The Carmel Marathon

Well, it’s done.  After 16 grueling weeks in which my body did not know what to do with the new training regimen provided by Xplora Team, I crossed the finish line and it took me 4:11:50.  As you, my smart reader can clearly see, this is almost 12 minutes short of my goal.  Yet, let’s dissect that a bit.  

A sub 4 hour marathon has become my holy grail.  That thing I aspire to achieve, hopefully soon.  It’s part of the reason I decided to tackle this marathon with a trainer and why moving forward, I will attempt to continue to beat this time even if I think I may need to find a new way to do it.   If you have been reading my blog you know that this is my third marathon.  So far, I have done:

The Marine Corps Marathon – 10/28/18 – 4:50:12

The NYC Marathon Marathon – 11/3/2019 – 4:24:14

The Carmel Marathon – 4/3/21 – 4:11:50

All three have provided differing challenges, but all three, have had me in the same boat when I near mile 20.  For the first Marathon I trained exclusively with my sister.  So, we ran at the same pace and did the same things.  The NYC Marathon was just for me and I trained my heart out but without accountability.  The goal was sub 4, but adrenaline got the better of me at the start and I burned out hard.  

This past weekend for the Carmel Marathon, I had a dedicated plan.  A plan I was sure would work and get me that coveted, to me, sub 4.  Again it did not work! Not because the plan was flawed,  I personally think that it was a great plan that could and should have gotten me the goal.  Yet, as you may already know from reading my posts, foot injuries were a common occurrence during my training and they did not stay away or get any better on Marathon day.  I ran with pain, for the last 2 months of training.  I did not know what running without pain was anymore and the last 5/6 miles of this marathon brought all that pain to the forefront with force.  To the point I cried multiple times thinking I was not going to be able to finish.  That I would have to be picked up from the side of the road, crying like a baby whose toy has been taken away.

Let’s recap!  

Miles 1 through 13.1.  The marathon as you will see at the end of this was two loops.  The first loop was with the people doing the Half Marathon, and the second loop alone.  The last 2.5 miles of both loops were the same.   I ran hard in my training and it included many many hills.  Elevation gains became the vain of my existence.  When my coach researched the marathon, he told me, this is ok man, the Carmel Marathon will be rather flat.  So, you will be all the stronger for it.  This was an outright LIE.  Not by my coach, but by the elevation picture provided by the Carmel Marathon people.   See! 

What they had on the site up top, what I actually did in the bottom! Elevation was NO JOKE!

I had a plan, so elevation or no, the plan was going on without a hitch the first 13.1. I ran at the indicated paces. I ran a bit TOO fast the first 2 miles, but not by much, in the end though, I still felt like everyone and their mother was passing me by.  Yet I stayed true and those same people that flew by me to start, I eventually gained on with my steady pace.  I kept myself between 8:50 and 9:00 the entirety of those 13.1.  I think it did help that I ran with a gaggle of people the whole time and even though I think I ignore all around me.  The people, not the spectators those were not present.  But the other racers, help immensely.  

Miles 13.1  – 19

I stayed sort of fine. One mile would be sub 9, the other slightly above 9. But always still within the range indicated by my coach. It worked very well for me. Then, pain!!! and the wheels came off. It started as just not being able to tune it out any more and conforming my stride to try and avoid it.

Miles 19 – Finish

By mile 23, I had tears in my eyes at time and any slight hill or anything that could cause further discomfort took me down.  That could be a hard turn, or a U turn of which there were a few.  The last 2.5 miles or so where exactly the same route I had already run to finish the first half and that does no good to an already jaded psyche.  I committed myself to no more walking at Mile 23, but quickly broke that when a massive hill showed up right before mile 24.  Then again when we were about to exit the Monon trail for the last half mile.  It was a straight right turn and I walked it! A nice girl, yell at me as she passed me by.  We are almost there!  I knew that of course, but hearing that allowed me to finish running and pushing myself all so slightly at the end.  

Even before crossing the finish line.  1. I knew I had PR’ed even if I did not hit my goal.  2. I knew the constant pain would stop or at least the stabbing would stop.  3. I cried, and was at one part overjoyed to end it, and another part of me was happy to have finished against what just 30/40 minutes earlier seemed like insurmountable odds.  

The best part is that I did not finish telling myself never again like the NYC Marathon.  I need to break 4hrs, and I need to continue to run.  I just think I need to figure out other ways to do it.  I think a start is to check out Galloway’s book on the run/walk method.  We will see, until the next race! I see you NYC Marathon!

The Carmel Marathon!

Week 14

Total Miles – 30.8 Miles
Runs 53-56

Well, I though this was the week that tapering started, but as you can see I still ran 30+ miles. I asked my coach and he said this coming week. So, first week of tapering coming up, and final week of training per se. So, in theory I am trained and ready to go! Now, it’s just finishing strong, and making sure the easy, low key runs, have value.

