Weekly Wrap-Up: December 18-24

Hello from overcast Greensboro. I’ve got a few minutes on Christmas Eve for a quick wrap-up.

Yes, this is two posts in one day. I finally got my Trophy Trot 10K recap done, so I had to post it, and I didn’t want to wait to post my Weekly Wrap-Up, so here it is.

Weight Check:165.5 pounds, up 0.8 from last week. My weigh-in was on Thursday, before I ran 6 miles. I didn’t do a good job of buckling down, but I guess it could have been worse.

I had to make a few changes to my schedule, so I’ll just list my mileage for each day. It was all easy runs.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 3.11
Tuesday 4.01
Thursday 6.01
Saturday 4.01
Sunday 4.01

Total: 21.15 miles

Monday, it was 43 degrees, so decent weather. My legs felt a little more tired than usual. That’s really odd, because my mileage has been pretty low lately, and also, I actually ran my fastest average pace for an easy run in months. I don’t get it, but I won’t complain. I kept the effort easy except for the very end.

On Tuesday, I had a strange run.

The weather was fine, 42 degrees. My legs felt OK. My GPS screwed up on the first mile, and I think that it affected me mentally on the next two miles. I did manage to rally on the last mile, though, so I think it was more mental than physical.

Thursday was my last run before I left town, so I figured I’d make it my “long” run of the week. The weather was pretty close to perfect for me, 50 and overcast. My legs felt OK. I hit a few hills that I don’t normally get to on my shorter neighborhood runs.

The best word to describe this run is comfortable. My pace wasn’t all that fast, but I felt pretty good the whole time. I think it helped that school was out and a lot of people took the day off, so my neighborhood was much more quiet than usual for a weekday. I kept the effort easy except for a small push at the end.

Saturday, I was in my parents’ neighborhood, which feels hillier than it actually is. The temperature wasn’t too bad, 54 degrees, but the wind made it feel a little cooler. It was still OK. My legs felt fine. I probably ran a hair too fast on the first mile, but otherwise, I did all right, keeping the effort easy until the very end.

On Sunday, it was slightly cooler (45 degrees) but less windy. My legs felt fine. I probably ran a little bit faster than I should have overall, but my pace wasn’t too fast. I kept the effort easy until near the end.

One other note, I forgot to bring my running socks with me, and had to run in 100% cotton socks for the last two days. I got a blister on the outside of my left big toe today, which didn’t surprise me. I’m hoping Santa is bringing some new running socks to hold me over until I get back home.

Next week, more travel, and possibly some bad weather late in the week, but hopefully I can get in a 12 miler next Saturday and close out the year strong. We’ll see.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Race Report: 2017 Trophy Trot 10K

This is one of those races where my performance is going to look better as time passes. I’m still a little bit disappointed, because I missed a PR by 14 seconds. Considering the course and how I felt out there, I did pretty well.

First, let’s go back to Tuesday. I drove up to my parents’ house in Greensboro (about a 2 hour drive) because I was going to take them to Raleigh for Thanksgiving at my sister’s house. I brought two bags with me. For the trip from Greensboro to Raleigh, I only brought one bag. I took the contents of the two bags and only packed what I would need in Raleigh in my single bag. (I know this sounds mundane, but it will come up later.)

Wednesday morning, I drove with my parents to Raleigh. We were staying at a hotel about 5 minutes from my sister’s house. I then drove over to pick up my packet at Runologie, a local running store. They gave me a bib, a t-shirt, safety pins (They were already in the bag, which is a shame, because I brought some with me), and a card advertising the Running Realtor. (Yes, really.) I’m not looking to purchase any real estate in the Raleigh area anytime soon, but OK.

The shirt looks nice.

As usual, I can’t get the color to show up correctly. It’s more of a burgundy color than purple. The bottom of the picture is closer to the actual color than the top. Not only do I not have any other running shirts in that color, I’m not sure I have any other types of shirts in that exact color. The only problem is that it’s a polyester blend and not a true tech t-shirt. Disappointing, but at least it’s not 100% cotton, so I can wear it occasionally on short runs in temperate weather.

Also, I did not get my bib number before I picked it up. Before this race, every time I did a race in the Charlotte area, I didn’t get my bib number in advance, but for every race outside of Charlotte, they e-mailed me my bib number before packet pickup. Now, for a race the size of New York City, you pretty much have to send out bib numbers. (I can’t imagine walking up to some poor volunteer at the expo for NYC and telling them my last name is Smith.) But for smaller races, you can go either way, and it was just a bizarre coincidence that, up until this race, there was a definite split between the Charlotte area and outside the Charlotte area.

Anyway, my parents and I met my sister and her family for dinner Wednesday night. (My nephews are the best.) We went to a Japanese restaurant, which for me means sushi. Yeah, I had sushi the night before a race. I don’t think it made much difference.

At the hotel, I started getting my stuff ready for the morning. I went through the one bag that I brought to get everything I would need for the morning. And this is the part where I combined two bags into one comes back. I realized that in that transfer, my watch didn’t make it. Argh. I hate racing without a watch. Luckily, I had my phone, and I still have Runkeeper installed, so it would have to do.

