NYC Marathon Training Week IV

Total Distance Ran/Planned: 18.7mi / 23mi

Reflections from the week

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-It’s still a little early, but I am really getting into training for this marathon. I have a feeling this sentiment is due to last year’s hot mess marathon training, and the fact that I would like to do better for this marathon. Last year was a struggle, because I did not have time to really train (I was looking for another job and interviewing for said jobs). Also, I just was not feeling “life”, because I was working in a very toxic environment.

-I think that I will have to give up intermittent fasting or fast on days when I’m not doing morning runs. Since my body is a mess when it comes to heat, I have to run in the morning. Yes, I could run in the evenings but for my schedule and level of dedication, it’s better for me to get the run out of the way at the beginning of the day. Also, it’s still muggy and humid when the sun goes down.

Monday:

Planned: 3 mile run (easy)

Completed 2.95 miles . . . eh close enough

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Simple recovery run. I am a little annoyed with technology. For my runs, I typically use Strava and my Apple Watch to track my training runs. I’ve noticed that my iPhone’s battery would drain at a faster rate, which would be expected running two separate apps that use GPS. I figure that I should use one or the other. Ok, I found an article that informed me that I could use Strava on my Apple Watch and it would sync the data to apple’s training app. Yes, it syncs the data, but it cannot sync the GPS data to the app.  

Tuesday:

Planned/Completed: Rest day

Wednesday:

Planned/Completed: Four 1 mile intervals and X-train

I have to say that I have a love hate relationship with interval runs. I wanted to do an 8’00” pace, which I did not really accomplish. However, I came kind of close. Unfortunately, I have not idea what happened with the last interval (9’31”). But it was a good start for my first one-mile interval workout. Hopefully, these times will go down as my training plan progresses.

Following the workout, I lifted weights for a few minutes.

I wanted to incorporate some more lower body work, but I did not want to over do it.

Thursday:

Planned: 3mi (easy)

Completed: X-training. 

I was supposed to run, but I was not feeling it (because it was a little/lot warm outside), but I did ride a bike for a few minutes in Paris, France. 😉

Also, I incorporated a few minutes of weights and stretching into this workout.

For this workout I was in a bit of a rush and I do not feel that I accomplished too much. But, hey. Something is better than nothing . . . I suppose.

Saturday:

Planned/Completed: 11 miles (with NYRR 4mi Retro Run)

Yea!!! I finally have hit double digits in my training for #tcsnycmarathon. The plan was to wake up early, run close to 6.5 miles, run 4 miles for the race, then finish up whatever remaining mileage to get to 11 miles. Yeah that did not work. I woke up late and could get only 2.8 miles out of the way before the race. The race was Ok, and I will post a race report later.

The second part of the run (4.2 miles post race) was a bit of a struggle. I kind was not feeling it, but I struggled through it. Unfortunately, I had to walk a couple of times. But, hey, I got the mileage in. Even though the second part, post-race (technically, I guess it was the third part) was a struggle, it will help me prepare for the marathon by running in a tired state.

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The park near my apt, which is where I finished the long run, has these sprinklers that shoot water up from the ground. This dog had the great idea to jump through the sprinklers, and I followed suit after my I completed the run.

Sunday:

Planned/Completed: X-train (Stationary bike, strength training, and stretching)

Goals for the week:

  • Try to do all of my runs in the morning and to do them in a fasted state.
  • By doing my runs in the morning, I need to prepare my crap (running clothes, work clothes, water, etc) the night before.

Question: What has been your biggest training accomplishment for the week?

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Food Pic of the Week

Rice and Beans ( *** )

Great Brazilian restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. My steak was perfectly seasoned and super tender. I think that the steak actually melted in my mouth. Ok, that may be an exaggeration.

Brazil

Of course you cannot have a Brazilian meal without a caipirinhas.

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The funny thing is that I have walked past this restaurant A MILLION times without considering trying its food. I guess that I assumed from the name, Rice and Beans, that it was a general Mexican restaurant . . . boy was I wrong.

 

Random Thursdays

Pardon my french, but I cannot stand fuckshit.