Run 53 was super hard. After having run 19 miles on Saturday, my body was not yet ready to put in 60 minutes of running. Yet, you go out there and do it, even if its super slow and you doubt that you will be able to do Marathon pace in a couple of days, because your body hurts so much right now! Yet, unbeknownst to me, there were strides at the end of this work out at a 7 min pace. The first one took me off guard, I did not check, I just knew I had 60 minutes and the strides came as a shock. Yet, I was able to do it.

Run 54 – marathon pace 4X for 1.25 Miles each. Plus all the accoutrements that come with it turned this into a 7.5 mile mid week beast of a run. I keep being reminded that I am already trained and when it comes time to push. You push! Somehow, I am able to keep that pace and it almost feels natural and easy.

Run 55 – ran without pain! What kind of strange phenomenon is this? How do you run without pain, I have not felt that in forever! A quick 50 minutes and I’m not sure as to why. I felt no pain anywhere. I have been leveraging the Bronx River trail all week and boy did I miss the simplicity of running a familiar route. Where you know when you have to turn around, no maps, no planning. Just run!

Run 56 – What the hell happened! I ran without pain yesterday., yet today! It’s like someone hit me with a hammer in both my ankles. I’m doing a modified route I have never done, Martha and I are running almost the same distance, 11 miles for her and 12 miles or so for me.

I ran a quick warm up mile and picked Martha up right in front of the house. We ran down my block and into the heart of Mount Vernon proper. Let me preface by stating that I did not plan this route very well, when I created it, it did not seem like it was overly hilly. Boy was that a mistake! Right at the start it was massive hills just to get into Mount Vernon proper, then massive hills as you traversed it and came into the Bronx at the end 233rd reaching Baychester. We got to see a whole bunch of car repair places, next to strip clubs, next to McD’s. This part of the Bronx really does not speak to it’s better parts.

Yet, we traversed it with no issues and finally reached COOP City, where we finally got into Pelham Park. The trails here are great and almost always near empty. It’s truly a joy to partake in the up and down of the hills, with a golf course to the left and the sound to the right. I will have to come back and just run this area in the future. Back to the running, by mile 7, while I was still keeping a 9 minute or so pace, I was dying. The hills had my number, my ankles had my number and it was all a desire to finish and be done. We exit Pelham Park trail system in New Rochelle. The fancy parts of New Rochelle with the mansions, only to leave it behind rather quickly as we once again enter Mount Vernon! The last 2/3 miles were ALL UP HILL. I repeat the last 2/3 miles were ALL UP HILL. I was suppose to do 2 hours, but pulled the plug 7 minutes shy at 12 Miles.

This coming week will be better and the end is in site. 2 weeks until the marathon!

Look at that elevation at the end!
The best parts, are the ones along Pelham Park!

Week 13 and the missing 12!

I did not post last week. I wrote it up and then for some reason could not finish writing. The last couple of weeks have been a struggle. I have this pain in both my legs in the ankle region. I think it’s my Achilles tendon. I think, its overuse. I think I am using the word “think” way too much and should just see a doctor. Yet, I think that rest and relaxation will fix it. How do I know? I recently took a trip to Mexico and after a couple of days of rest felt almost back to normal.

So let’s recap Week 2. I ran a total of 28.8 miles (Runs 45-48) in a shortened week in which I missed my first run, Mexico was not conducive to me running. The new normal at least until race day, will be 2 easy runs per week, Monday and Friday. Wednesdays are race pace days where I run at race pace for X amount of time. The first happened in Week 12 which was almost 7 miles at race pace. Straight, with no breaks, after a week in the Caribbean that consisted of eating and drinking way too much. Week 12 was capped with a redo of my longest run, 160 minutes (2hrs 40min) or 16.64 miles. This time around, I parked my car in the Coop city part of the Bronx, right next to Pelham Park and ran home, all uphill I might add, to pick up Martha. We then proceeded to run back to the car by doing a massive loop around. I was dead at the end, and the aforementioned :injury: yelled at me.

So, Week 13 aka the hardest week, aka the longest week, aka almost there week, aka aka aka. I ran a total of 39.5 miles (Runs 49-52).

Run 49 was an easy run that did not feel easy. My body was still yelling at me from the weekend. The torturous 160 minutes still weighed heavy. Yet I still managed to do, a respectable to me 9:45 pace and 7.2 miles.

Run 50 was marathon pace day. After a .62 mile warm up. I proceeded to do 1.25 Miles race pace with .25 mile rest at easy pace, 5 times. This takes a toll, because mentally it plays with your mind. Even though I was able to do 6+ miles straight last week, my body is not right. It’s throwing a revolt against it all. So I doubted being able to do, what I knew I could. Yet, I did it!

As I mentioned earlier I will be doing this specific brand of mid week workout until the end. Progressively going down. First it was a full 6+ miles non stop, then 5 sets, this week it’s 4 sets and so forth until Marathon day.

