4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Long run done!

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Only 4 weeks to the Austin Marathon, and I had so far only managed 1 long run, as I failed miserably on a planned long run 2 weeks ago.  So, with my back to the wall, and time running out, I needed to get back on track with my long runs.

Thankfully, I was able to finish a 17.5 mile run long yesterday.  Course (see it here) was my typical loop of lower Manhattan, then over the Williamsburg Bridge, up Brooklyn and Queens to the 59th St Bridge, then up to 85th St and 2nd Ave, and finally down 1st Ave all the way to 14th St.  This is the same run I did on Sept 21st, 6 weeks before the New York City Marathon.  Back in Sept, I finished in 3:09:43.  Yesterday, I did it in 3:04:54, shaving 5 minutes off my time.  I guess that is good news!

After 4 days of frigid temperatures, yesterday finally warmed up a bit.  Although we had about an inch of snow in the morning, the temperatures rose up to about 32 degrees in the afternoon.  A big concern of mine is spending a lot of time outside on a long run in the very cold weather, so I was glad for the little bit of warmth and even some sun when I started out.  I was at my New Jersey house in the morning and then had some business to take care of on the Upper East Side, so I would not get started until about 1:30pm.

I was dressed on the warm side, with 2 shirts and my new warm outer shell layer.  Also had a loose pair of pants over my running tights.  In the beginning, I was heading south and was in the direct sun for awhile, and felt nice and warm.  I tried to keep the pace very slow, doing my best not to speed up to cross through the intersections.  Kept a very nice comfortable slow pace to start.  Took a brief 2 minute bathroom break when I passed by the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

Opened a fresh PowerAid at the start of my run, and it lasted up to the Williamsburg Bridge, about 6 miles in.  Just after the bridge, I stopped for a water, and took my first Gu.  That water lasted me to the midpoint of the 59th St Bridge, at about 11.5 miles, which is where I took my 2nd Gu.  After coming off the bridge, I made it up 2nd Ave to H&H Bagels, which is on about 80th St or so, where I picked up another PowerAid, which lasted me to the end.

At times, I felt slow and sluggish, but as the pacing was purposely kept on the slow side, it was all-in-all comfortable.  I really did not push the pace at all until I got back into Manhattan in the last 6 miles of the run.  I had enough in me to run a hard final half mile.  I was liberal with allowing a couple of walk breaks.

It was nice to see so many runners out and about – I guess people were taking advantage of the warm spell and the brief sun in between snow storms.  As I said, we had a good inch of snow in the morning, and then by 6pm it was snowing again – we probably had another inch in the evening.  I had no problems with footing, ice, or slippery conditions at all.  Mostly everything was in good shape.  The only little problems was Driggs St, at McCarren Park, which was only plowed in the center, so the shoulder was icy, and the first quarter mile up the 59th St Bridge was a tiny bit icy.

I was down for the count last night and spent most of the night in bed.  Today I’m feeling great and should be fine for my speed workout tomorrow night in Central Park.  There is not a lot of time between now and the Austin Marathon on Feb 15.  My plan is to run the Manhattan Half Marathon at training pace on Sunday and then run another loop of the park, to get to 18 or 19 total miles.  Then, the following weekend, on 1/31, I hope to do a 21 mile long run.  Then a 2 week taper into the marathon…

So far, this has been an amazing month for me.  While I was unable to get a long run in earlier in the month, I’ve done a lot of running.  With yesterday’s run, I’ve completed 69.1 miles for the month so far.  I’ve run 10 times, been to the gym 4 times, and am in my 2nd week of the hundred pushup challenge.  Quite an active month, with almost 2 weeks to go!

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Written by SCL

January 19, 2009 at 8:13 pm

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