My sneakers had a 605 mile life. Rest in peace my friends, we’ve been through so much since January. The concrete roads, the rainy days, the dirt gravel and mud, the joys, the fails, the good times and bad. This post is dedicated to you.
Marathon is becoming my second job but instead of getting paid for it, I pay for it. With almost 2 months left until judgement day (NYC marathon), the Saturday long runs are slowly approaching 20 milers. According to my calculations, there is approximately 300 training miles left so each one has to count. Last week was a good week:
Monday: 7.21 miles @ 9:11 min/mile pace. A rather steady pace and confident mental state during this one.
Wednesday: 7.11 miles @ 8:56 min/mile pace. Unbelievable, running below 9 min/mile like its nothing. Aaoooo, the lone wolf strikes again!
Thursday: 5:48 miles @ 9:45 min/mile pace. Eh, this is the recovery run, and I may have used up the engine a bit much on Wednesday. The session would’ve ended sooner if it wasn’t for a sunset which I couldn’t resist.
Saturday: 19+ miles @ approx 10:30 min/mile pace via the 3 Central Park loops. What can go wrong will go wrong. The TFK group was meeting up at 7am at “the spot” (there are 2 spots). I was already 5 minutes late so I just ran from the 77th street station on the East side to 81st street on the West side. Just my luck, I confused the meet up spots. The other meetup spot is on 62nd street. With my backpack, I continued to run to the other spot. I managed to join with the group right before they began the 18 mile journey but I was already a sweaty mess with 2 miles down. Today is a 18 miler but 20 for Jon, lovely.
Mile 1-6 (Loop 1): Too many miles to run with the wolf pack today, so I decide to run with the intermediate group. I eventually end up alone somehow; the lone wolf. It takes at least a minute of waiting on line to drink water at the water fountains due to the 1000s of runners outside. Trust me, with the 80% humidity, I don’t mind taking these breaks. Anyway, the first 10K was a good warm-up.
Mile 7-12 (Loop 2): Somehow, this loop goes by a bit faster than the first. I quickly started to feel fatigue toward the last 2 miles.
Mile 13-18 (loop 3): I’m really feeling it by now. This is when the legs feel heavy and stiff like metal so my feet tend to drag on the ground occasionally. Trees, runners, trees, runners, its like the twilight zone. Time becomes slower after 2 hours of running. What seems like a mile may have been just a quarter of a mile. Every change in scenery teases the mind into believing that its the end point but it’s not. More reasons to stop running start to creep in; “take a shortcut, who cares”, “take a break Jon”, “nobody is looking, stop and take a breather”, “you’ve done enough already, time to just stop”, “it’s not the real race, this doesn’t matter”, “you already ran enough, time to stop”. Its like I’m going crazy in my mind but yet the legs still run. Long story short, this was a tough one, but it was a success. A full marathon would have required just a 10K more.
Mental training tends to occur after 2 hours of running, when most of the glycogen is depleted. This is when your thoughts yell louder than your music from your earphones. This is when the wall follows you around but you have to ignore it. You have to convince your mind that there is no wall.