Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | October 9, 2009

LONGEST Training run… 21 miles + BIB + VIDEO!

Picture 19


Hello there my loyal marathon supporters! This is it, its time to go, its time to JUST DO IT. Last Saturday was my longest training run of the season… 21 miles! I will give a quick re-cap of the beginning of the end… of the hard training season!

21 mile run (part of Grete's Great Gallop Half-Marathon)

21 mile run (part of Grete's Great Gallop Half-Marathon)

This 21 miler was part of the Norwegian Festival to celebrate the country, culture and people including the legendary, Grete Waitz. We would jump into the 13.1 Grete’s Great Gallop that circles Central park twice, counter-clockwise after doing a quick 8 mile run.

The morning started off quick and I had planned on running in the 9-10 min mile pace group since I wasn’t feeling 100% from the birthday festivities and lack of sleep and proper nutrition leading up to this big day. In fact, it was a last minute, the night before decision that I would actually attempt 20+ miles. When I arrived, 30+ minutes before the 9-10 minute pace group would leave, I met a girl named Danielle who also lived in Hoboken. Didn’t know it when I first talking about it but I then jumped into the 8-9 minute pace group. As long as I had someone to run with I would be OK and if I needed to slow up during the race I would. I honestly thought the run would go well.

I thought back when I had done a slow 10 miles with Sharon earlier in the season and then amped it up to 14 miles to total roughly 24 miles for the day. Uh, NOT TODAY, on this day it would not be my day. As we began I felt fine, 4 miles out, 4 miles back and right into the race… no problem. By mile 6-7 my stomach was hungry, like running on empty. I had to pop my first GU which seemed to help a little. I was getting a cold on Thursday and knew I could not push my body as hard, and it probably wasn’t the best idea to go out into a race environment. For me and a lot of my runner friends, they get charged up and go a much faster pace because of the competitive spirit. I think my competitive spirit lasted about two miles and I was done. I had used the bathroom right before the start line, so Danielle sped ahead to begin her half-marathon. I took about 20 seconds, and went back out. I was able to see her in the distance and figured why not try and catch up to her. So, I went onward finally catching up to her before mile 2 and at this point felt like I could keep this pace.

By about mile 2-3 I began to feel a little off. I knew that this bug was nagging at me and would make this race one of the worse I have run. It was more of a, my head is going to explode, and fatigued feeling. I really believe with the combination of going out drinking Thursday night, recovering Friday and the lack of sleep, I was not prepared for this. Granted, we were already in the double-digits of miles, but on a normal day this would be our warm-up. It would become more and more difficult for me to continue on and at one point during the race, I wanted to drop out. But instantly my ego took over and I yelled to myself inside,


I thought of how disappointed I would be and how my outcome would be that I had to drop out of a race. So, I continued on and told myself, if I need to walk I will, if I have to stop, I will.

7730_152014861508_510786508_2585495_1136849_nI began to use the walk/run strategy where I would run to the next mile, take in gatorade and/or water and continue on. I must have done this for the last 9 miles or so of the race. Our coaches were strategically placed along the course and MAN DID THEY HELP! I had to have looked like holy hell but they kept me going. I tried to break the park and course down into small pieces and give myself some incentives, like you will get GU when you get to the next fluid station, or there will be more people at 72nd st and music that will keep you going. That helped A TON, but when we were climbing the back-side of Harlem Hill, I was NOT expecting that. The first time around I actually had to stop and pull over to rest a moment. A fellow runner stopped to make sure I was OK and I just responded that I was alright. In fact, I was OK and I was able to manage to move onward. The second time around was even more difficult and at this point you were able to see more runners on the side stopping and walking.

At some point I caught up with one of my TFK teammates who was pretty sick. I ran with her and at times I had to stop and she pulled ahead. I then would get enough energy to catch up to her and she would drop back. Finally, at one point I just totally dropped back until the final 2-3 miles when I had gotten a second wind. I actually saw my friend Kara and yelled at her, stopped for a moment to say hello and told her I was shooting for a 3:10 finish time.

At this point I had left her and my teammate but felt like I really could do a sub 3:10 for the total mileage. As we came down to 72nd Street I saw one of our coaches as I was sucking down gatorade for probably the last time, and she kept yelling for me to keep going, keep pushing. God, I felt like crap but knew I could pull it out.

At this point I knew we just needed to get to the bottom of the park and it would only be a few yards 7730_152014871508_510786508_2585496_1676320_naway. There was another TFK coach right before the swirl to the bottom of the park and that kept me alive. It was familiar territory as on a couple of shorter training runs I would run this opposite direction up to 72nd street and back down. I acted like I was just on another training run.

When we got to the bottom of the park I prepared to keep my pace until I felt comfortable for one final kick (if I had any kick left). I knew some coaches would be on the side cheering us onto the finish line. There actually wasn’t, which was a let down but I kept going. This finish right as you come up from the entrance of the park towards Tavern on the Green is the final kick of the marathon course. At this point I might as well have just done 26 miles… I kept going, checking my time as by down I could actually finish in 2:59:00. I wanted 2:59 for the day…. dammit… 2:59! Nope, not today, TODAY you will get an even 3 hr finish for the day. The half marathon time was a 1:55:16 (8:47 pace) and the 21 miles was a 3:00:00 (8:35 pace).

After the race, I felt muscles I didn’t think could ever get sore. I had to walk very gingerly and had to hunch over to take the weight off of them. I really believe after running 20+ miles your body and muscles just get shocked. I had never felt this tight in my entire training season and life for that matter. I was proud I finished and when I saw my teammate I walked over, saying nothing and just gave her a HUGE HUG. She was awesome, she battled thru and made it. We walked very slowly over to the TFK meeting spot and went home. It was one of the toughest runs of the season, however due to the weather and me getting sick, I am proud to have run it in 3 hrs flat. If you were to add 5.2 miles to that pace I would be at a 3:45 marathon finish. Not too shabby if you ask me!

On another note; I got my bib number/wave start AND my NEW SHOES!!! Asics Gel Kayanos 15THANK YOU ZAPPOS!

Picture 18My bib number is 47533 and I will be in WAVE 3 (the last wave to leave). I will post another blog on the bib numbers and colors, etc. It’s actually a nice design solution to separate 40,000+ runners.

I leave you with a inspirational video I found on Youtube. It shows you most of the course, all of the runners and the crowds on marathon day. I cannot wait for Nov 1st and I really hope you can’t either. HAPPY RUNNING!

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