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Posts Tagged ‘half marathon’

What? Another half marathon post? I know, but I wanted to do some reflections on my training and my emotional experience and since this blog is mostly for me anyone reading will just have to deal 🙂

But look! You also get my official race photos!

First, my training. In my original plan I planned on running three days/week, cross training one day, and strength training on another. Giving myself 1 day for rest and a flex day when I could cross train or rest depending on how I felt.

I think running three times/week was perfect. Given my injuries I don’t think my body could have handled running more and, even though I don’t think it’s the ideal plan, it worked for me.

In the original plan I had myself increasing gradually with two “shorter” runs during the week and one “longer” run on weekends. I had planned on completing 224.1 miles overall, however I only ran 160.24 miles overall.

Again, I don’t think this is ideal but given my foot injury, my ongoing ankle problems, crappy weather, and recovery time since my body wasn’t used to the longer runs, I think I did the best I could.


Two things that I’m definitely going to incorporate into my next half marathon training plan (stay tuned for that tomorrow!) is speed and hill work. I think speed work will definitely make me faster and I finally feel confident enough in my body to ease into it.

As for hills I think that’s something I lucked out on. The half marathon course had virtually no hills, but the same can’t be said for my second half. Luckily the second half will be in Prospect Park, which is where I normally run. It’s also where I ran my 10-mile race back in February and I definitely felt my lack of hill training there.

So, takeaway from training: I did the best I could given my body, the time, and the elements. But I definitely found ways to improve for next time.


Second, race day. I had run other races before, but I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare for a race this long. Luckily I had my dad to pick me up and take me there, but we got there so early (for parking reasons) that I had to worry about making sure I used the bathroom and got enough food close to race time.

Bathroom lines you can’t control, I went to the bathroom several times before the race as my nerves often manifest themselves in having to pee. Not ideal, but what am I going to do?

For food I think I did the smart thing, I had my toast with almond butter and Emergen-C for breakfast at home and then I brought half a Clif bar to eat with me about half an hour before the race. I frequently eat half of a Clif bar before working out so I knew my stomach would be fine.

As for during the race nutrition I think I could improve that aspect. I brought Sharkies with me and I had 4 at mile 4, 4 at mile 8, 4 at mile 10, and 4 at mile 12. I probably stopped for either water or Gatorade 5-6 times, but I only took a few sips each time.

I hate stopping for a drink, it slows me down and I can’t drink while running (or I can but I spill Gatorade all over myself). I also the ingredients in Gatorade and how it tastes (besides my true love red Gatorade, but still, I’d rather not drink it). But I definitely need to drink in a long race. Even with my drink stops I could feel myself getting dehydrated. For that reason I think I’m going to have to invest in a Camelbak and fill it with really watered down red Gatorade, coconut water, or some other sugary/energy-giving substance.

After the race I grabbed a bagel with cream cheese, a banana, and an apple. I think those were great choices. The carb, the fat, and the fruit. I would have loved some protein, but I had to take what was available.

So, the takeaway from my before, during, and after preparation. Take in more calories and/or fluids during the race and hope they have some protein-containing options after the race.

Random takeaways:

My father is a machine. The man had 4 slices of greasy pizza for dinner on Friday, a bowl cereal (with cow’s milk) for breakfast on Saturday around 5am, didn’t plan on eating anything before the race but I made him eat a pack of Sharkies, and didn’t stop for a single drink. How is that possible?!?! Although when I saw him in the food line he was really pale and looked like he was about to pass out, so I gave him the rest of my Sharkies and he was fine.

I think in the future it’s better to run alone. I told my father the pace I wanted to run, but he still insteaded on going faster and then kept looking back at me. I would have rather he just went ahead (which I told him) rather than feeling like I had to keep up with him. He also likes to weave in and out of people a lot at the beginning which I think is wasted energy.

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I’m going to start from the beginning.

The first part of running the half marathon was picking up my packet from Urban Athletics in the World Financial Center. I was dreading this for two reasons: first, lower Manhattan is really confusing to navigate and two, for reasons, that I’m not going to go into on this blog, I have a lot of anxiety around being that close to Ground Zero.

But with the help of Hop Stop, Google Maps, Dori, and my friend Elisa I was able to feel better about finding it. Unfortunately Hop Stop wasn’t 100% correct and it took a big of wandering around (Dori’s directions were great, but I totally got off at the wrong subway stop, thanks Hop Stop) before I found it.

