2016 New York City Marathon Training – Week 13

NYCM Week 13 Infographic

I changed my training plan a lot this week.  I did a tempo run on Tuesday.  It left me tired and sore by mid-week.  But, that run coupled with a medium run at the end of the week helped me get my marathon confidence back!  I’m racing a 20 miler tomorrow.  Oh, and…  Good-bye summer!

Training Schedule
September 18th – September 24th

Sunday: 8 miles general aerobic.
Monday: 6 miles recovery (AM) + 4 miles recovery (PM).
Tuesday: Interval Run. 9 miles w/5 x 600m @ 5K pace.
Wednesday: 6 miles recovery + strides.
Thursday: Medium Run.  15 miles.
Friday: 7 miles recovery + strides.
Saturday: 6 miles recovery.

Mileage Total: ~52 Miles

Adaptations.  I planned to follow Week 6 of the Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning 18 week/85 miles per week maximum training plan but things didn’t end up that way.  Monday’s double became a single.  Tuesday’s interval workout turned into a tempo run.  On Wednesday, I did form drills instead of strides.  By Thursday, I was tired and sore!  I did a recovery run in the evening and moved my medium run on Friday.

Goals.  Get my marathon confidence back with some endurance runs.


Runners on Key Bridge

Workout Details

Tempo Run 4 miles @ 10K to HM effort [Log Details].

Take Off at Gravelly Point

Take Off at Gravelly Point

After the 2016 Boston Marathon, I planned to run with some other running.  Instead, I hired a coach and followed that schedule instead.  On Sunday, I ran into some members from one of those clubs and they invited me out to join them.  It seemed like fate since I’d just left my coach.

I met up with the group and after introductions, we were off and running through Hains Point.  My pack of four other runners started at about 7:40 pace.  Three of the women dropped down to 7:25 pace after about a mile and I had to slow down.  One of the coaches stayed with me, though.  At one point, he asked me to how hard it felt and I said, 10K to half marathon.

After the run, he guessed my marathon pace might be 8 minute miles, which is what I was thinking.  Maybe 8:10 since the New York City Marathon is a tough course.  He also made a suggestion that I run 800m workouts a few days later at around 7:25ish pace.  It was nice to talk about actual goal paces for a change!

Overall, I thought it was a great run.  It was pretty uncomfortable but not too hard that I thought I couldn’t finish if I really tried.

Tempo segment paces=7:40.

Capitol Building on a Run Commute

Capitol Building on a Run Commute

Medium Run. 15 miles [Log Details].

I ran home from work the evening before and woke up a little tired still.  My leg muscles were also sore from Tuesday’s tempo run and Wednesday’s form drills, so I decided to do a medium run instead of an interval workout.

I wanted to keep the pace easy at the start, so I listened to two RunnersConnect podcasts.  It was dark and I wanted to watch my step.  (I still think about “The Fall“.)  I was doing the run as a progression, though, and after about 3.5 miles, I picked up the pace a little.

I started the fastest part of the progression about 7 miles into the run when I reached the Mount Vernon Trail.  I was surprised to see two runners from Tuesday’s workout on the trail!  I waved but didn’t stop.  I felt rude afterward.

Rowers on a Summer Morning

Rowers on a Summer Morning

I looked at my Garmin and it was showing 8:20 to 8:30 pace.  I thought that was a little fast for an 8:00 pace marathon so I slowed down a little.  I managed to run strong through 11 miles but then slowed down to a slog.

I thought this was a good effort!  I was getting my marathon confidence back.

MP+10% segment (3.75 miles) pace=8:31.  Overall pace=9:10.


I knew I would be sore after Tuesday’s tempo run.  But, I doubled-down and did form drills after my recovery run on Wednesday.  I suffered from muscle soreness for the rest of the week.


Morning temperatures in the low 70s all week felt dreamy.  The first day of fall was on Thursday!  Bye, summer!  I won’t miss you.

Racing Schedule 

Next race: DCRRC National Capital 20 Miler on September 25th.  (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Posted in New York City Marathon, Training | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Training Supplement – September 22, 2016

Training Supplement 092216

I was so excited when my Asics New York City Marathon singlet arrived.  But, it didn’t fit!  Mid-week, I learned the Four Mile Run Trail was closing for construction (again)!  I listened to some funny podcasts during my long run on Saturday.  I discovered that my shoes stink.  Probably from sweating so much this summer.

Clothing & Gear

Singlets.  Asics Womens Singlet“.  I ordered this singlet in extra small and small.  But, a few days later, I received an email from the New York City Road Runners letting me know that it was no longer available in extra small.  (I thought it was strange since I ordered it so soon after the race gear came out.)  Of course, when the singlet arrived, the size small was too big.  But, I like the style so I’ll stalk the website to see if the extra small is re-stocked.

Shoe Deodorizers.  “Deodorizer,” by Klitch.  I walked into my apartment on Tuesday evening and was hit by a wave of funk.  As I walked deeper into the house, the smell subsided, so I assumed it was coming from my running shoes, which are next to the door.  I placed these deodorizers in one pair of shoes and by the next day, my apartment was odor free!

(My Complete Clothes & Gear Page.)

Nutrition & Hydration 

Electrolytes.  This summer, I purchased a variety pack of Crank Sport e-Gels.  After sampling them all, I’ve decided my favorite flavor is…  Juicy Watermelon!  It’s a bit surprising since I don’t like watermelon.  But, I’ll order additional gels in that flavor for the New York City Marathon in November.


