NYC Marathon Training Week #4 – Sunday

Ah, Sunday. Because I did my long run Saturday night, this was a free day. Well, I had to do some cross-training. I biked Leslie Spit in the morning – almost the same path we took for Midsummer Night’s Run race the night before. The Spit is amazing, so pretty and peaceful. All in, I covered about 15km in an hour. I pushed enough to break a sweat but not enough to feel pained. I need to take my Garmin on my bike rides.

In the evening, I went to Kula live music flow with JK. It’s been good getting back into regular classes instead of self-practice. I push myself more. I focus more. I still hate all the church-like elements of it, but I like committing an hour to do something good for me.

NYC Marathon Training Week #4 – Saturday, A Midsummer Night’s Run

photo (13)
The TL;DR read recap: I crushed it.

The longer recap:

A Midsummer Night’s Run was back on the Spit this year, but with a few changes: we ran to Cherry, along the Martin Goodman trail, and then out on the Spit.

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I picked up my race kit around 10am and then went out for breakfast. My stomach wasn’t in love with this idea for the first few hours post-brunch, but it settled down eventually. I spent the rest of the day relaxing and freaking out. I ate again at 2pm (granola, fruit and yogurt) and again at 4:30 (bread, peanut butter and banana).

All day Saturday, it threatened to rain. And for the hour before the race, it did indeed rain. It eventually stopped, though – and then it didn’t rain again for the rest of the night, making it pretty excellent racing conditions. Because of the rain, I didn’t leave the house until 5:15, wanting to stay dry for as long as possible. I arrived at 5:30, stretched, walked around and used the bathroom one final time. Then I headed to the start – where I ran into my pal Ron. The start was CROWDED. Neither of us heard the starting horn. All of a sudden we were off!


I had a hard time jostling for position and getting my pace down, there were so many people and the course was so crowded. It got a little better on Commissioners, but there were a few road dividers that has us squeezed together. I ran as far outside as a I could in order to get closer to the 1:30 bunny, to get ahead of her. I had a race plan, but it all came down to beating the 1:30 bunny. Cherry was the same way – we only had one lane of traffic and it was barely enough. By kilometre 3, I had settled into a pace. There wasn’t any room to move, really, but I felt comfortable and there was enough space to breathe. I checked my watched every few minutes and as long as I saw 5:3X or 5:4X I wasn’t going to worry. 5:2X meant slow down. 5:5X meant speed up. Easy. I took water at the first station, but didn’t stop running. It was too early on the route, and a walking break wasn’t really safe, with the crowds.

Running along the Martin Goodman Trail had its pros and cons. It was so green and lush that it truly felt like running through a forest (“Through the forest I have gone..”) But it was, again, crowded. It was hard to dodge puddles or people taking walking breaks without bumping into another runner. The crowd opened up once we got out of the forest and on Unwin.


I ended up being paced by a woman from about kilometres 3-6. Or I paced her, I couldn’t tell. We ran side by side, silently, for about 15 minutes. I finally lost her at the second water station. I did stop this time, and spent an extra minute taking off my long-sleeved shirt. From here on out, the water stations were 3km apart, so I decided that I’d take my walk breaks then. I still felt good at the turn around, I could feel myself getting tired, but I could sustain the current place.

I like out and backs, because I like looking at all the runners, trying to find people I know and drawing strength from other runners.


At kilometre 10, I got a stitch in my side and my knee started to bug. It wasn’t quite pain, just a twinge cautioning me to slow down. Since this is the knee that gave me grief during the Ottawa marathon, I started to worry. I did slow down a bit. In fact, I took a wee walking break at the 11km mark, just before the final water station. But then the 30km winner was about to pass me, and I was asked to move to the side. He ran by me and I felt like a giant chump. I picked it up – and then saw the 1:25 bunny right ahead of me. She was within reach if I kept my pace. I took water at the last station, walked for a bit to drink it properly, and then decided I was going to pass the 1:25 bunny.

I passed her with 2k left.

I felt like I had it in me to pick it up, but there weren’t any road markers after the 13k marker, so I wasn’t entirely sure where I was. I decided to stick to my current pace and then just sprint to the finish line once we turned the corner. That last stretch lasted forever – it felt so much longer than I ever remember. We finally made it, I sprinted as hard as I could to the mat. My watch said 1:25:01. It felt possible I broke 1:25 with my official time – which was much faster than I expected.

Official time: 1:24:41.

This was my most consistent race, pacing wise, ever. And I PRed by 6 minutes, the last time I ran this race my time was 1:30 and change.

My splits:
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This race was excellent positive reinforcement, reminding me the importance of having realistic goals, a solid racing plan and how important it is to not go out too fast. I’ve really struggled with the mental game during this training cycle, trying to find purpose and positivity in running another marathon. This race was a step in the right direction.

