Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

2009 NYC Marathon, Part 1

Less than 24 hours to go until the start of the 2009 NYC Marathon – and I’m finally starting to get excited. There was something in me that was rather nonchalant about the whole thing starting sometime early in my taper. Then I went to the expo at the Javits Center on Thursday to pick up my race number and the excitement finally kicked in! Here are a few pictures:

expo1

Welcome banners at the entrance

expo2

Inside the expo

expo3

Bart Yasso, racing icon and Runner's World Chief Running Officer, signing books. Meeting him was a highlight for me.

And then I woke up to another thrilling sight yesterday morning – the Blue Line painted along the course:

Blue Line

The Blue Line marking the marathon route

Everything’s in place, I feel pretty good, and now I just have to make sure I get some rest, load up on carbs, and set several alarms to make sure I get up early enough tomorrow morning to catch the Staten Island Ferry.

Time to Taper

The true reward of all those months of training comes at that moment when you cross the finish line at the end of 26.2 miles and you recognize your huge accomplishment as you proudly hobble over to accept your medal from a volunteer, have your picture taken, and warm up with a shiny Mylar blanket.

But the SECOND best reward that comes from all those months of training is the three-week taper period before the big race. What does this mean to me? Cutting back on mileage, sleeping in a little longer, being a little bit lazy and maybe eating whatever I feel like eating. Bring on the cookie dough ice cream. Enjoy it, because it’s the quiet before the storm. And right now I am enjoying it!

I finished my last long run this past Sunday with my running club. As we do every year, three weeks before the NYC marathon we start in Park Slope and run the last 20 miles of the course. Along the way we have dedicated teammates stationed every few miles at water stops, helping the rest of us get through that last major training run. We end in Central Park at Tavern on the Green, and those who feel like pushing it a little more can tack on an extra two miles by running the lower loop and then some. For me it was very strong this year. I ran with good company, stayed on pace, and felt like I could easily tackle another 4.2 miles. Exactly the kind of place you want to be in three weeks before the big day.

And now I’m in the taper zone. Suddenly it’s a different world with new challenges.

I remind myself that it’s important to stick to your plan and fight the urge to run the extra miles you are used to. This will give your body time to rejuvenate and be in the most well-rested shape it can be in for race day. So with a decrease in mileage, that opens up my calendar quite a bit. What do I do with my extra time? Cross train a bit with some swimming, and then maybe spend a little bit more time on the job search…

Reach the Beach, Part 1

I am off to return to the great state of my birth, New Hampshire, to be part of a 12-man team in the 200-mile Reach the Beach relay. I will be running three different legs over the course of 24 hours for a total of 19.09 miles. To prepare I’ve made some interesting adjustments to my training over the past few weeks by running twice on some days. So for example, instead of running my mid-week 10 miler for marathon training, I would run five miles in the morning and five more in the evening. We’ll see how it works out starting tomorrow afternoon. Looking forward to it!

Good luck to all you other RTBers!

(The photo below is not New Hampshire, but it is a beach.)

Not New Hampshire

The Haribo Experiment

Around mile 13 of this morning’s 20 mile long run, two of my teammates and I decided to stop by a bodega at West 155th Street to get some Gatorade before we crossed into the Bronx at Yankee Stadium. I was getting a case of the shakes while running up the hill and knew that I wouldn’t be able to get through the next seven miles without putting something solid in my stomach – and gels were not going to do it for me. I’m usually pretty picky about what I consume during a run but I took a chance on the first palatable thing I saw – a bag of gummi bears. Somehow they spoke to me.

I knew I was taking a risk. Either it would make me sick within the next mile or it would be the perfect sugar boost to power me through the rest of the run. I ate the whole bag and washed it down with blue Gatorade. It was pretty darn tasty.

It turns out that those adorable little German wonders worked well for me. I finished the long run in pretty good time, averaging about 8:00 per mile. And not once did I ever think that I would vomit, which is a great sign. It’s funny what you crave during big workouts. Another member of my team has since urged me to give Clif Shot Bloks another chance – they’re not as cute as gummi bears but I’ll give them another try on the next long run.