They had it set up to pick up the bib and other papers outside of the store, but then go in the store to get the shirt. I guess they wanted you to buy stuff. I wasn’t sure what size to get so I tried them on just to be sure.

I think the shirt is great, it just kind of sucks that it doesn’t specifically say NY or the date on it.

For a recap of last night see this post.

I woke up at 5am this morning. My dad was coming to get me at 6:15 since parking was limited. With heating my legs and stretching I didn’t get out of the shower until 6:05 and I still had to get dressed, eat breakfast, and finish packing.

First I made breakfast so I could eat it while I did the other things. Two slices of Ezekial bread with TJ’s almond flax seed butter and an Emergen-C

Luckily my father was half an hour late so I had plenty of time to get ready.

I really liked my final look

Once my dad finally arrived we headed over to Flushing Meadows Park. It was super easy as there’s no traffic at 7am on a Saturday! And parking was easy to find and still plentiful.

We went to use the bathroom and sat for a while and watched some of the soccer games going on

Then we walked back to the car so my dad could drop off his warm-up pants and sweatshirt and I could drop off my sweatshirt. And this is where I’m going to tell a strange story. As we walked towards our car I noticed a guy in the backseat of the car next to ours who seemed to have his shirt off pumping up and down. Then I noticed the entire SUV was shaking.

Yep, pretty sure I witnessed someone having pre-race sex. If I hadn’t been with my father it would have been really funny, but since I was with my father it was really weird. And, for the record, it wasn’t like we were parked somewhere really remote. There were people in the car in back of the sex car and 2 cars over and all around.

Anyway, back to the race.

We walked back to what was actually the finish line, but was where everyone was congregating.

I don’t know what my dad is looking at here

I used the bathroom two more times (nerves make me have to pee!) and while there were lines both times they weren’t bad. I also ate half a white chocolate macadamia nut Clif bar around 8:30 since I had breakfast around 6.

Around 8:50 it was finally time to walk over to the starting line. We got to walk past one of my favorite places in the world (and one of the main reasons I want to do this race) the home of the US Open (if you don’t already know I’m pretty obsessed with tennis).

The 5K started first, but the half marathon wasn’t far behind and, thankfully, we started right on time.

The first few miles were kind of awkward. I told my dad I planned to run a 10:30 pace and he was said he was fine with that and we would stay together. But he kept running ahead and looking back and seeming annoyed. Finally he just ran ahead and I put on my iPod and was happy.

The views were amazing, I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better day! (All pictures taken while running so they’re kind of awkward!)

I’m trying to put together all my memories from the race.

We did one really quick loop and ended up back by the Tennis Center and I was afraid that was just going to be repeated the entire race, but it wasn’t. We ran past the Tennis Center, the Queens Museum, the Unisphere, the Queens Museum, those things from Men in Black, the Queens Zoo, and a bunch of other museums and other sites I’m not remembering.

There were good crowds of people at certain points and it was great to have my name on my bib so people could cheer for me. Having people cheer for me felt just as great as when I cheer for people at the NYC Marathon.

At certain points the course was annoying or desolate. Because of all the rain the sidewalk was flooded in a few places so we were running on the very wet, muddy grass. Definitely not what I expected. There were also parts, after we crossed the Long Island Expressway, where it was just kind of empty and we were running next to a highway.

Somewhere between miles 6 and 7, after we went up the steep incline to cross the LIE, I found Dori. I was really excited to see her since we had Twittered a lot about the race. I had a great time talking to her for a few minutes. I would have loved to talk longer, but I felt bad ditching my dad, who at this time had hung back and was running slower to keep me company, and I didn’t want to impose on Dori who seemed in her zone with music. Plus I can be a bit of a talker and I know not everyone likes that while running! 🙂

My dad ditched me again at the end of the race, I want to say round mile 10 or so. I didn’t mind, I just put on my iPod, but I started to feel a little sluggish and it would have been nice to have someone there.

Overall I felt great throughout the race. My knee bothered me a while, I could feel some stiffness in my ankle at points, but my breathing was great and overall I feel like I couldn’t have asked for a better race.

At the end of the race I just booked it. I ran mile 13 in 9:17! When I was at 12.75 miles or so Thriller came on my iPod and I remembered the dance my college class did for our Junior Show and my friend Alexis who had suggested MJ for my playlist and I felt really energized.

So, my time:

Pretty f-ing amazing! It was so much more than I expected. Given how I felt for the past few weeks and my lack of running my expectations weren’t that high.