Run 51 – Quick 45. Everything hurts and I have my longest run of the training for number 52. Just getting through this, is the goal. No more, no less. Just one foot in front of the other. Let the body go through its paces. It did not bode well for my confidence that it was such a struggle!

Run 52 – 3 hours! Running is a solitary sport. I enjoy just hitting the pavement. Whether I am in pain or not, whether I feel good or not. You take to the road and let it all wave through you. In the end, the body knows when it can’t go anymore. I have hit those walls, and I have stopped. My body is fine, and it will make it through the final 3 weeks of training and run the marathon. I just need to get past this 3hr run. Today, company made all the difference. While I run with Martha, we barely speak if any, it’s just the act of having someone there, to push you, to animate you in these long long runs. It Helps! It’s the same with the race. You are alone, yet not alone. I remember when I ran the Marine Corps with my sister. We ran together the entire way, and she would be basking in the crowd, in the regalia of the event. I would just pinpoint and focus on someone, something and just run. The crowd and regalia were all secondary and tertiary characters.

I started with a quick known loop around the house to clock in 5 miles. Martha, needs to do 13 for her Half Marathon training. The idea being, one quick 5 mile loop, followed by one even longer 14 mile loop! At mile 4 I called Martha to bring 2 Tylenol to our rendezvous. Everything hurt, but of more note, my ankle area on both feet. I say area because it is not really the ankles but the general area. I popped the two Tylenol and headed out, knowing I had anywhere from 13 to 14 miles remaining, depending on the pace. Up until this point it was close to a 10 minute pace, and it took me a good quarter mile to start running again in somewhat decent form again. This was all in range of what I was suppose to do, but not optimal.

We ran to the start of the Bronx River trail and ran it to the end in Scarsdale, then looped around and up some massive hills to get to Rt 22 Post Road. We took this and its massive hills to California Road which we followed all the way to Devonia Road and back to my town of Fleetwood. In the process we traversed Bronxville, Tuckahoe, Crestwood, EastChester, Scarsdale and New Rochelle. The biggest takeaway here is that instead of continuing at that 10minute pace, I increased it continuously. First to 9:30something, then 9:20something. In the end, my final miles were done at a very presentable 9:00something pace. I can honestly say it was all in the good company. It was a confidence boost that with so much pain, and everything apparently on top of me. I was able to finish the 3 hours and finish strong enough where I thought I could keep going if needed. 3 hours prior, I doubted it all, and somehow finished strong!

Week 11

Total Miles – 29.24

Runs 41-44

This is a shortened week. It’s Thursday morning as I start the process of writing about the week. Runs 41-43 were done in quick succession. I’m fitting my 7 day week into 5 days, since I am traveling.

Run 41 – Changed up the loop a bit for a change of pace. Also, looking to decrease the number of hills I have to hit. While on the screen it looked better, on the road IT DID NOT.

Hoka update! I’m setting them aside for the rest of the training and will pick them back up after this is all said and done. The dynamics of the Hoka is too much change for this late in the game. I’m getting random pains I have never gotten and don’t want to exacerbate anything.

Other than that, I struggle to find purchase to run. The snow is suppose to melt soon. I need my trails back, the hills are officially playing with my head.

Run 42 – Real easy 40 minute run. I went with a backward loop. We got more Snow mixed with rain Monday night so the sidewalks were super slippery. I had to stick to the roads the bulk of the time. On the run, Martha called me struggling with her run in Manhattan. So we ran, whilst speaking to each other. It almost felt like we were running together.

Other than running to the edge of New Rochelle and looping back, nothing interesting about this run.

Run 43 – Treadmill bound with a saucy 4X Half Marathon for 1 mile with a .25 mile break. I went to the gym, not because of any snow, but, because running one mile at an 8 minute pace with hills abound is nearly impossible for me.

When I started the run, it was like 15 minutes of easy pace before we got into the good stuff. As the good stuff started, my airpods decided to die. It’s a running occurrence with the AirPods Pro that I go run and they are either dead or close to it. Usually it’s just one of the pods that dies. Sometimes it does not make the click and I am stuck listening to music/podcast/audiobook from one ear. Today, the right ear went and I told myself well that sucks. Then my left ear went a few minutes later. Running at this pace for an extended period of time, in the gym with no distractions, was hell.

The AirPods died about 4 minutes into the first round, all the TV’s were also off, so I needed to rely on faintly listening to the gym’s music which was NOT my jam. I kept looking at the clock that was right in front of me and that seconds hand barely ever moved. The second round, I swore to myself I would wait for whatever terrible song was on to finish before I checked. I am terrible at that! At minute 3 I checked, then again at 3:31, 3:40, 3:52, 3:59. Swore again next song I would hear it completely. Nope never happened. The 4 rounds and their breaks totaled 5 miles, I could have sworn I ran way more and for way longer. Not sure how my wrists did not hurt, that’s how often I wound up looking at my watch.