I had a pretty rough night of sleep. I still managed to get up go through my normal routine, shower, Clif bar, water, brush teeth, use bathroom. It was slightly colder than I had hoped, around 33 when I got up, so I knew I’d have to stick to long sleeves and long pants. (I had brought a pair of shorts just in case it turned out warmer, but alas, I didn’t get to wear them.)

It took me about 15 minutes to drive over to the race. They had street parking near the brewery, so I found a spot. I then got out and started a warm-up mile. It was still 33 degrees. I ran 1.01 miles, tacking on the extra .01 as usual, and I ended up with a pace of 11:01/mile, so not too bad. I then walked over to the starting area.

The race went through Dorthea Dix Park, which is the home to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, so it doesn’t really look like a park.

Before the race, they introduced some elites, which, for this race, consistent primarily of runners from local colleges. Someone who had just been elected to the Raleigh City Council (I didn’t catch her name) pardoned a turkey, and then a guy sang the National Anthem. And wow, that guy was really good.

I did get a picture of the starting line.

And then we were off. (It’s been so long since the race that I don’t remember exactly how they started the race, whether it was a countdown, or just “Ready, set, go!” or something similar. Sorry.) According to Runkeeper, we were about 4 minutes late.

Mile 1: 8:43

I left my phone in my pocket on this mile, so I didn’t have a good idea of how fast I was going. I could definitely tell that this mile was primarily uphill. So when I got to the end of the mile and saw 8:43, that was not good.

At that point, I took my phone out of my pocket and kept it in my hand for the rest of the race. I don’t normally like running with a phone in my hand, but I had to slow down.

Mile 2: 9:32

I may have slowed down a little too much on this mile. There were still plenty of hills.

Mile 3: 9:07

This was a pretty solid mile. The hills were still pretty killer.

Mile 4: 9:12

There was an aid station during this mile. I slowed down and grabbed some water. The turnaround was during this mile, at about the 3.8 mile mark. The course had a couple of extra loops on the “out” portion that we skipped on the “back” part, so that’s why the turnaround was past the halfway point.

Mile 5: 9:12

We passed the aid station again, but this time I skipped it. Also, I remember at one point in this mile turning and hitting a downhill stretch, which was good, but also a noticeable headwind, which was bad.

Mile 6: 9:17

I was getting really tired. Those hills, man. I pushed as hard as I could.

Last 0.3: 7:32/mile pace

The last part was downhill, so that helped. It also helped that my family was there before the finish. My nephews were there too, which is awesome. They (the adult members of my family, not my nephews) even got a few pictures of me, including this one.

There was a similar picture that my Dad took (which I don’t have in digital form), and my parents ended up putting that picture on their Christmas cards this year. I didn’t expect that.

I crossed the finish line, and was pretty sure I didn’t have a PR.

Right at the finish line, they had bottles of water, and…that was it. I was mildly disappointed that they didn’t have some food. Luckily, I knew I’d get a beer when we got back to the tap room.

They did the old school thing of printing out results as they came in, and I got my official time, 57:18.673. So no PR, but considering the hills (and the fact that I ended up with 6.30 miles), it was still a pretty good result.

My nephews (especially my younger nephew, just under a year and a half old) were really cold, and needed to go home. My parents stuck around, and we headed over to the tap room, about a quarter mile walk, and I got my free beer. It was called Trophy Wife (which is a great name), and it was a session IPA. I’m generally not a huge fan of IPAs, but being a session IPA meant it was a little less hoppy, and after running that course, any beer would have been pretty good.

Then it was time to finally take my picture with my car key.

The beer ticket is missing. Priorities, man. I do like the trophy-shaped medal. And that’s the front of the brewery in the background, which seemed appropriate.

So yeah, this was a really tough course, but I think I did the best I could with it. Before this year, it would have been a 10K PR, so I’ve definitely made some progress.

Vital Stats

Full Name of Race: Trophy Trot 10K
Location: Dorthea Dix Park, Raleigh, NC
Date and Time of Race: November 23, 2017, 8:00 AM
Bib Number: 187
Official Finishing Time: 57:18.673 chip time (57:27.460 gun time). 321st of 765 Overall, 225th of 381 Men, 31st of 60 in Age Group (Male 40-49)

Weekly Wrap-Up: December 11-17

Busy week, but not a lot of running. (Also, no writing, so I still have two missing race reports. Sigh.)

Star Wars Update: I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Friday and loved it. Sure, it’s got its flaws, but then, so do the rest of the Star Wars movies. Star Wars has been a huge part of my life (and for a lot longer than running), so I had to mention it here. With that, I’ll retire the Star Wars Update. (Well, at least until Episode IX in December 2019.)

Weight Check: 164.7 pounds, up 0.7 from last week. Some weeks, when I step on the scale, I breathe a sigh of relief. I was expecting much worse. Not only was my mileage low, I drank Mountain Dew like there was no tomorrow. I had a lot to do at work, and I needed something to help me get through it. Hopefully I can buckle down this week…until I leave town on Thursday. (By the way, my next weigh in will be Thursday.)

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Wednesday 3 miles easy 3.11
Friday 3 miles easy 3.11
Saturday 4 miles easy 4.11

Total: 10.33 miles

My coach wanted me to take a few days off after my half marathon, so I did.