My Garmin says I actually ran 13.28 miles which is even better!

I picked up my medal, a cup of Gatorade, and a bottle of water and headed to the food line.

I actually ended up right in back of my dad on the line for food. He only ended up finishing 40 seconds or so ahead of me. I guess my speed at the end really paid off!

I took a banana, an apple, a thing of dark chocolate almond granola, a plain bagel, a doughnut, and cream cheese.

I had the banana, apple, and bagel with cream cheese while we were hanging out. I was HUNGRY. During the race I probably ate about 16 Sharkies and stopped maybe 5-6 times at water stations for water or Gatorade which I just took a few sips.

We hung around for a little while with the other finishers.

After a little while we walked back to the car and headed home.

Check out this odd store we passed on the way to the LIE

They had serious animals inside

When we got to my parents’ house I took a shower and then went to Subway to get a veggie sandwich. It was delicious!

I watched some tennis and then headed to Target to pick up a few things. I really wanted coconut water, but I can’t find it anywhere here!

I also dressed the dog up in my dad’s shirt and medal

I think it reminded him of his old racing days. Haha.

My mom made pasta with sausage, broccoli rabe, and chickpeas for dinner. It was delicious! It wouldn’t have been my first choice (it’s my brother’s birthday so he got to pick the meal) but it ended up being great.

I also took the opportunity to open a bottle of wine I had been saving for a celebration.

My friend Elisa brought it back for me from Oregon and it’s far nicer than anything I would ever buy myself so I wanted to drink it to celebrate something. What’s better to celebrate than running a half marathon?

I’ve had about a glass and a half tonight (plus tons of water) and I think I’m going to bring the rest to my grandparents’ tomorrow for Easter.

Now I’m just relaxing. I think I’m going to have some ice cream and watch a little TV and then head to bed early.

I’m going to do a post about how I emotionally feel about the half and my journey to get here, but I need a bit more time to reflect.

Oh and I can’t wait to see my official race photos! They should be available later this week. I tried to smile and wave for all of the photographers!

Thanks to everyone for their good wishes about the race!

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Tonight is the night before the half marathon.

I’m all loaded up on carbs

and hydrated.

My clothes are all laid out

With my bib on my new shirt

The Garmin is charging

and my playlist is nearly all set

My bag is almost completely packed to go to my parents’ house after the race

Now I’m heating my legs

and after that I’ll stretch

I’ve done all of this while wearing my race tee

And writing this post has reminded me that I need to set my alarm (for 5am!) and put my fancy bottle of wine in my bag so I can celebrate tomorrow night.

See you all in 13.1 miles!

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A Lame Post

Sorry for the lame post. I’m not really feeling the exercising lately. I think my crappy workouts over the weekend did some mental damage. I also have this strange pain in my left foot. I broke my big left toe several years ago and it kind of feels like the joint below the toe is bothering me. I’ve been heating and icing it so hopefully that will help.

And I took yesterday off from exercising. I’m supposed to to cross training tonight, but if it still hurts I might give it more of a break.

I had the new Chobani Strawberry Banana yogurt yesterday.

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Really, really, really, really, REALLY awful. Inedible in my opinion. It had that horrible fake banana taste (like Laffy Taffy or whatever it’s called) and it was sickeningly sweet (and I love sweet food). I’ll be sticking with the pineapple. And I did like the raspberry.

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Since I was neglectful in posting this past weekend I thought I’d do a catchup post.

I went running on Saturday morning. Now that I’m training for my half marathon Saturdays are going to be my long run days. Since this is the beginning of the process my “long” run was 4 miles. Here’s the breakdown:

Mile 1: 8:55
Mile 2: 9:06
Mile 3: 9:14
Mile 4: 8:19

For a total of 35:36. It was, for what it’s worth, way too fast. I need to slow down and focus on form and breathing. I don’t know why I’m having such issues with going too quickly lately.

Remember back when I ran my first 5k? Check out my time:

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That’s only one minute and 44 seconds faster than I ran 4 miles on Saturday. (Does that make sense?) If that’s not improvement I don’t know what is.

As I mentioned yesterday I went to Kath‘s blogger meet-up at the Brooklyn Brewery. I had never been to the Brooklyn Brewery, but I had always wanted to go. I certainly enjoy their beers, but I don’t know if I can say the same for the Brewery. When I’ve been on other Brewery tours it’s a rather lengthy tour followed by a few free samples.