Run 45 – Long Run – 120 Minutes. Woke up at 5:30AM since I am traveling this weekend, I needed to get my run in super early, then work, then wait for my son to start the festivities of celebrating his 21st Birthday with a trip. 120 minutes is somewhere in between 12 and 13 miles. Today, I decided to go into Mount Vernon and head towards the water on the southern side of New Rochelle, but without touching the Bronx. Touching the Bronx entails taking some trails that I do not know their state of cleanliness.

This was also the first run I did with the ASICS longer than 5-7 miles. They did great. The cushioning really is top notch. Like running on pillows. Unfortunately, after certain mileage, even pillows are uncomfortable. I need to change my long run a bit. I have been returning the same way over and over again, and I feel like it’s becoming too well known to me.

The next two long runs will be the worst of the training so it felt good having done this 12 miler and feeling like I could keep going and going. I can’t put the third “going”, cause the energizer bunny I am not! We are also getting rather close to the end here. I have two more hard weeks before I start tapering off for the Marathon. I can start seeing a faint glimmer at the end of the tunnel.

Week 10

Total Miles – 36.8

Runs 37-40

The week started off wrong.  My Haglund’s deformity had me hurting, so much so, that on Monday morning I called my coach and prepped him for me not running for the foreseeable future.  I called my doctor, whose office was closed.  I called my insurance provider and spoke to a nurse.  I was told, dude, you don’t need a referral.  Find a podiatrist and go!  So I did!  I called around until I found someone that could see me that very day.  He confirmed Haglunds, gave me a treatment plan, showed me what I could do for the plantar on the other foot and sent me home feeling much better!  At least mentally.  Monday was skipped!

Run 37 – A Tuesday run, since my Monday was shot! First time running knowing that I had this condition.  I have had it for a while, first time it affects my running.  Smart man that I am :sarcasm:, this was my first run with the Hoka One One Gaviota 2.  (That was not a typo, that is the actual name of the brand, Hoka One One).  I did the loop I have been doing.  I started the run at an easy pace as indicated.  I also went from side to side on the road.  Crossing the street over and over again to change which foot had the most stress.  If you look at the way roads are built, they are done so in a slope for drainage purposes.  Crossing from side to side, kept the stress equal on both feet.  (Crazy I know)

At around mile 4, I felt Haglund.  I was still over 2 miles from the house.  I dreaded having to stop.  Thankfully it tugged at me a handful of times.  Threatening to bring my run to stop, but never fully doing so.  

Run 38 – Back to the Treadmill.  The snow is killing me! This was for the best I guess, since I had speed.  

The recipe was a 22 minute warmup, 4 rounds of 8 minute pace for a mile with a 2 min jog for rest purposes, capping it off with 10 minutes cool down.  I keep saying that the mind is a powerful thing.  The 22 minute warm up  was normal.  My mind was already making excuses as to why I was not going to be able to run 4 sets of 1 mile at an 8 minute pace.  

Round 1 – Normal, 8 minute pace is 7.5 mph on the treadmill.  Not awful, but for a whole mile, it’s definitely felt.  That’s like 10k pace for me. 

Round 2 – Normal at the beginning.  Towards the end it was a struggle.  I started feeling phantom twitches in my Haglunds.  I started thinking, why I am pushing.  I started thinking about the excuse I would tell my coach.  

Round 3 – I was defeated before I started.  I changed to Hamilton for music.  “Satisfied” got me through this round.  “He will never be satisfied, I will never be satisfied”. The jog for resting lasted 3 minutes this time.  

Round 4 – I had already planned, in those previous 3 minutes to call it quits.  I was going to tell Javier that my foot hurt and I could not keep going.  I then remembered that we agreed I would still finish, just at an easy pace.  So I said FUCK IT.  Just run it!  I started with my favorite Hamilton song, “Wait For It”!  Then I pushed it and finish with “Non-Stop”! 

The cool down, had me with Jefferson getting back from France and the run was done. Thank you Hamilton for getting me through this insane run!

Run 39 – Easy Run and more snow!  Back on the treadmill.   I won’t write much about this, except to say it was my second run with Gaviota 2’s.  It was on the Treadmill.  I did half the run listening to Fake Doctors Real Friends, the second half with Hamilton.  Even then, the run felt interminable.   The max on the treadmills at the gym is 60 minutes.  That is a ploy, not to limit people’s time on the treadmill, but to keep their sanity.  

Run 40 –  Longest long since 2019.  It has been snowing the last two days, so I cannot run in my neighborhood, so hooray for no massive hills.  Again, Martha needs to do 8 miles, so I figured out a way to do it together.  We parked by her house and ran to Central Park.  That’s 1 mile.  A loop around Central Park, that’s 6 miles.  During this loop we stayed together the first mile or so, after that Martha was always ahead of me.  So I spent my time looking at her booty as she headed further and further away, slowing down when she noticed how far back I was, or when she needed water/gels. 

