Week 5 – Road to Carmel

Total Miles – 26.87

Today starts a strange week since I am traveling. The team at XPlora modified my schedule accordingly since I will be going to Puerto Rico for an extended weekend. I was scheduled for a 2 hour long run and that will just not fly in that Puerto Rican heat. I learned my lesson when I did something similar in Miami a couple of years back. You have to be used to that heat.

Run 17 – 1/11/21 – Back to it, today, I ran with little to no pain or discomfort on my right arch. So it was a good day.  I wound up running at lunch and on the clock.  I did not have much time in my schedule to fit in the 55 minutes I was slated to run.  I opted to do it simple.  So I did a semi loop, that takes me to Bronx River Trail and back.  The Trail parts are an out and back affair, but I start and end in different places.  Always loop when you can loop!

Being on a time crunch sucks, because I knew I had the lunch hour and the meeting awaiting was not going to take itself.  Luckily, the person I had the meeting with was understanding.  Other than experiencing no pain, there was nothing to today.  It ended with the now common strides, which I am beginning to enjoy.  They play a mental game to push you to get ready to go hard when the tank is seemingly near empty.  

Run 18 – 1/13/21 – Semi Long / Half Marathon Pace – Because of my trip to PR this week, and not wanting to run extended miles in PR, a real long run just does not scream Caribbean getaway weekend.  I had to pick up Martha to do our COVID tests before the trip.  Thankfully it was negative and the place Martha selected to do the test was an in/out affair.  The moment I dropped her off at home, I suited up, and headed out.  The semi long run was 75 minutes, so I figured about 8 miles.  I decided to do what I did a couple of weeks ago and loop Central Park which is 6 miles, plus the mile from her house to Central Park and back was the perfect distance.  Remember what I said about loops.  Well, to do this specific loop I have to undertake the massive Morningside Mountain, it’s a mountain NOT a hill.  Last time I did it at the end and it hurt.  Today I decided let me tackle it at the start. Guess what STILL HURT!  It’s no fun regardless how you do it.  Today it crossed my mind to not do it at all, but then no loop! 

Once I got into Central Park the idea was to wish upon wish that the Half Marathon pace moments did not come in any of the big hills.  And thankfully neither did, but they both finished with them so it was a false sense of hope.  I will say my mind was not ready for the midweek long run and as I was tackling it I was thinking wait, I have to run again tomorrow.  This sucks!  

The two points when you have to push for 8 minutes at Half Marathon pace, about a solid 8:00 minute pace. You question, Can I push? Then after I push and slow down.  You kind of think, I am done?  My body is shot and I don’t want to do that again.  

It was 29 Easy, 8 hard, 20 Easy, 8 Hard, 10 Easy.  

When I slowed down the first time, I hit the brakes too hard.  Meaning it was about a couple of minutes before I stabilized my pace.  Just dreading as I made my way up the East Side of Central Park when I would have to speed up again.  When I did, everything was against me, the willingness and my mind.  The body was yelling too.  Yet I took off too fast and had to work to bring the pace back down.  Working hard to bring the pace down.  It’s like I was just complaining and now I seem to be running too fast and can’t figure out how to slow down, without feeling like I am coming to a screeching halt.  

The run ended on the lower flat side of Morningside and was I happy for that.  While the Arch no longer HURTS., I still felt discomfort damn near the whole run.  Yet no pain.  I’ll take it as still healing.  I get the Asics tomorrow so I hope that I can do my short run with those if they come in on time.  

Run 19 – 1/14/21 – Today was a final easy run before I head out for the weekend.  The shoes I have been waiting for got in today.  Bright and early in the morning.   I got a brand new last years model of the ASICS GT2000 8.  This year’s model are the 9’s.  

Funny story, I went into the ASICS store in the city, right before the pandemic started to buy these.  I had done my research and knew that these were the shoes I wanted and needed.  They are the most closely resembled the shoe that I have been using for over the decade, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS line.  (Go To Shoe).  When I got to the ASICS store the sales person fitted me.  Had me run on the treadmill, had me stand on the thingy that measured whatever and said.  Yes, the GT2000 would be good BUT, the Kayano’s offer more support, more this, more that.  All for only an extra $40.  In other words, he upsold me heavily.  I went in with an idea and left with another.  I bought the Kayano’s and honestly was not overly happy with them, I felt like they wore out so quick, I barely got 300 miles out of them.  