Since many of my students are transiting into to graduate school, I decided to give them a small token before they leave NYC. Piled Higher and Deeper Comics, commonly known as “PhD Comics” by Jorge Chan ( *** ), takes a satirical view of the graduate experience through the POV of 5 or so characters. When I defended my dissertation (back in 2010), one of my friends gave me a coffee mug that had the comic below.

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From Phdcomics.com

I actually still have and use this mug eight years later.

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Mexican “coffee” Basically coffee with tequila

Anyway, I figured that  this would be a nice gift to give to my students. Good idea . . . in theory.

Yeah so this is what arrived.

Most of the goddamn mugs were cracked or completely broken. The packaging for shipping was very inappropriate, and the mugs probably were broken before the box made on to the postal truck. I’m so annoyed, because this was the last week that my students are on campus, and the BS packaging/shipping company has not responded to my email.

How is the weed edibles truck legal in NYC?

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I think this is a setup. You buy your edibles (I’m sure that the truck sells regular weed too) and a cop issues you a summons five blocks away.

Ugh, I hate making decisions

Half Marathon Pros and Cons

Ok, I have to make a decision pretty fast. I need to decide if I want to run the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Montreal or in Philadelphia

Montreal

Pros:

  • It’s one of my favorite cities in North America.
  • I make it a goal to visit Montreal once a year.
  • I can visit a couple of friends.
  • I can stock up on Turkey Hill’s Chocolate Maple Cream Cookies. The are soooooo good and addicting.
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Cons:

  • It may be pricey because I’ll need to pay for air travel (I am never doing that 12 hour train ride again), an airbnb, and sloring around town (I mean enjoying the art and culture of the city)
  • Although the official course has not been posted, the preliminary course looks really boring.

Philadelphia

Pros

  • The city has grown on me over the past few years.
  • Green eggs cafe ( *** ) is one of my favorite brunch spots in North America, even if though it’s cash only.
  • I have not run a race in this city.
  • It will be cheaper than Montreal, because I only need to purchase a cheap ass Bolt or Megabus ticket. Also, I would not need to stay the entire weekend. As a matter of fact, I could travel back to New York the same day of the Half

Cons

  • I can go to Philadelphia anytime.
  • It’s more riff raff than Montreal

Actually, it looks like Philadelphia is the logical choice. That said, we all know that I can be illogical at times, so I’ll probably end up going to Montreal.

I think it’s time for a new pair of running shoes

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HELL YEAH

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38 for 38 (Part 1 of 4)

I meant to post this a fee weeks ago, for my bday (June 25th, in case you were wondering).

Since I have a little less than week left as a 37 year old, I want to make a bday resolution. Actually, I want to make 38 bday resolutions. Random fact did you know that I share a birthday with George Micheal (RIP) and Anthony Bourdain (RIP)? Damn, that’s a macabre way to begin a post.

I realize that I would have to break this up into a few parts, since I have some many years under my belt.

Here we go in no particular order.

  1. Go on a day hiking trip or two.
  2. Quit smoking. Depending where I buy my smokes I spend somewhere between $2,500 and $4,700 a year on cigarettes. In NYC cigarettes range from $8 to $15 a back, depending on which bodega sells illegal cigs. However, I’m going to say most places sell them around the 13 dollar range. I wonder if the folks at coke a cola can produce a tobacco-flavored diet coke?
  3. Network, network, network. Whenever I get a job, I become complacent and forget to network with other professionals in the industry. At a career talk, a presenter once said if you were to be laid off tomorrow, you should know at least four people who could get you an interview within a week’s time.
  4. Try a new sport.
  5. Really get on top of my finances, and pay off my debt. Hopefully, I will be able to pay off my mother’s mortgage in a few months and that should free up $1200 a month.
  6. Learn (and actively use) a new computing software.
  7. Read more scientific articles and attend more scientific lectures. Although I’m an administrator, I kinda miss reading about the latest finding in immuno-oncology. I cannot waste all those years obtaining a Ph.D.
  8. Volunteer more. Since high school up until my last job, I’ve always had been a part of some volunteer organization. I really would like to give back more.
  9. Visit more museums, because sometimes I really take for granted living in NYC.
  10. Explore more of Harlem’s culture and history (you know, pre gentrification).
  11. Get more involved with local politics.
  12. Buy a new damn tooth.

