Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | September 4, 2009

15 miles and 2 CP Loops + 2


Hey there my marathon followers! We are @ the 57 DAY MARK and what a journey it has been so far. With race day being so close we are right on time for the longest runs to date. Get ready for some intense running!

7am – Saturday, Aug 22nd

All the TFK members met up right by Columbus Circle at 63rd street on the Bridle Path. After jogging up I joined the gathering group and early morning runners in a misty and partly drizzling morning. It was sort of a calm vibe amongst us as if we all knew we had a war to battle. Luckily for me one of my comrades who I didn’t expect came. Billy came a little late as we were all stretching after he was stuck in the airport the night before, only to have his flight CANCELED. So he decided just to come to the group run which I was fortunate he did.

We started our 14 mile run, working our way up to the bridle path along the the reservoir and we did three full loops including a “tempo” loop which was a minute faster than our selected pace group. It was a bit faster than I should have done but having Billy we both kept things in check. After doing three loops we made our way back down to our original meeting spot which was probably another mile or so, popped some GU, got Gatorade Endurance (sports drink that will be on the race course)  and was back out on the course. Everything was feeling great, we were at a good solid pace and there were still some TFKers straggling around.

Our next mission to finish the 14 mile run was to do 2 loops of the same course, just reversed. Both Billy and I were feeling great and I personally thought, no problem, we did it 3x before. The first go around was OK, got water by the Fred Lewbow statue and was off passing the huge tree that had fallen from the storm before. We passed our coaches again and decided to wait to get water the second time around at Fred. All we had to do was finish this loop once more and we were done, complete, finished. Easier said then done as I kept thinking in my head, not sure if Ill be able to finish the whole way. After getting our final water stop we passed our recent downed tree and this is when I got really really tired. I literally could feel the energy quickly dispersing from my body and was a half step behind. I continued on until we were about 3/4 of a mile from our coaches but my body kept saying slow down, slow down.

I FINALLY HAD TO STOP after running 2+ hours.

I wanted to clock in under 2:20 and at this rate I knew I had to just KEEP PUSHING. We moved yonder to our coaches to get a little more water and have a quick check in to make sure we were OK. We were both just tired, but I was EXHAUSTED. Billy kept saying its not that much further just a mile and a half, thats all and we are done. Again, a lot easier said than done, and after half a mile I had to stop and walk. I had know from my last long run with Emily that I had HIT MY WALL. My fuel was depleted, I had nothing left. It took everything I had to walk at a relatively quick pace and would jog for a bit and then walk. Once I knew we had a little ways to go, we picked up and ran to the finish, completing what would be my longest run ever. Our finish time, 2:20:08. Afterwards, we stretched, got water and were on our way back to have a relaxing weekend. After Billy caught his subway train, I ran back down after getting enough fuel to run the last mile at a normal pace. At the end of the day, I had just completed what would be the longest run, ever. In retrospect, it taught me that I should not run on 3 hours of sleep and lacking of carb intakes.

Central Park Bridle Path
Central Park Bridle Path
Saturday TFK Meeting Spot
Saturday TFK Meeting Spot

4pm – Sunday, Aug 30th

I have found a new route that I will do from 23rd street during the week. I go up 5th Ave to 59th street and once there will run the entire length to Columbus Circle to either enter the park or in this case meet Elizabeth. Now you ask why I would do such a specific course repeated amount of times?

Well, one easy reason.

Right at the end of the Marathon, the course takes you into the park on familiar grounds, then will take you onto 59th street all the way to Columbus Circle and back into the park for the finish. I run this because it is easy for me to track and a convenient route right after work and also to memorize 59th street for when I REALLY wont be able to decipher how far it will be to the finish or how that LAST portion will be. So, if I run it enough times, it will be ingrained into my mind, so when I am finishing, I will know exactly how far and what to expect, including that slight hill right before the actual finish in the park, which I know WILL HURT!

So, onto the running with Elizabeth. I had done 2 miles already and she let me know she wasn’t sure how far she would be able to go but we figured we’ll do one full loop and then decide how we both felt. It was our usual routine, usual rhythm and the usual catching up on stuff. She had gone to Maine for vaca and as busy as ever even though she JUST finished completing her first Tri (she really is incredible)