NYC Marathon Training Week #4 – Thursday

The corner where the run began.

In an effort to be efficient, I decided that I would run home from work on Thursday and then run back to work on Friday morning, so I could bring everything I needed in one go and not have to walk to work – I could leave my bike at work overnight.

So that’s what I did. Since I was running home from work, that meant taking a route through the city, and not on a trail without stops. I was secretly glad for this, because I was supposed to do a 6k tempo run and get the last few kms under 5:00. I ended up stopping almost every kilmetre for red lights. I know this isn’t the best thing to be doing, but I was so dead by the end of this run, I don’t think I could have sustained that kind of pace without the breaks.

My splits were:

4:01 –>> DO NOT believe this. I think the downtown towers messed up my Garmin. I’d say this km and the km after it were both closed to 4:30s.
5:42 –>> I was SO DEAD by this km that even thinking about running fast overwhelmed me.

My training has been so speed-based that I’ve actually had very few runs where I just got to run. I miss that. I hate speed work so much.

NYC Marathon Training Week #4 – Wednesday

Everyone loves a cat photo.

Slept in until 7:45, it felt blissful. Got home from work and it had the “it’s going to rain any second” vibe going on. (It never rained.) I felt exhausted, so I opted to take a rest day and catch up on all the household chores I’ve been ignoring. Considering how much action I got during softball, I feel justified in calling that cross-training for the week. Plus I have plans to do yoga on Sunday. It’ll all work out. It always does.

NYC Marathon Training Week #4 – Monday

Reusing photos. I’m getting lazy.

On Monday, I headed to the pool in the morning. I got there early enough that I decided to push myself to do a 45 minute swim instead of my usual 30 minute swim. For the first 35 minutes, I alternated between free and using a kickboard, and for the last 10 alternated between breaststroke and a kickboard. I still need to get more comfortable with breathing when doing free, and I still crane my neck forward too much. But it’s been a loooong time since I swam laps as a workout, so I’ll figure it out. I just need to be patient.



NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Sunday

Sunday is long run day! After sleeping for 12 hours, I felt better, but not amazing. After some mind games (“you can always run in the evening!”) I sucked it up and headed out. I was told to run for 90 minutes, and did the same thing as last week: 15 and 1s, with my running pace between 6:00 and 6:30.

Even though I left at 8:30am, it was too late to beat the heat. It got HOT. I decided to run to the beach, as it was a breezy day and there are lots of fountains along the path there. It was gorgeous at the beach, but the heat really got to me by the end. I ended up going about 1k shorter than I hoped because I was meeting a friend at the Leslieville Farmer’s market at 10:30 and didn’t want to be late.

13k in 1:25:50.

Then I got an ice pop. AMAZING.

I’m always glad to get runs over with. I need to remember that every time I convince myself I can do it later. It’s part of the reason Saturday was a bust. Oh well.

NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Saturday

We went to the park today. This photo is not from that day, but it involves a park! And a dinosaur!

Today wasn’t supposed to be a rest day, but it was. I woke up with a vicious headache. By the time it had settled enough to run, it was the middle of the day – and it was hot, hot, hot. I thought I could maybe run in the evening, but headache returned and I became so exhausted that I went to bed at 7:30. I think the 6am wake-ups this week caught up to me.

This means I miss my tempo run this week. It’ll be the first work-out I miss. I hope it’s not the first of many.



NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Friday

Did the 7:15 morning flow class at Yoga Tree again. I felt tired and sluggish, but my whole body felt better after class. I need to keep reminding myself how much I benefit when I do yoga regularly when I’m training for a race. I know it means compromising something else, like strength training, but I really want to get through this training cycle injury-free. Yoga will help me do that.



NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Thursday

I got up in the morning and double-checked my planned workout. It was AMAZING to see 3-4 800s and not the 4-5 800s I had originally thought.

I ran to Riverdale Track and did my splits. Instead of timing my breaks, I walked a lap around the track. This was probably longer than the breaks I’m supposed to take, but I don’t like fully stopping when I run sprint repeats.

My splits were:


Not too bad.

After work, I plated softball. I went 0-4: fly out, fly out, ground out, ground out. I think I’m ready to go pro.

NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Wednesday

3x1000s were on the schedule today. When I have 1000s, I like to run to Corktown Common, then run km splits on the Don Valley trail. That’s what I did this morning. (Side note: as someone who hates running in the summer, I am so grateful for the cooler weather we’ve been having.)

My splits were:


I have no idea what happened with that first one, it felt a lot faster than 5:33. As for the second two, I wanted to puke the whole time. I’m not used to running that fast, I think my Tuesday rest day really contributed to that.

Tomorrow, 5x800s. My life is so glamorous.

On Instagram, I’ve noticed everyone has fancy photos with their running data on them. I must know more about this. Anyone have a program they particularly like?