Preparing For NYC

No turning back now!

Last night I went for a quick, three mile shake-out run as I hadn’t run in a week. Probably not the best taper, but it is what it is. I think most people freak out and run more than they should when they’re tapering for a marathon. This time I went the opposite and ran way less than I should have, culminating in my seven mile week last week. Oops. I went back and checked my taper from last year for the MCM, and I hit every single one of those runs. And I ran a 5:17, so maybe this will lead to a better time.

Like all good runners, I’ve started obsessively checking the weather. Really all I want is for no precipitation. I don’t want rain or snow or sleet or anything that would make me more miserable than I already may be. I can handle cold, I just don’t want to be wet. It looks like I’ll be ok, according to the latest forecasts. However, it also looks like this is going to be a cold, windy day. Accuweather says it’ll be 39/49 with 20MPH winds gusting up to 40+. Ouch. Weather.com says basically the same thing. The bad part about this is that the wind will come from the N/NW, and the first 20 miles or so are all in a northerly direction. I made a sweet MS Paint map to show you:

NYC Map w Wind

So that should be a lot of fun. I’m hoping I can draft behind someone bigger than me. With weather like that, I don’t want to be out there longer than I have to.

Back in the early summer, runners had to make a determination on whether they would check a bag or not. This isn’t a light decision, as those who opt not to check a bag can exit Central Park at 77th St, while those that opt to check a bag can’t exit until 81st or 85th St. You must make this decision by July 31st. I opted for no baggage, as did Ro. Of course, now that we see the weather, this is a problem. We have throw-away clothes for the wait at Fort Wadsworth, but we need something for when we finish. A coworker came up with a great idea: ship something to myself to a 24/7 FedEx Office location. Yesterday I shipped a backpack full of warm clothes for myself and Ro, and after I exit the park I just have to walk over and pick it up. Instant bag check!

The hay is in the barn, as they say, so there’s nothing else left to do. We fly up early tomorrow morning and will drop our bags off at the hotel and head over to the Expo to pick up our packets and walk around a bit. Then we’ll get checked in to our room and be tourists for a bit. We may head down to the Village to see some of the Halloween festivities, but we shall see.

Thanks for all the words of encouragement and advice over the past few months. This blog has been a great way to keep myself accountable and share this journey with random strangers. I’ll be taking lots of photos for my post-race posts, too.

Thanks for reading!

Road to NYC: Marathon Training Week 17 Recap

Should have kept going

The moral of the story this week was don’t stop, don’t be lazy. Rather than follow my plan, I felt sleeping in and not running much was a good idea. I ran Tuesday and Wednesday, but skipped Thursday and my weekend run. Sure, getting rest the week before the marathon is important, but I think I took it to the extreme. Seven miles in one week just isn’t enough. Oops!

But I had a lot of fun this weekend! Friday night was a Halloween party, one of the best parties of the year in my opinion. The hosts go all out with food, decorations and jello shots; it takes place in a former brothel-turned-dive bar; proceeds go to charity. All in all, a great event. Myself and two friends dressed up as the Beastie Boys. Let’s just say that when the DJ put on “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” everyone went nuts. We brought the house down.

beastie boys

Ended up staying out until 3AM. Ouch. Saturday we had a baby shower for a good friend of ours. Rather than your typical, staid shower in someone’s living room, we did it Downtown Style. Games, prizes and lots of fun. There was Pin The Sperm On The Egg, baby bottle chugging and speed diaper wrapping. I won the baby word scramble and got a $25 gift card to one of my favorite gastropubs. Thanks Sap!

shower cake

Here’s a pic of me doing the baby bottle chug. I am trying very hard to keep it together and not vomit. I was in no shape to be drinking again.

bottle chug

After that, we all hung out for the rest of the night, watching football. That worked out poorly for some (sorry Ole Miss fans!) and good for others (yay Buckeyes!). Home at 11, where I promptly slept until…..Monday. Not really, but I didn’t really get out of bed on Sunday.

NYCM Week 17

Tuesday. 4 miles
Wednesday. 3 miles
Thursday. Oops
Weekend. Oops

This last week is officially marathon week! Very excited and nervous. All of my posts this week will be dedicated to marathon prep, logistics and training thoughts.

Marathon Training Totals
Weekly Runs: 2
Weekly Miles: 7
Total Runs: 55
Total Miles: 391

Already Better Than I Was

Sorry about the delay in posting the past week’s NYC Marathon training recap. I have a bad habit of forgetting to publish my posts. I really gotta do a better job of that.

Old Bridge Mississippi River

As promised, a pic of my evening runs along the bluff, looking south towards the Old Bridge across the Mississippi River.

After my run last night, I decided to check out my stats so far for 2014. In 2013, while training for the Marine Corps Marathon and a few 5ks, I ran a total of 725 miles. It was short of my goal of 1k miles (which I’ll get to one of these years!), but still almost 200 more miles than I had ever run in a year before: 2012 was 300+ and 2011 was 500+. I wondered how I would match up at this point.

2014 Stats to Date

I was pretty surprised to see that I’m already over my total from 2013 in terms of mileage. Additionally, I’ve run faster and longer in a shorter number of runs. I haven’t worn my HRM since June, so I’m not sure how I actually compare; it was chafing me something fierce, so I stopped wearing it for awhile and just haven’t gone back to it. About the only thing 2013 has over 2014 is elevation gain, which is silly considering it’s Memphis, and there is NO elevation gain to speak of. I did a lot of my long runs at Shelby Farms Park, which has a bit more hills than running along the river. The low 2014 numbers reflect that all but a very few runs have taken place along the river. I try and get hill work in when I can, but it’s hard.