Wednesday, it was 26 freaking degrees. I wasn’t ready to deal with that, so I drove over to the Y and got on the treadmill. I figured it would be a good way to ease my legs back into running. My mind found it excruciating, of course (I had podcasts to listen to, so that helped), but my legs felt fine the whole time, and I didn’t notice any rust.

On Friday, it was a balmy 36 degrees, and while it’s not ideal, I can handle it. My legs felt OK. I was a little fast on the first mile due to a couple of small dogs chasing me (they didn’t catch me), then I settled down. When I wasn’t being chased I kept the effort easy except for the last quarter mile or so.

Saturday had the same weather as Friday, so chilly but not terrible. My legs felt fine. I’m not sure why, but mile 3 was awfully slow. Otherwise I think I kept a pretty good pace. I kept the effort easy until the end of mile 4.

Next week, well, I’ll be leaving town on Thursday, so I have no idea how my running will go this week. Also, next Sunday is Christmas Eve, so I don’t know when I’ll post my next Weekly Wrap-Up.

Weekly Wrap-Up: December 4-10

Well, the Huntersville Half Marathon is done. 2:13:32.93. Slower than I’d hoped, but I finished, and after New York City, I no longer take that for granted. I’ll have more details in the race recap, which, at the rate I’m going, might be done in June.

Yeah, no Trophy Trot 10K recap yet. I have a terrible case of writer’s block, and this past week, I felt like I had the focus of a flea.

Also, I do have my next race lined up. I’m going back to the Charleston Half Marathon in January. It’s a flat course, a cool city, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to get a PR there.

Weight Check: 164.0 pounds, down 0.4 from last week. Yeah, a 13.1 mile race will cover for a lot. I did a pretty poor job of eating healthy, and I drank Mountain Dew like it was going out of style. I won’t be running as much this week, so I’ll need to buckle down.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 4 miles easy 4.01
Tuesday 1 mile easy, 2 x 10 minutes at half marathon pace (9:30-9:40/mile) with 3 minutes easy in between, 1 mile easy 4.51
Thursday 4 miles easy 4.01
Saturday Huntersville Half Marathon 13.1

Total: 25.63 miles

On Monday, my legs felt fine. It was a little cooler (38 degrees), so I think I subconsciously sped up a little bit, but it wasn’t too bad. I did increase the effort at the very end, but otherwise I kept it pretty easy.

Tuesday, the weather was pretty close to perfect, 50 and overcast. My legs felt a little tired late in the second interval, but I still managed to get under my goal pace. I also made sure to jog instead of walk between the intervals and during the cool down. I also added an extra tenth of a mile to the cool down to get to 4.5 miles.

On Thursday, my legs felt fine, and the weather wasn’t too bad. I kept the effort easy until the last quarter mile. For some reason, I felt like my legs just weren’t moving all that quickly. I’m not sure what was going on. I was hoping that I’d get it out of my system before the race.

Saturday was mildly disappointing. It was cold, but it could have been worse. The course wasn’t too terrible, but it certainly wasn’t flat and fast. But hey, I finished race #6, and it was my second race that was 13.1 or greater, so at least I’ve hit my goal for the year.

I’ve got a few more recovery days this week, then I’ll get back out there on Wednesday. And hopefully I can finally get one or two race recaps finished.

Weekly Wrap-Up: November 27-December 3

In the past, I’ve held up my monthly wrap-ups when I’ve had an outstanding race report, but this time, I figured I had a better chance of finishing the November wrap-up than my Trophy Trot 10K recap, so that’s what I published on Friday. My race recap will hopefully be done this week.

I mentioned this in my November wrap-up, but I set a new record for most miles in a single year on Tuesday. I’m up to 1,569.2 miles now. I know I’ll hit 1600, which is cool, but I don’t think I’ll quite make it to 1700.

Weight Check: 164.4 pounds, up 1.1 from last week. I’m lucky it wasn’t more than that. It was a stressful week, and I didn’t handle it well. Better luck next week, I hope.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 5 miles easy 5.01
Tuesday 4 miles easy 4.01
Wednesday 1 mile easy, 3 miles at half marathon pace (9:30-9:40/mile), 1 mile easy 5.01
Friday 3 miles easy 3.11
Saturday 10 miles easy 10.02

Total: 27.16 miles

On Monday, it was 31 degrees. My legs felt fine (or maybe they were just numb). Other than the cold, it was uneventful. I was a little faster on the first mile due to the cold, then I settled into an easier but steady pace, and finally I sped up at the very end.

Tuesday was pretty similar to Monday, just one mile shorter. Still 31 degrees, but my legs still felt fine. I was a little bit faster, though.

On Wednesday, I had a tempo run. It only got down to 44 degrees. My legs felt fine for most of the run, with just a little bit of fatigue at the end, which I expected. I managed to speed up on each mile of the main workout. I ended up giving this one a shout out in my November recap, and it was a nice way to close out what was a pretty disappointing month.

Friday was pretty nice, 46 degrees. I think I slowed down a little bit because I wasn’t cold. My legs felt fine. I kept the effort easy (and apparently consistent on the first two miles, both were 11:31) until my usual speed-up near the end.

On Saturday, it was 50 and overcast, which is pretty close to perfect weather for me. My legs felt OK. They started shutting down the water fountains for the winter, so there were a couple of spots where I slowed down to check if a fountain was still working. I only found one, just before 5 miles, and then they turned it off shortly after I finished. D’oh!

