Can I be tempted to run a full marathon?

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles
I’m clearly back to full strength in my running as evidenced by today and yesterday’s runs. A good part of my work week is taking place at industry meetings and yesterday I had the good fortune of seeing both of my running mentors (CK & CMC) during the day’s events.
I told CK that my troubles on Friday were likely caused by my flu shot. I’m not sure he bought that but I’ll show him next time. CMC offered to run with me on my first marathon which sounds great, although my current position is that I won’t ever be competing at that distance. We’ll see.

This morning’s run was pleasant, and like yesterday, it seemed to go by quickly. With temperatures in the mid 30’s, it’s much colder than a week ago, but I fully appreciate this weather. This weekend is supposed to be nice and cool — great for the NYC marathoners and great for those of us training for our next 10K.

The agony and the not so bad

Yesterday’s run (Central Park): 3 miles
Today’s run (treadmill): 3 miles

I’m in a slump and I don’t exactly understand why. I suspect that it’s a combination of things. Since I suffered a bad fall on my driveway a week ago, I’ve been feeling slightly sub-par. My crash at the end of my run was probably more traumatic than I’d initially thought and, seven days later, I still have plenty of evidence of that.

I had been feeling run down by mid-week and though I did a couple of runs plus an elliptical session since the accident, I felt the need to skip my workout on Thursday. Yesterday I had plans to meet my friend CK for a run in Central Park and I thought the day and a half rest I’d have since Wednesday would deliver some needed energy. I was almost completely wrong but there were other factors at play.

First, I had gone to the company medical center in the morning to get a flu shot. I didn’t think it would have any effect on my running, but perhaps it did. Second, I was rushed for time at lunch and grabbed some spicy vegetarian soup and vegetarian dumplings that didn’t help my glycogen level. And third, I generally don’t run well in the afternoon. So some combination of the above, plus being generally run down, made for a tough run in the park.

CK and I started our run on the lower loop near the 6th Avenue entrance to the park and we headed counter clockwise up the hill. We were moving at a good clip with CK letting me set the pace. I felt okay but was concerned about maintaining that rate over our planned 4+ mile route. Shortly after we reached our first mile, CK asked to stop so he could remove his long pants that were making him warm.

What should have been an opportunity to rest turned into a significant energy drop and as we made our way up the hill I admitted that I wouldn’t be able to run the reservoir route. We modified our course by cutting across the Great Lawn and I was truly struggling to keep the pace under 10 minutes a mile. Still it was fun to run the west side of the loop towards Columbus Circle because they had put up the stands for the NY Marathon and were in the process of constructing the finish line area.

We ended up covering our three miles in about 28 minutes but it was the toughest 5K I’ve run in a while.

This morning, due to the inclement weather, I ran about three miles on the treadmill, starting with a 5 minute walking warm up. I did the running part at around 9:50/min, a comfortable pace, but I really felt it by the end. I’m obviously not at my best but this morning’s workout felt far better than yesterday’s run.

I’m not sure how far I’ll run tomorrow. More than one person has suggested that I take a few days off and get back to strength. It’s good advice, the kind that I’d give to others. I’m not sure I’ll take my own advice though. Who can resist going out for a run on a cold October morning?

A rigorous rainy run in Central Park

Remember the Maine! Because that where we’re meeting.

Yesterday’s run (Central Park): 4.65 miles
Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles

There’s quite a contrast between today’s bright sun and yesterday’s rainy, cloudy skies. Friday morning had started out dry but, by 10:00 AM, the streets were wet and the umbrellas were open. I mentioned in a meeting that I planned to go out at around noon for a run in Central Park and got the expected “You’re crazy” and “Why would you want to do that?” responses. I checked in with my friend CK who was game for a run, regardless of the weather. We confirmed our plan to meet at the statue of the USS Maine at 12:30.

It was chilly and drizzling as I began my walk to Columbus Circle. I wore a short sleeved shirt and running shorts because the humidity was in the mid 70’s and I knew I’d get hot while running. I arrived early at the statue and CK was already there. We started our run by heading south along the lower loop,  and then heading east. The rain wasn’t too bad and, despite my glasses, I had no problem seeing. My real problem was keeping up with CK.  He was looking to move along at a faster pace than the 9:30 that I was maintaining as we worked on the first few hills.

We kept going north until we reached the reservoir and ran around it until we’d reached the west side. From there we exited onto the bridal path and tackled a hilly section before we crossed over to West Drive. We increased our speed from there, running closer to a 8:50 mile, which was a hard pace for me and a relaxing one for CK. Those hills always get to me.

We finished where we started and by then the rain had increased to a steady fall and I felt cold on the walk back to my office. By the time I got there I was soaked, a combination of sweat and rain. I toweled off with Wet Ones and grabbed a quick bite. Though I hoped I could spend the afternoon sequestered in my office, I was pulled into a bunch of meetings. No one seemed to notice that I’d gone without a post-run shower.

