Monday Training Update

Although I am not actually training for anything, I guess that I can provide some updates of what I have been up to. 

I tried to do a 7-day running streak. Unfortunately, I only ran 5 days in a row, rather than the full seven days. 😦 I did not run the two last days because I had to work late a couple of times this week and I could not wake up early. It’s the thought that counts, right?

I will say that I actually enjoyed these easy runs (~3 miles). It was quite nice just to run (or in my case, jog) just for the sake of getting out there. Plus, the weather has been lovely over the past few days. Also, it was helpful that I did not use a GPS tracker on these runs. Well, I used Strava,  but I did not really pay attention to any pacing information. As a side note: a few weeks ago, I cracked the screen of my Apple Watch, and it does not work very well. I’m on the fence between purchasing another one or not. Maybe I’ll get another one when I start actually training for stuff and running races. I think my first race of the season is this Sunday (or is it on Saturday?).

Going forward for the near future, I think that I’m going to alternate between weeks of 3 runs/week and doing 7-day streaks. We’ll see how this will play out. 

Over the past week, I have been hitting the gym and I even attended my first Zumba class in God knows how long. Why do I manage to stand behind the most struggling dancer in the entire class? It never fails.

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It was nice to see my old “acquaintances” and my old hater fans in Zumba. 😉

Oh, wait. Since today is/was the Boston Marathon, I saw this article ( *** ) from the Washington Post about cheating in marathons in my Facebook feed. I still do not understand why people feel the need to cheat to gain entrance in this marathon. I guess that running the Boston Marathon is an honor, but how is it an honor if you cheated to get in? And, is it really THAT big of a deal?

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Getting my life back on track

Now, that the excitement of the United NYC Half Marathon is over, it’s time to get back to business. Buuuuut, what is my business? I really have no idea of where to go to next in terms of running and general fitness. Well, actually, I would like to drop a few pounds by the end of summer. I’m thinking around 10 – 15 pounds. Wasn’t that my plan at the beginning of the year? 😉 Over the past couple of months, I have been a little a lot laid back with working out and watching what I eat/drink, which have manifested itself into a larger beer gut.

Although I do not have anything major to train for. Note: I need to register for some NYRR races so I can do 9+1 for 2020’s NYC Marathon. I do have a long-term goal of becoming a better marathon runner. I mean, can a brother become a sub 4-hr marathon runner? I have an entry for the 2019’s NYC Marathon, which gives me about 8 months to become a better marathon runner (hopefully, no injuries will derail me). The plan for this week is to come up with a couple of preseason workout regimens (and actually stick to it/them) before I start my marathon training in the summer. Although I did not perform as well as I would have liked in the United NYC Half Marathon, it is a nice feeling to know that I can run 13.1 miles without much training.

Please hook me up with any long-term marathon training plans that you may have. All suggestions are invited and welcomed.

Personal Health:

I have a couple of things that I need to take care off.

I got a new tooth. So that is off the list. 😉

Visit a goddamn podiatrist. Actually, once I finish this entry, I am going to find one. For the past year or so, I have been dealing with a soft corn (technically a heloma molle) between my pinky and ring toes on my right foot. I did not want to put the images in this post, but you can check out what they look like here ( *** , *** ). This issue is caused by the constant rubbing/friction between my fourth and fifth toes. Yes, I know that I should have gotten this taken care of while ago, but I did not want to miss the NYC Marathon or last week’s Half-Marathon because of foot surgery. You know, it’s better to “ignore” an injury than dealing with it, which is a Y chromosome thing. Also, the pain is pretty manageable depending on the type of shoes and socks that I wear. The most common way to fix a soft corn is to have some bone shaved off of the fourth and fifth toes to provide move space preventing the two toes from rubbing on each other.

I have been trying to cut back on the cigarettes. Before going to work, I leave my smokes at home so I will not smoke during the day. It has been going ok for the past 1.5 weeks. It’s actually getting to the point where it’s going to be impossible to buy cigarettes in NYC.

Random Thoughts Thursday: NYC Half Marathon Edition

Ok, I’m trying to get back to my normal blogging ( and yelping) life.

Here are a few things that have been running around my head (no pun) about this past half-marathon.

-I’m glad that I went for it, and the half marathon has jump-started my interest in getting my ass (literally) back in shape. Hopefully, I’m gonna follow up with some goals in upcoming posts. Once I submit this post, I’ll sign up for a few races to start my 9+1 journey to the NYC Marathon in 2020.

-Since my Apple Watch has a crack in the screen, it was kind of cool running a race without focusing on time. Actually, it was quite freeing.

