4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Long Run – Touring Pace

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I felt like I needed to start getting some long runs in.  I run lots of half marathons during the year, but don’t often push myself to run longer.  In fact, after reviewing my running log from last year, I saw that only twice, yes twice, did I run anything longer than 13.1 miles.  Now that’s probably the real reason I did not finish in 4:30 last year!

I had no choice but to take advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday.  It was on the hot side during the day with the sun out, so I decided to wait until about 6pm to head out.  Also, since it was the first real long run of the year, I decided to pick a relatively hill-free course, and also I decided I would take it very slow – touring pace, if you will.

I arbitrarily decided to run about 15 miles and determined that I would start on the east side, head down the east river, up the Hudson river and then back across to the east side and down 1st ave whatever spot will get me a 15 mile run.  According to my map (Microsoft Street and Trips 2008) that cut off point would be about 79th St.

Like I said, the day was perfect, although still a little on the warm side the first miles while the sun was still a factor.  Besides the heavy foot traffic congestion at South Street Seaport, the walkways and bikeways were not too terribly crowded.   I did really well in the first 8 miles.   My first Gatorade got me through the first 4 miles.  A second Gatorade at Battery Park cost me $3 – highway robbery, but there weren’t many places to choose from.  About a mile up the Hudson River Park, I came across the Nike Runners Station, a spot that serves as a rest and refreshment area for runners (also a giant Nike advertisement).  I graciously used one of their Port-o-sans and noticed that their Gatorade’s were only $1.50 each – now I know!  They also sell PowerBars and PowerGels, which is nice to know.  Continuing up the park, I took a long walk break at Chelsea Piers, finishing up Gatorade #2.  I noticed the vending machines there charge only $1.50 for PowerAid, so I picked up one of those!  At that point, the sun was really going down and it was not so hot.  I continued at my leisurely pace up the rest of the way on the West Side to Riverside Park.

That was where the fun ended and the hard run began.  First of all, it is not easy to find your way out of that park.  Second of all, the way out is a big hill, and then on 79th St, the uphill continues as you head East.  Muscles started barking at that point – right achilles, left calf, etc.  (note to self, time to buy new shoes!)  I hit Central Park at 77th St and headed down the West Drive to the bottom of the park, and 6th Ave.

At this point, I was verrrrrry close to calling it a night and hopping in the subway.  But, I argued to myself, the benefits of a long run are not really realized until you are in the last miles, the miles the body is not used to slogging through.  Point being that slogging through miles 13, 14 and 15 will reap huge rewards the next time I try a 15 mile run.  So, right foot pains and all, I managed to continue on my way, making a water stop at 3rd Ave in the 40’s.  Best part was the strong last quarter mile down 1st Ave listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Final distance, 15.3 miles.  Time of 2:53:02.  Had a nice pasta dinner and went right to sleep!

Time was on the slow side, but hey, first long run of the season, far from race condition.  I’ve got a benchmark now!  My next long run will probably be of similar distance, but this time will add some bridges or Central Park hills to the mix.

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Written by SCL

August 18, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] Marathon, and today I covered the same long run I did 11 weeks before the New York City Marathon.  See here for how it went last […]


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