Marathon Training Corner: Yasso 800s

As I begin, or rather continue, through this marathon training program, I would like to talk about some of the things that can improve (or deter) my training. I figure that if I write about it, then I can incorporate it into my training plan. Keep in mind, that most of the time I do not know what the hell I am talking about.

The first topic in this series will be Yasso 800’s

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From my limited reading and understanding, these workouts should “predict” your marathon finishing time by running ten 800 meters intervals with equal time between each 800. More specifically, one would convert the predicted marathon time from hours and minutes to minutes and seconds. If you want to run a 4 hour marathon, then you should be running 4 minute 800 intervals

Ok, when I first found information about this technique, I really gave it a side eye.tenor (1) Actually, I’m still side eyeing this predictor. Perhaps, there are other implicit factors that were used to develop this predictor, but I would think that longer runs would be a better indicator of a marathon finish time. Since I used to be a biomedical researcher, I come from the line of thought that predictors are closely related to potential outcomes. Like if want to test the effect of a drug on in a particular cancer, I would induce the cancer in an animal model and give the animal the drug with the appropriate controls, of course. Same for marathon training. Wouldn’t an 18-mile run be a better indicator of a marathon finish than running ten intervals that pretty much equal five miles? If that’s the case, then why not run a bunch of 400s, and half the number?

Also, I am a little confused about the workout itself. Is one supposed to take the average of all ten intervals or is one supposed to the use the slowest time (more than likely interval 7, 8, 9, or 10) as the predictor?

In my limited search, it has been hard to find some of the background/theory behind this training regimen. Most of the information seems to point in the direction of coincidence than an actual theory. Buuuuut, I could be wrong. Hey, I was kind of lazy in my search. A couple of reports mention the role Yasso 800s have in VO2 max, but those reports really do not expand on the topic. Other reports mention that one should add 5 minutes to the predicted time.

Obviously, I am not going to completely write off Yasso 800s, since Burt Yasso clearly is more of a long (or any) distance expert than I. It appears that these are great interval workouts to complement a regular marathon training program. Sometimes I neglect the importance of interval training days, because I get so focused on making sure that I meet my distance goals . . . which I often do not. It take it that these could be great workouts to monitor how a runner’s speed improves (rather than predicting a marathoner’s finishing time) during a training program.

There are some other recommendations that can be used in lieu of or in conjunction with Yasso 800s

A fast finish long run: Pretty much is as simple as it sounds. A runner will run the first 12 miles of an 18-mile long run at regular pace, but finish the last 6 miles at marathon pace. I have a feeling that this method would work best for me.

A long distance race: I kind of mentioned this earlier in my post. Typically you will see this type of run/race associated with the McMillan Calculator ( *** ). Some even mention that you could take your half-marathon time, double it, then add 5 minutes. I take it that this method is more for intense runners, because I always seem to f-up the second half of a marathon . . . by a lot.

I figure that there are soooo many variables and conditions could affect a person’s performance that one, two, three, or even four methods of prediction.

Since this entry is more or less about my marathon training thoughts, you can take them with a grain of salt. The grain of salt you may have sweated out during a long run.

Do you utilize any marathon predictors workouts? If so, how close were they to your finishing times?

Marathon Training Update III

Total Distance Ran/Planned: 19.6 miles/18 miles

Reflections from the week

-This heat is no freaking joke. It’s like you know the heat is coming, but you never fully realize it until it hits you.

-I guess that I should have completed at least one run while I was in Cancun, because I felt like I was starting from scratch. Well . . . I did take another week off, after Cancun.

-I do not know if I can maintain my intermittent fasting program during this training, especially if I do morning workouts.

Monday:

3 mile run (easy)

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This was my first run, after my vacation, and it felt great to be back. I had planned to complete this run in Central Park, but it was far too hot/humid at 6:00 pm, so I decided to do this run on the treadmill. At the gym, I lucked out because I was able to use the best treadmill in the entire gym. Why is it the best? This treadmill is located under a super, high-powered, industrial fan. 

Tuesday:

Planned: 6-mile marathon pace

Completed: ~3 miles

 

This run was a complete mess. I woke up pretty early and did a warm-up run from my apartment to Central Park, which is about 0.75 miles. During the warm up, it seemed to be kinda hot at 6:45 am, but it did not seem THAT bad. While warming up, I already knew that there would be no way that I could run this at marathon pace (9:09 min/mi), so I figured that I would make it an easy pace.

