorrow-definitely will be reviews to come 🙂  One notable abscence at the expo was Nike-now that was big!  I usually get my post-race shirt at the Nike booth…yep, that’s a superstition of mine.  I have to get a shirt that I plan to wear to a post-race party.  Only time I didn’t was MCM…and you know what happened there 😉  Anyway, this time around Saucony or Asics will represent my post-race attire.

Thursday nite was the Flyers’ pasta party!  Change of pace for the venue this year, instead of Sambuca on the UWS where it had been been for the past 5 years-it was at a midtown venue this time-Trattoria Dopo Teatro.  Gotta love that it was within walking distance.  Though I never minded taking the subway to the UWS.  Anyway, once again, food and company were great, and we were treated to a great and inspirational presentation by Bart Yasso!!  He autographed a copy of his book for me (which I’m really looking forward to reading, if his presentation was only a sneak preview!)

"never limit where running can take you"

Yesterday was my last run before the big day…did the last 2.2 miles of the course, and even brought my camera to capture things like the mile markers, route banners, finish line.  Then got my pre-race mani/pedi-Watermelon for the fingers, Borrowed and Blue for the toes, both by Essie.  That’s what I’ve been wearing since the summer for races…and if it ain’t broke 😉  Today is just carbo-loading, chilling, staying off the feet.

As for tomorrow…honestly, I’ve never been this calm before a marathon.  Coach T has truly been a miracle worker with me this year!  And even though the poll results says otherwise…I’m gonna go for 3:35 tomorrow.  I’ll know early enough if it’s gonna be doable or not (I’ve had pretty good judgement of that in the past!) and can adjust but as of right now, that’s the plan.  Thankfully the weather gods are smiling on us again! 🙂

So thanks to everyone who’s read along and supported me the last 4 months and more…and that’s all she wrote til I cross the finish line at Tavern on the Green tomorrow!!  Good luck to everyone else running tomorrow!!

see you tomorrow!

my taper madness list, 2011 edition

So last time I poked fun at taper madness was the last time I ran NYCM, 3 years ago…

And the last coupla days, I came up with my laundry list of Things to Freak Out About During the Last Week of the Taper.

  1. The weather for Sunday.  Duh.
  2. Making sure I don’t catch whatever illness is going around at the office.  Or wherever else, for that matter.
  3. Avoiding any and all soccer balls during my last workout at the track (just did some 200s tonite to get some turnover going without it being too much)
  4. Idiot bikers who don’t obey red lights and come close to hitting me
  5. The Occupy Wall Street peeps possibly “occupying” the marathon
  6. Injuring myself from running into idiots in Chelsea Market who have to stop short and take pictures of the disturbing Halloween displays
  7. Injuring myself from running into idiots in Time Square while walking to the subway
  8. MTA fails on race day
  9. Oh and last but not least…the weather! 😛

And yep, I think the Weather Channel was sick of my hitting refresh yesterday, as they decided to give me the forecast in Spanish!

¡Dios mío!

OK back to taper madness! 😛

week 17 wrap-up

ahhhhhhh!!!!! it’s now race week!!!  when did this happen??? 😮

So of course, taper week 2 is not without being packed with excitement…yeah if you can call it that.

So track was 8 x 400…no more 1000’s or 1200’s, just short stuff from there on in.  I hit my usual 1:35-1:36 with a 1:34 thrown in there….so while the workout was status quo, of course drama has to come from the loose soccer balls, which one unfortunately nabbed me in the shin-thank God I had my compression sox on!!

Wednesday I knew I had to get my recovery run done in the AM, as between an all-company meeting and the annual celebration of Oktoberfest at work, I knew it was gonna be a wasted day, no pun intended, and that no workout was gonna happen after work.  Sure enough, after sampling all 4 of the CFO’s varieties of home brew I hit the bar afterwards with some other colleagues…yep that was a late nite.

Thursday nite was cold and very rainy.  Cold I can deal with…but no need to be a weather hero so close to game time.  So I bailed on that nite’s workout in favor of some much-needed rest.