I kept the effort easy until I got to the last mile when I really pushed it. I was really happy with my finish.

Next week, I have the Huntersville Half Marathon on Saturday. It won’t be as flat as Tobacco Road, but it should be a good challenge. Also, it’s probably going to be cold. As I write this, the forecast says 32 degrees at race time. I’d be shocked if I got a PR, but you never know.

Monthly Wrap-Up: November 2017

Sigh.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

November 2017
Total Mileage:
 83.72 miles
Average Pace: 11:17/mile
Number of Runs: 18
Last Month (October 2017): 168.26 miles
Last Year (November 2016): 117.61 miles
Races: 2017 New York City Marathon (DNF), 2017 Trophy Trot 10K

Total Mileage for 2017 (through November 30): 1,556.04 miles

My coach really wanted to limit my mileage after the marathon, even though I didn’t do the full 26.2, so my mileage was down from last year. (And, you know, not running the last 14.46 miles of the New York City Marathon doesn’t help.)

My goals get a little interesting this month.

Goal 1: 1500 miles

Woohoo! Of course, I thought I was going to hit 1500 in New York City. I had to wait a week, but I blew past my goal. On November 28, I finished with 1551.03 miles, breaking my previous record for miles in a year, 1550.8 in 2015, with 33 days still left in 2017.

At least one of my goals will be met. The other two…well…

Goal 2: 6 races, with 2 that are 13.1 or greater
Goal 3: A PR in 3 different races

OK, since I didn’t finish the New York City Marathon, I can’t count that towards my 6 races, and since I only made it 11.74 miles, I can’t count it as 13.1 or greater. So the Trophy Trot 10K ended up being race #5. I do have race #6 scheduled, the Huntersville Half Marathon on December 9. As long as I finish that (which is something I no longer take for granted), I’ll hit Goal 2.

As for goal 3, I did not get a PR in November. I suppose there’s a chance I could get a PR in Huntersville, but otherwise, I’ll end up with only two official PRs, the Joe Davis Run For Recovery 10K and the Tobacco Road Half. Oh well.

My non-specific goals still haven’t changed since October. I’m still getting a little bit of non-running exercise, and I’m foam rolling twice each week. I’m still doing the slow easy run thing. Cooking, better eating, and more blogging aren’t happening, though. (And I don’t have my Trophy Trot 10K recap finished, either.)

Best Run: November 23, Trophy Trot 10K, 57:18.673 (9:13/mile pace)

Yeah, I might be disappointed with missing a PR by 14 seconds, but I handled a really, really tough course.

Shout out to my last run of the month on November 29 (November 30 was a scheduled rest day), a 5 mile tempo run where I ran the 3 miles in the middle in 9:34, 9:29, and 9:15(!). If I can do that in Huntersville, I can get a PR.

Worst Run: November 5, New York City Marathon, 11.74 miles in 2:44:58 (14:05/mile pace)

A DNF is always going to “win” the worst run of the month. I don’t really have anything new to say about it. It still sucks. As I write this, it’s 338 days until next year’s race. Not that I’m counting.

For December, I have the Huntersville Half Marathon, then I’ll try to get in some miles while traveling for the holidays. Also, Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes out, and I’m really excited, even though it has nothing to do with running.

Weekly Wrap-Up: November 20-26

The Trophy Trot 10K course was no joke. Hills. Lots and lots of hills. I didn’t get a PR, but I did all right. My race report is coming soon. Also, I’ve got my next race lined up, the Huntersville Half Marathon on December 9. I decided to go for one last race this year.

My Thanksgiving was fun. My nephews are the best.

Weight Check: 163.3 pounds, down 0.3 from last week. Wait, what? Yeah, I have no idea how I pulled that off.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 1 mile easy, 2×1 mile at goal 10K pace (9:00-9:05/mile) with 3 minutes in between, 1 mile easy (or until 5 miles total) 5.01
Tuesday 4 miles easy 4.01
Thursday Trophy Trot 10K (plus 1 mile warm up) 7.21 (1.01 mile warm up plus 10K race)
Saturday 1 hour easy 5.35
Sunday 3 miles easy 3.11

Total: 24.69 miles

Monday was cold, 31 degrees. My legs felt pretty tired after the second interval, but by the end of the cool down, they felt OK.

I felt like it took me until about halfway through the first interval to finally find the right pace, but after that, I was able to stick to it. Also, I was able to slowly jog between the intervals instead of walking. I did walk a little after the 2nd interval. I felt good enough during the cool down to extend it so I got in a total of 5 miles.

On Tuesday, it was cool but comfortable weather, 42 degrees. My legs felt fine. I kept the effort easy and my pace was pretty consistent. Just a good final run before my race.

I’ll say more about the race in my recap, but the course was pretty tough.

Saturday was interesting, because I was scheduled for an hour long run at an easy effort. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve done an outdoor run based on time rather than distance. I’ve done treadmill runs based on time before, though.

Anyway, I kept the effort easy and literally didn’t look at my watch for the first time until after the halfway point. My pace was pretty consistent, a little slower on the uphills and a little faster on the downhills. My legs felt mostly OK, but I noticed a little bit of fatigue on some of the uphill climbs.