I’m going to fall short of my goal to run 1000 miles in a year, I believe. Between tapering now, running the marathon, recovering, then a quick ramp up for St. Jude half and then Christmas time. I figure at best I’ll finish up at NYC with around 780 miles, give or take a few. I just don’t see 220 more miles in me for 2014. But there’s always next year!

Road to NYC: Marathon Training Week 16 Recap

I love Taper Town

me running 10192014

Ah yes, I really do. I know lots of people complain about tapering for a marathon or half marathon. Those two weeks before the race can cause all sorts of mental problems with runners. You can begin to question whether you’ve done enough training, or whether you should do another long run or not. You begin to feel all sorts of aches and pains in places that never bothered you before. You begin to wonder whether your plan is solid, or if the volume is too low. Thankfully, I do not have these problems.

Nope, I am perfectly content when tapering. I can trust that I’ve done all I can, and that another run or two won’t make a difference at this point (nor will missing one). Thinking back to school, I was the same way with an exam. The night before, I could rest easy knowing I had done as much as I could, and cramming at that point would be pointless. Same with running for me. Instead, I just run how I feel like running, at whatever pace I want and for whatever mileage I want, within reason; I’m not about to try and run 15 miles at 8:00/mile pace. But I’ve managed to get off the couch and run a bit, at decent paces.

This week, due to the darkness in the mornings and the later sunrise time, my weekly runs were moved to after work. These were my first afternoon runs since April. It’s definitely a different way of doing things, as I’ve written about before. You have to make sure you hydrate and watch what you eat, otherwise you feel heavy and gross during the run. There’s also a sense of urgency you don’t have in the morning, chasing the sunset. Which, by the way, is awesome. Along the bluff, the brush has been cut down allowing unimpeded views of the river in both directions, and it is gorgeous. I’ll try and snag a picture during my next sunset run.

NYCM Week 16

Tuesday. No run. Oops.
Wednesday. 5 miles at a sub-9 pace. Why? Because I felt like it, because the evening was nice and cool, and because I could. Ended up stopping twice to say hi to some friends who were out there doing Insanity workouts.
Thursday. 5 miles, again at sub-9 pace. If only I could keep that pace up for 26.2 miles instead of 5.
Sunday. 6 miles at sub-9 again

There are two reasons why our normal Saturday run was moved to Sunday. First, we went out Friday night for a friend’s birthday and probably had too much fun. Second, the marathon is run on Sunday, so why not start practicing that! But Sunday was absolutely gorgeous. I kept the pace up, thinking that if I couldn’t do the full run scheduled (12 miles), then up the intensity to make up for it. Afterwards, I hung out at the park while I waited for R to finish up her miles. And by hanging out, I mean I played on this guy:

Beale Street Landing

Yup, that’s a giant catfish that kids (or adults who act like kids) can play on/in/around. There’s also some water features for the kids to play in on hot days. Have to remember that during summer runs next year.

Less than two weeks to go!

Marathon Training Totals
Weekly Runs: 3
Weekly Miles: 16
Total Runs: 53
Total Miles: 384

How Long Do Running Shoes Last?

I do not like to buy clothes or shoes. Ever, really. I like to look nice and think I dress ok, but the act of buying clothes and shoes doesn’t interest me. I’ll buy a shirt and wear it until it shouldn’t be worn anymore. I do the same with shoes. So long as they function correctly, don’t smell like rotten eggs and aren’t falling apart, I won’t replace them. I had a pair of black dress shoes that I bought in May of 2009, and they didn’t get retired until Christmas 2013. And I walk a lot.

When I first started running, I had read that you should replace your shoes every 500 miles. Or buy two pair and alternate them. As I am a somewhat frugal guy, and I had no concept of how long it would take to run 500 miles, I figured I could make do with one pair per year. So I went to my local running store and got a pair of Mizuno shoes. I ran my first half, in 2011, in them. I wore them until the beginning of 2013. According to Garmin Connect, that would be about 800 miles across those two years. For Christmas that year, my mom bought me a new pair of Mizunos (when you find a pair that works, you stick with it!)

Looking back at the pair I used in 2013, during which I ran 725 miles across multiple 5ks, a half marathon and my first full marathon, I don’t see the massive breakdown in tread that many people complain about. They look practically unworn. I’m sure I could have gotten a few hundred more miles out of them.

Mizuno Wave Inspire

Mizuno Wave Inspire

I started off 2014 wearing the next model year, Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s. All that changed for me was the color (bright red, which oddly enough matches my MCM running jacket and my Garmin 220). I put about 675 miles on these before I bought another pair (same color and model) in case they started breaking down too close to NYC. And wouldn’t you know it, they look just fine too.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 9

Mizuno Wave Inspire 9

So, how long DO running shoes last? According to many runners, it seems anywhere from 200 miles (Ryan Hall) to 500 (the general consensus). For me, I think it’s one of those, “you know when you know” things. I didn’t feel like my shoes weren’t offering me the right amount of support. I didn’t feel like they were leading me towards an injury. 700+ miles definitely seems to be on the high end of mileage. Granted, I’m not running the volume that some people are (Ryan Hall, he of the replace-every-200-miles thought camp, goes through two pairs every month!) but I still feel like you can get more out of them than you may have been lead to believe.

Think back to when everyone KNEW that you had to get your oil changed every 3000 miles. Now we know that that isn’t really the case, and 5k miles seems to be better. Some cars even go 10k miles, or require one oil change per year. Running shoes are probably more similar to your car tires, which wear down a bit every time they’re used.

My ultimate opinion is that your mileage may vary. Some go through them faster than others, and some brands may die out faster or last longer. My Mizunos seem to keep going for a long time, and I love that. Just don’t keep buying stuff if you don’t need them. Replace them when they’re about to go.