Friday, November 16, 2012

Marathon Goals

The Philadelphia Marathon is in 2 days and since it looks like the show will go on this Sunday, I thought I would talk a little about what my marathon goals would be for this race.

This marathon will be my second marathon ever. I ran my first marathon back in 2006 and fulfilled my dream of running the New York City Marathon. It was something I dreamed of doing ever since I moved to NYC in 1997 and wasn't even a runner at that time. My mindset for running that marathon was that I just wanted to come in at 5 hours. Those who completed the marathon in 5 hours or less had their name and results listed in the New York Times the next day. To me, having my name in the paper meant so much to me. I completed that marathon in 4 hours 49 minutes and 27 seconds. Can you imagine how proud I was to come in 10 minutes faster that I had planned?

When I started my training this time around for my second NYC Marathon (which of course now I am running the Philadelphia Marathon), my heart was set on a PR or at least finishing in the same amount of time it took me six years earlier. While my training this year has been solid, and even improved from 2006, I realized about a month ago that PRing or even finishing in the same time was probably not going to happen for this marathon. I have been having little pains here and there along the way that contributed to this decision. Once I accepted it, I felt so much better because I took the pressure off myself. I realized that while my heart is the same now as it was then, my body is not the same. I had settled on having fun with this marathon and to finish in 5 hours and 15 minutes. I felt that was doable.

Now that the marathon I am running is the Philadelphia Marathon have my goals changed? Partly. This marathon course is a predominately flat course. There are a couple of spots with some hills, but I know I am well prepared for them since I completed all of my long runs on trails where there are major, steep hills. I have gotten stronger and faster during the past few weeks so knowing that I am running on an easier course gives me some hope of finishing faster than I had planned for NYC. I also think that having run the back half of this course during the ING Philly Half Marathon back in 2009, I know what to expect and will give me a little edge to finishing the marathon in a time I would like.

What are my goals? I have set 3 goals. Any of which I will be happy with because this 41 year old is thrilled to be actually running another marathon.

Goal A - Finish in 4 hours, 45 minutes or better (My original goal for NYC when I started training)
Goal B - Finish in 4 hours, 49 minutes and 27 seconds
Goal C - Finish in 5 hours or no later than 5 hours, 15 minutes

I think with the flatter race course now, there is a possibility of setting a PR. While I am not going to kill myself or hurt myself to get there, I am setting my sights on it. I believe if I enter Sunday with a solid plan in regards to my pacing, I could achieve this goal. If I don't, I won't be upset because I am just excited to be able to still run a marathon this year.

I will also be channeling some positive motivation from this speedy lady who just ran the Harrisburg Marathon this past Sunday and not only came in first place, but also PR'd with a Sub 3 hour marathon!!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Four Days

Well it's four days until the Philadelphia Marathon! I am getting really excited about it now. Walking home from the subway tonight, I was thinking of just how close I am to running my second marathon. It was something that I wasn't sure if I was ever going to do again. 

It still boggles my mind that I have been able to complete, now, 18 weeks of training with relatively minor issues this year. During the past five years, my training always got derailed with an injury and I ended up having to defer my NYC Marathon entry. While I was ready to run NYC for the second time this year, mother nature had other plans, and I almost thought all my hard work and training was for nothing. Thankfully Philadelphia has adopted us NYC'ers and I get to fulfill my dream of running another marathon. Eeeks!

As of today, I have completed my second easy 3 miler run. I almost didn't think today's run was going to happen. I woke up this morning not feeling well. Ever since Hurricane Sandy came through I have been having a non-stop runny nose and am constantly cold (even at work where the air conditioning runs non-stop above my desk) and last night I was so cold I went to bed bundled up like I was sleeping outside in Alaska. Besides the constant nose issue, this morning I felt run down and had a little sore throat. The last thing I need right now is to be sick. I have boosted up my vitamins and drinking lots of hot tea in hopes of getting through the next few days without feeling worse. I did decide to run at lunch today because I didn't want the pressure of taking today off and then knowing I HAD to run tomorrow. But let me tell you right now, I will be running on Sunday!!!

