Where did Spring go!? I think New York has 2 seasons, winter and summer. During Spring and Fall, one day might be 40 degrees and the next day might be 80 degrees. It messes with my mind. Well, summer approaches. It used to be my favorite as a kid because it meant NO SCHOOL. Now, the summer represents hot and sweaty days. For a guy who doesn’t like the heat much, there’s no choice but to adjust quickly. NYC Marathon training starts in a week. And since we are on the heat subject…
OFF TO THE RACES :
NYRR Wall Street 3-Miler @ Downtown NYC
May 30th, 2013. 6:45PM and 89 degrees. 5,164 finishers.
Results: 8:02 pace, 1172 place, 77% percentile, (C+)
The race was at 6:45PM. A race right after work? Weird. So I left the office with my running clothes and race bib for the first time. NYRR sent out a warning for “heat advisory”. Oh crap. There I was in downtown Manhattan with 5000 others already sweating at the start line with tall buildings blocking any sort of breeze. Its only 3 miles, it’ll be over in no time I thought.
On your mark, GO! What a rush. There’s always those first 5 minutes of the race where you are just happy to finally start running but don’t realize how fast you are going until you start breathing too hard. It was funny at times, many pedestrians here and there trying to get across the street by cutting through the mob. The roads became narrow as we snaked through the city blocks. Running on the sidewalks avoiding pedestrians became the popular thing for some of us.
So I went all out in mile 1 with a 7:20 pace. Mile 2 was a 7:35 pace. I’m on target! But it was too good to be true. With one more mile left, my body felt exhausted all of a sudden, like my energy evaporated in the hot muggy air. I had the dry mouth and was sooo thirsty. Fool, I should’ve stopped at the only water station at mile 2. It was the longest last mile ever. My pace dropped to 9-ish pace. It felt like mile 13 at a half marathon. Mile 3 turned many runners into joggers/walkers.
Motivation: I ran for the water bottles at the end of the race.
Lesson: If temp > 80 degrees, run with water bottle in hand and hydrate every 2 miles.
Just when I thought my shins were getting better, they were once again bothering me. And there was another race scheduled 3 days later. Should I race?
OFF TO THE RACES :
Forest Park 4 Mile Trail Race @ Queens, NY (2 miles from home)
June 2nd, 2013. 10:00AM and 80+ degrees. 312 finishers.
Results: 8:18 pace, 80th place, 74% percentile, (C)
I had an idea. Why not use this race to try out new sneakers. It was another 80 degree day but there were plenty of trees in Forest Park (my local training grounds) to umbrella the sun. I totally didn’t expect this to be a TRAIL RACE (I didn’t read the description carefully). This would be my first. This actually worked out since the experimentation sneakers were the “Merrell Men’s Barefoot Trail Glove”.
I jogged 2 miles to the start line to test out these “barefoot” sneakers. Not bad, these lightweight sneakers feel great and no shin pain so far. The race started and ended on the Forest Park race track. It was a small enough race to finally line up right at the start line for once. On your mark, GO! Running through the woods for 4 miles was different. You can feel every rock and branch with the barefoot sneakers. Much of the race didn’t feel like a race. I imagined myself running with a tribe hunting animals or evading spears while being chased by an enemy tribe. So the goal was to keep up with the pack even if I trip on a few rocks. Oh, and there were hills hills hills (they don’t call it Forest Hills for nothing).
Overall it was a good experience and ended with a power sprint to the finish line. The best part, NO SHIN PAINS after all that. After 2 months of shin splints or whatever was bothering me, resting, icing, switching sneakers, stressing, etc., I finally found THE CURE, minimalist sneakers. With this discovery, I decided to play some handball for 30 minutes and then run home for an 2 extra miles.
Motivation: I ran to test out new sneakers and for the cure.
Lesson: Start training with minimalist sneakers and build calf muscles.
It seems that I’ve been racing more than training; totally backwards. This is what happens when you register for a bunch of races and get shin splints that never go away. I managed to squeeze in one training run on Memorial day at least:
|May 27 Monday||6.67||8:55||These past 2 months have been the worst.|
Although I may have found sneakers that don’t cause injuries, my calf muscles are sore beyond belief, as if I never used them before. Running barefoot is quite different then running with actual sneakers. Perhaps after a few weeks, my calf muscles will get stronger and adapt to the Merrells. For now, I’ll just walk downstairs backwards and walk like I’m going through 3 feet of snow. Well, it’s June, and I think its time for a vacation…