-Speaking of my Apple Watch, that fucker is going to cost to $300 to fix. The damn watch was $350; I guess that I should have purchased the extended warranty.

-Seriously, where were the crowds? Now that I think of it, I finished the Half Marathon around 10 am, so maybe the race was too early for the crowds to come out and cheer for folks.

-I found out that many folks did not receive a medal. Ummmmmmm, wouldn’t NYRR know how many people registered for the United NYC Half Marathon? Perhaps, NYRR assumed that many of the registered folks would not show up to the race or not finish. You know something like, ordering 10% less food than the number of people that you invite to an event. Here’s the other thing (purely my opinion), I really do not see the point of receiving medals from races. Usually, the day after the race, my medal will go in a random bag or drawer, and I’ll probably not see it again until I move. I’m more interested in the technical tees. 

What an inspirational story. Thomas Panek is the first blind runner to complete the half marathon with guide dogs (Westley, Waffle, and Gus).

-I wonder if this guy ran the half marathon with this basket from the security checkpoint?

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-Added insult to injury. Thanks a lot for the reminder, Facebook. I was so close to meeting my goal (a sub 1:45) for the NYC Half back in 2016. I had to take a stupid poop during mile 3 three. 

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-Oh, I’m not a fan of Honey Stinger Energy Gels; they are way too viscous for me.

Race Report: NYC United Half Marathon

Date: March 17, 2019; 8:00 am

Distance: 13.1 mi

Place: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

Weather: 34 F; 46% Humidity  

Finishers: 24,666 total (12,312 men / 12,354 women) 

Official time / pace:  2:11:18 / 10:01 min/mi 

You get the race that you train for. 

Going into this race, I really had no true expectations or goals aside from finishing. Although I did not run as well as I wanted to (due to lack of training on my part), I am glad that I went through with it. The night before the race, I was on the verge of not doing the race

For this entry, I guess that I could break this up in a few parts. 

Pre-race

NYC Half Marathon Outfit

Although I was assigned to Wave 1, I knew that I was not in Wave 1 shape. Plus, I did not want to have to arrive to Prospect Park by 6:25 am to check my bag. Then, it hit me. Do I really need or want to check a bag?  If I did not check a bag, then I could run in any wave, thus setting back my start time from 7:30 am to 8:40 am. Aka, I could wake up later.

NYc, MTA

My plan was to leave the apt. at 6:00 am so I could run in the second wave. Yeah, that did not go so well. The idea was to take the A train to Metrotech and the F train from Metrotech to Prospect Park. First, the A train, which does make any stops from 125th street to 59th street and runs express, was running local from 125th street. Second, the F train was severely delayed so I had to take another A train future into Brooklyn, then take the G train (really, the G?) to Prospect Park. By the time I walked the mile or so from the subway to the security checkpoint, I knew that I would not make Wave 2. That said, I was not too bothered since I was kind of easy breezy with my start plans. At this point, I really wished that I had prepared a sandwich or something because I was kind of hungry before starting. 

Miles 1 – 4:

Prospect Park, Grand Army Plaza

Grand Army Plaza

The first third of the half-marathon gave us a bit of a tour of Prospect Park and took us through the streets of Brooklyn. During these miles, I started off pretty slow because I did not want to risk injuring anything or running out of steam during the first part of the race. Late January was the last time that I ran anything over 8 miles. Plus, I was concerned that the first three to five miles were going to be pretty hilly. I probably could/should have pushed myself harder, but I did not want to risk the end of the race. Looking back at my experience, I am glad that I did not push myself any harder during this part because I probably would not have finished the run. 

There were not really too many crowds out during this part of the race, which was kind of weird, but we did spend some time in the less popular sections (to me) of Prospect Park. 

Miles 4 – 8:

Manhattan Bridge

Manhattan Bridge. Probably the least popular of the bridges that span the East River.

This part of the half-marathon took us through downtown Brooklyn and into Manhattan. Crossing the Manhattan Bridge was one of the things that I looked forward to . . . and feared. I was surprised that I did not struggle too much with the Manhattan Bridge. I do not know why, but I thought that we were going to be running on the pedestrian and bike paths, which have very steep inclines. However, we ran across the upper level of the bridge, which had a gradual increase in steepness. I thought that I would have to walk the incline of the bridge so I was quite happy that I managed to run the entire bridge. 