Although I didn’t get to go on a tour of the Brooklyn Brewery (the line to get in was very long because they were over capacity) I heard it was less than 10 minutes and not really impressive. You don’t need to go on the tour to go into the Brewery, you can just go in and hang out and drink. And there were a lot of people hanging out and drinking. A sign said there was a 175 person capacity, but I would have guessed there were over 400 people inside. There were a few birthday celebrations and a bachelor party.

The system of getting beer was kind of annoying. You waited on one long line to buy tokens ($4 each or 6 for $20) and then waited on another long line to exchange the token for a beer.

But it was a fun time with Kath and the other bloggers and I could see myself going back to the Brooklyn Brewery.

Saturday was a gorgeous day here in NYC. After I left the Brewery it was still so warm even though it was around 6pm so I took the subway into Manhattan and walked down to Soho to get ice cream. And then I sat outside and ate my ice cream. It was pretty weird.

Sunday I woke up and immediately went to the gym. It was supposed to be a rest day, but I had already had two rest days so I thought I needed to fit some time in on the elliptical.

After showering I headed into the City to meet friends for brunch at Tartine.

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(Source)

Tartine is actually right down the street from where one of my good friends used to live, but I had never been before. After seeing the SF version featured on Jenna’s blog all the time and then finding out there was a NY outpost I knew I needed to go.

I had the French toast and it was AMAZING. The bread had the greatest consistency and flavor, the bacon it came with was delicious and perfectly cooked, and the home fries were delicious, even though they were covered with dreaded hollandaise (I scrapped most of it off). It was a fantastic meal and I would definitely go back. And we didn’t even have to wait that long!

After Tartine we caught a cab (it was pouring down rain) and went to see A Single Man. What a great movie! I’d definitely recommend it. It was intense and it wasn’t happy, but it also wasn’t as depressing as I expected.

And I discovered something shocking. About a Boy, the movie with Hugh Grant, is one of my favorite movies of all time. And I always thought the kid that plays Marcus was adorable and great in his own awkward way. No?

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(Source)

Well that weird kid has grown up to be quite attractive!

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(Source)

All credit goes to my friend Julia for realizing they were the same person.

I came home to watch the Golden Globes and tennis (the Australian Open started), but I was so bored by the Golden Globes that I just stuck with tennis.

When I woke up Monday morning (I had off from work!) I wanted to go running right away. It probably wasn’t a good idea. I was still really tight and I didn’t eat anything and the run was just miserable. I really wanted to stop, but it was only 3 miles so I kept going. I was happy I finished, but not happy with the experience overall.

Here’s the breakdown:

Mile 1: 8:33
Mile 2: 8:47
Mile 3: 9:00

Total: 26:21

It was just way too fast and I was so unhappy with it. If I want to run 4 miles on Thursday and 5 miles on Saturday, not to mention 13.1 in April, I need to slow the hell down.   

I came home and made a delicious scrambled egg sandwich and then watched tennis for the rest of the afternoon with a brief trip to two grocery stores. And I cleaned the kitchen between matches I didn’t care about 🙂

And now it’s Tuesday and back to work.

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I ran a tough 3 miles yesterday for the first official run of my half marathon training. I had worn my sneakers all day at work so my ankle was only slightly swollen and much less so after I stretched, so I went into the run being optimistic. Unfortunately my legs were still incredibly sore from the NMTZ DVD on Sunday and the cold just made them feel so much worse.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to do 3 miles in under 30 minutes, but after I stopped to stretch (and stopped my watch) halfway through it was much easier. Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 9:38
Mile 2: 9:28
Mile 3: 8:55 (!!)

For a total of 28:02! I was pretty happy with that.

It’s also nice to see that my average heart rate is going down. When I first started running with my Garmin after Christmas my average heartrate was in the 180’s and my max heartrate was once as high as 200 BPM. But it’s been steadily going down since. Yesterday my average heartrate was 171 BPM and my max was 186.

Now, that I’m running, I have a new issue: calorie counting. As you know one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to count calories for one month, this month. So far it’s not going too well. There are a few issues:

First, when I sit down in the morning to plan out my calories I have to plan them out for the entire day. This means including my workouts, but then, if, at night, when I workout, I don’t feel up to working out (ankle, other plans, exhaustion), I’m 300-400 calories over my goal. How do I account for this? I need to plan those 300-400 calories into my day, I can’t eat an extra 300-400 calories at night and I can’t skip dinner if I don’t work out. Do I just say “oh well” since most of the time I will be working out?

