4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Got the long run in

with 3 comments

Great news!  I was able to get a good long run in on Sunday.  20.7 miles in total, in 3:37.  Check it out here.

Anyone who follows me here knows that I have had some good runs, and also some bad ones.  The bad ones are usually on days when it is hot, or humid.  I am really affected by the weather in the summertime when it is hot.  My most recent failures were at the fitness mag 4 mile run and the Queens half marathon, both on humid days.  In sharp contrast, the weather Sunday was P.E.R.F.E.C.T.  Rain early in the morning.  I waited the rain out and started my run after 8:30.  The temps held steady in the upper 50’s, there was a nice breeze out of the north (to mimic typical New York City marathon conditions!), no rain, and a steady cloudcover (no sun!).  These conditions are perfect for me, and it showed.

First part of the run was down 1st Ave to Canal St and then over to the Manhattan Bridge.  I opted to go over the bridge on the bike side, because it was more convenient.  Very little bike or foot traffic, so this bridge was a piece of cake.  First problem of the day was missing the connection from the bridge to Flushing Ave.  You’ll see on the map what I did, which added a bit to the run.  Then Flushing Ave was under heavy construction – had to run on the sidewalk for a bit.

Next section was long stretch of Flushing Ave to Franklin – left on Franklin.  This turns into Wythe, which goes all the way through Williamsburg, under the bridge and up towards Greenpoint.  This was the first time I ran that way, and loved it.  It was very deserted.  No need to stop at all.  Took Wythe all the way to McGuiness and linked up to my normal route over the bridge to Queens.

While working my way up past the 59th St Bridge towards the Triboro Bridge, I started noticing a blister on my right foot.  I’ve had blister issues on my left foot in the last few weeks since changing to my new sneakers.  Not much I could do here except just run though it and hope for the best.  Still feeling very strong here, working up Crescent St to the bridge.  Took an exdended stop before the bridge (which was about the halfway point) to eat a granola bar and took a little walk break.

The Triboro Bridge is very long and very lonely.  Only encountered 2 other runners (together) going the other way.  It’s been a few years since I ran over this bridge.  Many, many, many more steps required now.  There have always been 2 sets of staircases in the middle of the bridge, which are now under construction.  To get around these 2 sets of staircases, there are, believe it or not, like 8 different sets of staircases to navigate.  A little pain for runners, I’m sure a huge pain for bikers!  Lots of construction on Randall’s Island, where the path lets you out.  Looks like they are building new car ramps into and out of the Island (badly needed I think) and rebuilding lots of the road.  Finding the footbridge to Manhattan is always an adventure, but I’ve done it a few times and had no problem there.

Still felt really good as I went over the bridge to Manhattan and started my way down 1st Ave at 127th St.  My start down 1st Ave was approaching 16 miles, which is exactly where you hit 1st Ave on the Marathon course, coming up from 59th St.  While I was starting to hurt a bit, I felt much better than I did at 16 miles in the marathon last year, which is a great sign with 4 weeks to go in training.  Miles 16-20 got progressively harder heading down 1st Ave, but I was able to finish very strong.  Since there is a mile every 20 blocks, it was also easy to approximate a water break every mile, which I took advantage of.

All in all, a great run.  Consumed 2 Gatorades, 2 Waters, and 2 Gu’s on the way.  I did have a blister on my right foot, but not as bad as the ones on my left foot.  With proper care, it won’t hold me back at all.  This run was completed in an average of 10:31 per mile, verses 10:50 and 11:18 for my last 2 long runs.  Considering we still have 4 weeks to go, and another chance to get a 20 miler in, I’m very confident about a good race.  Still don’t know if I can get in under 4:30, but I think it will be close.

The run really knocked me out.  My lower legs and leg muscles felt very sore, the kind of pain you feel after a marathon.  I think that is a sign that I pushed myself properly and stretched the muscles out to the point where they won’t be suprised when the race rolls around.  Still sore today and had a hard time getting down stairs.

Looking forward to the Staten Island Half Marathon on Sunday.  That race can be tough when the sun comes out.  Extended forecast says high in the lower 70’s.  If we can have some clouds, and keep the temps in the 60’s, it will be a great day.  I’m not going to kill myself to finish under 2 hours, but would really like to finish in 2:10, which should approximate my goal for the 1st half of the marathon.  I’ll take off tomorrow and hope to get 2 runs in before the race Sunday.


Written by SCL

October 6, 2008 at 7:42 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Wow, I hadn’t even checked the forecast for Sunday yet but that sounds a lot warmer than I expected! It’s the day after the Hartford full for me though, so I’ll be taking it easy anyway.


    October 7, 2008 at 7:07 pm

  2. Your marathon schedule is waaay out of control. I’m amazed. Good luck!

    And I thought I was pushing it by signing up for the Austin marathon in Feb 09 🙂


    October 7, 2008 at 9:15 pm

  3. […] (recently renamed from the Triboro) and back down 1st Ave home.  This is the same run I did in early October, in my training for the New York City […]

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