At mile 7, we said goodbye, she had a mile left to get to her house.  I was doing another half loop around Central Park and had 9/10 miles left.  I did not know exactly the route I was going to take.  I just knew that I would head down and exit the park at Columbus Circle (59th and 8th) and zig zag my way over to the west side, to finish the run along the Hudson River.  Since I did not plan any of this, I did not know how far down I should be going.  I figured maybe 42nd Street, yet around 48th, I decided to turn in fears that I would have to walk too much at the end to get to Martha’s house.  Trust your first instincts people!  

My pace dropped after exiting the park.  From a stable 9:15/30 to a 9:50/10:10. I will attribute this to two things.  Running alone and running on the roads.  It’s very different to be in Central Park to constantly having to stop and start in the city.  Also, having someone along you, or in my case in front of you as motivation!

The trek up the West Side was great, it did have one caveat.  I know it too well, so I know exactly how much is left at any given time.  It plays with your head.  I also, did not listen to myself and had to over shoot Martha’s exit and keep going on the west side for a bit to add more time.  This also, plays with your head.  To finish it all up, the massive hills going from the West Side to Amsterdam were my end.  My speed drop to a 12 minute pace going up what felt like Everest to my tired legs and debating mind.  Yet I was able to finish. My Haglund’s deformity is inflamed and I am currently icing it. We will see how it holds up.

I bought another pair of Brooks Adrenaline! These will likely be the shoes I run the Marathon in. We shall see how they feel when they arrive! Bring on Week 11. Almost there people!

Week 9

Total Miles – 33.1

Runs 33-36
It’s actually Wednesday 2 runs into Week 10 as I write about Week 9. I actually pondered not writing since it turned out to be a week of pain, a week of changes, a week of doubting moving forward. Enough preamble, let’s get to it.

Run 33 – I keep doing this new loop that takes me through Bronxville and into Tuckahoe. Depending on the way I do the loop, dictates the hills, there is one massive one! Which I try to take at the end by slowly going up the long way and then jotting down. Taking it at the beginning on the way up, drains you too quickly. This was was a simple easy run, finishing at a tempo pace. The snow is out there and I ran on the road against my better judgement. When it came time to actually do the push, I did so with caution and not a true tempo pace.

Run 34 – More hill training, and again the treadmill was the place to do this run. The snow is still out there and there are no real hills where I could push with abandon. The treadmill also keeps me honest here. It’s a lot harder to slow down the treadmill, doing so takes deliberate action. Whereas, slowing down on the road is simply letting go a bit. The hill parts got pushed back to 6 repetitions, BUT, of 1 minute each. Those extra 20 seconds make a world of a difference.

The rest of the hills workout was what it has been the last couple of weeks. The next day my abs feel this workout more than my legs and it really puts you to the test. Another reason to do it on the treadmill is that I really do not have any areas around here with no hills. It’s all hills! So it’s hard to do the hill/flat hill/flat you can do with the treadmill.

Run 35 – Easy Run – Used to find a route to run with Martha tomorrow. The plan is a double loop for me, where I do the first loop with Martha and then continue for a second whammy, of a tad bit more length.

I did the same loop as Monday, but, in reverse and with slightly modified turns in Tuckahoe to get the extra mileage needed with Martha. That hill you read about in run 33, I hit that one head on like at mile 2. Uff! It takes a pounding! Oddly, I did not slow down at all as I hit the hill. But my heart felt it at the top and eventually had to slow down to settle myself. Good final easy run before my long run!

Run 36 – Hurt Again! Weird medical conditions, and HILLS., OH THE FUCKING HILLS! (Sorry if there are kids reading this). BUT FUCK THEM HILLS. The first part was a slightly extended version of Run 35. I added a mile at the beginning extending the loop to 7 miles. I then continued with a loop through Mount Vernon and into New Rochelle of 8 miles. I figured I would end the day with something around 14-15 miles.

The first part was great. It felt just like it did the day before, right at the beginning we hit a huge hill by the college, a product of that extra mile or so I added. At mile 3ish, we hit that big hill again. Midway up, Martha called for a break and my legs and heart happily obliged. The rest was uneventful. Martha was kick-ass getting her miles in. As for me the next 8 miles I hoped would be just as uneventful.

I started off heading from my side of Mount Vernon into the more precarious parts. I wrongly thought I had done the bulk of the hills I was going to do, and BOY, was I mistaken. Right at about the half mile mark of my second loop I hit the mother of all hills and the biggest one of the day. Not only was it steep, but it was LONG! With the road falling to pieces, I think I came to an almost complete stop.

After, I picked up the pace again, until I reached New Rochelle, where the hills welcomed me yet again! Also… the cars as I traversed Mt Vernon were not runner friendly. In Bronxville and Tuckahoe, you get a wide berth, in Mount Vernon the proper city, it’s playing Frogger, and they pretend you are not even there. Add to that the complexity of the snow and ice, and it made for a stressful run. I can honestly say I am NOT a fan!