Four Mile Run and Glebe

Four Mile Run and Glebe

Construction.  This week, I read that the nice and flat section of the Four Mile Trail where I run my intervals was going to close for construction!  This is the second time in recent memory that this has happened.  Unfortunately, my local track isn’t an option for interval workouts.  A couple of local running clubs use the track and I find it awkward trying to working in with them.  As I’ll detail on Saturday, I found another option for interval workouts until the construction is completed.

Media & Motivation

Music. “Atomic,” by Blondie.  This song has such a great rhythm for running.  It’s on my New York City Marathon playlist already.

(My “Songs of the Week” playlist on Spotify.)

Podcasts.  I listened to two funny podcasts during my long run on Saturday.

Becoming a Badger“, by This American Life.  No lie – when this podcast ended, a cyclist passed me and he was wearing a Wisconsin Badgers shirt.  But for me, the highlight of this cast was the story of a comedian named Gad Elmaleh, the French Jerry Seinfeld, who is trying to make it big here in America.

Running Comedy,” by the Runner’s World Show.  This podcast featured comedian Liz Miele.  One of her jokes made laugh out loud.  “But don’t believe anybody wakes up at 5am on a Sunday to run 26 miles in the cold ’cause they like themselves.”  She’s right that every marathon runner probably laughs at that joke.

Blogs.  “Five Favorite Oiselle Pieces,” by Eat Pray Run DC.  Currently, I don’t own any clothing by Oiselle.  I’ve tried some pieces on in a local running store (including the Distance Short) but the only thing I’ve ever purchased were arm warmers that I’ve since discarded.  This post inspired me to browse the site.  I purchased the Satellite Tank.

Motivation.  “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart

I took a step this week to change something I didn’t think was working for me.  It was a difficult decision but I felt so relieved once I made it.


Posted in Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 New York City Marathon Training – Week 12

NYCM Week 12 Infographic

After the Parks Half Marathon on Sunday, I switched directions with my training this week and left my coach!  For the rest of the week, I eased into doing more endurance runs with some strides.

Training Schedule
September 11th – September 17th

Sunday: Parks Half Marathon.
Monday: Off.
Tuesday: 8 miles recovery.
Wednesday: 7 miles recovery.
Thursday: Medium Run.  12 miles.
Friday: 6 miles recovery (AM) + Strides.
Saturday: Long Run.  20 miles.

Mileage Total: ~71 Miles

Adaptations.  After a disappointing Parks Half Marathon on Sunday, I took Monday off and then…  I left my coach!  I ran easy the next two days and then did a medium run on Thursday.  I did some strides during Friday’s easy run.  And then I ran my first 20-miler of this training cycle today.

Okay, back to the coaching part.  Here’s what you may be wondering and my response.

  • “Why did you leave your coach?”  In a nutshell, I lost confidence in the plan after my result from Parks.  I ran what was essentially a personal worst – my slowest time since 1998 with the exception of this summer’s trail race.
  • “But the weather on Sunday was so hot?”  Indeed.  In the past, I’ve looked at how I raced against the field in bad conditions on the assumption that we’re all running in the same conditions.  My placement confirmed that this was a slower performance.
  • “What are you going to do next?”  For the rest of this cycle, I’m going to do a Pfitzinger-type training.

Workout Details

2016 Parks Finish Line Photo

2016 Parks Half Marathon Finish Line (Photo by Dan Reichmann, MCRRC)

Parks Half Marathon 13.1 miles @ half marathon pace [Race Report]

As I mentioned in the race report and above, I haven’t seen a noticeable improvement in my running since working with a coach so I decided to change my training plan.

On the bright side, the race provided me with a sense for where my fitness was.  It wasn’t where I hoped it would be but I was still 7 weeks out from my goal race.  I had some work to d0 but I’m not afraid of hard work.

Back of the Jefferson Memorial

Back of the Jefferson Memorial

Medium Run. 12 miles.  [Log Details].

The day before, I thought I would jump right into the Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning plan that maxes out at 85 miles.  But, I didn’t think I could run a 15 mile medium run right now.  I decided 12 miles was more reasonable.

I ran the first four miles at an easy effort.  I concentrated on keeping the pace similar to what my recent recovery runs felt like.

The next three miles were on the Custis Trail.  I increased the effort and passed a water fountain which would have given me an excuse to stop.

Under Pfitz, the last third of most medium (and long) runs should be run at MP+10%.  I did some math in my head and guessed I should run the last 4 miles in 8:30 pace. It felt very hard but I did it!

It felt good to run a workout based on pace.  Like my training had direction again.

MP+10% segments (3.79 miles) pace=8:20.  Overall pace=8:55.

Four Mile Run and Glebe

Four Mile Run and Glebe

Long Run. 12 miles.  [Log Details].

At the start, I listened to a This American Life podcast to keep the pace relaxed.  I stopped 45 minutes into the run and started a Crank Sport e-Gel.

Once I reached the Mount Vernon Trail – about 6 miles into the run – I pushed the pace into something harder than easy but not quite hard.  .  I stopped briefly and started a Runner’s World Show podcast.

Ragnar DC Route Marker

Ragnar DC Route Marker

Cruising up the trail, I passed a Ragnar route marker near Crystal City.  I thought about my recent Ragnar relay in Cape Cod and my van-mates.  I decided to run a couple of faster miles before the Custis Trail since the terrain is harder. When my podcast ended and I took the opportunity to switch to music and start another gel.

I ran easy on the Lee Highway uphill but when the trail transitioned to rolling hills, I pressed the pace again.  I saw my first Ragnar runner after the Route 66 overpass and gave him some encouragement. I refilled my Amphipod at the water fountain at Nelson Street.

At the Glebe Road over-pass, I pressed even harder for the next four miles.  I ran this section on Thursday and tried to run similar paces.