My Sunday run was originally scheduled for Friday, but with travel, I figured it would be easier to do a rest day on Friday and run Sunday instead. My legs felt fine. I kept it easy. It went pretty well.

Next week, I’ve got a 10 miler and a tempo run as I get ready for the Huntersville Half. Also, I need to finish my Trophy Trot 10K recap, and, oh yeah, December 1 is Friday so I’ll have to wrap up November.

Race Report: 2017 New York City Marathon

This was supposed to be it.

I was going to run this race, hopefully get under 5 hours, and then be done with the marathon. I hired a coach, worked for over 4 months, and had by far my best training cycle in spite of brutal weather. I was injury free. I was tapered. I knew the course. The weather wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough.

My stomach had other ideas.

In my worst dreams, I figured I’d finish in 5:40. I guess that after crossing the finish line 29 times, I had started to take it for granted. Even in the 2016 Tobacco Road Half, when my ankle gave out at about 9.5 miles in, I still hobbled through the last 3+ miles, and the thought of not finishing never crossed my mind.

It sucks. I’m not sure that feeling will ever go away completely.

In spite of my misadventures, I still have to say that New York City is the greatest city in the world (but I’m probably biased).

As much as I’d like to forget about November 5, 2017, I still feel like I need to write a race report. Maybe it will help.

You might want to check out my race report from 2016, but for the most part, this stands alone.

Just like last year, my parents and I flew up to Newark on Friday and took a shuttle to the hotel on Staten Island. I ate pasta at the hotel next door to ours. (The other hotel had a restaurant, but ours had free breakfast. Priorities.)

Saturday, we went to the expo. This year, after studying the subway map, I figured out a way to get from the Staten Island Ferry terminal to a subway station about a block away from the Javitz Center, so we didn’t have to walk nearly as far before (or after) the expo.

The layout was different, but the expo was still huge.

Once again, I got my bib first, in a plastic bag with 4 safety pins.

For once, I should have used landscape mode. I used portrait mode last year, too.

Then I picked up my t-shirt and pre-race goody bag.

Considering how the race ended up, I may have mixed feelings about wearing it, but I have to say, I love this year’s design. It really is one of the best looking race t-shirts I’ve gotten. It’s actually a kind of blue-ish purple, even though it looks more blue in my photo.

This year, the goody bag only had the t-shirt and an official race program. I was disappointed that there was no bottle of water this year.

After the expo, my parents and I took the subway to Little Italy. My parents were looking for a specific restaurant that they remembered, but it had closed. We couldn’t find a restaurant that had reasonable prices and less than a 30 minute wait, so we ended up stopping off at a bakery for some pastries (Mmm…miniature eclairs) to hold us over until we got back to the ferry terminal where we bought some sandwiches and brought them back to the hotel.

We ended up ordering calzones for dinner, and my calzone was delicious. Other than that, I relaxed, stayed off my feet, and hydrated. I did pin my bib on my shirt Saturday night, just so there would be one less thing for me to worry about in the morning.

I actually got a relatively decent night of sleep, at least until I woke up around 4 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep. I finally got up around 5:30. I showered and brushed my teeth. I also had diarrhea. It didn’t really concern me that much. It happened the morning of the 2014 Thunder Road Half, and I recovered from that pretty well. I took some store-brand Imodium AD, which I had been planned on taking anyway, except I was hoping to take it preemptively, not reactively. I finished getting dressed and gathered all of my stuff.

I went down to the lobby at 6:30 for the 6:45 shuttle, but apparently, the shuttle didn’t stop at my hotel this year. The shuttle schedule got messed up by all of the extra security around Fort Wadsworth due to the terror attack just 5 days before the race. I ended up walking to the hotel next door and was able to get on a shuttle at 7:15. The hotel employee in charge of the shuttle was apologetic and offered me a bottle of water. I drank it quickly. This was a mistake, because it took us over an hour to get to Fort Wadsworth. (Last year, it took about 30 minutes.) So after about 45 minutes in a van, my bladder felt like it was about to explode, and we still had about 15 minutes to get to the Start Village. It was extremely uncomfortable, but I survived.

I made it through security and went straight to the nearest port-a-potty. Unlike last year, there were already lines. I probably only waited 5-10 minutes, but it felt like forever because I really had to go. Eventually, I finished my business and I walked over to the Green starting area.

Like last year, I had 4 Chocolate Chip Clif bars. This year, I also had a bagel. I washed it all down with more water. I used the port-a-potty again around 9:30 (only 1 or 2 people were waiting in line in front of me), and one final time just after 10 (No line, I just had to wait for one to open up).

I had been wearing a hoodie in the Start Village. One thing I noticed this year is that a lot of people were asking to see everyone’s bibs, which was kind of annoying because I kept having to pull up my hoodie so you could see it, but I understand. I might have to wear my bib lower next year, though.

I finally took off my hoodie just before I dropped my bag at the bag check truck. It had been in the 50s, but there was some occasional wind.

I got a few pictures in the Start Village, of course. First, just a general overview. It wasn’t raining while I was there, but the ground was still wet from overnight rain.

Next, the elites and Wave 1 on the Verrazano Bridge. I was a little farther away this year, so they look even more like ants.

If you’re wondering why that guy in front of me is facing left, that’s because there was a giant video screen over there.