Since this was a 6-mile run, I knew that I just needed to do one outer loop in Central Park, which is a little over 6 miles with a few rolling hills. Damnit, by the end of the first mile into the run, I pretty much was done. Once I hit the southern part of the Park, I started to see black dots and circles and to experience some dizziness, which is never good. I jumped on to the lawn, so I could cool off by one of the sprinklers (something that is a no-no in Central Park), and sat my ass on a bench for a few minutes. Fortunately, I took my metro card with me, so was able to take bus back home. Boy did that ice-cold M7 bus feel divine. 

Going forward

  • I’m gonna need more time to acclimate to the summer heat
  • I need to wake up even earlier to complete these runs, especially the weekend long runs

Wednesday:

Rest day

Thursday:

Yasso’s Intervals

I wanted to do this 800 m interval workout outside; but after what happened on Tuesday, I figure that it would be better do another workout on the treadmill.

 

For these intervals, I aimed to run 800 meters in 4 min with a 400 meter cool down between each interval. Obviously, I did not meet this goal. Unfortunately, my speed has gotten worse, since my Marathon Training Update II post. Two weeks ago, I could run these intervals in 4 minutes. I will chalk this week’s pace to the fact that I took an entire week off from training.

Friday:

Cross Train

Since I keep complaining about the heat, I am really going to try to make an effort to go to sleep earlier, so I can wake up earlier and complete my training activities. This was my first effort. I started this workout with 20 min on an indoor bike, followed by a few minutes on a stair climber.

 

This effort worked, because I was at the gym and on a bike by 6:38 am. Just a little bit about me, I normally arrive to work around 10:00 am, so this is a MAJOR accomplishment for me. Also, I HATE waking up early. Actually, I would have arrived to the gym even earlier, but I walked to the bus stop; realized that I left my wallet at home; walked back home to get my wallet; and walked back to the bus stop.

Cross Train II

 

I cannot remember the last time that I lifted, and boy, did it feel good. While training for this marathon, I really want to lift at least twice a week. According to my current marathon training plan, I have three days dedicated to cross training or resting, so this could be a possibility. We will see how this plays out once I get into distances that are in the double digits.

Saturday:

Rest Day

Sunday:

Planned: 6 miles

Completed: 8 miles

According to my training plan, I was supposed to run 6 miles, but I figured that I should increase the mileage, because next week’s long run is supposed to be 11 miles. It would be easier/better jumping from 8 miles (rather than 6 miles) to 11 miles in a week’s time.

Once again, I was very proud of myself, because I was out of the apt by 6:30 am for the run. Sunday’s weather was perfect for this run. I aimed to do this “long” run at marathon pace (9’09”) + 30 seconds per mile. For the most part, I was in that range . . . according to my Strava app. I honestly have to say that I really enjoyed this run, because most of the conditions were perfect for me.

 

I was kind of surprised that I ran the second half faster than the first half, because of the multiple inclines that are located on the westside of Central Park.

Goal(s) for the week.

  • Heat acclimation
  • Do well on my first double-digit long run, which means that I have to get to bed super early on Friday, so I can be in Central Park by 5:45 am.

 

Food Pic of the Week

Courtesy of Rise Bar’s 2-4-1 happy hour from 4 PM to 9 PM.

Dominos pizza. Yeah, that’s right.

One of the things that you constantly hear when you live in NYC is “how can you eat chain pizza”. Honestly, I used to say the same thing.

  • I have changed my position because you know what you are going to get from chain establishments.
  • Depending where you live in NYC, many places will not deliver to “ethnic” areas after 10:00 pm.
  • Dominos pizza is amazing after drinking a few (half dozen) gin n sodas.

After years of trying to make that perfect pizza with various combinations of toppings, I think that I have created my perfect pizza.

Ready?

Anchovies, bacon, and red onions. Sounds gross but it was delicious.

Questions of the day:

  1. Which cultural “norms” do you go against, regarding food?
  2. Anybody have a good salsa recipe?

I ask because my beer club is having a salsa “cookoff” competition, and I need some inspiration. A couple of years ago, I won 3rd place in the club’s holiday cookie bake off, so I would like to do a little better this time around.