I was very happy with this run!  I had my doubts that I could even run 20 miles, so this was a huge mental boost.

MP+10% segments (5.81 miles) pace=8:32.  Overall pace=8:57.


I was tired every morning.  I over-slept on Wednesday and ran home from work.  My piriformis also flared up mid-week.  I wasn’t sure what I may have done to aggravate it.


The week started warm and it was was another record-breaking hot day on Wednesday.  But then, the weather broke and temperatures were in the low 70s in the morning by week’s end.

Racing Schedule

This week, I registered for the 2017 Boston Marathon!  (My qualifying time is 3 hours and 55 minutes.  I used my time from the 2015 California International Marathon, which was my fastest time this past year.)

Looking ahead, I added the Cleveland Marathon to my list of potential spring marathons but deleted Vermont City.  So, right now, I’m looking at the Eugene Marathon on May 7th or the Cleveland Marathon marathons on May 31st.

Next race: DCRRC National Capital 20 Miler on September 25th.  (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Posted in New York City Marathon, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Training Supplement – September 15

Training Supplement 091516

I listened to some good podcasts this week on safety and marathon training tips.  I re-read an article on getting over a bad race.  The official gear for the New York City Marathon came out and I bought a singlet.  I also got to see Hains Point from a different vantage point.

Clothing & Gear

ASICS Women's Singlet

ASICS Women’s Singlet

Singlets.  The gear for the New York City Marathon is out!  I decided not to wait until the expo and ordered the Asics Womens Singlet.  It’s hard to believe, but I don’t own any Asics tops so I wasn’t sure about my size.  I ordered an extra small and small with the intention of returning one of them.

(My Complete Clothes & Gear Page.)

Nutrition & Hydration

September 2016 Stridebox

September 2016 Stridebox

Nutrition. This month’s Stridebox arrived.  In addition to the usual sports nutrition items and gear, it also included a recipe card for Clean Energy Bars and a “20 Minute Leg Workout for Runners”.  I’m not sure if this is a one-time event or if they’re expanding the scope of the deliveries.


Construction.  “The Park Service Plans to Connect Key Bike Trails on the Mall, in Arlington, and Elsewhere,” from Greater Great Washington.  I suppose it’s a little pre-mature to label this “construction” since these improvements may take years.  However, I was interested to read there might be better access to downtown via the Roosevelt Bridge and Mount Vernon Trail.

Hains Point.  I had the opportunity to visit Fort McNair this weekend.  I’ve seen the beautiful buildings during my runs on Hains Points and passed the facility during the Rock n Roll DC Marathon, but the base itself was a mystery.  I took the opportunity to take a picture of Hains Point from the other side of the Potomac River.

View of Hains Point

View of Hains Point

Media & Motivation

Music.  “Home,” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.  This was a Spotify weekly discovery from a few weeks back.  Initially, I didn’t like it but it’s grown on me.

(My “Songs of the Week” playlist on Spotify.)

Podcasts.  “Do You Know What to do if Your Life is in Danger,” by RunnersConnect.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about recent attacks on female runners and advice that is not particularly helpful.  But, I thought this podcast was helpful.  Although the guest does recommends running with other people, his bigger message was about putting yourself in a position to react and protect yourself.

Run Your Best Marathon,” from the Runner’s World Show.  As an experienced marathoner, I knew a lot of these tips but it’s good to be reminded about some of them.  Like, not going out too fast.  I also thought the part about redefining success was timely since I spent the week thinking about how my training has been going.

Websites.  “Three Ways to Cope with a Bad Race,” by Runner’s World.  After a disappointing Parks Half Marathon this weekend, I went back and re-read this article.  I liked that the article pointed out that it’s okay to admit you’re disappointed.  However, it’s important to do something constructive like looking back at your training and trying to figure out what may have gone wrong.  And then…  Move on!  You can’t change the past, so there’s really no point in dwelling on a bad race.

Motivation.  “Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is.” – Vince Lombardi

Bad races can be great motivators for improvement.  I haven’t given up on running faster in the future.


Posted in Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 Parks Half Marathon

2016 Parks HM Banner

Scroll all the way down to the end of the post for the tl;dr version.


I’ve been using Hudson Elite Coaching to train for the 2016 New York City Marathon.

This training cycle hasn’t been easy.  I haven’t been running well but it’s been hard to know if it’s due to my training or the record-setting heat we’ve been experiencing in Washington, DC this summer.

But, I was going into the race on a high note.  Last week, I ran long last Sunday, a tempo run on Monday, and a light interval workout on Wednesday that allowed me to run a little faster than usual.

On a more somber note, this year’s race was on September 11th.


Achievable: Sub-1:45:00 (8:00 pace).  The AccuWeather forecast showed 74 degrees for race morning.  This would be my longest 70+ degree race since the 2012 Boston Marathon.  Based on Thursday’s interval workout, I thought this was an achievable pace.

Stretch: Age Group Placement.  I’ve placed in my age group at this race in past years.  I didn’t think I was in the same shape as I’ve been in years past but it would be a nice surprise.

Personal Records:

  • Half Marathon PR: 1:32:19 (7:03 pace) at the 2014 Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon.
  • Course PR: 1:35:30 (7:18) at the 2014 Parks Half Marathon.
  • Most Recent HM: 1:38:01 (7:29 pace) at the 2016 Rock n Roll Half Marathon.


The course is a point-to-point.  It starts in Rockville, Maryland near the Metro station.  The first two miles are on roads and then the course goes on a multi-use trail that has some very gentle rollers.  It’s narrow at points but passing isn’t a problem.  The course flattens out after 7 miles and then the last mile is slightly uphill.  The race ends in Bethesda, Maryland.

coursemapnewThere are fluid stations every two miles with water and Gatorade.  There isn’t much cheering on the course except at the beginning and the end.


