My Running and Living Adventures in Northern Manhattan.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
14 miles with 15 days to go
It seems like just a few weeks ago I was just getting into the groove of marathon training and now here I am 2 weeks away. After a few weeks of a training slump caused by traveling, a cold and general fatigues I finally snapped into training mode and felt revived. I think it had something to do with starting Physical therapy for my knee and low back and finally giving those the attention they need. Luckily PT is kicking my butt and really strengthening my stabilizing muscles in my hips/glutes that are oh-so-important to running. I can definitely feel a difference in my everyday life as well as my running, I'm stronger and not relying on my quads to pull me through. This is definitely a learning experience in the ways that my body compensates for weakness and lack of stability during running. *mental note: never let this happen again.*
So Saturday was my triumphant return to the Inwood Hill group for our weekly Saturday runs. I can't remember my last Sat IHR group run so I decided that it was time to fix that. With a goal of 13-15miles for my final long run I knew I'd need to tack on a few extra miles before and after the run so I started a little early and made a few extra loops through the quiet early morning Inwood streets. It was fun to explore areas that are always way too busy to run at regular times of the day. I met the group around 9 and the 3 of us (small but triumphant return) headed up towards the Broadway bridge that leads to 225th St. Since the 1 train isn't running to the Bronx on the weekends (due to a 2 year project that just began) we had to alter the usual Riverdale route to include a turnaround. The nice thing about the Riverdale route is that it contains some great trail running and we doubled our trails by turning around and running back that way.
The most exciting part of the run was my inaugural run across the newly renovated Henry Hudson bridge pedestrian pathway back to Manhattan! We had a chilly headwind on the bridge, but otherwise the weather was amazing the entire day.
Leaving the group after a solid 7 miles put me at a total of 10miles, yikes 3 or 4 more miles on my own. It is always tough to go from having company to not having anyone by your side. Miles 11 and 12 came and went at a nice pace while watching the football players tackle each other in the dirt at Dyckman Fields (at the northernmost tip of Manhattan). I was feeling good until I hit the Staff St hill when I began to feel hungry and sort of shaky. I couldn't be hungry, I had been fueling like crazy with GU chomps (new watermelon flavor) and a Honey Stinger PB&whey bar all along the way. Damn it. I ate a few more bites of each and pushed through even though I REALLY didn't feel like it. The mental battle was going strong inside my head and lucky for me the "this is good training for mile 20 in a few weeks, just push" voice won. I hit the end of mile 13 and knew that the only thing standing between me and home was a neverending hill from the river up to Fort Washington Ave. For some reason when I hit the hill I perked up a bit and kept a steady pace for the climb. I passed another runner with ease as she struggled up the hill (she was WAY overdressed) and even snatched a kiss from my hubby who was on his way to get a haircut. I had told myself I'd stop at a specific corner close to home but when I got there I glanced at my watch and saw 13.8 miles, no way was I stopping that close to 14. The bad and good thing about my immediate neighborhood is the serious hills, so in order to hit 14 I zipped by the folks heading out for coffee to the bottom of the hill and then turned and zipped by their surprised faces again to a solid 14.03 miles. Total time 2:16 including a handful of water stops. Avg pace 9:42 which is fine by me considering the difficulty of the course.
I'm completely satisfied with my training at this point and I know I've done all I can do but I'm sure the taper will bring its usual insecurities and anguish in the next few days. I run relatively few miles during marathon training, even my peak weeks are only in the high 30's, maybe mid 40's. I'm not even sure if I hit 50 this training cycle because of my knee. So one thing I can be completely sure of is that I'm not in danger of overtraining.
Someone remind me to come back and read this in a few days when I'm going nuts and doubting everything I've done for the last 4 months: I AM READY.