So now I am in this stage of preparing for race day:

I have started gathering the items I will need for both during and after the race. I haven't completely decided on my racing attire yet (i.e., whether I will be wearing my running skirt, shorts or capris), but I am pretty certain I will be donning my NYC Marathon technical shirt we got. Philadelphia mentioned they wouldn't have our race shirts in time for Sunday and encouraged us to where our NYC shirts. I thought it was a brilliant idea. I will be sporting my pride for NYC.

The lottery entrants haven't received race bib numbers yet. They said we would of had that information emailed to us this past Monday. Of course it hasn't happened yet. I'm just happy that the race fee charge has finally showed up on my credit card. As soon as I have my bib number I will let ya'll know so you can track me on race day. I'll give you the details of that too.

Now I am off to eat and rest! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Taper Week Take Two

I have officially entered my "Second Time Around Taper Week." One would think I was a pro at it by now, but I am truly just riding it out by the seat of my running shorts. I am not quite sure what the "proper" training is for tapering for one marathon and then having to kick training back up for a week before tapering for a second marathon. I am hoping what I have done this past week is enough to get me to the finish line at the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday.

Here is what the past week of training looked like for me:

Ran 5 miles at the Astoria Park Track. I originally was just looking to do 4, but once I got out there it felt good to stretch my legs and clear my head from all the craziness of the NYC Marathon being cancelled at the last minute. This run just felt so easy and that is what I needed.

No run planned for the day. After I got into office, I was told by a co-worker that the Philadelphia Marathon was adding 3,000 more bibs to the closed out race for NYC Marathoners. I immediately got excited and completed my application for the lottery and crossed my fingers that I got selected. I was once again pumped and quickly tried to figure out what my running would look like for the rest of the week just in case I got into the race.

Ran 3.5 speedy miles on the treadmill during my lunch hour. I started the first mile at a 5.5 and after each mile I increased my speed by .2. The last half mile was at a 6.1 speed.

Excited because today is lottery picking day at 5pm! Ran another speedy 3.5 miles on the treadmill at lunch. I decided to start my pace out with an even number of 5.6. Increased my speed by .2 after every mile. The last half mile was at a 6.2 speed. Felt freaking awesome.

I tried not to be too excited about the possible marathon on the 18th. I didn't want to get my hopes up just in case I didn't get into it. So when I got the email letting me know I was selected, I felt like a kid at Christmas! I chose to run a slow recovery 3 miles on the treadmill at lunch. I stayed at a 5.4 pace for the whole ride.

Rest Day Please!

I knew I had to do some sort of a long run to see where I was at with my distance. I had been tapering for 3 weeks before the NYC Marathon and then when it was cancelled I didn't even attempt any sort of a long run that Sunday. I had family in town and didn't really know of the organized runs until after the fact. I don't have tv, nor any other racing friends, so I was kinda out of the loop. Needless to say, trying to come up with an ideal distance for my long run wasn't easy. I didn't want to do too short of a distance and leave myself unprepared for race day, nor did I want to do too long of a distance that would leave my legs exhausted for the race. In the end, I decided that I would run anywhere from 15-18 miles.

So off to the Rockefeller State Park Preserve Trails I went early Sunday morning and 15 miles ended up being the magic number completed. For having missed one long run in the past 16 weeks, I was amazed at how good I felt during this run. I knew I wanted to take my pace a little slower since I wasn't quite sure how everything was going to go, but after the first 3 miles, my pace just fell into place and I felt great. At least until I hit mile 10.5 where I hit the Sleepy Hollow Trail, as indicated in the picture below:

I like to call this part of the run the "Slow Painful Death Trail." This part of the run isn't long, it's just very steep in a few spots and after running on legs that hadn't stopped to rest at all, they began to say "Oh He$$ No!". It took all I had to get to the top of the hill and I somehow managed to run another 1.75 miles after reaching the top to get to 13 miles before I stopped at the car to rest, refill my hydration belt with new bottles and visit the bathroom. 

After that, did I want to go back out and run 2 to 3 more miles? My heart did, but my legs were saying a big fat "No Way Man." I chose not to listen to my legs, and managed to tweak out 2 more miles to get to 15. When all was said and done, I was very proud of myself. Even though I didn't hit 18 miles, I knew that with this run I was prepared to finish the Philadelphia Marathon because the trail run is a ton harder than the nice, mostly flat course I will encounter on Sunday.