Around 10:25 I made my way to the corrals.

And finally, we moved towards the starting line.

So the starting line for Green wasn’t actually underneath the bridge, but just before you go under.

A woman sang the National Anthem (and the announcer pointed out that she was about to run the marathon too, which is pretty impressive). This year, I remembered to remove my visor.

They shot off a Howitzer to start. It’s still a cool way to start the second time around. Then I heard the opening notes of “New York, New York”, but it was the duet of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, which was a bit odd. I mean, I probably like Tony Bennett more, but at least on that song, you need Sinatra’s swagger.

Anyway, it looks like they started us right at 11, and at 11:02, I crossed the starting line.

Like last year, I set my watch so that I had to manually hit the lap button to mark each mile, because I figured the tall buildings would mess with GPS. I didn’t realize how much the upper level of the Verrazano Bridge would mess with it.

Mile 1: 12:26
Mile 2: 10:05

Being on the lower level of a bridge means two things. One, GPS is hosed. My watch said my mileage was 0.69 when I got to the Mile 1 marker. Two, it’s really difficult to tell where the highest point of the bridge is. On the upper level, it was right at the Mile 1 marker. Underneath, I’m really not sure. I just tried to not push too hard, and I figured I could make any needed adjustments in Brooklyn. I’m still pretty sure that Mile 1 was mostly uphill, and Mile 2 was mostly downhill. Seeing my times, that’s probably pretty accurate.

During Mile 2, we came out from underneath the upper level of the bridge, and were greeted by mist. It misted the rest of the time I was out there, but never rained.

Mile 3: 11:09
Mile 4: 11:24

At the beginning of Mile 3 was the first aid station. I got some Gatorade. So far, so good.

During Mile 4, we joined the Orange and Blue waves on 4th Avenue. It almost felt more crowded right where we joined them than it did just after the start. It didn’t slow me down too much, though.

Mile 5: 11:33

And this is where my stomach started bothering me. I did have a Gu at the beginning of the mile, but I don’t think that’s what caused my problems. From this point on, things got progressively worse.

Mile 6: 11:32
Mile 7: 11:37

I was really struggling through here. I had gone with only water at each aid station, no Gatorade, in the hopes that maybe it would help my stomach.

One of the thoughts going through my mind was, “If it’s this hard in Brooklyn, what’s it going to be like when I’m on 5th Avenue?” Also, I remember moving to the middle of the road, away from the crowds. I felt like I didn’t deserve cheers at that point.

Mile 8: 12:29
Mile 9: 12:51
Mile 10: 13:17

I was still running through here, somehow. It was slow, but I hadn’t stopped to walk outside of the aid stations.

During Mile 10, I realized I was going to need to stop and use a port-a-potty. Diarrhea.

Mile 11: 20:50

Yes, really.

I stopped, had to wait in line for a port-a-potty, went in, and did my business. I got out, ran for about a minute…and realized I had more diarrhea. Also, I realized that, if I continued to run, I’d need a new pair of shorts. So I started walking. Between the complete stop at the beginning of the mile, and having to walk the rest of the mile, that’s how you get a 20:50 mile.

I hit the aid station at the beginning of Mile 12. It was before the next set of port-a-potties. I grabbed a cup of water, and just as I did, this wave of nausea hit me. I didn’t even try to drink the water, because I figured it would just come right back up. I started looking around for a place I could vomit if I needed to, but luckily the feeling went away.

I finally made it to the port-a-potties. I waited in line again, went in, and as I was sitting there, I realized that there was no way I could finish this race.

When I was done, I managed to jog a little bit until I saw a medical tent. I went in and told them what was going on. I sat down, and after a couple of minutes, the nausea came back. I let someone know, and they handed me a barf bag, which I immediately had to use.

With that, my race was officially over. According to Garmin, I made it 11.74 miles.

They gave me pretzels at one point, but I couldn’t keep them down. I tried to drink some water. Sometimes it would stay down.

They gave me a heat blanket, but I was really starting to feel cold. It was in the upper 50s, which isn’t bad when you’re running, but when you’re sitting, and sick, it’s not very comfortable. They gave me a 2nd heat blanket for my legs, and eventually gave me a cloth blanket. I managed to at least stop shivering.

I was still in Brooklyn, so I was going to need to get to Manhattan, and also get my bag that I had checked. There were some people who left the medical tent and walked to a nearby subway station. While I’m sure people throw up on the subway every day, I really didn’t want to do that. Then one of the volunteers said a sweep bus was coming, and was less than a mile away, and they could take me into Manhattan.

I got on the bus. It was nice and warm. They actually gave me a goody bag similar to the bag I would have gotten at the finish. Of course, with the exception of the bottle of water, I didn’t want anything else in that bag at that moment.

I threw up once shortly after I got on the bus, and after that, my stomach seemed to finally settle down a little bit.

The bus was riding along the course. There were still runners out there, although most of them were walking at this point. I noticed that we had crossed over into Queens, and I just kind of zoned out for a few minutes.

Then I noticed that we were on the 59th Street Bridge, still following the course. And I realized that once we got off the bridge, we were going to turn on to 1st Avenue. I thought back to last year, coming off of the 59th Street Bridge and experiencing that wall of sound from the people cheering on 1st Avenue.