The one thing that I always enjoyed is that she LOVES to chit chat and we can go through any  run and she’ll just chat away. I would appreciate it EVEN MORE than I would know on this day. We were going at a great pace and Harlem Hill approached and we tackled it like it was no stopping us. One thing I learned was that there is a water fountain right at the top. Never knew or perhaps too busy doing other things, like huffing and puffing my way up to reach the crest and make my way down. We stopped to retain some fluids and off we went. I was worried that from my last run that I would run out of fuel so I made sure to bring two GU packs; orange flavor this time and gave one to Elizabeth so she could fuel up as well. Once we made our way back down to the overcrowded part of the park Elizabeth stopped to use the restroom at Shakespeare, so I used this time to wait in line for a Gatorade as some tourists ordered hot dogs, pretzels, OH and “I forgot the water Mr Vendor” as I am waiting behind them. Clearly, all I wanted was just a Gatorade but perhaps their stomachs needed the fuel. After I got the Gatorade Elizabeth came out and we popped the GU, chased it with Gatorade and we were off. She had let me know that she wasn’t going to do the full 12, but she was going to do 10. We decided quickly to take out Harlem Hill and that I would do it, and meet her on the other side at 102nd street. At this point we continued on around the park, through the mob of everyone enjoying the beautiful park on a wonderful Sunday. We had done 1 FULL LOOP (6 miles) and I was totaled out at around 8 miles at this point. My body felt good and I actually was picking up the pace but Elizabeth was able to keep me on track and made sure not to let me go any faster. We stopped at our statue Fred Lebow for some water and made our way back up past the same piled trees waiting to be crushed down to wood chips. Once we got to 102 we parted ways as she went off to the West and I went north to meet the Harlem Hill once again. Elizabeth had good parting words of advice,

“DO NOT sprint the hill, DO NOT, you still have a long way to go”.

I kept thinking what she said as I made my way around and up to tackle the hill, as I knew I was feeling so good that I would want to hit it hard.

At this point of the run I would be at 10 miles and that hill would feel even harder. As it turns out it wasn’t as bad as I expected however, I did go faster than our pace we had been doing and once I saw her on the other side, all I could say was, “I am starting to feel a little tired”. We stopped to get water, and she suggested I invest in a fuel belt to keep water and gatorade but I feel like it would be too much extra weight. I might take her advice and at least try it. We made our way back down the park and I was waiting for that one moment that I would HIT THE WALL, but it never really came. Our conversation become solemn and I remember a stretch where it became silent. It might have been the moment where we both were feeling tired, but I recall wanting to say, TALK to me, but I just let it be and let it flow. Then, as if she knew what I was thinking, she started talking about my training and how Sept will be a CRITICAL and VERY important month in all of the training. This is when our long runs increase until we hit 20 miles and then the month of Oct we will taper. She kept explaining how I HAVE to follow the schedule, get the long runs in and when it says to taper, TAPER. She recogonizes that I push myself hard, too hard sometimes and that I will need to really follow the schedule due to me being hard on myself and the history of getting injured. I really took everything in but all I could respond was repeating what she was saying and saying yes. However it DID help keep me distracted and focused on something else as we completed another couple miles. The finish was ahead, in the distance we knew. We HAD to sprint it out… I had another last kick and wanted to pick it up. Feeling for the right moment, as I explained to Elizabeth the plan. I shot off and to my surprise Elizabeth caught up and sprinted ahead of me! There was no way she was going to beat me, not after 14 miles.

NO WAY!! Ahhhhhh, Can. Not. Let. Thi.s. H A P P E   N   !  !  !

We both kept at a sprint, neck and neck all the way to the finish, together. Some GREAT friendly competition to get you to finish hard and strong. Our finish time for 12 miles; 1:54:08 (My total time was probably around 2:10:00 for 14 miles). Afterwards, instead of doing my usual 1-2 mile run back downtown, I took the subway with Elizabeth. It was a GREAT run, and very grateful she ran with me. It really makes a difference to have someone with you, and even better with someone you have gotten to know through running. Our runs have become our our staple and our way to bond. And for me, when I plan my first 20 mile run, she WILL DO at least half (Ill bring GU for you Elizabeth!!! haha).

GU gels that was used on the long runs

GU gels that was used on the long runs

Fuel Belt to carry all the fluids so no need to stop

Fuel Belt to carry all the fluids so no need to stop

I am preparing for my FIRST 16 mile run on Saturday.

Oh boy!

(if you are interested in partaking, do let me know!). I am not quite sure yet if I will run with the group or reserve it to be my personal run but 3 key things I learned from the these two runs.

  1. Hydrate hydrate, hydrate
  2. Carb it up the night before helps a ton.
  3. Sleep, sleep and sleep!

After the great first 16 mile run, I will blog a new post while enjoying the great holiday weekend, celebrate all the people I have met so far on this journey and simply enjoy living and life. Cheers to the month of Sept, bring on the miles as I feel the big day coming! Thank you all for reading and your support, and Happy Running!

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Responses

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