Fast forward to last week. I speak rather consistently with Sal Aguirre.  A Mexican dude I met while he lived in my hometown in the Dominican Republic.  Anyway, I was telling him my show woes, and he said, dude I never buy this year’s model and I swear by the GT2000’s but also use other brands.  The GT’s being what I have the most of.  I was going to buy the GT2000 9 but found a great deal on Zappos for the 8’s.  Those are the shoes I ran with today. 

I will say that I did not feel discomfort or pain in my arch at any point in the run today.  I did after, but I think that is a product of having an area that is still sort of raw and healing.  During today’s 45 minute run, no pain, no discomfort.  They felt stiff the first 10 minutes or so, but that is to be expected.  I am sure they will continue to mold themselves to my foot.  Also, they have a cloud like sense to them.  They feel very squishy while still feeling supportive.  An extremely good blend.  

On the run end, my body was extremely sore after yesterday’s  semi long run.  By mid run though, the roughness went away and it was an uneventful loop.  Great final run before the trip.  Now I wait to get my credit from RoadRunners and I will also get the New Balance 860v11… So I will be running with three different brands.  A nice change of pace.

Run 20 – 1/16/21 – Long Run Puerto Rico – Today I will say I almost died and that is not me overreacting.  I have been training in very cold weather.  Usually when I run a warm day is the low 40s.  I came  to Isabela, Puerto Rico for a long extended weekend and had to do a long run.  Of course I spoke to my coach and as you probably already read he had me do a semi long run midweek.  So that this weekend I had a short long run.  By short long run, we are talking about a whopping 8 miles in this heat and sun.  

I told myself I would wake up early and run.  Yet, I did not leave until about 8am.  The sun was already out and the heat was gradually increasing.  I started at an easy 10m pace and even that was a struggle as the heat started to press.  I guess, you get accustomed and acclimated.  I was far from acclimated!  

The view though was amazing! VERY AMAZING.  They have a trail that hugs the ocean and all you see is the waves splashing on the water.  Yet, you still get drowned out by the heat.  By mile 4 the turn around point in my out and back venture.  I could no longer properly breathe,  I was shuffling.   This lead to me pausing and cursing at mile 6.  Where I berated myself for stopping with 2 miles to go.  I again stopped at close to 7 miles and here I thought long and hard about walking the rest of the way back.  Yet, I chided myself and soldiered on! At mile 7.7 I hit a massive hill, right when I knew the end was over the bend.  I paused, composed myself and attempted to finish strong.   

Now the positives, I had no pain to speak off.  I started the run with a tinge in my left knee as always, but it quickly disappeared.  My arches never screamed or yelled at me either.  So winning all around.  

 



Week 4 – Road to Carmel

Total Mileage – 20.83

Run 13 – 1/4/21 – Start of an Easy Week – Lucky number 13, and the start of what is suppose to be an easy week. Today was an easy 45. Not much to it than a basic loop around the neighborhood. I did have to stop almost immediately, my tight shoes again causing pain in the arches of my feet. Once I loosened up, so did the pain. Before I run again, I must completely re-lace both my running shoes.

The loop I tried is somewhere in the vicinity of 4.x miles. Since it called for 45 minutes, I opted for the loop, but it fell short of expectations and had to divert a couple of times to try to add mileage. A good rule of thumb should be, if it says 45 minutes, find something that has close to 5 miles.

Run 14 – 1/14/21 – Pain – Pain is a good motivator to do nothing. When I started this training I had just bought a pair of Brooks GTS 21’s that seemed to be fitting the bill rather well. Upon starting the training I pondered the idea of getting a second pair so that I can alternate between two pairs of shoes. Great idea right. I rapidly decided GTS 21’s are very comfy let me get a second pair! This will be perfect! I go and buy the same shoes in a different color. At first, I avoided long runs with them since I needed to break them in before I put them through the torture. After 3 or 4 runs, I decide to up the mileage on the shoes fast so that I can simply alternate between the two shoes. So I went gung-ho on the new shoes and wore them religious. Then! PAIN! I had felt the pain in arch before, the slight discomfort, but figured they would just get settled in. Last week after my Friday run, I really felt it. After the long run even more. I told myself is the way I am tightening them. I spoke about re-lacing, that this was helping. Yet, the pain was still there.