I wound up doing a little over 14 miles, but I paid the price. My body was shot and my right heal was screaming at me. It was screaming bloody murder!

Turns out, and I went to a podiatrist on Monday to confirm this, that I have a condition called Haglund’s Deformity or “pump bump” because it was common in woman that wore very high pumps. It’s a bony bump that appears on the back of the heal. Because it protrudes, certain activities, like the long run, can cause it to inflame and cause dramatic pain. The podiatrist hooked it up, and gave me some anecdotes to deal with it. I feared this had ended my Marathon hopes, but, in the end it will just make me stronger. After deeper conversation with the podiatrist, wearing my Duck Boots unlaced, which i was doing a lot off lately was a likely cause of both this episode and my plantar fasciitis on the right foot.

For now, I’m icing my bump, and getting some orthopedic soles. For the plantar on the right I am also taping it up to remove pressure.

On an equipment update, I have returned the New Balance. I also got a pair of Hoka’s . Their best stability shoe is the Gaviota and I scored last year’s model on discount from REÍ. Once I get my credit for the NB’s I will get a second pair of Brooks. The Hoka’s I got mainly because of Carlos the Runner. If you don’t know who he is, please please please, click on the name and head over to his Instagram. Really takes a fun approach to running and is a Hoka Ambassador. I will do better next week, with posting this a little more timely.

Week 8

Total Miles – 27.7

Runs 29 – 32: The start of weekly writing vs after every run.  I just recently finished my long run of what was suppose to be an easy week turned difficult by Mother Nature.  We got a massive snow storm that dumped 21 inches of snow on my small town.  If that sounds like a lot it’s because it is. 

Run 29 – This was an easy 50 minute run that was suppose to happen on Monday but was shifted to Tuesday since, we got dumped on Monday with those 21” I just mentioned.  I wound up having to wait until late in the day to run.  The gym did not open until noon on Tuesday due to the snow and I could not go right at noon because to add complication to the week, Tuesday was also the start of an internal conference at my company. I wound up finally going out around 6pm.  50 minutes on the treadmill is no easy feat.  It’s suppose to be, but no, it’s not.  To top it all off, I wore the New Balance which are not fitting as well as I had hoped.  I experience quite a bit of discomfort on my ailing arch, but nothing overly concerning.   I figured the new book I started listening to would distract, yet it did not.  I spent the 50 minutes, changing speeds and elevation to entertain myself.  

Run 30 – Hills, but on the treadmill again.   Last week I almost died with 6 rounds at an elevation of 8 and a pace of 7:47.  This week I had 8 rounds at the same pace.  The rest of the workout being identical.  The same 25 minute warmup, followed by sprints, then hills, then 10 minutes at an 8:00 minute pace and finally a cool down.  

One thing I can honestly say is that, it has become a standard that I start doubtful of being able to complete the training, then, being able to do it.  It’s true that running is a complete mind game, it’s getting past the barriers we ourselves create.  Last week I barely finished the 6th one, today, I got all the way to the 8th with no ill effects.  This week the hardest part was the 10 minutes at 8 minute pace. The treadmill making it all interminable.  

Run 31 – Taking to the roads! 21 inches of snow do not disappear in days.  We have more snow incoming tomorrow Sunday.  So today, I laced up the New Balance and hit the road.  A brand new loop avoiding trails that are not usually cleaned, preferring just streets.  Even the streets, I needed to avoid sidewalks since those are also not all necessarily cleaned.  So edge of the road.  I created the path using the most desolate roads I could find and while the hills were murderous, it made for a very interesting loop.  The New Balance started off weird, but by the end, they were fine.  I tightened them up similar to the brooks and that made some of the difference I think. 

Run 32 – Short Long Run ending on a speedier end.  60 minutes at easy pace, 25 minutes at Marathon pace, or I think that is Marathon pace ending with 10 minutes at Half Marathon pace.  To top it all off, since I don’t feel safe pushing on the road, we woke up with a lot of black ice on the roads, I headed to old reliable, Central Park.  

I started  the run with my girlfriend who needed to do 5 miles.  She’s training to do a half, while I am training for the Marathon.  We stuck to the bottom loop avoiding the massive hill at 110th.  The first loop was uneventful, Martha took off and even though I continued to tell her to slow down, I spent the whole 5 miles looking at her booty from afar.  After she exited the path at 100th on the West Side.  I continued, 10 more minutes at an easy pace, followed by those 25 at sub 9.  That sub 9, was fine, until I reached Cats hill on 72 in the East Side.  That could be the worst hill, it definitely was today.  I was coasting at about an 8:40 pace, and keeping that up that hill was nye impossible.  I think I did, but only because I was able to speed up after.  

The hardest part, was speeding up to 8:00 pace for the last 10 minutes.  My body was not into it, yet somehow all of a sudden I‘m struggling to slow down to that pace.  I took off too quick and started in the mid 7’s.  By the time I controlled myself to an 8 pace.  My body was done and I started to slow down with 3/4 minutes remaining, not because I could not keep the pace, but because I exited the park. 