As for the weekend…did anyone imagine that it would snow in October?  Yeah, when I saw the forecast a coupla days out I didn’t believe it.  I mean, I didn’t see a low of 32 degrees or lower anywhere.  Boy we were in for a surprise on Saturday!!  My original plan to do a short run including the 5th Ave hill was scrapped in favor of the dreadmill and a yoga class.  On the topic of the dreadmill, I’m finding I actually don’t mind the Woodway brand too much…there’s usually 1 or 2 at the NYSC locations, so if I absolutely have to resort to the dreadmill, I hit up one of those!

So as Central Park was closed for part of yesterday, I hit up the West Side path for my last long run-8 miles with 7 @ MP.  The conditions on the path, post-snowstorm were pretty good.  It wasn’t too cold (I was actually wearing shorts!) though it was pretty windy-the big downside to running along the water, as it meant running into headwinds…and I’m sure you can tell which were the headwind miles.

Running into the wind, those first coupla miles were slower than I wanted.  And even though overall I hit the time, of course I couldn’t help but panic that if it is windy on Sunday, then I am screwed… 😛

Oh yeah how does that weather look?  I know there’s time for it to change, but…

Actually-a little warmer than I would like (ideal for me would be in the 40’s) but compared to this past weekend-I’ll take it!!

week 16 wrap-up

One week of taper down.  2 to go.

Sunday was the “last 10 miles” run.  Which was good, I needed to revisit 5th Avenue.  And given that the portion in the Bronx changed since I ran the race last, would be a good idea to check that out as well and make mental notes.

So no need to take a cab this time, I was supposed to get in 12-14 miles so running to the meetup spot from midtown was a perfect warmup.  A big crowd was assembled, not quite the 500 from last week but still a decent size.  We separated into pace groups…I was 9 minutes…duh 😛  And set off.

Once again, I tried to make notes of hills (one i specifically seemed to take note of was up to 86th)…hmmm not as bad as I remembered though.  Almost made a wrong turn in Da Bronx at that 3 way intersection but got back on track 🙂  There’s gonna be a coupla really quick turns around 140th….tangents, anyone?

The first mile was right on the money at 8:57, but afterwards I noticed others were starting to push the pace a bit and I was falling behind.  Was barely hanging in there, thank god for the intersections to regroup.  Even when we got back to Manhattan, I didn’t want to push it, as I had to save something for 5th Avenue.  And unfortunately, that was where I really got dropped.  So frustrating.  I had to do under 8:40 at that point and yet I couldn’t stick with everyone.  (remember, this was supposed to be the 9:00 group…)  At that point it was just like “get to the park, and get this done without embarrassing myself further.”

And overall was definitely quicker than I wanted, the 10 turned out to average 8:39 pace.  So much for just doing 9’s and cruising through it.  But the frustrating part was not being able to stick with the group when they were going faster, especially since most were people I should be able to stick with in workouts or races, if not finish ahead of.  The only way I could have stuck with them was if I turned it into a race effort, as is I was at the very edge of my comfort zone.  How will I ever run a faster pace in 2 weeks if I can’t do it now?  Thankfully Coach T was amongst those waiting for everyone at the finish, as I definitely had to vent…

I really hope this run was just a fluke, but who knows?  One more chance to run MP next weekend and I really hope I nail it.  And hope the legs get with the program next time I have to run 5th Avenue…

And the 15-day forecast for November 6th is out.  Let the weather obsessions begin!

week 15 wrap-up

3 weeks to go! And you know what that means…

Hey on the topic, might as well throw in some MC Hammer for your listening pleasure…

Getting back to business.  Yep, this was not an easy week at all.  Even 2 days later, I was still feeling my race, but me and my compression socks sucked it up through a set of 4×1000’s.  There was an option to add on another 800 at the end, but Coach T said for me it wasn’t optional.  meaning he was saving me from myself and cutting me off after the 1000’s.

