4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Long (wet and cold) Run

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The good news is that it is done.  The bad news is that it seemed to take hours to dry out and get my body temp back to normal after my 15.5 mile run in the cold rain today.  Today is 11 weeks before the Austin 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 time.

The run almost didn’t happen at all.  Yesterday morning I did the right thing and got to the gym.  While moving some 35 pound plates around to do some bench presses, I accidentally banged my leg hard into the metal bar that holds said weights when they are not in use.  Ouch that hurt!  It was a hard shot to the shin, an inch or two below the knee.  I can be clumsy at times, and definitely bang myself on various obstructions from time to time, but this one was bad.  Iced when I got home and then iced again before I went to bed last night.  Was feeling pain with each step and was very worried that the shin would not hold up for 15 miles.  I managed to sleep 11 hours last night (needed to catch up from all the eating and traveling earlier in the weekend) and this morning the pain was definitely way down.  It was not hurting anymore when walking, only when applying direct pressure to the spot.  So, I forged ahead. 

The forecast was for rain all day, so there was no advantage to getting out early, or trying to wait it out.  When I got up at 8am, it was already raining.  Took care of some stuff at home and made it out around 11am.  I was actually looking forward to the run in the rain.  I like the rain, usually find it refreshing, and think it is important to get some long runs in with bad weather, in case bad weather hits on race day.  While it was a bit refreshing, 15.5 miles of rain was, all in all, not fun!  The big consession was that I would leave my tunes at home.  I once got caught in a bad rainstorm with my MP3 player, it got wet, and then was on the fritz for a couple of days until it dried out.  One of the buttons never quite recovered.  So, with today’s forecast, I decided to leave it at home.

Picked up a Gatorade at the Bodega on the way out.  First 2 miles was my typical route down East River Park, which included a slog through a ballfield to get around the construction, which by the way, will not end any time soon.  Nice, easy start to the run.  I did forget to use the bathroom on the way out, so stopped at the East River Park track, which was unfortunately commadeered by 3 homeless guys.  They did stay out of my way as I took care of business.

Next couple of miles was down the East River past South Street Seaport.  I was thankful here for the 1 mile + portion under the FDR drive, and out of the rain!  Still feeling really good in the early miles here.  As the rain was mostly out of my face, I concluded that the wind was at my back.  Since I would be running a good 6 miles up the Hudson River, into the wind, that was not a happy conclusion.  But for the moment, I was fine.

Made the turn through lower Manhattan, past the SI Ferry and Battery Park to the foot of the greenway up Hudson River, which is about the 4.5 mile mark.  Started the trek up the Hudson River.  This was very difficult.  The wind was not blowing hard, but it was definitely tending out of the north, so the rain was constantly in my face, and collecting on the front of my shirt.  By then, my clothes were all waterlogged, and I could feel the extra weight.  It was not a downpour, just a steady light to regular rain, so it could definitely have been worse.  I stopped at the Nike Runners Station to buy a bottle of water, which I planned to use later on for my Gu.  There were 2 people working there, who were very friendly and helpful.  They probably didn’t have too many visitors today.  In fact, that was the best thing about today’s run.  There were virtually no bikes out on the path, and few tourists/walkers.  Even Central Park, which I’ll get to later, was deserted.

Continued my way up the Hudson River, inhaled the Gu at Chelsea Piers, took another little water breakat 57th St, and managed to find the way out of Riverside Park at 79th St.  The section up from 59th St to 72nd St was also under the highway (Henry Hudson Parkway, this time) and I was very, very thankful for the time out of the rain.  Till this point, about 9 miles into my run, the going was totally flat.  79th St is where that changed.  Big hill to get over 79th/77th over to Central Park.  As I mentioned, Central Park was completely empty, almost eerily so.  I was a little disappointed as I passed the marathon finish line to see that all signs of the marathon finish were gone.  Not sure if they still paint the pavement at the finish, but definitely no signs of it anymore.  There should be some sign, or homage to the marathon at the finish line year round!

By this point, I was totally and completely waterlogged, but happily not feeling too cold.  Once out of Central Park, I worked my way south and east to 1st Ave.  Once out of the park, I felt the solid wind at my back, which made up for the long run into the wind.  That also meant I had less rain in my face, which was a welcome change.  At that point, the run was definitely getting harder.  I figured that this run would be a piece of cake after just recently completing the marathon distance, but I was definitely cooking along at a faster pace than I did in August, and the faster pace translated to a bit of pain and difficulty.

The last 2 miles is where I really missed my tunes.  When struggling in the last miles of a training run, turning up the music and picking out some of my favorite songs make it easier to get the job done.  Somehow though, the blocks blew past, I managed to get up the little hill below 34th St on 1st Ave, and then was all of a sudden back in Stuytown and near the finish line!

I finished the 15.5 mile run in 2:36:48, a very respectable 10:15 per mile pace.  This is significantly faster than the 2:53 I did on the same course in August, and the pace per mile was also faster than my best marathon training runs in October.

I was definitely cold and wet at the end, and even a long hot shower could not get all the chill out.  That is one thing I’m concerned about as I do long training runs in the middle of winter – how to keep warm on long runs.  My legs and stomach both came out of this run very red and very cold.  Even after the shower, it was probably an hour or so until my body temp felt back to normal.

Anyway, looking forward to the next long run, likely New Year’s weekend.


Written by SCL

November 30, 2008 at 10:16 pm

One Response

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  1. […] may be crazy, but I really do enjoy running in the rain.  It got to me a little bit on my last long training run, but for a quick 5 mile run or so, I could deal.  Some of my normal courses are just not runnable […]

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