With snow tomorrow, I have more treadmills in my future next week.  Training for a Spring marathon in NY, sucks!… ENOUGH said for this week.  See ya’ll next week!

Week 7

Total Miles – 33.1

Run 25 – 1/25/21 – Treadmill Return of the Pain – It was frigidly cold today and I decided to not risk further exposure to Mother Nature and headed to the gym for my easy 60 minute run . I also needed to check what the treadmills at the gym had as max inclination just in case the snow on Tuesday actually falls and I need to do my hill repeats on the treadmill.

First of all, I hate running with a mask, once you start sweating up a storm, even the Under Armour one I purchased gets so soaked, it is hard to breath. You are pulling in your own sweat, it’s disgusting! I hate running on the treadmill and then running on it with a mask. Yet, you must adhere.

Before I even laced up my shoes today, I iced my ailing right arch, because it was tender and it just plain HURT. So when I started my slow trot on the treadmill I knew what was coming before it started. It began as a small discomfort, that ended up turning into slight constant pain with every strike. Not enough to change my strike or to slow me down, but enough for me to notice and be mentally affected. To the point where I have to think, what will my hill repeats be like. This is not the shoe, since unlike the original shoe that started this, I don’t feel the stab.

I told my coach and he wants me to see a doctor, which I will. I made the appointment for Thursday. We will see what he says. I will not stop running in the meantime.

The run on the treadmill was what it always is, interminable. It never ends. Even with a good book in my ear. It never ENDS.

Run 26 Hills – Run 27 Easy – Run 28 Longest Run in a Year – I will be honest and say I did not write at all, all week. Except for Monday’s run. This is a recap of the week. Starting with:

Wednesday Hills #26 – I could not run on the road, so I had to take my hills to the treadmill. Part of the reason for running Monday’s run, other than the cold, in the gym was to see how high I could set the treadmill, 15. So hills consisted of 40 second sprints 6 times. Before that, 4 30 second sprints on flat ground to get loose and then capping it all off, with 10 minutes of Half Marathon pace. Sandwich that in between a 25 minute warm up and a 10 minute cool down and it was a hell of a workout. Not treadmill fun! Yet, went rather quick except for the bookends, because of all the changing up of paces.

I went back to wearing the Brooks for this run, to see if I could abate the pain in my arches and that worked. For some reason the Brooks don’t cause the same pain as everything else. I have the new New Balance ready to go for the next easy run. Anyway, the hills were murderous. Running so fast, at a 7:47 pace for 40 seconds with an incline of 8 was not easy. Doable, but no easy. By the 5th go around, I feared not staying on pace but pushed on. On the 6th run, I honestly felt myself slipping but pushed on and somehow sped up enough to stay on the treadmill and not show up in someone’s YouTube video falling off the treadmill like an idiot. The one thing the treadmill does do, is force you to keep that pace. The act of changing speeds or elevation is the act of giving up, and it is much harder to do when you have to press a button to do it.

After the hills came 20 minutes of interminable treadmill hell. The 10 minutes at half marathon pace never ended. After the fast pace of the changes between the sprints and the hills, staying at that pace for 10 minutes was both hard and monotonous at the same time. Follow that up by 10 minutes at easy pace and the last 20 minutes felt 10 times longer than the first 40.

Friday #27 – Easy Run on new shoes. They feel utterly different to the Asics and Brooks, and they hug my feet in such a way to say I got you. Yet, the toe box felt wide and loose. I feared that I would be in pain quick with these shoes, since I felt them on my right foot. Yet, I just felt them and nothing else. While I did feel a tinge of pain a couple of times it never remained. I was able to put on dress shoes after and nothing of note happened. I did my usual home loop for 55 minutes and nothing eventful, except the lack of pain but definitely some pressure.

The doctor on Thursday advice me that I would not do any real further damage, it would just take that much longer to heal. So, we push on!

Saturday #28 – Long Run, actually my longest run in a year when I was training for the canceled NJ Marathon. Again, I relied on the Brooks since pain and Brooks are not synonymous. I create a 15 mile loop, hoping that 15 would be enough to cover the 2hrs and 20 minutes I needed. I went from Mount Vernon, to The Bronx and Baychester Ave. I took this all the way past Co-op city and into Pelham Park. Did you know that Pelham Park is actually the biggest park in the city. The running trails in and around it are hilly and well paved. It was really a joy to run them. From there, I cut back up to New Rochelle and then back to Mount Vernon. Quite the loop!

Here’s the issue with that loop though. The last 3 miles were all up hill. It did not matter that it was a balmy 20 degrees outside. I sweated through the cold and my energy was completely depleted with the hills. My pace went from a steady 9:30 give or take. To a 10:1X. I felt it as I slowed. I felt it as the hills took a number on me. I thankfully did not lose the fight and other than stopping for lights. I never stopped because I could no longer go.