I was supposed to hit 4:10’s…got there eventually 🙂

Interval Time Pace
1000m 4:11.64 6:44.98
1000m 4:11.10 6:44.11
1000m 4:12.32 6:46.07
1000m 4:10.82 6:43.66

Thursday was hills, then Sunday was the last 20-miler-the “3 Bridges Run Redux.”  Once again, I’d be leading the “niners.”  Difference this time was a much earlier wake-up call!!  As this run brought around 500 people, it had to be split up into multiple waves as opposed to the 3 waves of 2 weeks ago.  What does that mean for me?  The 9 minute group would be departing for run at 6:45.  AM.  Yes you read that right.  The sun was barely up when we left.  But hey, it means we’d get back earlier to shop at JackRabbit (the run meeting place), right? 🙂  (and definitely was fortuitous that this run left from the west side JR!  meaning no transfers, no MTA fails!)

So anyway, we were blessed with another nice day, albeit a little windy, especially in the early miles on the West Side Highway.  Mental note-if it’s windy on race day, draft off of someone taller 🙂  I was the sole leader for the group this time around, though pretty much everyone stuck together and a couple others helped me at times.  Another great group to work with!  The pacing went well as usual-only miles that were slower were the headwind and bridge miles, and not by much.  In fact, at the water station at the 10.5 mile point in Brooklyn, Flyer PN who was manning the station with his wife said that my group was within a minute or 2 of the expected arrival time.  whoa.  how good is that? 🙂  We hit a bit of traffic in the park, as there was some huge walk going on that was taking up almost the entire 72nd street transverse and the east drive.  Found a clearing and crossed in order to hit the Great Lawn and get over to the west side and back to where we started…though we did have to do a little bit extra around the block to get exactly to 20 miles! 😀  But we were DONE!! 🙂

And the splits:

Mile 2 had the major headwind…and I’m sure you can tell where the bridges were 🙂  But all in all, not bad.

Sooo afterwards I did some shopping…yep I had quite a bit of $$ to spend at JR, since I got gift cards for pacing both 3 Bridges runs and my baby brother got me a gift card for my B-day too.  I’ll eventually reveal what I got, but I will say that Mr. Garmin took FOREVER to get a signal before the run.  He must have known it would be his last outing or something 😛  (and it was a good thing my group was one of the first to finish-no lines!!  By the time the later groups finished, the lines were insane!)  And I hit up 16 Handles because of course, it’s never too early for 16 Handles.  Even at 11 AM.  Especially after running 20 miles 😛

Thankfully not really sore today…compression socks FTW!!  I think the hot pink CEP’s are gonna be part of the marathon outfit again 🙂  Did get a much-needed massage today for good measure!!  And for the next 3 weeks?  It’s all about staying uninjured and hoping to not catch whatever is going around in my office.  Let the taper madness begin!

go away, taper monster

Always some unwelcome creature around during the taper, particularly the last week.  For some it’s a cute little worm.  For me it’s a monster.  Or so it seems.

Cut mileage?  Don’t have to ask me twice.  Cut back on the booze?  Doesn’t hurt at all, especially considering I felt like crap the day after my birthday.  Time spent not running means I don’t have to resort to the DVR for Dancing With the Stars?  oh yeah.  (Anyone think that The Situation is going to be this season’s version of Kate Gosselin?)

But what the monster does is make me read forums and Facebook pages and other discussion about the weather on 10-10-10 and how it’s warmer than ideal.  And seeing things like “you’re screwed if it’s warm, might as well pick another marathon now if you’re going for a time goal” or “well the weather forecast changed 3 days out in 2007 and 2008…it got hotter” doesn’t exactly make me feel much better.

I guess I wouldn’t be so stressed out about it if it weren’t for the fact that I do get affected by the heat, moreso than others it seems.  And there’s evidence to back that up-as recently as the New Haven 20K and of course I can’t forget my infamous choke job at the 2008 Mini 10K.  Not to mention in both the 2006 and 2008 NYC Marathons, I went with a sleeveless top and shorts and felt comfortable while a lot of others had long sleeves and/or tights on.

History is not on my side, but I wonder if there is any hope of rewriting the history books on Sunday.  As I know there are a lot of you out there who do race well in the heat-is there anything else I could do to salvage my race besides the obvious (e.g.,  staying hydrated)?