And with that, I’m halfway there – 9 weeks down, 9 weeks to go. I’m grateful to say my body is feeling good, haven’t had any major aches or pains, and I pray it stays that way.
This past weekend was a doozy though. I celebrated my final summer Friday at work by kicking off a 16mi run with the plan of running the Queensborough Bridge for the first time not during the NYC Marathon. I started off slow, which I was okay with. But as I approached mile 3, I realized it just wasn’t in the cards for me that day. I had run three days in a row with only one day off before that following two days of racing. Recognizing the value of rest days, I decided to call it quits and made my way from Riverside Park on the west side of Manhattan to the nearest Citibike station. I figured if I wasn’t going to run, at least I could still enjoy the beautiful day by biking part of the way home.
I got on a faulty bike, which happens often enough with Citibike (although I still highly suggest becoming a member!). My patience lasted until around 14th Street, when I decided it was time to head toward the A-train. I crossed the west side highway at 15th Street and made a left, so I could then turn onto 16th Street, which goes east. There was a red light with a truck in the right lane, so I decided to use a driveway to bike onto the sidewalk and cut the corner thus avoiding being caught next to the truck as it turns. While it seemed like the safer option, I didn’t execute it well. The curb for the driveway was a bit elevated and my bike wasn’t happy with the angle I approached it. The bike faltered as I collided with scaffolding, and together we fell. Passerbyers asked me if I was okay, and I said, “Yes, thank you– I’m fine, that was my poor choice.” Feeling foolish, I got back on the bike, but damn did my knee hurt. I went one more blocks to the Citibike station by Chelsea Market, and then walked the 2 blocks to the train.
I figured I may as well turn Saturday into a rest day too and this way I wouldn’t have to rush my long run before my afternoon barbecue. But Sunday was the day – the day to complete the first half of training and to run my third longest run of the entire training season. It was cloudy, unseasonably cool, but certainly humid. I was a bit nervous about my bruised up knee, but figured it shouldn’t impact my running. My first mile came in just under 5 minutes, which would be amazing if it were true. It did cause me some worry as to whether or not I could trust my TomTom GPS watch, but I had mapped the course on Strava and was set in that department. I decided to stick with my original plan of running the Queensborough Bridge for the first time, so I made my way from Downtown Brooklyn into Williamsburg, and then through Greenpoint and over the Pulaski Bridge, which marks the halfway point of the marathon.
I was struggling a bit, but I’m not quite sure why. I did choose to carry a water bottle since I wasn’t going to be passing by many fountains. I had done this a lot during training for my first two marathons, but was no longer used to it, and wasn’t crazy about the added bulk in my hand. I also wasn’t feeling very inspired by my podcasts (can anyone suggest some?). My body wasn’t hurting, and I’m not even totally sure if I was tired, but I wasn’t feeling the joy I had hoped for. By the time I made it down 1st Avenue and into East River Park underneath the Williamsburg Bridge, I knew the end was near. I also knew my watch wasn’t totally lined up with what mile Strava told me I would be at at that point, and I wasn’t sure yet which platform I would side with, but I had an idea.
Climbing my way up the Manhattan Bridge, the faces and groans started to come, as I agonized speedily toward my last mile, which came nearly a mile before I expected it to. Having survived the bridge and knowing the end was practically already there, I decided to run halfway between there and my home, figuring whatever that distance really was, was close enough to 16 miles (whether it was above or below). My final pace of 8:35 was quite surprising, but I guess it was skewed by my sub 5-minute mile.
And with that I was done. Week 9 done. Glass half full, the other half waiting to be filled with about 270 more miles.
I kicked off the second half tonight with a 1.5mi warm up to Red Hook Track, 8x1000m repeats, and 1mi cool down home. Many lives were lost during the course of my workout, but I’d still call it a success.