Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | September 20, 2009

Play like a champion today…. and everyday


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As we approach 41 days today, it is ever more important to remain composed and focus on the long term goals. It also reminds me that even if you are not in training for a Marathon, that you should take each single day, and play like a champion. My very good friend Leila sent me this design I had done a couple months ago. I was pleasantly surprised that she had kept it but was very inspired after she sent it to me in one of our “catch up” emails. Thank You Leila!

This past Saturday was planned for a 14 mile long run and I was debating if I should follow sort of my own schedule since TFK is a little ahead. Since I had done 12 miles last week I didn’t want to risk pushing it to 20 miles yesterday. I would have love to have gone but knew that I need to slowly build up to 18 and 20 miles.

So, I decided that I would do 14 on my own today and then next Sunday take on the challenge of 18 miles during the ING NYC Marathon Tune Up Race. More on this after the Saturday recap.

14 miles / 10:30AM

As many of you know I had done 12 miles last Sunday w/ Elizabeth and it was a task to get through a bit. However, I managed and was able to finish well and in a decent time. As I went out on Saturday morning I felt a little nervous but the Thursday & Friday 6 mile runs gave me the confidence that I would be able to do 2 miles up and then 2 full loops of the park. What seemed like such a daunting task to complete two loops of the park have become a normal occurrence that has to be the base amount.

FC0120_079_AThe weather was a little chilly in the morning and was so happy I bought the NIKE arm warmers. From what I hear they have become pretty popular recently as you can see the elite and recreational runners sporting them. They literally are just shortened Dri-FIT material that cover your arms up to your shoulder. As I started out on 23rd and 7th Ave, the wind was picking up (was chilly in the shaded areas) and these def combated the morning cold.

I made my way up to the park via 7th Ave, past Penn Station, Times Square and surprisingly there was a lot of people out. Besides having been caught in the “red light” side of the lights was able to keep a good pace all the way up to Central Park. I entered not at Columbus Circle but at the 7th Ave entrance which is a few yards from the usual entrance.

I made a right to head north along East Drive planning on hitting Harlem Hill. Since I have been doing this during my training runs, it breaks up the course pretty nicely as I would cut the run off at the 72nd street transverse during the weekly runs. Today, we would run past the transverse up to 102nd street and start the trek up and around Harlem Hill. There was an incredible amount of runners out today, most likely getting in their long runs as well for the Marathon. It really was one of the nicest days to run as the weather was cool enough with a slight breeze.

Working around Harlem Hill was a little challenging but saw another TFK member trekking down from the opposite direction and we both acknowledged each other and helped push me up. After we passed I got a little motivation and picked up the pace, then slowed up a bit as I admittedly did push too hard up the hill. Keeping in mind I still had about 9 miles to go I wanted to pace and conserve my energy as much as possible.

At about the 55 minute mark I stopped at Shakespeare to take in some Gatorade and pop my second GU. I experimented this morning with taking a GU 45 minutes prior to the run along with eating 1/4 of a Powerbar I had gotten the night before and it seemed to have helped a TON! I got back onto the run down and around the bottom of the park and worked my way around up to the east side to the Fred Lebow statue and took in some water. I was surrounded by the Achilles Track Club and what a phenomenal group they are! If you don’t know anything about them, click on this link and read about them. I may consider joining their group next year or go out and do a training run w/ them during the week. These athletes are just incredible! This helped propel me forward to finish up the east side of the park.

I repeated to myself as the run got a little tougher that I will have done more than a half marathon today and to worry about getting through it, versus time. On the long training runs, it really is about teaching your body about being on it’s feet for such a long time, instead of speed. I naturally tend to go all out and waste energy but have learned over time to conserve energy to make sure I have enough to finish strong. Those are key to long distance running and for me, I just want to complete my first marathon. If I can get a sub 4 finish time, well that would just be amazing, but ultimately it is just about finishing. As I completed Harlem Hill for the second time I needed to walk for a moment to get my composure back. The second loop was a little harder and I could feel the 14 miles slowing me down. A couple runners past, one Asian runner bumped me, said he was sorry (didn’t matter much to me at that point) and then I continued on. I ended up catching up to him and used him as my target point for a short while.

After Harlem Hill the course turns into a couple of devious rolling hills that become more challenging on the second loop. However, I enjoy running back down more, most likely because it is a reward for getting through the first half of the park. A new training workout I have been incorporating into the long runs is to do hill repeats at probably one of the worst times of the run. Since the 200 meter dirt hill where Team for Kids did their hill repeats during one of the group work-outs is located around 78th street or so, it gives me a breather for a moment and I pause everything to complete 3 repeats. Today, I knew it would have to be a shorter distance so I probably did about 150 meters instead of the full 200. I was at the 1 hr 50 minute marker when I began these repeats and would go at about 95-98% of my energy level to complete each repeat. By the 3rd one I was gassed and remember two other runners coming the opposite direction yelling, “push it! push it!”. They knew and understood I was training hard and pushing my body to the max and it def helped me get up.

I drank the rest of the Gatorade I had gotten, and continued onward to have a much more relaxing run to complete the 14 miles. At this point it was wrapping around the 72nd street transverse and making my way down to Columbus Circle. I finished with a bit of energy, the knees were a little sore along with my left hip, but knew it was all normal after a 14 mile run. The total time for 14 miles, 2:01:22 (8:41 per mile pace).

After the run I met up with Christophe Mendy for a free training session (we have been trying to get together for almost three weeks) and let him know I was tired but wanted to try and push it a little harder. We went through some circuits of knee raises, squats, sprints, double leg jumps, etc and by the end of about 25-30 minutes I was BEAT! Christophe was part of the French boxing Olympic team in the 1996 Atlanta and I was in awe meeting a 4th place world ranked Olympic boxer! Check out his website, he is the nicest guy and pushed me enough that day to finish the work-out. He kept telling me, this is nothing compared to Olympic training and to keep pushing!

Pushed it I did on this Saturday.

tuneup ING NYC Marathon Tune-Up 18 mile Race (Sunday, Sept 27th)

Next Sunday will be my first 18 mile run and based on my time for this 14 mile run I am shooting for a finishing time of around 2:40. Hopefully everything will go well and having Elizabeth there to do 8-10 miles of it with me will help keep me on pace and focused. I am learning through training that after about 10-12 miles I start to lose focus and it has helped to have that other person there to keep pushing you.

Based on the course it begins with Harlem Hill which is great since the Marathon’s first mile will be all up hill. This will give all of us the chance to practice holding back at the beginning of the race. I also will designate the spot for Elizabeth to meet me at around Mile 9 which is located right by Tavern on the Green. I will have done Harlem Hill twice and will help a ton to have her there to push me down and around the park for one last full loop of the park.

It should be a great race as they will have all the tables with fluids set-up and everyone running in it will be running the NYC Marathon! I am not sure if any other TFK members will be running this as they will have a 12 mile recovery run on Saturday after today’s (Sunday) 20 mile group run. Here is a map of the entire course…. 18 mile Tune-Up Race

If you are interested in coming out to cheer everyone on, let me know! I will have more updates and a wrap up of the race next week, so be on the look out for that!

Until then, Happy Running!

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