This morning I was extremely pressed for time so I went out for a short run. I’m planning to do some biking with my daughter later so I didn’t care about distance. Speaking of distance, my friend FS ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon this morning. Conditions were ideal so I’m hoping she had a great experience. That race was my first choice for my first half but registration was closed by the time I tried to sign up.  Maybe next year.

Central Park running on the schedule

If the weather holds through lunchtime I’ll be running in Central Park with my friend CK. The last time we ran together was in January along the streets of Naples, FL, in the early morning fog. CK is a far better runner than me but he’s very patient and flexes (somewhat) to my pace. It usually becomes a subconscious tug of war between us where he ever-so-slightly pushes us towards an 8 minute pace while I push back in the other direction.

We’re targeting about four miles today, or maybe a little longer than that since we plan to run up the east side of the lower loop, circle the reservoir and then head back down. CK has been dealing with a chronic foot injury for a while so his distances are limited. That works for me. Lengthy runs in the middle of the workday can make for an uncomfortable afternoon in the office, especially when there’s no after-run shower. If the rains do come that could solve the problem quite nicely.

A tropical change of pace

Sunset over the Gulf coast

Yesterday’s run (southern FL): 4.1 miles

I’ve been at a conference for most of this week and due to travel and meetings I didn’t get a chance to run on Wednesday. Thursday morning I met up with my friend CK for a run before the conference activities started. I was giving a talk in the afternoon and knew that this would probably be the only time that I could fit a workout into this trip. CK and I headed out from the hotel tracking south along a straight, palm tree-lined road. It was fairly early when we left and there was little traffic. The sun seems to rise later in southern Florida and the light at 7:00 AM was still at low intensity. Florida gets hot, even in January, but it was a cool 58 degrees with very little humidity when we started.

Compared with my recent paces, CK and I moved along at a moderately fast clip and I was pleased that I could hold up my end of the conversation even as we pushed against my comfort zone. We continued south for two miles then turned around for the return. On the way back we threw in some minute long tempos and before we knew it the resort was back in our sight. We ended up averaging 8:55 per mile for the run and it really seemed effortless.

The conference went well  and despite the 5″ of snow that fell in New York this morning I was able to return home pretty much on schedule. I’ve only run about 6 miles this week so I’m hoping to make up for that this weekend. With all this fresh snow it looks like I’ll be once again confined to neighborhood running on Saturday.  My next race is coming up in few weeks so I’ll need to focus on training for that. Running with a high performer like CK showed me that I’m in good shape but I still need to step it up to be as competitive as I’d like to be. I want to achieve a new PR for 4 miles and this race takes place at the same location as my 10K PR so prospects are good. Performance will be my focus for now.

Central Park: once around for good measure

Central Park Reservoir (1.58 miles around)

Yesterday’s run (Central Park): 4.8 miles at 9:18/mile

Today’s run (street): 2.16 miles at 9:37/mile

Yesterday  afternoon I ran in Central Park for the second time in less than a week. I met my friend CK at the statue of the Maine in Columbus Circle and we set off with a vague plan to cover the distance to the reservoir and back. CK is still dealing with a foot injury that has forced him to scale back on his running in favor of other sports and activities. Like the last time we ran, he said he’d need to take it easy due to the foot injury. This time I knew not to believe him. CK laughed at me as I prepared the Garmin for the start. He’s more old school, relying on time from his stopwatch rather than using an over-engineered running watch that captured distance, pace, etc. However, I noticed that he asked me more than once how far we’d gone during the run.

The sun was high in the sky but the heat was moderate. By the midway point I did find myself gravitating to the side of the road that had the most shade. By the time we reached the reservoir I began to feel the effort. CK managed to subtly push the pace past my default comfort zone. I wasn’t exactly hurting but I felt like I was running at race pace although the Garmin’s display did not reflect that. By the time we’d circled the reservoir and headed toward the east side of the upper loop I was ready to slow down. We ended our 4.8 mile run near the outlet to Central Park South and then grabbed some water to cool down. Once again I had a great Central Park run and CK pushed me hard, as always.

I tossed and turned last night and I believe that related to being so wired from the midday run. My plan for this morning was to cover two miles at an easy pace to balance the hard work from yesterday. I was suspicious that my recent recalibration of the Garmin led to under-counting my distance so I used this morning’s run as a benchmark, comparing the Garmin numbers to Gmaps. Both came out exactly the same: 2.16 miles. I was hoping the Garmin was off which would explain why I felt I worked so hard yesterday and only managed a 9:18 pace. I guess I need to work a little more on speed. The hills didn’t help but I can’t blame them. What goes up one also comes down and it probably evened out in the end..