Arriving in Manhattan was so lackluster. There were hardly any crowds. Then again, I am comparing the experience of crossing a bridge into Manhattan from my NYC Marathon experience. In the NYC Marathon, you can hear the crowd’s cheers on Manhattan’s 1st Avenue roaring from the Queensboro Bridge. In last weekend’s half, you barely heard a peep. There was someone with a loudspeaker telling us that we had seven miles left.  I guess something is better than nothing. 

This portion of the race took us through Chinatown and along FDR Drive, which was also pretty quiet. Also, the beginning part of FDR Drive was very sticky; it reminded me of a nasty movie theater. It was like a glue truck had dumped glue along a 1 – 1.5 mile stretch of the route. 

Miles 8 – 12

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This portion of the half marathon took us through some great and iconic NYC sites: the UN, the Chrysler Building, Grand Central, Bryant Park, Times Square, Carnegie Hall, and Central Park. 

The first part of the segment was kind of nostalgic because we ran past NYU School of Medicine, which is where I completed my graduate studies. We actually past my old apartment building and old laboratory. 

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So many memories of boozing and cruising around Murray Hill. I mean, concentrating on my studies in immunology and molecular oncology. 

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On our way to Times Square

Again, I was expecting more folks along the course. 

Grand Central, NYC

Grand Central

It was during this part of the half that I was becoming quite fatigued and a bit over the race. One cool aspect of the NYC Marathon is there were large crowds (maybe not in the Bronx) that power you through the race. For the NYC Half, you kind of had to power yourself through it. The large majority of this chunk of the race is pretty flat so that made life a little more simple, which took my mind off of my fatigue. I pretty much cranked up my tunes and kept saying “one foot in front of another.”

Times Square

I’m running through freakin’ Times Square!!!

I started to overheat a bit and, at mile 11, had to walk a little. I think taking a bunch of selfies, pictures, and videos in and near Times Square kind of drained my mojo. The sad part is many of the Times Square pictures did not come out right so pretty much a bunch of time wasted. 

Miles 12 – 13.1

Absolute disaster. I totally forgot about the little hills sprinkled in Central Park. These hills are not super steep or difficult to climb, but my legs were pretty much done at this point. Around mile 10, I started to feel soreness in both of my quads, which was general pain from not running for the past 45 or so days. My bad. To get back into the groove and to finish strong, I tried to fartlek between light posts in Central Park, but after three or four fartleks, I had to walk again. I think this is the first time that I ever had to walk during the last mile of any race. But hey, I should be happy that I made to mile 12 without too much of a struggle. 

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Although it was not my best half-marathon (and surprisingly not my worst), I still had somewhat of a blast. Well, a blast until the last mile. That last mile was a true killer. Since I did not do bag check, I could not take a picture with my medal and a cigarette.

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The woman taking the picture was supposed to get a shot with the medal FACING the camera.

 Post Race:

I was so lucky because the finish is pretty close to the bus line that more or less drops me off in front of my apt. Although the bus takes longer than the subway, I do not think that I could have walked up and down a bunch of stairs for the 2 or 3 train. Once I arrived to Harlem, I treated myself to a splendid, yet simple, brunch at Harlem Shake. I even got myself a nice mimosa. Once the cashier found out that I ran a half-marathon, she really hooked me up the champagne portion of the mimosa. BTW, the grits with turkey sausage are AMAZING.

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Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, I managed to fit in a few more drinks with the BF husband. Actually, I would have had a few more drinks even if it was not St. Patrick’s Day.

Whiskey, Irish Carbombs (the husband never had one before), and Pisco Sours

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A milk mustache from the Irish Carbombs.

I hope everyone had a great running weekend or a great chilling weekend. 

Running Questions and Answers a.k.a. Get to Know Me Better

Since this week’s half marathon training was not about sh*t, I borrowed the prompt for this entry from runningtotravel who borrowed it from The Writting Runner.

When did you start running?

I used to run in cross country and track in high school, but I stopped in college. Um, yeah, New Orleans was far too humid for running. Because of New Orleans’ weather, my college’s cross country team started practice at 5:30 am. Um, yeah, I’m not an early riser. My more recent running beginnings happened in 2010. My bicycle had two flat tires one morning, but rather than repairing the tires, I decided to run to work.

What do you consider to be the hardest distance to train for and/or race?

Definitely, a full marathon because you have to dedicate so much time to training. Also, it seems like there is never a perfect season for training – either it’s too hot in the summer or it’s too cold in winter.

Describe some of your favorite race courses.

Definitely, the Rock n Roll Series Montreal Half Marathon. Although I have visited Montreal several times, you really got a nice tour of the city’s (technically province’s) three islands. Unfortunately, the more recent Rock n Roll Series Montreal races do not include the other two islands (Notre Dame and Helene).

