Monday, October 31, 2011

NYCM Training: IT'S ALMOST HERE!!! aka Week 17 of 18

Holy moly! I'll have run the NYC Marathon by this time NEXT WEEK!!! With any luck, I'll have also stretched, taken an ice bath, showered, downed a beer or two (accompanied by loads of food, DUH), and hopefully have kept both of my legs intact following the marathon. I'm really hoping to be able to walk down the stairs with minimal pain after just one day instead of last time's two days...

But first! Week two of tapering, aka week 17 in the training:
  • Monday: sick day
  • Tuesday: 4 mile run
  • Wednesday: sick day
  • Thursday: 5 mile run
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 3 mile run
  • Sunday: 8 mile run
Total mileage: 20. Pas mal, as the French would say. I'm quite all right with it considering I was sick. As I mentioned in my last post, as fun as Boston was, it decided to give me a lovely cold as a souvenir. Really, Boston, the 2011 HOCR shirt was enough, but thanks for being so considerate! Ugh. Needless to say, I felt quite awful for a number of days this week, but I wasn't hacking up a lung (the cold seemed to just stay up in my head, which was very nice of it) so I kept running. I'd planned on running four times a week instead of five during the taper when my leg started acting up, and with a cold on top of it, it all kind of seemed to work out. 

The weekday runs were unexciting and were all done on a treadmill -- not ideal! I went home to Alexandria, Va., for the weekend, and while Saturday's run was also done on a treadmill, the day was made more exciting by a Halloween party my friends Lani and J threw in Northern Virginia. Naturally, I dressed up as a pirate:
I'm MARRRRRgaret!
I've never been a pirate for Halloween. As my brother Tom remarked, "Amazing that this costume took 20 some years to figure out." True. I actually figured it out in May when I was on my annual girlfriends trip with Lani and Emily, and they suggested it! Clearly, I am not the most creative when it comes to costumes, which is why I leave it to my friends to help me out. I'm not usually one to love Halloween, but having a costume that I liked did make it more fun!

Sunday I had my last long run of training. It snowed on Saturday in Alexandria, so I was a little worried about the weather for the weekend. But Sunday was absolutely beautiful -- and ideal for a marathon! Let's hope NYC gets the message and delivers perfect race conditions on Sunday!

I planned on taking this run easy and getting in a few miles at race pace, but I felt way too good and ended up having a pretty speedy run:
  • Mile 1 - 9:15
  • Mile 2 - 9:07
  • Mile 3 - 8:50
  • Mile 4 - 8:41
  • Mile 5 - 8:31
  • Mile 6 - 8:38
  • Mile 7 - 8:40
  • Mile 8 - 8:57
Total time: 
1:10:39, for an average of 8:50/mile. AWESOME.

The views weren't too bad either:
Falllll foliage!
Pretty colors
Seriously, how gorgeous?!
It's kind of funny, almost all of my 8-mile runs have been in the 1:10-1:11 range during this marathon training. Which is good, of course, but also kind of frustrating -- am I just running at a comfortable pace? Should I be pushing myself more? This close to the marathon, pushing myself definitely NOT a very smart idea, but it's giving me something to think about next time around -- I think I can improve, and could spend some more time on speed rather than running along on what's comfortable.

ANYWAY! Last week of training! Big plans? Nope! Tomorrow I'm taking it easy, Tuesday I've got a deep tissue massage session, Wednesday is girls night with college friends, and Thursday is the NY Flyers pasta party! I've never attended a pre-race pasta party, but BART YASSO is going to be at this one and I think it's going to be worth it just for that! (However, I had a dream that he canceled at the last minute and was replaced by some "famous" coxswain...this is what happens when two sports collide!) Oh, and the pasta. Duh. Carbo-loading is KEY in the last taper week. 

So, goals for the week:
  1. Sleep. Get lots and lots of sleep. Rest as much as possible.
  2. Hydrate. Drink loads of water, keep taking Emergen-C, etc.
  3. Eat well. Complex carbohydrates are important, but so are fruits, veggies, etc. I'm going to try to eat realllly well this week!
  4. Stay positive. Corny as it sounds, I plan on visualizing the race as much as I can. And filling my week with fun (but not too rowdy!) events and activities. 
  5. Did I mention sleep?
A little more about staying positive -- on my run on Sunday I thought a lot about the marathon. I kind of took the 8 mile run as a mini-practice for the race -- I tried to keep my face relaxed (i.e. no squinting) when I ran in the sun; I reminded myself to keep my shoulders back and loose; I reminded myself to ease into the pace and start out a bit more relaxed in my pace; I reminded myself of how good it is to just RUN and how much I love it. 

Notice a pattern with any of these reminders? There's no use of negative words -- slow, don't, shouldn't, etc. Something I learned as a coxswain was to reduce the amount of negative words in what I say because the rowers won't hear the "don't"; they'll hear the "dip your hands at the catch". So instead of saying "DON'T start out too fast," I'm going to tell myself "DO start at a more relaxed pace." See what I'm doing there? Tricky, tricky!

With that, I should probably follow my own advice and hit the hay. I might even pop in with a midweek post to keep my mind occupied and not filled with nerves. 

If you have any awesome race mantras, I'd love to hear them!

Here's to the very last week of training for the New York City Marathon!


  1. I'm glad your taper has been going well! Have a great marathon tomorrow!

  2. Good luck tomorrow! It was so nice meeting you today!

  3. Thank you both!

    It was really wonderful meeting you today as well! I love those random blogger meetups :) Everyone is always SO NICE!