At this point, it was probably about 3:00 PM. Wave 4 had started 4 hours earlier, so the crowds had thinned, but there were still people out there cheering.

As we turned on to 1st Avenue, I could hear the cheering. It wasn’t the wall of sound, but I could still hear it inside the bus. And that’s when it finally hit me, the fact that I wasn’t going to finish, that I wouldn’t be greeted by the wall of sound, that I wouldn’t get to see the sign that says “Welcome To The Bronx,” and that I wouldn’t be crossing the finish line and getting a medal. It hit me all at once, and I wept.

That had to be the lowest feeling I’ve ever had as a runner.

We rode down 1st Avenue. The driver was trying to get to 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue, just west of Central Park, but we had to go up several blocks before they were finally able to make space so we could turn off the course. With all the extra security, it was tough, and I think we had to go all the way to 92nd Street, but we did eventually get off of the course.

(Fun fact: If you used the race app to track me, apparently even on the bus my bib still triggered the sensors, so according to the app, I made it all the way to the 16 mile mark.)

While I was on the bus, I decided I needed to take a picture with my car key.

It may have been a disaster, but I didn’t lose my car key.

The traffic was insane, but we did finally get over to 72nd and Columbus Avenue. They gave me my checked bag. I immediately took out a pair of pants I had put in there, and put them on along with my hoodie from earlier, got off the bus, thanked the volunteers profusely (Seriously, all of the volunteers that helped me out were great), and found my parents. I had called them to let them know where they’d be dropping me off.

We found a drugstore to buy saltine crackers, then got on the subway back to the Staten Island Ferry. Oh, one other thing the volunteers did, they gave me a free one-way MetroCard, so I didn’t have to pay for the subway. Last year, I got to ride the subway for free with my medal. This year, I still got to ride for free, but I’d rather use a medal than a MetroCard.

At the ferry terminal, we got some ginger ale to go with the saltines. That’s where I found out Shalane Flanagan was the women’s winner, and that was really cool to hear.

We rode the ferry back to Staten Island, got a shuttle back to the hotel, and went up to our room. I can’t imagine going back to an empty hotel room after what I went through that day. I’m really thankful that my parents were there so I didn’t have to.

Last year, I had a cheeseburger and a beer after the race. This year, it was saltines and ginger ale. My stomach was feeling better, but I still didn’t want to take any chances.

My goodie bag was very similar to last year, with a bottle of water, Gatorade (Lemon Lime this year, Strawberry last year), a protein bar, a protein shake, and some pretzels. The one thing that was missing was an apple. I was a little disappointed, but then, I didn’t finish, so they didn’t have to give me anything. I’m just glad I got what I did.

It’s been two weeks now. It still sucks. I don’t think it will ever not suck.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that this wasn’t a stress fracture or some other injury that would keep me from running for weeks or even months. I was pretty much back to normal physically the next day. If I had to, I could have run Monday morning. My legs were still a little bit tired from the miles that I did run, but it was nothing like last year, when I could barely walk, and stairs were extremely painful.

The one thing, though, is that I’m now determined to go back in 2018. I’m not talking about just entering the lottery, and if I don’t get in, saying, “Wait ’til next year.” No, if I don’t get in through the lottery, I’m going with a charity.

The thought of raising a bunch of money for a charity scares me.

The thought of going through 4 months of training again scares me.

The thought of dealing with insane heat and humidity in the summer again scares me.

And of course 26.2 miles still scares me.

The thing is, the New York City Marathon is like no other race in the world. And it’s the only marathon that goes through the city where I was born. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: It’s a special race. Whatever hardships I have to endure to get to the starting line, this race is absolutely worth it.

And next year, I’m crossing the finish line, too.

Weekly Wrap-Up: November 13-19

It took longer than I expected, but my legs finally feel normal again. And while Tuesday’s run didn’t quite work out as planned, it still got me over 1500 miles for the year, so I’ve at least hit one of my 2017 goals.

Weight Check: 163.6, down 2.4 pounds from last week. Wow. I only had Mountain Dew twice this week, and drank lots of water otherwise. I guess it worked. I know next week will be…challenging. But at least for a very brief time, I’m not overweight. (164 is the magic number for someone like me who’s 5′ 8″.)

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 3 miles easy 3.11
Tuesday 1 mile easy, 4×1 mile at goal 10K pace (9:00-9:05/mile) with 3 minutes in between, 1 mile easy* 5.51
Wednesday 3 miles easy 3.11
Friday 3 miles easy 3.11
Saturday 8 miles easy 8.21

Total: 23.05 miles

Tuesday didn’t go as planned, so it has an asterisk, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Monday was 46 degrees and overcast, which is probably my favorite weather to run in. My legs felt better than Saturday, still not quite 100% back to normal, but close. I kept the effort easy until the end.

On Tuesday, I ended up having to cut my workout short. I was fine on the first two intervals, but on the third, I felt like I was going pretty much all out and I was still over 10 seconds above my goal pace. I figured it wouldn’t get any better on a fourth interval, so I skipped it and ended with just over a mile on the cool down to get me to 5 and a half miles.

I’m not sure what happened. It wasn’t the weather (42 and overcast). My legs felt OK up until late in the 2nd interval, then they got really tired. I walked half of the recovery between the 2nd and 3rd interval, but it didn’t really help. Maybe I wasn’t 100% recovered yet, or maybe it was just a bad day.