What is one weird/unusual thing you do as a runner that most other runners don’t.

Everyone knows this . . . I’m a smoker who runs marathons. Or a marathoner who smokes. 😉

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Do you have a bucket-list race?

I would love to run a marathon in another country. Actually, the plan was to run the full marathon in Montreal; however, I injured myself and had to settle with running the city’s half-marathon. Outside of mentally converting miles into kilometers, I would not mind running a marathon in Paris or Madrid.

United NYC Half Marathon Training Week 6

Planned mileage: 21.5 (+40min tempo)

Completed mileage: 11 miles

Looks like I was pretty far away from my goal. 

From last week’s update, I mentioned that I was having some back issues with a couple of my training run. Thus, I decided to dial it back a little bit lot to recover. Also, work was quite intense this week. The program that I direct will soon start accepting applications for next year’s cohort so there’s a lot of planning that I have to do. Also, the spring semester has started for the course that I teach. My procrastinating ass had to get all the crap ready for the course (lectures, syllabi, rosters, etc.). Basically, I finished all of that stuff at 11:00 pm on Saturday night for a Sunday class. Lol, at an email that I received from a student a few days before the class. 

I don’t see your course on blackboard. If you can look into that problem that would be great.

I do not know if I should be impressed by the student’s initiative to reach out before our first class or annoyed by the student’s presumption that I would use Blackboard for my course. 

Ok, let’s get into this thing. 

Oh, one more thing: there’s like 1.5 months left until the UnitedNYCHalf. I really need to decide if I’m going to do this thing or not. Well, I guess it is up to my body. 

I made a couple of changes from my previous week:

  1. Obviously, I did not run as much. 
  2. I decided to skip some of my near-daily stretches, especially glute extensions. 
  3. Since I have a full-time desk job (and probably slouch way too much), I started doing quick stretches every 60 – 90 minutes in my office.

Hopefully, these changes were not made in vain. 

Monday:

Planned: 50min X-train

Completed: Rest

Tuesday:

Planned: 4.5mi

Completed: 4.5mi, stretching, strength training

This was a very tough one, and I felt quite defeated afterward. I did this run on a treadmill and had to walk multiple times. I pretty much had to walk every 0.5 miles. 

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I even adjusted Crunch Fitness-FiDi’s motivation wall. 

Wednesday:

Planned: Interval 8X400m

Completed: Not a damn thing

There was way too much work that I had to complete between Monday and Tuesday so there was no way that I could fit in this run. 

Thursday:

Planned: 3mi

Completed: A few sprints

I had planned to combine Wednesday’s and Thursday’s run by doing the interval workout and following it with the 3-mile run. Once again work got in the way. No, wait. TV AND work got in the way. While working on some stuff for work, I stayed up watching Ken Burns’ documentary about the Vietnam War. 

Around 8pm, I decided to put on my running clothes and do the intervals (at the minimal) before finishing work. Everything went wrong with this run. 

  1. It was super windy and cold along the Hudson River, and I really needed another layer.
  2. Both my phone and Apple Watch died, so I could not really keep track of my times for the intervals. Lately, I’ve been noticing that my iPhone has been dying a lot. 
  3. I packed the dumb tights that always seem to fall down when I run. After the third or fourth interval, I became so annoyed with constantly pulling up my tights while running. At that point, I pretty was over it. One, two, three strikes, and I was out. 

Thursday, Friday, Saturday:

Planned: 3m, Rest, and 9mi

Completed: Nothing. 

In my defense, I did plan to do some weight training on Friday. But I decided to go hang out with a friend in Hell’s Kitchen, which actually became a little bit of a shitshow. However, what is a Friday night in NYC without some fuckshit?

Rise bar was not playing around with its drink prep on Friday night.

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Sunday:

Planned: 3mi

Completed: 6.2mi

Although my long run for this week was supposed to be 9mi, I thought that it would be better to do the 6.2mi instead. Since I have been having back issues and did not want to risk fucking it up more, I did a very easy run on the treadmill. I pretty much alternated between a very, very slow mile and a very slow mile. It did feel nice to finally complete a planned run. 

Well, that’s my ho-hum week of “training”. 

Goals for the week:

  • Let’s complete a full week of planned training activities. 
  • A few posts ago, I mentioned that I joined a couple of running clubs. I really want to try to do a run with Harlem Runs on either Monday or Wednesday. Fingers crossed. 