Headphones were discouraged so I didn’t run with music for this race.


Temperature/Dew Point/Humidity (Gaithersburg – Montgomery County Airport): 73 at 6:55am, 73 at 7:55am, 75 at 8:55am.  Winds were 9-12 mph out of the NW.  The dew point was around 63 and humidity was 69%.

2016 Parks HM Weather

2016 Parks Half Marathon Weather


2016 Parks Half Marathon Shirt and Medal

2016 Parks Half Marathon Shirt and Medal


I hadn’t thought about packet pick-up until I was eating lunch at 2pm. Since I wanted to buy some Nuun anyway, I decided to drive to RNJ Sports and get my bib.  Plus, I thought, it’s one less thing to worry about on race day.  Packet pick-up took less than a minute.  However, traffic en route was terrible so part of me wished I had just done it on-site.

Race Day

I woke up at 4:30am after about 6-7 hours of sleep.  According to my bedside weather station, it was 81 degrees outside!  I had coffee, about 16 ounces of water, and a cinnamon raisin bagel for breakfast.  I hadn’t picked out clothes to wear the night before so I pulled together an outfit of my coolest running clothes.  I also packed a long sleeve shirt for after the race.   Moving around my house, my legs felt sore and heavy

I left the house at 5:40am.  It’s about a 30 minute drive to Rockville.  By the time I arrived at the Metro at around 6:15am, the lot was mostly filled!  I had planned to start my warmup by 6:20am, I had to hit the bag check and port-a-potty.

I started my 2 mile warm-up at 6:35am.  I was anxious that I hadn’t given myself enough time.  I turned around early to give myself 10 minutes to rest before the race.  I lined up at the very back of the first wave.

Early Miles – Miles 1 to 3

The course started on Viers Mill Road.  The first quarter mile or so was a bit of an uphill but then the rest of the way was a gradual downhill.  I tried to keep the pace easy.  I hadn’t raced in a while and didn’t have a sense for what half marathon pace or effort might be for me right now.  I had started in the back of the first wave.  About 5 minutes later, the first of the second wave runners passed me.  In that pack was a woman who I met through my club.  We hadn’t seen each other in a while.  We said “Hi” and wished one another a good race.  There were a few people out cheering.  I high-fived one of the spectators.

The first water station is about 2.3 miles down the course right before it turns right onto Rock Creek Trail.  I took Gatorade and the water.  But, I didn’t pinch cup properly and coughed up a bunch of fluid.

Splits (by course marker): 7:34, 7:24, 7:53.

Middle Miles, Miles 3 to 7

The next four miles or so were on a section of Rock Creek Trail that I would describe as gently rolling.  I saw I was still running sub-8:00 splits and slowed down.  I couldn’t see myself running that fast and finishing this race.

Ken-Gar Palisades Park (Photo by Jonathan Bird, MCRRC)

Ken-Gar Palisades Park (Photo by Jonathan Bird, MCRRC)

I could hear the leader of the 1:35 pace group right behind me.  He was giving his crew advice on proper pacing, obstacles to avoid, etc.  At one point, I heard him say something like, “If you use a pace calculator to estimate time for your fall marathon, take 2 minutes off today’s time to account for the heat.”  I wondered if that was good advice.  The group passed me soon thereafter.

Just after the 3 mile mark was “High Five Hill”.  I slowed to a shuffle and slapped palms with a few of the kids.

I was passed a lot during the next two miles, including by another running friend.  The competitive part of me wanted to follow but I knew I couldn’t. I tried to remind myself, “Run your own race!

About 40 minutes into the run, I started the Crank Sports e-Gel (Tropical Blast) that I’d been holding in my hand.  Around that time, I heard another pace group leader behind me.  A little while later, they passed me.

Mile 7 Water Stop (Photo by Karin Zeitvogel, MCRRC)

Mile 7 Water Stop (Photo by Karin Zeitvogel, MCRRC)

At the mid-point of the race, I did some math and figured I should finish around 1:45.  I was disappointed but wasn’t going to wallow.  I finished my gel, downed more water, and prepared to push the pace a little.

Splits (by course marker): 7:58, 8:14, 8:20, 8:14.

Middle Miles, Miles 7 to 10

The trail crossed Beach Drive and flattened out for the next three miles.  I started to press the pace.  I started picking off runners one by one.  Soon, I’d almost caught up to the 1:40 pacer.  It felt good passing other runners.  I could tell my legs were turning over quicker than theirs.  I told myself that the gel should be kicking in soon, too.  During this stretch, I finally passed someone who had been at the back of the first wave with me!

At about the 9.6 mile mark, the flat part of the trail ends and goes slightly uphill.  There’s also a water stop.  I grab a cup and I slow down so I drink as much as possible.  I get passed by several people, including a woman who looks like she could be a masters runner.  Mile marker 10 came on a slight downhill just before the course crossed Jones Mill Road.

Splits (by course marker): 7:43, 7:40, 8:00.

Later Miles 10 to 13.1

I passed a few runners early on but most of them passed me back when the trail went uphill to the neighborhood on Susanna Lane.  I slowed to a shuffle until the road leveled out.  The residents had their water hoses on, which I ran around but other runners seemed to appreciate.  For the next couple of miles, I was passed and re-passed by an older guy in a blue shirt and a younger guy in the race’s long-sleeve shirt.

Coming out of the neighborhood, we ran past the 11 mile marker and entered the Georgetown Branch Trail.  A gentleman with excellent eyesight was cheering for everyone by name.  How could he see our names on the bibs!  He encouraged me on and I thanked him.