Second, I’m having major problems with snacking while I’m cooking dinner. I usually eat an apple at the office around 4pm and then half a Clif bar around 6pm before I workout and then I’m home making dinner around 7:15 or so. I try to make things that are easy and quick. For instance, last night I made pizza, it took me about 20 minutes, but I still snacked on mozzarella cheese the entire time the pizza was cooking. And I’m not counting those calories in my total because it’s totally mindless. I need to stop this, it’s not good. I am getting enough food, I don’t need more.

Third, going out to eat. Going out to eat has always been my biggest weakness. I can’t seem to order a healthy meal when I go out or eat a normal-sized portion. It’s just food. It’s not the only food I’ll ever eat, I need to remember that. And I need to remember that eating crap food, or even a ton of healthy food, isn’t good and it’s not going to help me reach my goals.

Ok, thank you for letting me get that out. I never talk about this stuff and I think I need to.

I’m going to end with something funny to keep this light. I was playing around on the Garmin website last night, after I loaded my mileage, and I was looking through their list of training activities and saw this:

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Look at the last one. Flying? What does this mean? Is it something really obvious and I’m being an idiot? Because I don’t think flying in a plane burns too many calories and unless I’ve missed something we can’t just flap our arms and fly away (although I’m sure it would be a great workout). I just noticed that boating is on there too, how many calories does that burn? Weird, right?

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Today I started training for my half marathon. I’ll get to that in a second though.

I had a great time out last night with my friends. We had dinner at Fiore an adorable restaurant in Williamsburg. I was a bit concerned at first because there were only a few people when we first went in, but it filled up quickly and the food was delicious.

We split the artichoke salad

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And they gave us a complimentary small serving of the Italian wedding soup, which was also delicious. There was a huge basket of bread and very tasty olive oil for dipping.

For dinner I had the bucatini amatriciana

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Guanciale, as I learned last night, is a pork product that’s a cross between bacon and sausage. And it’s also absolutely delicious.

And the three of us split a great bottle of red wine. Here’s how the decision making went:

Liz: Do we want red or white?
Maggie: Red because it’s not cold.
Liz: Do we want from northern, central, southern Italy, or the Islands?
Maggie: Islands.

And then she picked one. Well, actually the one she picked was sold out, so then she picked a second, a Chianti. The description doesn’t seem to be on the website, but it was very good.

After dinner we went back to my friend Liz’s apartment. We picked up a 6-pack of beer and then played board games all night. Yahtzee (I got a Yahtzee!), a card game called Palance, and then Catchphrase. It was very fun.

We left a little after 2 am and I got home right before 3 am.

I let myself sleep until 10:30 so I wouldn’t be a total monster and then forced myself to get up and eventually forced myself to do the No More Trouble Zones DVD. It was tough, but I got through it and felt great when I was done.

After showering I rushed off to meet my friend at the Brooklyn Museum. We went to see the Rock ‘n’ Roll exhibit. You might remember that I went to the opening of the exhibit back in October, but I didn’t get to see anything because it was so packed. It was nice to go back and, even though it was still crowded, get to actually look around.

We also spent some time looking at their period rooms, all of which were taken from real homes, which were really interesting.

It was about 5 pm when we left and I was starving. I had had a Green Monster and a British muffin with peanut butter for lunch around 1, but I was in major need of food.

We walked back towards my apartment and went to Bonnie’s Bar and Grill one of my favorite places to indulge. I’ve tried many different things there and the only ones I’ve ever liked were the buffalo wings and the French fries. Not at all healthy, but a great treat.

One of the best things about the entire day was all the walking I did. The museum is just over a mile away from my apartment so I walked there and back and stood and walked around the museum for about 3 hours.

AND MY ANKLE DIDN’T SWELL!!!!!!

I wore my sneakers, yes, I looked cool, and I really hope that’s what made the difference. If looking like a 1980s commuter is what means my ankle isn’t swollen and it’s pain-free and I can run then I will start a new trend!

Which brings me to…my first of my half marathon training!

Technically my plan has me starting tomorrow, January 11, but I have a work dinner on Tuesday night so I needed to move some things around. I moved the start up one day and then moved my strength training back to today, I’ll do the 3 mile run tomorrow, and then take Tuesday as my rest day.

I’m so excited to get started. I think my hope of doing 10 minute miles might be slightly unrealistic, but I’m going to work my hardest and see where I end up. 12 weeks until the race!

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