After completing two marathons in a week, I needed some rest. But I had another race to look forward to: The Brooklyn Half Marathon on May 19th. I took two days off from training before getting back to work, logging miles in the park.
After two full marathons in such a short span, I felt like a half marathon would be the proverbial “walk in the park”. Hindsight being 20-20: boy was I wrong.
My running schedule really took more out of me than I estimated. On top of this, my work schedule was becoming more demanding. I was burning the candle at both ends, and I knew it. However, I was not accepting any excuses. I began logging the miles early in the morning and more hours at work during the long days and evenings. As May 19th approached, I felt a bit knackered – but still functional.
The morning of the Brooklyn Half Marathon arrived with little fanfare. The race began near The Brooklyn Museum, and by mile one we already had conquered the first hill of the course. By mile two: two hills in the record books. Early on in this race, it felt like I was reliving Gettysburg.
By mile 4, we had entered Prospect Park and began to scale yet another long, steady incline. As I made my way up to the crest of the latest and greatest hill, I realized just how important the proper rest was to the training process. I began making mental notes in my head of all of the mistakes I’ve made over the past 3 weeks. The list got longer by the time I exited the park and began waddling down Ocean Boulevard.
As the latter miles of the race passed by and I made my pace toward Coney Island’s boardwalk and the finish line, the list of mistakes I made became too long to keep straight in my head. I knew that I needed to head home and basically perform an internal debrief. So I doubled my efforts, pushed through to the finish, and headed home with a medal around my neck and some serious doubts in my head. This was a half marathon. Half of the distance of my prior two races. My experiences in late April and early May should have made this race feel like a piece of cake. However, I was ill prepared for the physical and mental lapses that I encountered during my waddle through Brooklyn. Some of my mistakes were new. Some were repeat offenders. So what I figured I’d do is list some of the things that I need to work on so that anyone reading can learn from them.
- During both marathons as well as the Brooklyn Half, I went out too fast. ROOKIE MISTAKE that I simply keep making over and over. When you go out too fast, you pay for it later in the race. I know this. However, for some stupid reason, I keep doing this simply because I want to stay with the pack. I worry too much about running the pack’s pace, and not my own. LESSON LEARNED: The pack doesn’t get you to the finish line – you get yourself there. SO – run your own race.
- Schedule rest days….and then ACTUALLY REST! You need to let your legs heal. Recover. Reset for the next workout. Rest is critical. I haven’t given myself enough of a chance to heal, and I’ve been paying for it. ANOTHER ROOKIE MISTAKE. I keep thinking that more work will make me better. I don’t need to work harder – I need to work SMARTER.
- I’m carrying more weight than I need to. I haven’t been good enough with my diet, and that needs to change. My need to work on losing more weight is probably what causes me to ignore rest days. I swear – I simply don’t do the basics well. AT ALL.
- Water. I need to drink more water instead of all of the other crap that I consume. Another basic concept that’s lost on me. Why? Because I’m….well….dense.
- Have a plan. Have a schedule. And then STICK TO IT. I’m baaaaaaad at this. Some days I ignore the 5 miler that I need to get done. Others: I log 12 when the schedule called for 6. What the heck am I thinking?
- Eat properly before long runs. I know – this is basic. And yet…I get an “F” for this one. Smores Pop Tarts are NOT the breakfast of champions. Oy.
The work I had to get done in order to address these issues will take time. Of course it did not help when I got really sick within days of running the Brooklyn Half Marathon.
The chest cold I suffered from lasted for well over three full weeks. I had a very hard time breathing and it resulted in me not being able to run well…or even at all. By the time the weekend of June 9th and 10th came around, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to participate in my sixth scheduled marathon of the year: Lake Placid. I bit the bullet and resigned myself to focusing on the healing process. I’m not good at that…at all.
So here I am, sitting on my couch after running in the park this morning, trying to figure out how to address the latest and greatest issue on my plate: finding a marathon in the month of June. I checked www.marathonguide.com, and I slowly began to conclude that there were no local marathons to sign up for, and all of the open marathons for the month would require last-minute purchases of round trip flights and weekend hotel rates. Oy.
Based on these facts, I made the decision to run two marathons in October (Chicago and Hartford) and two in November (NYC and Philly) to make sure that I run 12 official marathons within the year. This plan covered the concept of running 12 in ’12. Great. Wonderful. But my goal was to run one each calendar month. I need to keep this promise. My running schedule states that the New York Road Runners’ Team for Kids has a long run planned for next Saturday, June 23rd. I really get a thrill out of helping the first time marathoners hit new distances each week – so I don’t want to miss that. So in order to keep my promise and run one each calendar month, I’ll head out early in the morning on Sunday, June 24th and run 26.2 miles around Manhattan. As of this moment, I haven’t figured out my running course – but I’ll post it as soon as I finalize it.
I’ll admit – this does get me nervous. I look at myself and I don’t see someone with the discipline and focus to pull this off without some peer pressure surrounding me. Usually, just when I feel like throwing in the towel, I notice other runners around me – or fans along the sidewalks – or another mile marker just within striking distance – that keeps me going. Running 26.2 solo, however: I won’t have any of these things. So before pressing the “publish” button on this blog entry, I really weighed my decision: don’t attempt this on the 24th, be happy with 2 marathons in October and the two in November – but miss out on the factor of running one each calendar month, OR…get over my nervousness, press the “publish” button on this blog entry, and commit to getting 26.2 done.
Deciding factor: I made a promise to myself, and to a charity that I really believe in – The Dream Team Project. To me – promises are huge. I teach my daughter that keeping your word is something that is key to success in life. Well I talk the talk…now it’s time to waddle the waddle.
If you’d like some information on The Dream Team Project or would like to make a donation to their amazing cause, please stop by the website: www.wdwradio.com/the-dream-team-project I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really believe in what The Dream Team Project stands for. It raises money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, helping to grant the wishes of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Being s former wish-granter for the NYC Chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, I can tell you first-hand just how much of an impact this organization makes in the lives of children. Please consider donating to this worthy cause. Thanks!
…and if you’d like a bit more information on the WDW Radio Running Team, please check out the Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/WDW-Radio-Running-Team/163606410344409
3 thoughts on “Brooklyn? Forgetaboutit. The Basics of Running? I Forgot About Those Too…”
What running a marathon on your own will do is let you run your own pace. That alone is worth the price of admission. You get a feel for it, and can carry that forward to other races. This is nuts from other points of view. Think of the logistics involved. You will need water – lots of it to be carried by YOU. Or hire minions to stand around Manhattan handing you water. Buy a camel water bladder. The coolness on the back is a nice added benefit. The other upside is – you get to plan the route. It can be hill free if you want to.
I often look at you and blink in astonishment. This is another one of those times.