Thursday, October 16, 2014

Summarizing my Summer Running Season (part 1)

Al Goldstein 5K Speed Series - even
in the midst of a downpour!
This past Sunday was the culmination of a four month long training regimen, my first running of the marathon distance at the 37th Annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  Since I didn’t qualify with 9+1 in 2014 (the completion of nine New York Road Runners (NYRR) races and volunteering at one event in one calendar year for NYRR members to qualify for the following year’s NYC Marathon) for New York City this year, and didn’t get in via lottery, I tried my luck with Chicago’s lottery in March and got news in mid-April that I got in.  I began my training regimen after joining Front Runners New York in June, and was able to get some coaching advice from Coach Mike Keohane and used his marathon training calendar to get me started.

My 14 mile long run route
to the Rockaways
I trained for the most part on my own, and also began to increase my weekly mileage in June.  I ran in a bi-weekly 5K series in Prospect Park, hosted by the Prospect Park Track Club (where I ended up setting PR’s at every subsequent race!) and also took a 10-week session of running classes with New York Road Runners, which helped to Improve my running economy, form, muscular strength, endurance, and speed.  By this time, I had already scheduled a few races in the early fall, so I tweaked my training calendar to my racing schedule.

My first #victoryheadstand photo,
after RnR Chicago
I also arranged my long runs – 14 miles, 16 miles, 18, 20, and 22 at various points throughout my training.  Being one to not really enjoy multiple loops of Central Park since New York City racing is pretty much held there week in and week out, I sought out some fun and potentially scenic routes to do my training.  My 14 miler happened just after July 4th weekend, and I got my pal Josie, who I had reconnected with running into her at baggage check for the Brooklyn Half in May, to join me on a run from the Aqueduct Race Track in Queens down Cross Bay Boulevard through the neighborhoods of Howard Beach and Broad Channel into the Rockaways, where we would continue along Beach Channel Drive and Rockaway Point Boulevard to Fort Tilden and Jacob Riis Park.  It was my first running of a “further than a half marathon” distance where I didn’t get a medal at the end L.  In mid-July I did my first back-to-back races, a 5K on Saturday and a half on Sunday (where I PR’d, see the mention in the previous post), in Chicago as part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll series;.  It also gave me a bit of a preview for the “lay of the land” for the Chicago Marathon.  I also treated it as a 16 mile long run, since my recovery time between races was pretty short. Not necessarily advisable, but I was at that time, running every other day, and strength training in between.

My 20 mile route from Greenwich, CT
to City Island in the Bronx
In August, I did a true 16 mile long run, running from my apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens, down Northern Boulevard across the Queensboro Bridge and into Central Park, where I did two loops – I was joined on the second loop of Central Park by new friends Hilary and Cory, who would later participate in the Ragnar Relay DC with me.  Mind you, this was the day after my fastest loop of Central Park, where I was able to complete the NYRR Team Championships 5 Miler in 42:20, just about an 8:28 per mile pace.  I ended up skipping my 18 mile run, since I had done back to back mileage adding up to 21 miles. A few weeks later, I ran my 20 mile long run, and this was a fun one.  I took the Metro North up to Greenwich, CT, and mapped out a route down the old Boston Post Road, an old system of mail-delivery routes between Boston and NYC that evolved into some of the first major highways in the US, through towns along Long Island Sound all the way down to City Island in the Bronx.
Bike and running paths through
Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx
This was where trouble began to brew.  I ran that 20 miler in a conservative 10:38 per mile moving pace (not counting stops along the way for stretching and a 10 minute break at the halfway point at a Starbucks in Mamaroneck).  I reached City Island at about sunset, and settled down for a delicious seafood dinner at Sammy’s Crab Shack.  As I was finishing the run, right around mile 18, I started to experience a little tinge of pain on the inside of my knees. After sitting for two hours eating dinner, I immediately felt a more throbbing pain in both knees. As I was getting back up to head back to Queens via public transportation, it started to feel a bit worse.  Over the course of the next couple weeks, there was a bit of "popping" with dull pain (eventually progressing to slight or no pain) right at the outside of my knee joint; after about a week I was able to walk fine, but felt like I was definitely compensating for the issues in my right leg if I tried to run. I took a solid two weeks off of running and consulted with two physical therapists for some different sorts of treatment….

[to be continued!!]

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