Now I am at a taper race week again. I am choosing to follow the original race week training plan I did 2 weeks ago. I will run an easy 11 miles during the week just to keep my legs fresh for marathon Sunday. I will add a little more carbs and salt to my meals. Nothing crazy. I don't really believe in carb overload. I will spend this week getting my race stuff together to prepare for heading to Philly on Saturday. I am excited that I am finally getting to run my race! I am so thankful that Philly made room for us NYC Marathoners!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Exciting News

Guess who got into the Philadelphia Marathon on November 18? Me!!!!

I can not believe I got selected in the lottery! I feel like a kid a Christmas right now. I am so EXCITED! Thank you Philly for letting us into your sold out marathon!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Moving Forward - Next Steps & A Helping Hand

As we all know, the NYC Marathon was cancelled at 5:30pm on Friday. I have already voiced my thoughts about that decision on my Facebook page and those closest to me know how crushed I was at the 11th Hour cancellation. I do not want to rehash any of it here on the blog. Instead I want to focus on moving forward and what will happen next with my running/training now that the marathon date has come and gone.

So what are my plans?

Plan A:

Well this past weekend, after some talking with my honey who convinced me I didn't need an official marathon to run 26.2 miles, I decided and proclaimed on Facebook that I was going to do this:
As you all know from reading all about my training for the past 16 weeks, the Rockefeller State Park Preserve is where I completed all my long training runs. This run will all be on trails in which will make it tougher for me. The farthest I have run there is 22 miles and that took me 4 hours and 43 minutes. So while I was looking to finish the NYC Marathon in 5 hours (road is much easier), completing this distance will most like take me close to 5.5 to 6 hours to complete. It just depends on how my body holds up.

Plan B (or Could Turn Into Plan A):

This morning the Philadelphia Marathon announced they were opening up 3,000 bibs to NYC Marathoner's. Half of the entry fee will go to the Red Cross Hurricane Victims. I was excited to hear that they decided to do this. I know the race was closed, but I mentioned the other day to some friends that nothing but good could come from them opening up some spots and the next day they did! 

The bibs will be filled by a lottery pick to be drawn at 5:00pm Thursday, and after talking with my honey, I decided to put my name into the hat. The race is scheduled for November 18, so if by some luck I get picked, this will become Plan A for me.

I am really hoping that Plan B will become my Plan A. I know I don't need an official marathon to run the distance. I just love the racing atmosphere and the feeling of family when I toe a start line so much. Either way, I am hoping to be completing a 26.2 mile run before Thanksgiving.

Hurricane Sandy Relief: There is still so much need for help for the Hurricane Sandy victims here. I myself have made a donation to the Red Cross, even set up my own fundraising page, but I also felt the need to help one particular Hurricane Victim in Staten Island. I am a frequent reader of Healthy Happier Bear's blog and Ashley brought my attention to a young lady named Jen (who incidentally was suppose to run the NYC Marathon). Jen,her husband and 2 children lost everything when Sandy hit Staten Island. Ashley and her husband created a Target registry to help this family get back on their feet. They have nothing. While I can't help every single person out there, I knew I could help make a difference for this family. You can read the story about Jen here (and even see a news clip where they appear) on Ashley's blog. What Ashley has created even got the attention of ABC news and an article was released on Over 116 items have been purchased through the "Wedding Registry", but there are still so many more items needed. If you want to take a look, please do and maybe you might be able to help just a little too.

Friday, November 2, 2012

American Red Cross and NYC Marathon

As you all know, Hurricane Sandy came through this week and caused so much devastation to the surrounding area. I was fortunate to retain my power and not have to endure what so many of my friends and loved ones are going through right now. The Mayor has decided that the NYC Marathon will happen as planned. The show will go on and with that, I will be toeing the start line this Sunday morning. It is not an easy decision, but it is one that I have made. I will be running through the city I love so much and hope to bring some spirit back to it. 

Early this morning I made a donation to the American Red Cross through the Recover Fund the New York Road Runners organization created to donate $1 million. I have chosen to take it one step further and have created my own fundraising page. I ask that if you can spare a small donation to help those who desperately need it, I would greatly appreciate it and thank you from the bottom of my heart!