NYC Marathon Training: Week 9

Good morning! I am breaking my "I haven't seen Breaking Bad yet" internet moratorium to post this training recap, then I'm shutting my computer off before I see a spoiler or worse, lose control completely and peek at AV Club. So here's what went down in Week 9:

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - 5.12 miles

Hanging with my best friend on our favorite trail.


I felt pretty sore after my little joyride on Sunday.  I realize now that the difference between me (a first-time marathoner)  and the "advanced" marathoners to whom Pfitzinger is writing in his book (and the name of the book might be a clue here), "Advanced Marathoning," is that they need far less recovery time than I do. My body is still so new to distance running, and every mistake I've made so far in has been related to underestimating how long it would take me to recover from various efforts.  

(I took these photos on the same trail a few weeks ago.)

(I took these photos on the same trail a few weeks ago.)

I also picked up an iron supplement after reading about Amy's iron deficiency and Holly's advice on a previous post of mine, which reminded me that yes, I was anemic at one point, and I'm a vegetarian, and so maybe one reason I've been so tired has to do with my iron levels. Will experiment for a few weeks and report back.

Wednesday - 5.27 miles

I was supposed to do speedwork -- 5x1000 @5k pace. But I was really not in the mood for it, so I swapped Thursday's easy run and told myself I'd do my repeats tomorrow. I couldn't tell if I was physically tired, or just feeling down. Nothing exciting to see here. Halfway through I realized I was physically tired.  

Thursday - 4.77 miles 

I woke up early to do my repeats at the Duke track, but when I got there at 6:15 (a time when it should be open!) the track was closed "for a game on Saturday." What! I was about to make my way to alternate tracks, thanks to this fellow Durhamite, but realized that it was nearly 7 and I wouldn't have time to get them in before school started. Instead I went home and attempted them on city streets, but had to deal with lights. These just weren't happening and my legs still felt so tired. 

Friday - Rest

I needed this! 

Saturday - 6.11 easy miles

My legs felt much fresher after a rest day, and I delayed my run so I could run alongside the Pride Parade. It was such a good time out there -- so much to see and people to wave to. Also, this was my first Pride Parade experience in the South. My quick impressions: There were surprisingly few protesters (just one van making lazy circles around the parade route blasting something from a megaphone), but there were tons of church groups marching and showing support.

Sunday - 19 miles (9:45 av. pace)

It occurred to me that after this run, I only have one more long run to test out my race day outfit, nutrition, and wake-up strategy. I spent the first 6 miles planning what to put on my shirt, and worrying about whether or how to wear my glasses during the race. My vision isn't awful (-1.5) but it isn't good, and everything beyond a few feet in front of me is blurry. When I'm running my first marathon, I want to take in everything, and I want to make sure I can see my spectators! I spent mile 7 worrying about missing people who are cheering for me. That would be so awful! I'm thinking about buying and trying to wear contacts during the race, but maybe that is excessive and I should just deal with it? Glasses are not an option because I've never successfully kept my glasses on my head during a run over 4 miles.  It's unbearably gross when they get sweaty and slide down my nose, ugh. These thoughts kept me entertained for over three hours of running with no music.  

I knew this would be tough because 1) I'd felt tired all week, and 2) this was my first long run that didn't follow a total rest day. If I understand correctly, the point of this is to simulate the last 19 miles of the marathon instead of the first 19. I could definitely tell the difference -- my knees started hurting around mile 8, and I felt behind on my fueling but couldn't "catch up."

I also made the gigantic mistake of starting my run with the Al Buehler trail, which defeated me back in Week 2. Since that early reality check moment, I've run less than 2 miles in it. 

Everything started out fine and I was pleased at how much stronger I felt compared to Week 2, but then this girl started pacing off of me (she was RIGHT behind me) and I had too much pride to slow down up the hills. So I kept powering up one hill after another until my heart was pounding. I knew I was burning up my energy too quickly and tiring myself out too early, but in the moment I just didn't care. By the time I had finished 10 miles I was more than ready to be done. But I still had 9 more to go!

I didn't kill myself or anything trying to finish, and once I was on normal rolling hills again I felt a little better. Still, I hope I remember that feeling in the early miles of NYCM, when I'm tempted to let loose down the Verrazano and pretend I'm invincible. 



Total: 40.27

There are only two more peak training weeks until I start to taper, and I'm still no closer to figuring out what my goal pace is really-truly-actually. I have in my head that is is 9:09, because that would be a sub-4 hour finish, but I honestly want to just finish and keep suffering to a minimum, if possible. But I also don't want to finish excessively slowly and wish I had taken a little bit of a chance. I'm pretty certain I could hold a 9:30 pace in cooler weather on the NYCM route, but maybe I'm underestimating the magical effects of taper, spectators, and adrenaline. Any armchair coaches out there want to advise me? I'm all ears.