On this run, I ran with discomfort and/or pain the entire time. To the point were, when I finished, I could not put my weight on the foot. Mind you today had strides of 1 minute at 5k pace with 90 seconds of rest. Somehow, I did that without crying or stopping. Yet, when I was done and cooled down. I realized I had made a mistake of gigantic proportions.

I am taking a couple of days off, no training! Stay off my feet. The act of walking hurts the arch on my right foot. I called the company I use to buy the sneakers and started a return process. Now, I am thinking about using other sneaker brands to supplement. Instead of the same exact sneakers. I opted not to decide right away and will await a week to decide. For now, I just hope I can quickly run without that pain.

It makes no sense though, same brand, same model, same size. Yet different feeling!

Run 15 – 1/8/21 – Skipped – Skipped, letting the arch on my right foot heal. The pain after my last run persevered and after talking to my coach I avoided all working out for a couple of days to make sure I could do my long run.

Run 16 – 1/9/21 – Pain but… – After my Run 14 I needed a break due to the pain on my right arch. I returned the shoes that caused the pain, and today when I put on the exact same shoes but in a different color. I knew that things would be alright the moment I put them on. After two days of icing my foot, all I had left was a dull faint discomfort and these shoes were not pressing anything.

I did a reverse route similar to a recent long run, starting on the Bronx River Trail and then coming up California Road. The hills to get to California Road were murderous, but I did not seem to slow down much as I tackled them. By around mile 6 I started feeling a small throb on my right arch. To the point were I felt at times that I was changing my strike. I had to mentally try to correct it, knowing if I continued to modify I would wind up hurting something else. When I did not modify, I definitely did feel the arch. I felt it but it did not hurt. It was like someone pushing in with their thumb hard. Whereas Wednesday when I felt it. It felt like someone was pushing in with a knife hard. Big difference.

I have decided to change shoes. After speaking to my coach and a friend, I will try a three shoe approach. I will eventually purchase a pair of Asics GT2000 and a pair of New Balance 860’s. Let’s see how that ball rolls. I will continue to ice my arch.

Week 3 – Road to Carmel Marathon

Total Mileage – 26.82

Run 9 – 12-28-20 – Today was an easy run with strides at the end. I had never done strides before I started training with Javier and Xplora. The idea is that you do a 5k pace for 30 sec, followed by a trot. In this case to the end the run.

I started with a slight dull ache in the inside section of my left knee. That never really went away. I will blame it on me wearing shorts in 35 degree weather and never warming up. My body though felt real heavy. It’s amazing how Saturday, my natural easy pace came out as a 9:09 pace and today, I barely broke 10! But my legs felt like two lead weights holding me down. As I ran, I really wondered, how in the world I would be able to do strides at the end. How when my body felt so bogged down would I be able to speed up to sub 5k pace.

The body is an amazing thing though, because I was able to push and in that push also went the dull knee ache like it was never there. Oddly that first 30 second push, I had to slow myself down. Let’s see how the rest of week goes. I’m hiking as well this afternoon. So my legs will be extra mush at the end of the day.

Run 10 – 12/30/20 – 800m 5k Pace X6 – Today was going to be a hard day. 5K pace which is sub 7:10, and repeating that 6 times after having warmed up for nearly 2 miles.

I told myself, just do it in the gym. It forces you to keep the pace. You set the speed on the treadmill and just stay there, don’t dare slow down. When I got to Blink Fitness, there was a line to get in, by the time I parked and walked to the entrance the line had already grown. I said FUCK it, and left. That was a sign. It was about 30 degrees not terribly cold and I had told myself that I would try Van Cortlandt Track. So, I went back home to grab my sweater, hat and gloves and off to the track.

The track turned out to be sort of like packed dirt for like half and asphalt the other half. The packed dirt I am guessing is easier on the knees. Do note though that there were patches of mud that should be avoided so going after some heavy rain or a big thaw is not a good idea. I also had the great idea again of running in shorts. Way too cold for that.