2016 Parks Finish Line Photo

2016 Parks Half Marathon Finish Line (Photo by Dan Reichmann, MCRRC)

The trail wasn’t closed so there were runners and bikers coming up the trail.  For some reason, one of the racers was refusing to get to the far right.  Bikers were yelling at him and I was cursing him under my breath.  He’s the reason why so many bikers hate runners.

After about a half mile, the course made a little out-and back loop on Connecticut Avenue.

The course went back on the Georgetown Branch Trail.  The last mile was on an upward sloping section of trail.  I put my head down and just tried to keep a steady pace.

Just after the 13 mile mark, the course took a left to the final line festival area.  After running without much crowd support, it was weird seeing and hearing so many people!  I lengthened my stride and ran strong to the finish.

Splits (by course marker):8:30, 8:31, 8:37, 0:46.


I finished and received my medal and a blanket.  My coach gave me a 3 mile cool down so I checked them with my other items and headed to the Capital Crescent Trail.  I felt terrible but did the mileage.

Back at the post-race festival, I ate few bites of pasta and some eggs.  I was too exhausted to eat!

On the walk to the Metro, I was approached by a woman who reads this blog!  She, her friend, and I chatted all the way back to the Rockville Metro.

This year’s race fell on September 11th.  On my way home, I parked my car and walked over to the Pentagon to reflect.

Pentagon on September 11, 2016

Pentagon on September 11, 2016

Result [Log Details]

My time was 1:45:15 (8:03 pace).  I was 53rd woman overall, 25th female master, and 9th in my age group.  It was the time I thought was achievable but much slower than I would have hoped.  I missed out on any age group awards, too.

2016 Parks Blanket

2016 Parks Blanket


I wasn’t very happy with the result.  It’s my slowest “road” half marathon since 2008, which is when I started training seriously.  It was a bitter pill to swallow when I started this training cycle on an upswing and was hoping to get closer to a PR.  It was a warm day, though.  I’ve spent the past few days accessing how this training has been going.

Next raceDCRRC National Capital 20 Miler on September 25th.  (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Abridged version

I ran 1:45:15 (8:03 pace).  It was slowest “road” half marathon since 2008, which is when I started training for races.  However, it was also a very warm day.  I believe it was the longest race I’ve done in 70+ degree temperatures since the 2012 Boston Marathon.  On the bright side, I ran a pretty good race for where my fitness was.  I ran a conservative pace in the beginning and didn’t slow down too much at the end.  The race continues to be one of my favorites in the area – great premiums, volunteers, and post-race food.


Posted in New York City Marathon, Race Reports, Races | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2016 New York City Marathon Training – Week 11

NYCM Week 11 Infographic

I overdid it a little on Sunday and Monday by logging 30 miles in two days!  I felt terrible every morning after that but strangely, I ran pretty well!  I’m thinking 8:00 pace for the Parks Half Marathon tomorrow but the Accuweather forecast shows 74 degrees at the start.

Training Schedule
September 4th – September 10th

Sunday: Long Run.  14 miles.
Monday: Tempo Run. 8 x 1 mile with 2 minutes rest + WRC Run of Shame.
Tuesday: 8 miles recovery.
Wednesday: 7 miles recovery.
Thursday: Interval Run.  1 mile @ 10K effort, 4 minute rest, 8 x 400m @ 5K effort w/90 second recoveries.
Friday: 6 miles recovery.
Saturday: 5 miles recovery.

Mileage Total: ~66 Miles

Adaptations.  I followed my coach’s schedule but ran some additional miles as part of the Washington Running Club’s 3rd Annual Run of Shame.

Workout Details

Long Run 14 miles. [Log Details]

I ran with my club for a change in hopes of running a little harder than I might otherwise.

We ran mostly on the Capital Crescent Trail, which is uphill out and downhill back.  I started the run with a good friend and a man visiting from Chicago, who were running 8:25 pace.  I was breathing a little harder than I thought I should at the beginning but I stuck with them.

We stopped at Fletcher’s Boathouse. I ran with a friend running in the 8:00 pace group for about  5 minutes.   The 8:30 pace felt hard after that.  We stopped for water at the Washington Aqueduct and I caught my breath.

We slowed down a little for the next few miles.  Chicago Runner turned around after 6 miles but my friend and I kept running until we reached Bethesda for 7 miles. We drank some water, chatted for a little while, and then parted ways.

I felt better after that break and ran hard alone on the way back.  For inspiration, I thought about the time I ran this stretch covered in snow.  I stopped for water again at the Aquaduct.

Kayaks on the Potomac

Kayaks on the Potomac

With less than a mile to go, I was startled by a deer that was being chased by a dog!  I had a rush of adrenaline after that and finished strong.

Mentally, I felt good about this run.  It was my fastest non-treadmill run over 10 miles since the first week of this training cycle.  Physically, I was exhausted!

Overall paces=8:35.

Tempo Run. 8 x 1 mile with 2 minutes rest.  [Log Details].

It didn’t occur to me that my coach would schedule a tempo run for me after a long run.  I worried that my legs wouldn’t hold up.  I also planned to participate in (and present for) my running club’s 3rd Annual Run of Shame at 8:30am in Georgetown.  (I talked about the Georgetown Market.)  So, I parked downtown and ran the mile repeats on the Mount Vernon Trail in Virginia.

Distant View of Monuments

Distant View of Monuments from the Mount Vernon Trail..

MVT on a Summer Morning

Monument View on the Mount Vernon Trail on a Summer Morning

My coach hadn’t given me pace guidelines but I did a similar workout a month ago.  I ran the first few miles at an easy to moderate effort.  They were around 8:20-8:30 pace.  I didn’t feel as tired as I thought I would!

