I think I have mentioned it but if not, my long runs this cycle have been shit-tastic. Seriously. Struggle bus for the majority. Just NOT inspired. It has been more about my heart just not being in it and having to will myself through the miles and to not walk. Boredom? Idk. But there has been a serious mental block.
For that very reason, with 2 weeks of long runs left before taper for the Hartford Marathon, I decided to run the NYRR 18 Mile Tune-up (and luckily with TFK for NYCM we get a free entry!!! They are the BEST!). I needed the inspiration of the masses. I am a solo runner but a good environment is helpful.
The only thing NOT happy about, was the start was on the UES and that is a plain BITCH to get to at the crack of dawn.
Alarm clock threats ensued.
I was out the door finally around 5:25. That was fun. Although to be honest I am out the door around then most of the week. I guess I just get some anger about doing all week and then all weekend? Not sure.
Anyways. Realized once I got to the PATH that I didn't have breakfast. Oops? Luckily I had packed a Quest bar for post run so ate that before.
I finally got to the park around 6:50 (7am start) only to find a MASSIVE line for bag check. It was total shit show.
Which led to starting the run 20 minutes after the official start. NBD. Thanks NYRR.
I was nervous - 3 loops of Central Park. I have been doing about half my runs on the treadmill and as we all know, there are just a FEW hills in the park. I was surprised the first hill up was Harlem hill and went up it like it was nothing.
My strategy for this run was to take it easy, and run based on perceived effort (easy) versus trying to maintain specific pace. Also I planned to take in water at the majority of water stations to practice for the marathon. I have not been drinking a lot during mine or really fueling. Oops? So I planned on 2-3 gels as well.
The first mile was slow but I guess as I warmed up because my pace started to drop under 10 and would pretty much stay there.
I spent the majority of the race waiting for the bottom to drop out (awful I know) but figured there was NO WAY that my legs should feel this good with 35 or so miles on them already this week and no rest days (XT days but I ran I think 6 days? I have to recap that...)
With the first loop done I again headed up the hills on the west side feeling good. And it was a great feeling. There was some nice energy out there today and as always am impressed an inspired by the variety of runners pounding the pavement. Kudos to those who have many years on me and are doing it still. I aspire to be there.
I took my gels at miles 9 and 14 with no incident. For a moment around mile 11 I thought things were iffy and made a pit stop but all was good. Thank you stomach!
Right before finishing the 2nd loop I was actually on the phone with my sister while running because she had sent me a text and I figured since I was running "conversationally" to call her and that mile wound up splitting under 9! While I was talking to her. A big note of improvement on fitness.
Third loop began and was definitely a bit more fatigued going up Harlem hill and a little achy in the glutes but I just kept running. I was happy I walked while getting water (because I will seriously choke running and drinking) but other than that ran consistently.
Once we started down the south end of the park I got really excited. I knew with 3 miles left that I was finishing up the 18 really strong.
And strong it was. That final mile I pushed. I wanted to finish at MRP. Only downfall was that I totally thought the finish was sooner than it was - and then realized I had about another 1/10 of a mile to go. Oops.
Maybe this wasn't totally slow enough but I feel marathon ready right now. Whatever happens on next weeks 20 I am confident that I am ready to go for it and race the crap out of Hartford. And could not have done it without my coach. I have full trust in her and do what she tells me, and clearly if you put in the work you improve.
Without further ado, splits:
Mile 1: 10:25
Mile 2: 9:52
Mile 3: 9:56
Mile 4: 9:49
Mile 5: 9:44
Mile 6: 9:37
Mile 7: 9:33
Mile 8: 9:32
Mile 9: 9:11
Mile 10: 9:51
Mile 11: 9:54
Mile 12: 8:57
Mile 13: 9:33
Mile 14: 10:17
Mile 15: 9:36
Mile 16: 9:39
Mile 17: 9:51
Mile 18: 8:51
Mile 19: 8:10 (.15)
Couldn't be happier with that! And all done by 10:20 and the glorious day ahead (and seriously what a frickin gorgeous Sunday!!! Running perfection).
And of course this:
Time to eat ALL THE FOOD.
Happy Sunday - and GO GIANTS!!!!