The 2 mile warm up was not bad, but, the pushing to 5k for such extended periods of time HURT. Like the first one was fine, the second a little harder. The third time around, it was a struggle to keep the pace. By the 4th round, I doubted I could keep that pace for the whole 1/2 mile. It was a struggle to push. Like David Goggins says in Can’t Hurt Me, when you feel like you can’t go any further, you’ve only gone 40%. You have another 60% if you push. Well, I pushed, and while I felt like I could not do anything more, like I could not push not an iota more. I still did and I finished! It’s a mind vs body fight. My mind is telling me that I can’t, but my body knows best, it’s not giving me signs of anything. Just pick a point and push to that point! Check, rinse, repeat!

The cool down felt amazing, except it was freezing like literally freezing and my gloved hands hurt from the cold. Yet, I was done! Workouts like that help push you to do better! They push you to know that what you thought impossible before you laced up your shoes is possible and look! You just did it!

Run 11 – 1/1/21 – New Year’s Easy Run – The day started, not quite hungover, but not quite right either. It was a long night waiting to say adieu to 2020. I knew I had to run, so getting up and dusted off was a must. A quick easy pace 50 minutes.

I will say running on no sleep is never fun, the body does not react the same way, with the same preciseness. I opted to stay as close to a 10 minute pace as possible. Ended with 9:44 with a nice loop around the neighborhood. Even better, there were many people out and about, so I was not alone.

It’s always nice to see people running. Not sure why seeing other people run makes me happy but it does!

Nothing specific. A slight dull discomfort in the same place. Left outer knee this time. Last time was inner. I did roll it out the moment I got home and that felt painful yet wonderful. Let’s kick 2021’s butt. I did 695.1 miles in 2020, Let’s break 800 in 2021. Life is nothing but goals and I am planning to do 2 marathons and a Triathlon so, why the fuck not!

Run 12 – 1/2/21 – Long Run 95 Minutes – I think the shoelaces in my new sneakers were too tight. After the last easy run, I got a really bad pain like if I was wearing the wrong shoes. I walked and lived it with for the whole time and the beginning of the run. I had to unlace my shoes and re-lace them, to loosen them up. After almost 10 miles for the long run I can say that it worked.

Today, I ran the first couple of miles with my girlfriend in the city. She was hoping to do 4 miles to my 10, so we started off in west Harlem and ran down to the North Western side of Central Park on 110th Street. I don’t know if you have run Central Park, but the hill on 110th on the west side is the worst hill in the entire Park. A full loop of the park is 6 miles. The Upper loop is like 1.4 miles, but like I said it is the hilliest part of the park. I wound up doing the hill on 110th TWICE. I went into the Park with Martha, did the hell of an upper loop, she exited, and I continued to loop the entirety of the park.

One thing I will say about running in the park, it is never boring. You always have something to see, always have something to distract your mind as you tug away at the miles. The worst thing to do though which I did as I was traversing the southern most part of the park is look at the street signs. The miles don’t pass when you are seeing. 6601 – 6602 – 6300 – 6301- 6302 – 6400. DON’T DO that. Instead, let your eyes wonder. Do some people watching, do some scenery gazing. As you are running south on the west side of the park, partake of the skyline over the park. It’s a sight to see, how a metropolis and such a huge park coexist. As you head north on the east side of the park try not to think of the end. Try not to think I just have to get to 110th, that’s how you start looking at street signs. NYRR has a training series that does 12 and 18 miles in the park in preparation for the Marathon. The 12 mile run is 2 loops and the 18 mile is 3 loops. So, yesterday I just told myself. It’s just 1 loop, and it’s almost over. Run Roddy Run!

As I exited the park on 110th I had a decision to make. Retrace my steps back to my girlfriends house on the east side of Morning Side Park or take the West side and go for the loop. Sorry, I will choose the loop every time, but the elevation was murder! It was just as high as the highest point in Central Park, with the exception that before getting there you brought it back down to 0 ft before climbing back up. In other words, a terrible idea to end a long run.

I was in pain the whole run. The left knee is starting to be of concern. It’s not pain, but discomfort. Yet, I have been running with discomfort for two years now. It just moves around. I’m really taking advantage of my day off today (Sunday) and relishing that this coming week is an easy week consisting of all easy runs ending with a 105 minute long run.

Lastly, I decided that my backup to NYC Marathon being cancelled this fall will be the Savannah Marathon in Georgia on Nov 6 or San Antonio in Dec. A backup plan against COVID.