Next week is suppose to be an easy week, that will be made difficult by the Nor’Easter that is incoming on Monday which will make all my runs be done at the gym with the exception of maybe Saturday, which I will do in Central Park.

Week 6

Total Miles. 27.26

Run 21 – 1/19/21 – Almost Skipped – Still being in Puerto Rico, I messaged my coach to let him know that I would not be doing the run on Monday, the heat and the excesses in food and alcohol were not conducive to running 60 minutes that day. He said he needed me to run. That missing the run would not be good for my training. So, I should attempt at least 30-45 minutes at an easy pace. My girlfriend, said I will do it with you. So we did a quick out and back on the same trail I did my long run, but avoiding the actual roads. It was a refreshing and much needed stretch out.

This is one of the things the coaching is shining in. Keeping me accountable of the things I am suppose to do.

Run 22 – 1/20/21 – Tempo + Stride – Oh my god, what a few days of excessive drinking and eating does to training is scary. This was my first run after my trip and it was so difficult. The plan was extensive. 25 minute warm up, some sprints to further warm up, followed by 2×10 minutes at Half Marathon pace with some cool downs.

Everything went well until the second of the 2 Half Marathon pace. Towards the end of the first push, I felt the wheels falling off the vehicle. But I kept pushing, I persisted. Halfway through the second one though, I could not push any further. I paused the watch and came to a stop. The plan was to just grab a breather and then kick it off again. But I could not take off again, hitting pause on the watch was pausing myself. I lost the mental war right there and then. Allowing my brain to dictate me pausing and my body followed suit. I wound up skipping the remainder of the Half Marathon pace and finishing the rest of the cool downs.

Stopping cannot be an option. Stopping is letting the mind take ownership of the process. I think I did well taking into account the circumstances. The abuse I put my body through over the last week. I have one more getaway that will interrupt, I hope it’s not as jarring as this one. We shall see.

Shoes update. This was my second run with the ASICS and they are still good. I also just ordered the New Balance and they have shipped. Looking forward to three different shoes at once and continued easing of my arches.

Run 23 – 1/22/21 – Easy New Route – I figured let’s start changing things up in my neighborhood. Doing the same route over and over again gets monotonous and does not really inspire. I struggled the last run due to the trip so a change of scenery does you good. I headed as if I was going to New Rochelle, and when I got to the edge of it, I took New Rochelle Road to head into Bronxville. This was a HUGE and I do mean HUGE hill. Not only did the hill never seem to end, but there was no where to really run. When this happens I like to run against traffic to see the cars as they come towards me. Mental note, you cannot do this at dusk or dawn.

It was a 50 minute run that turned out to be about 5.4 miles. I finished and touched some common grounds but the first 2/3’s of the loop were new. I think I will continue to experiment with heading in different directions to try and change it up.

Run 24 – 1/23/21 – Long Run / Fast Finish – It was cold today, oh so cold today. I have been running with a great bladder my mother recommended. It’s easy to carry on your back and has pockets not only for my gels, but also, my phone and other sundries. My water kept freezing!

This is when I start treating my long runs as race days. I do all the same things that I would do on race day. Wake up the same, do the same morning routine, try to eat the same things the night before and so forth. Add to that, running with my water bladder full to the brim. The plan is to only stop for Gatorade on race day. Never for water. I’m also having a nice oatmeal in the morning an hour or so before run time along with a large cup of coffee. I did all this today. Took my GU Energy Gel before the start and headed out. The moment that wintry chill hit my face, I regretted being out on the road. But, I gritted my teeth and continued to walk my .25 miles before starting my run.

I had a plan, I created a route. Yet, it was so cold and my haste was so present, that I forgot to set the route. I noticed about a 1/2 mile in, where I paused and checked to see if I could add the route to the present run. I could not, so I just kept going, running calculations in my head of what I would need to do to fit 12/13 miles. The decision was simple do an out and back up the Bronx River trail. The issue with that is that I know the trail so well that it becomes a burden. I know exactly how much time is left at any given time and my mind will play tricks on me. Add to that, that it is also and up and down affair the entire way. There are almost no sections where you can run without it been simply rolling hills.

Like I started earlier, on top of it, I could drink little water, as it kept freezing. Over and over again I had to play with the hose to break up the ice and be able to drink. Add to that, that apparently I am still NOT healed from the arch and the cold apparently made me feel it more and it was not a fun run.

Lastly, I had to end the run in a fast finish, and that fast finish started, you guessed it, on a freaking HILL. The idea is that after running 110 minutes, you hit the accelerator and push to a Half Marathon pace for the final 10 minutes. I will admit that I could not do it. I was able to push to about 8:25/8:30 pace. With your legs being jello, and being dehydrated from a lack of water, because it kept freezing. It was a hard end. Yet, I finished. With discomfort in my arches and a tickle in my throat from the lack of water and the frigid air. But it was done! Here’s to hoping next week it’s just a tad bit warmer as I tackle, 2hrs20min.

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.