On the way back, I decided to let myself run a little harder. I tried to drop down to 8:15 pace.  It felt hard but something I knew I could finish.  In fact, my pace was close to 8:00 pace at the beginning of the repetitions and then I forced myself to slow down.  On the last repetition, I ran all out.

I was proud of the effort I made considering how hard I’d gone the day before!

Mile paces=8:35, 8:30, 8:27, 8:26, 8:18, 8:13, 8:12, 7:44.  Average=7:57.

Interval Run. 1 mile @ 10K effort, 4 minute rest, 8 x 400m @ 5K effort w/90 second recoveries. [Details]

I felt pretty bad when I woke up.  I wasn’t sure I’d recovered from Sunday and Monday’s workouts.

I started the mile interval at a pretty easy pace and then progressively pushed the pace harder.  I wanted to make sure I could finish this workout.  I would say it was hard but not quite 10K hard since I didn’t hate running when I finished.

I couldn’t wait to start the quarters after the rest, though.  I really wanted to let my legs fly and I ran them all faster than 5K effort.  During the sixth rest segments, a man running with a prosthesis passed me.  I told myself that I need to stop complaining about my workouts.  I did my last two segments all-out.

I felt great by the end of the workout.  I got some fast running in but not so much that I felt tired.

1 mile pace=7:51, 400m paces=6:47, 7:11, 7:13, 6:50, 6:51, 7:00, 6:45, 6:32.



After a long run on Sunday, and then a tempo run followed by an easy run on Monday; I was completely exhausted.  I felt terrible every morning for the rest of the week – like I hadn’t slept at all.  I think I was also seriously dehydrated.  But, nothing actually hurt.


The week started with temperatures in the low 70s.  I could finally run some faster miles!  By Wednesday, the heat and humidity returned.  But hopefully, it was the last heat wave of this record-setting summer.

Racing Schedule

Next race: Parks Half Marathon on September 11th.  (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Posted in New York City Marathon, Training | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Training Supplement – September 7, 2016

Supplement 090716 Banner

The summer heat had me down but this week I decided I wasn’t giving up on this training cycle just yet.  Living in one of the best cities for running helped lift my mood but battled dehydration did not…  How hard would it be to get Pitbull to play at the New York City Marathon?

Clothing & Gear

Shoes.  The Mizunos I ordered last week arrived and so now, I have my line-up for the rest of my training and race day.

Mizuno Rotation

Mizuno Rotation

Shorts.  On Saturday’s recovery run, I wore the Nike Power Epic Lux Shorts I purchased last week.  According to the website, these shorts have a 3″ inseam, which I usually find adequate.  But, these shorts didn’t provide any coverage once I started running in them.   In the back, they cut just below my butt and in the front, they rode higher than most of my shorty-shorts.  The fabric was just too light to hold its shape during the run.



Body Wash.  I ran a double on Monday and smelled terrible after.  I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try the body wash I received called Thinksport in a recent Stridebox.  The directions were cute:

Apply to wet stinky head and body.  Rinse unless you want to walk around with soap on your body.  Brag to your friends about your latest outdoor event.  Great for everyday use.

And, it’s made of all natural ingredients.  But, I can’t say I felt any cleaner or smelled any fresher after using it.

(My Complete Clothes & Gear Page.)

Nutrition & Hydration

Hydration.  I pushed it pretty hard this weekend.  I ran a hard, long run on Sunday and then a tempo run on Monday followed by my running club’s “Run of Shame.”  (See below).  During my presentation, my ears were clogged which I took as a sign that I was dehydrated.  As we ran around town, my arms started to cramp up, which I also took as a sign that I was seriously dehydrated.  When I got home, I drank a liter of water, took a dose of Salt Stick Caps, and ate an entire bag of Lay’s Potato Chips.  Still, I felt terrible for a few days after.


Hazards.  There was a lot more traffic on the roads after Labor Day.  This morning, I passed a cyclist who was being treated by paramedics after she was hit by a car.

Water Fountains.  The water fountain at the start of the W&OD Trail has been fixed!

Media & Motivation

Music. “Timber,” Pitbull feat. K$sha.  It would be great if Pitbull could find his way to a street corner in the Bronx on November 6th to provide motivation for us runners.

(My “Songs of the Week” playlist on Spotify.)

Podcasts.  “How to Use Power Meters to Improve Your Performance,” by RunnersConnect.  The title of this podcast was a good hook.  I thought it was an interesting topic but, in the end, wasn’t convinced that power is the critical factor for endurance athletes – track athletes perhaps – but not marathoners.

MVT on a Summer Morning

View of monuments on a summer morning.

Websites.  “The 50 Best Running Cities,” from Runner’s World.  We’re #5!  I wasn’t surprised that Washington, D.C. was so high on the list.  Bonus: my running club was mentioned in the article.

Yellow Flowers at Sunrise

Yellow Flowers at Sunrise

Running Clubs.  Speaking of my club…  The Washington Running Club has been holding an annual “Run of Shame” where we go to various locations in Washington D.C. and one member shares information about a scandalous or interesting event that happened there.  This was our 3rd year doing the run and I talked about the Georgetown Market.

Motivation.  “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

I gave up on this training cycle a couple of weeks ago after feeling like I wasn’t running very well.  But, I got my head and heart back in the game this week.

Posted in Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 New York City Marathon Training – Week 10

NYCM Week 10 Infographic

This may be one of the shortest training posts I’ve ever done because I only had one workout this week!  Last Saturday’s long run took so much out of me that my coach assigned easy running for the other days.