Have y’all seen either (or both) documentary about the Fyre Festival? I’m sorry, but how do we live in a country where someone can defraud folks multiple times and only receive six years in prison? Whereas, we have folks serving DECADES for minor drug offenses. Hell, the Billy creep was defrauding people while he was out on bail for his OTHER CHARGES of fraud. Don’t most people try NOT to commit crimes while on bail?

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Did you like the Netflix or Hulu version more?

 

United NYC Half Marathon Training Week 5

Planned mileage: 13.2 (+40min tempo)

Completed mileage: ~9mi (+2mi speed)

One, I really need to get back to a normal blogging schedule. After looking at three computer screens all day, I really do not feel like looking at another to update this thing when I get home. However, I need to get over this feeling, because I need to start doing some of this stuff at home. My resolution/intention for 2019 was to get more involved with scientific communications and to start a biomed/higher education blog. Also, starting next semester, I will be eligible to take graduate courses for free so I will have to start getting used to doing work at home. Wait, I have an MS and a Ph.D., do I want/need another MS?

Two, this entry will be a little woe is me.

Ok, let’s get this thing started.

Monday:

Planned: 50min X-train

Completed: Rest

Tuesday:

Planned: 4mi

Completed: 4mi

Wednesday:

Planned: 40min tempo

Completed: 60min Zumba class; 2mi speed work

I just was not up to running. You ever have those days where you wake up and just do not care about running? That was my day. I tried to do the run after work, but I decided to attend Zumba class instead. I did ride 3.5 miles to the gym, so that’s something . . . I guess.

Thursday:

Planned: 3mi

Completed: 4mi

I was quite pleased with this one. Hell, I even did an extra mile. I did not manage to do my run in the morning so I did it after work. It was nice running alongside the Hudson River, and the change of scenery was quite nice. I did the first half of the run in easy mode and did the second half at half-marathon pace.

Hudson Running

The George Washington Bridge in the distance.

Friday:

Planned: Rest

Completed: Rest

Saturday:

Planned: 10K at race pace

Completed: some bullshit (1.25mi)

This is where I am beginning to reach the end of my rope.

Since this was going to be a 10K race pace run, I decided to do this run in Central Park so I could run uninterrupted. I started the run with a simple 0.5mi warmup from my apt to the north side of Central Park. For those of you who are not in the know, Central Park spans north to south from 110 street to 59th street, and one big loop is about 6 miles.

Ok, I get to Central Park after my warm up then I do my standard stretches. Within the first mile, I started having some lower back pain. I did not even get a chance to make it to race pace!!! It was not excruciating, but I knew that I would not be able to finish 10K. Hell, I did not think that I could even complete 2 miles.

I was quite upset with the situation because almost every night I have been doing my PT back/core exercises before bed while listening to TV. WHY is this getting harder? Maybe I’m slouching too much on the sofa. 

Plus, I just did a really nice 4-mile run two days before this run. It seems like the more I try; the worse it gets. Just as an FYI, I did not have any back pain with any of my other runs or workouts during the week. One thing I can think of that may have affected this run is the hills big hill on the north side of Central Park. Most of my weekday runs are on pretty flat courses; however, my Thursday run had a couple of low-moderate hills. Being aware of the big hills at Central Park North was one of the reasons why I did the warm-up run. I did not want to shock my body with a huge hill (for NYC standards) at the beginning of the run. Again, I did not even get near a race pace.

Also, I was pissed because I did a pretty fast 7.5mi long run the week prior to this run. Basically, in a week’s time, I went from being able to complete a 7.5mi run to being unable to run a mile IN THE SAME SECTION OF THE DAMN PARK.

Another one of my issues. Once I’m over something, I’m over it. By the time I struggled to do the 1 mile, it may have been at 1.25mi at that point. I was like

  • “Ok, the run is not going to happen.
  • I’m close enough to one of the Crunch Fitness (W. 83rd) so I can do another form of cardio.
  • I get to the gym, hop on a stationary bike but after 5 miles, I was over it.
  • Kind of like, if I cannot run then I do not want to do anything at all. I did get a delicious salad from a random deli though.

Sunday:

Planned: Rest

Completed: I went bowling. Does that count?

Conclusion:

Basically, I do not know what do because I cannot depend on my own damn body. In terms of running, I am in a super crabby mood and just do not give any shits about running this half marathon. What’s the point? I mean, I will have a great run one day and a week later have a shitty run. Also, I will set a goal, not meet it, then be pissed off for the following week. I would not be so down on myself if I did not do any prep work during the week. But the fact that I’m doing daily back and core stretching/exercises and my situation has gotten worse is the annoying part. The time wasted doing those exercises could have been allocated for something more productive like drinking or smoking.

End rant.