With the NYC marathon just weeks away, it was time to put the Rainier training on pause. But not until after one last hike. The Storm king awaits upon a foggy mountain…
HIKE 2: Storm King Mountain
Although I had to run 15 miles the day before, I felt confident that it wouldn’t fatigue me for 6 hours of hiking with a 5 pound weight plate in my backpack. I’ll be increasing the weight gradually throughout the months.
Located an hour north from NYC, “Storm King Mountain is along the west bank of the Hudson River south of Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York. Together with Breakneck Ridge on the opposite bank of the river it forms the Wind Gate, the picturesque northern gateway to the Hudson Highlands” – Wikipedia. The summit is 1340 ft and the route consisted of 2 total ascents and spiraling the mountain. It was the foggiest fog I’ve ever been in. At the top of the mountain, it was like looking down into the infinite abyss. For the first few hours, it was like being in horror film, “It was a quiet Sunday morning, a group of explorers journeyed through the wilderness, oblivious to their fate as they trespassed into a foggy mountain… where the Storm king awaits”. I suppose it was cool to be on Storm king mountain during a small rain storm. For such a hot day, the Storm king can make it rain anytime.
Afterwards, with some time left over, we stopped by some Oktoberfest festival. I didn’t care much for the ice cream and beer, these views may be my last for the Fall.
With my new pair of gortex Patagonia hiking boots, the hiking experience was less strenuous than the last time. I now have several hiking days scheduled for November and December. Good bye Storm King.
The 22 Miler (The Final Test) – The Hair Dryer Route
There were only 3 times in my life when I ran 22 miles or more. Last year’s 22 miler, last year’s substitute NYC marathon, and this one. Unlike the previous 2, I did this one solo.
This 22 miler run session serves as the NYC marathon simulator. I ate heavy carb meals all week and gained 2 pounds in the process. I decided to run locally (in Queens) instead of the city to avoid traffic and because I just didn’t feel like getting on the subway after finishing 22 miles. Armed with 4 GU gels, $5 for water, $20 for a just-in-case cab ride, and a fully charged Ipod, I stepped out of my building to embark on the journey.
Just to put things in perspective, the 6 mile loop of Central Park is that small green rectangle in the upper left corner, My route is on the right. I promised myself not to look at my pace or distance until the circuit is complete. I figured not knowing these things would keep me relaxed. By mile 2, I was already having doubts. How the hell can I feel tired already?! With 20 more to go, this wasn’t a good start at all. Maybe its my mind playing tricks on me. By mile 4, my attitude somehow changed and I ran my fastest mile of the 22. For some reason, there was a lack of excitement throughout the entire run. This may have been the most relaxed I’ve felt on a run. I doubt this will be the case on Marathon day.
The mile 5 and 6 hills didn’t phase me. Downhill at mile 7, positive feelings kicked in. It took a whole hour to finally warm up I suppose. I then cruised 4 miles with river views on my right while daydreaming of marathon day. I imagined being surrounded by marathoners with crowds cheering on both sides while I’m running closer to the finish line. Before I realized it, I was running up a steep hill at mile 12 which smacked me back into reality. Ugh, I had to pause and take a breather as my legs transitioned into fatigue mode (1:30-2:00 hours running). Miles 13-15 went by slowly but I was still in control; so far so good.
Mile 16-18 went by even slower and I cherished all traffic light stops. By this point my legs were running on reserves. However, I didn’t hit “The Wall” yet. I could feel my sore thigh and butt muscles shake with every step. Mile 19 ugh, mile 20, oof, mile 21, ouch. Oh man, I finished the circuit and 0.8 miles short. I MUST finish although my mind kept convincing me that 21.2 miles was good enough. The only thought running through my head was “When will it be over!”. Oh no, “The Wall” approaches. The Wall appears when your body is beyond exhausted and you want to stop running more than anything. Also, you get a case of the walksies (walk/run pattern). Somehow, I tricked myself into believing that the world would explode if I don’t finish. Its all mental once you reach the delerious point (mile 18-20).
22 miles without crashing into The Wall and I saved the world from destruction. A 9:17 pace overall including 3 grocery store stops and traffic light stops. Jon is ready for a 4 hour marathon!
Training Report: Week 17-18 / 21 of the training schedule.
|Oct 1 Tuesday||6.54||9:13||Shin splints have returned. No more Merrells. Back to Mizunos!|
|Oct 5 Saturday||15.33||9:09||Took 3 days off. The ideal 4 hour marathon pace.|
|Oct 8 Tuesday||7.13||8:54||Still in recovery mode. Testing out the Mizuno EVO Cursoris.|
|Oct 10 Thursday||6:33||8:45||Finally, a decent session.|
|Oct 14 Monday||22.06||9:17||Not bad considering grocery store stops and traffic are included.|
|Oct 16 Wednesday||3.65||9:13||Can’t believe I’m running 2 days after a 22 miler.|
How did I ever turn my back on Mizunos. The Merrells are just too light for running for an hour or more. However, they’re perfect when used as kung-fu sneakers. The Mizuno EVO Cursoris sneaks are minimalist style but with much more cushion and light-weight. I’m not using these for long runs but they are perfect for 10Ks. Also, I decided to give GTA (Grand Theft Auto) 5 a try, and now I’m hooked.
With the 22 miler behind me, the taper period has now begun. The next big one is the NYC marathon and I’m in Orange Wave #2!