Training Schedule
August 28th – September 3rd

Sunday: 5 miles recovery.
Monday: 8 miles recovery.
Tuesday: 8 miles recovery.
Wednesday: Fartlek Run. 7 miles with time “on” and “off”.
Thursday: 10 miles recovery.
Friday: 8 miles recovery.
Saturday: 7 miles recovery.

Mileage Total: ~56 Miles

Adaptations.  None.

Workout Details

Fartlek Run 8 miles easy w/5 x 3 min. @ 10K to half marathon pace [Log Details].

I kept the pace and my mood light during the first few miles.  Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play”, right?  So, I made the run fun by playing up-tempo but light-hearted songs on my iPod.

I started the set of 2-minutes “on”/”off” while on the trail that parallels Route 50 in Clarendon.  I made my way through Rosslyn, where I may have had to stop, until I hooked up with the Mount Vernon Trail.

Under Roosevelt Bridge

I ran pretty uninterrupted for the next few miles.  I tried to focus on good leg turnover, which may have resulted in some over-striding at points.  Generally, my legs felt good during this entire set.

I was still on the MVT for the set of 1-minute “on”/”off”.  My legs still felt pretty fresh during the “on” segments but I was running slower during the “off” segments.

Gravelly Point

The final set of 30-seconds “on”/”off” started in Crystal City.  Not ideal since I had to stop a lot for traffic.  By then, I was slowing down or walking during the “off” segments anyway.   In the end, it was a hodge-podge of paces.

I felt as though this workout went better than others but it still wasn’t great.

Pace for “on” segments=2 minutes at 7:33, 1 minute at 7:21, 30 seconds at 7:42.


I spent the week recovering from last Saturday’s long run.  I was just plain tired and my leg muscles were sore.  I slept like a rock every night but woke up feeling like I could have slept even longer.


The temperatures were milder than previous weeks but it was still low-70s and humid through Wednesday.  A cold front moved in on Thursday and brought rain!  Friday and Saturday felt like fall even though temperatures were in the 60s!

Racing Schedule 

Next race: Parks Half Marathon on September 11th.  (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

I signed up for the D.C. Road Runners National Capital 20-Miler on September 25th.  I thought it might make a good long run.

And, I continued looking at spring marathons.  Now, I’m thinking Vermont City on May 28th and Eugene on May 7th.  I struck the others I mentioned last week for various reasons.


Posted in New York City Marathon, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Training Supplement – August 31, 2016


Like most runners in the area, I’m done with summer.  To get me through this week, I relied on fun music to lift my mood and new gear.  On my runs this week, there were safety concerns, hazards, and interesting animal sightings on the rail trails.

Clothing & Gear

Shoes.  This week, I retired one pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 19s after 300 miles and purchased another pair.  I also decided not to run in the Brooks Ghost 8s any more after deciding they were causing pain in my feet

Picture of Nike Shorts

Nike Shorts. Power Epic Lux (top) and Flex Shorts (bottom)

When my new Mizunos arrive, I’ll have three pairs to work with until the New York City Marathon – two to train in for the next two months and one to start breaking in before the race in November.

Shorts.  The zipper on an old pair of Saucony tight shorts broke this week.  I wanted to buy another pair of Saucony Impulse Shorts but I didn’t like any of the colors left in my size.  Instead, I bought a pair of the Nike Flex Shorts and Nike Power Epic Lux Shorts.  When they arrived, the Flex Shorts were too small, so they’re going back.  It’s a shame because they’re very similar to the Impulse Shorts except they have two additional small pockets on the hips!  But, based on the fit, I think the mediums will be too big.  I’ll report back on the Power Epic Lux Shorts.

(My Complete Clothes & Gear Page.)

Nutrition & Hydration 

Weight.  My weight got down to the low- to mid- 120s a couple of weeks ago and then it spiked up again for some unknown reason.  In response, I’m back eating most of my calories after my runs and then eating healthy salads from Sweetgreen for lunch and a modest meal for dinner.

Pre-Workout Nutrition.  I tried the Carb Boom! energy gel (Banana Peach flavor) as a pre-run snack.  It was terrible.  There was a hint of fruit flavor but it was mostly bland with a strange aftertaste that I can’t quite explain.  I snacked on some Clif Organic Energy Food (Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal flavor) instead.


W&OD Bridge Hazard

W&OD Bridge Hazard

Safety.  This past week, two women were attacked on the far western part of the W&OD Trail.  Thankfully, it didn’t seem as though either woman was seriously injured physically but both incidents must have been terrifying.

Hazards.  Not nearly as distressing, but one of the bridges on the W&OD Trail was damaged last week, too.  It looked so severe that I wondered if it was vandalism.  I had also noticed that someone had spray painted on the asphalt and on a utility pole.  By the next day, the damage to the trail was fixed!  Our county does a great job at maintaining the trails.



Animals.  On Monday, I was running along the Custis Trail and out of the corner of my eye, saw an eagle perched on a lamp post!  On Wednesday, I saw some Canadian geese on the Mount Vernon Trail.  I hope these are signs that cooler temperatures are on their way.




Media & Motivation

Music. “Edge of Glory,” by Lady Gaga.  I needed fun songs this week and this was one of them.

(My “Songs of the Week” playlist on Spotify.)

Websites. “Temperature + Dew Point For Pace Adjustments,” from Maximum Performance Running.  A friend who knew how much I’ve been struggling this summer sent me this page with guidance on how to make pace adjustments based on temperature and dew point.  I don’t think I’ll follow this guidance right now – I think running by effort might be best until I have a sense for my overall fitness – but I thought it was interesting.