I went back out there on Wednesday, and my legs weren’t quite 100%, but they were good enough. The weather was cold, but not too bad. It was a better run, but still not quite where I wanted to be.

Friday was better. It was kind of cold, 36 degrees, but not too bad. My legs felt fine. My last full mile may have been a little faster than I was aiming for, but it’s tough to slow down when it’s cold. Overall, a pretty good run.

On Saturday, it was cool and windy, but not too terrible. I did kind of put off my run, hoping it would warm up a little bit, and didn’t start until 8:51 AM.

My legs felt good. I kept the effort easy, and except for mile 3 (about 20 seconds faster than mile 2, not sure what happened there), my paces seemed pretty reasonable. I decided to push it on mile 8, and then, since I was still about .2 away from my car (and since I had cut my workout run short earlier in the week), I kept going to make it 8.21 miles total.

This was easily my best run since the race. After Tuesday, I really needed a run like this.

Next week, I’ve got a race on Thanksgiving, the Trophy Trot 10K. It’s named after Trophy Brewing, so at least I know they won’t be serving Michelob Ultra after the race. After New York City, I’ve got some motivation to do well in this race. It’s going to be kind of cold, 36 degrees is the forecast as I write this, but I once ran a 10K when it was 20 degrees. I can take it.

Oh, and speaking of New York City there’s a small chance my race recap will be done early this week. But don’t hold your breath.

Monthly Wrap-Up: October 2017

If I had time to write this on November 1 (or any other day before NYC), it might be a little more upbeat. I’ll try to put on a happy face, because, with one notable exception, October went pretty well, even if conditions were a little less than ideal for most of the month.

October 2017
Total Mileage:
 168.26 miles
Average Pace: 11:39/mile
Number of Runs: 22
Last Month (September 2017): 191.23 miles
Last Year (October 2016): 181.28 miles
Races: None

Total Mileage for 2017 (through October 31): 1,472.32 miles

My taper started after my run on the 14th, so it took up the majority of the month. I’m slightly impressed that I was still able to get over 168 miles.

Also, in 2016, October 1 was a Saturday, so I had an extra long run last year, and that explains the lower mileage this year.

There’s not much change for my goals.

Goal 1: 1500 miles

At the end of October, I was 27.68 miles from my goal. Had I finished my marathon, I would have met this goal. I’ll still get it, a little later than I planned, but barring a disaster, it’ll be in November. Still fairly impressive.

Goal 2: 6 races, with 2 that are 13.1 or greater
Goal 3: A PR in 3 different races

So, technically, I was still on track for these goals at the end of October. I signed up for a 10K on Thanksgiving which would have been race #6, and I just had to either PR there or in New York City. Now, with my DNF in New York City, the only way I can get Goal 2 is to sign up for a half in December, because I need a new 6th race, and a 2nd that’s 13.1 or greater. I’m thinking about it.

I have a pretty good shot at a PR in my 10K. Since the goal just says 3 different races, it counts if I get two 10K PRs.

The non-specific goals are still the same as September. I’m getting a little bit of exercise, but my training schedule only allows one day a week with exercise. I’m still not sure if it should count towards my goal, but I’m foam rolling twice each week. Even if it doesn’t count, it works. I’m got the slow easy run thing down pat. Cooking, better eating, and more blogging aren’t happening, though.

Best Runs:
October 10, 8.01 miles, 11:01/mile
October 31, 6.01 miles, 11:17/mile

Yes, I had two runs that deserve the honor this month.

October 10 mainly gets it for degree of difficulty. 73 degrees and 100% humidity at 5:47 AM on October 10? Go home, Mother Nature, you’re drunk. I was supposed to run each mile at 11:10 (I mistakenly thought my goal was 11:15). In those conditions, I went out thinking I’d be lucky to hit 11:30. After I ran the first mile in 11:11, I realized I could do it. I somehow managed a 10:32 on the last mile. That’s insane.

October 31 was just an amazing run that will eventually get its own write up. It was the first run in a long time where I just enjoyed being out there running, and that’s a great feeling.

My October 14 run deserves a shout out, because it was 20 freaking miles. 20.02 miles, to be exact. Sadly, that will make it my longest run of 2017. Sigh. Also, it capped off a 48 mile week, which also deserves a shout out.

Worst Run: October 7: 10.01 miles, 13:27/mile

No exaggeration, this is isn’t just the worst run of October, it’s one of the worst runs I’ve ever had. The only run that was demonstrably worse was the one where I lost my car key. I had stomach issues, and instead of 18 miles, I could only make it 10. (Yeah, I see the parallels between this run and NYC, and I don’t like it.)

If there’s a silver lining, there’s no other run from October that comes close to being in the running for the worst. Maybe a few runs were meh, but none that were even slightly bad.

This is the part where I would look ahead to the next month. Well, as I write this on November 13(!), I’ve already had a DNF in New York City. I do have the Trophy Trot 10K on Thanksgiving to look forward to, which has gone from, “Hey, let’s go out there and have some fun” to “I must crush this race.” I’ll also finally get some cooler temperatures. (Spoiler alert: I’ve already seen some of those cooler temperatures.)