I’ve made it…it’s here: MARATHON WEEK!
I’m excited and nervous and scared and confused and prepared an unprepared all at the same time. I’m sure many are feeling the same way. I spent the last 4+ months building up for this race and now its finally here. In 5 days, around 12:50pm (fingers crossed!) I will become a member in an exclusive club: I will be a Marathoner. Unreal.
On Saturday afternoon, I ran the last 10 miles of the course, led by the orange flags lining the course to the finish line. A few observations/tips:
- First Avenue is generally flat! There is an extremely minimal incline (in the 80s I think?) But followed by an equally minimal decline
- The Willis Avenue Bridge, leading into the Bronx, is under construction and I think we’ll be running over the new bridge on race day. It was hard to tell much about this bridge because I had to walk up the pedestrian stairs and such. Its pretty short.
- You’re in the Bronx for like .2 seconds before heading back into Manhattan. Make a few turns as you can see on the course map, but nothing bad. Seemed pretty level.
- The turns around Marcus Garvey Park could be a good place to exercise running tangents? I felt like I was back in high school doing annoying laps/turns around a basketball court in gym
- The incline on 5th avenue heading up to Central Park is going to be a PAIN. It started around 108th st, and I really didn’t think it crested until like 92nd/91st. The worst part seemed around 104/102 st, I think. After you’ve hit the wall (or hopefully, not!) this is more of a challenge then I thought…
- Once you enter Central Park on 90th street, you’re just about golden. Just have to remind myself how many countless times I have run down Cat Hill that direction before and how familiar it is
- Once you exit the park, Central Park South going towards Columbus Circle did feel like a tiny incline. Or maybe I was just tired from dodging pesky NYC tourists. Probably will have lost all circulation to my brain at this point and the path to the finish line will be a blur!
In the end, running the last 10 gave me a good indication of the end of the course, leaving no unknowns when I start to struggle.
This week I’m trying to relax, rest my legs, and get pumped! A busy work week is making the relaxing part hard, but I’m off Friday to de-stress and visit the expo to get all my goods!
Sunday I did 6 miles kinda split while I was watching my friend/old Villanova teammate Frances win the Poland Spring 5 miler race in Central Park in the morning. It was good to see her again and I got in some easy miles while she cooled down, and then ran home!
I took Monday off, ran 6 this morning, and have planned for rest of week: Wed: 5; Thurs: 4; Friday off; Saturday easy 3 to shake out + easy strides. Total of 24 miles for the week, and then 26.2 on Sunday!
I was planning to run after work all this week to get some extra sleep, but with the colder weather, longer hours at work, and desire to just go home and eat a good dinner, I’ve found it’s so much easier to just bang it out on the morning and attempt to get to bed a little earlier than normal. Dare I say I’ve fully transitioned to a morning runner? I used to hate running in the morning, like could barely do 20 minutes, but I think it definitely takes a while to get used to. Now I love it because it makes the rest of my day easier, and I feel more awake. Really!
In the meantime, I’ll be obsessively stalking the weather forecast (which looks like 50 and sunny, by the way!) and visiting www.ingnycmarathon.org at least 50 times daily.
Where I’ll be in 5 days! Along with 45,000 other of my closest friends
Taper time? What’s that mean, exactly? Your guess is probably not much better than mine. I know tapering means reducing intensity/mileage to have your legs feel fresh on race day, but I have no idea what a three week-long taper looks like. In college, we tapered for the week before a race: less intense workout tuesday, then 20 minutes and strides Friday before a Saturday race.
Hence my problem figuring out how to gradually reduce over 3 weeks. When I hear “reduce mileage” it just makes me want to run like 2 miles a day for the next 3 weeks. I feel tricked when I still have to do 50 miles this week. Yes, a decrease from last week’s 67, but still substantial! When do I get to the easy 20 min run phase?!
Also, I think I finally just got the hang of eating properly for marathon training! I was enjoying massive amounts of delicious (AND HEALTHY, I swear) foods. I crave greek yogurt, oatmeal, avocado, fresh fruit, EVEN chickpeas. I used to DESPISE chickpeas, people. But now with reduced mileage means I need to eat less, or carry a little extra chub on race day. Or does it mean continue eating the same amount, to fuel muscles and store carbs? See- confusing! And to make it worse, I’ve actually gained weight marathon training. I know, I know, it’s muscle weight (my thighs and calves feel huge!) but shouldn’t I be a little leaner through all of this? I guess the massive amounts of healthy food may not be so great
Oh well. TRUST THE TAPER!
In any case, I’m getting a little nervous for the race. When I see we’re 18 days to go (AHH?!?!) I remember I actually have to do this, instead of talking about it. Half of me cannot wait for the thrill, and half of me wants to curl up and die.
I’m also a tad nervous because I experienced a strange twinge in my thigh on my run last Thursday. I was going to do 8 that morning, but did 7.5 since it just started coming on then and I was basically back at my apartment. Better to run a 1/2 mile less than to tear something. I felt it towards the end of my run Friday, and ooo boy did I feel it through all 21 miles on Saturday. Sunday was my planned day off and I continued to massage the crap out of it. I decided to take Monday off too, because I still felt it when walking, I had a massive head cold, and “Hey I’m tapering now I can totalllly take 2 days off in a row!”
Its starting to feel better, though I hope it doesn’t linger around for the Marathon. Its at a point where it isn’t painful, but I feel that its there. My body will get hit with enough problems over 26.2 miles, I don’t need to start the race with one. At least its beginning to disappear- hopefully.
Oh and did I mention that when I massage it, the quad muscle makes a sort of “crunching” noise? Not normal. The closest thing I could find to describe it is crepitus, which usually happens around joints/knee cartilage. This is my upper quad, not really sure. When I googled “crepitus” and “quad” the other day I got “bone cancer”. Well, so much for googling the cause….
This morning I decided to do a little tempo amidst my 8.5 mile run on the bridle path. Just two loops of the large bridle path reservoir, around 3.5? The first loop was 12:10, and the second was 11:35. Holy smokes! I didn’t realize I dropped it by 35 seconds. It was 6:47 pace overall- good for a nice quick tempo on dirt. Tempo miles are okay in the taper phase, right? And it was short!!
So, here’s to the beginning of a loooooong taper, less mileage, minimal weight gain, and weird quad pain disappearing! Though I have a feeling 11/7 will be here before I know it!