Motivation.  “You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” – Beverly Sills

I had my doubts about my long run on Saturday before I even started.  I didn’t quite complete the workout as planned, but I gave it my best.



Posted in Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 New York City Marathon Training – Week 9

NYCM Week 9 Infographic


Last Sunday, I had a great long run on the treadmill in large part because I was watching the men’s Olympic marathon.  The weather broke this week and I had some better than usual runs.  But, another heat wave arrived yesterday and led to a demoralizing long run today.

Training Schedule
August 21st – August 27th

Sunday: Long Run.  18 miles.
Monday: Off.
Tuesday: 9 miles recovery.
Wednesday: Tempo Run.  10 x 1K w/2 minute recoveries.
Thursday: 8 miles recovery.
Friday: 10 miles recovery.
Saturday: Long Run.  18 miles w/10 x 1 mile @ marathon pace or effort w/1:00 rests.

Mileage Total: ~75 Miles

Adaptations. Last week, I emailed my coach and learned I could the “recovery” runs a little harder.  I took advantage of the cooler weather to turn those recovery run shuffles into slightly harder runs.  On Saturday, I only managed 9 repetitions of 1 mile at marathon pace or effort.

Workout Details

Long Run 18 miles.  [Log Details]


I woke up to temperatures in the high 70s and humidity in the high 80s.  I decided to run on the treadmill even though it didn’t feel completely miserable outside.  I still had doubts about my foot pod but I started thinking it might be accurate after all.  Still, I ran the workout by time – I broke that into three 50 minute segments.

I timed the run so I could watch the Men’s Olympic Marathon as a distraction.  I also listened to my potential New York City Marathon playlist.

I ran the first 90 minute segment with the treadmill at 5.6-5.9 (10:43-10:10 pace) and it felt very easy.  For the next one, I incrementally increased the speed to 6.5 (9:14 pace).  The effort still felt pretty comfortable.  But, I was disappointed to see Meb Keflezighi was suffering in the race!  I started chanting, Come on, Meb!  During the third 90 minute set, I increased the treadmill setting to 6.9 (8:42 pace).  By then, I was cheering for Galen Rupp to hold on.  The marathon finished but I still had about 10 minutes of running to go.

I finished the run feeling like I had an honest workout – my legs got the opportunity to stride out a little but I wasn’t completely exhausted.

Split paces=8:25, 7:57, 7:35?  (Foot pod calibration=108.9).

Tempo Run. 10 x 1K w/2 minute recoveries.  [Log Details]

The air temperature was in the high 60s, so I was hopeful that maybe I could pull off a good run.  My coach didn’t put any pace notes in the workout, but just cautioned me not to go out too fast.  I decided to just play it by ear.

I ran the first few repetitions pretty easy.  Without any pace or effort guidelines, I decided to just run a little faster than my recent “recovery” runs.  After a few repetitions, I began to realize this workout was going to go a little longer than I anticipated.

I turned around just north of Old Town Alexandria.  I sped up a little on the way back but it wasn’t a conscious decision.  Instead, I think this was an indication of why I needed to start slower.

Wood Bridge on the MVT

Wood Bridge on the Mount Vernon Trail

Overall, it was a pretty uneventful workout.  I ran such an easy pace that finishing wasn’t really in doubt.  But, it didn’t feel very satisfying.  I told myself to stay positive while I work out the adjustment to my training schedule and the heat.

Split paces=8:22, 8:19, 8:37, 8:12, 8:29, 8:22, 7:54, 7:52, 7:57, 7:52.  Average=8:12.

Long Run.  18 miles w/10 x 1 mile @ marathon pace or effort w/1:00 rest.  [Log Details]

I started the run very easy, particularly since it was uphill.  At the 7.30 mile mark, when the trail went downhill and flat, I started the intervals.

The first repetition was all downhill and fast.  I ran a little harder than the conditions may have warranted but it still felt like marathon effort.  I cruised for the next few miles.  But during the 5th repetition, I decided to dial things back significantly and mentally prepare myself to just finish.

I stopped for water during the start of the sixth repetition at the new water fountain by the airport.  A fellow runner stopped and called it a life saver.  I nodded in agreement.  I felt better after the break.

Post Run Slurpee

Post Run Slurpee

During the seventh repetitions, I faded badly.   I stopped under a tree during the break for some additional rest.

During the 8th repetition, I felt like I was absolutely baking.  During the next rest break, I sat down on the base of an electrical wire post.  I was so tired!  I felt the tears welling up in my eyes.

After maybe a minute, I willed myself to keep running.  But, the 9th repetition was a shuffle and the 10th had so much walking that I ended the workout.

I wasn’t upset on the walk home.  I knew the conditions were just too much.  I was actually happy I ran a few of the repetitions hard.

Split paces=8:12, 8:31, 8:33, 8:33, 9:24, 8:33, 9:05, 9:27, 10:18.  Average=8:57.


I felt good but my left piriformis and feet were sore early in the week.  I think the treadmill running opened up my stride and aggravated my glutes.  And, the Brooks Ghost 8 hurt my feet since they’re less flexible than the Mizunos.


Break in the Heat WaveThe weather was hot and humid on Sunday, so I ran my long run on the treadmill.  The temperature broke on Monday and most of the week was bearable.  But, by Thursday, another heat wave rolled into the area.

Racing Schedule 

Next Race. Parks Half Marathon on September 11th.  (My Complete Racing Schedule.)

Future Races.  I’m having doubts about my New York City Marathon performance so I’ve already started looking ahead to spring marathons.  I’ll run the Boston Marathon but not as a goal race.  I’m looking at late spring marathons like Sugarloaf, Ottawa, and Vermont City.

Posted in New York City Marathon, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment