Monday, August 26, 2013

New York City Marathon Week 1 / 11

Monday: -
Tuesday: 30' @ 4:00 min/km
Wednesday: 8 x 1K @ 3:25
Thursday: 60' easy
Friday: 60' easy
Saturday: 40' @ 4:00
Sunday: 80' @ 4:30
Total: 70 km

It's nice to have an objective once more and to again be ticking off the training sessions as I do them. This first week has been just the right balance of challenging versus daunting. It doesn't look like much compared to what I was doing just before I went on holiday but that was some time ago already. In fact, the so-called "easy" runs were the ones that felt hardest after being used to not running more than 40 minutes at a time and considering that it is still hot in Madrid even if it has cooled down somewhat (about 33 degrees at lunchtime). I realized that I have only carried water on a run once the entire year (not counting taking gels in the Marathon) - that is definitely some sort of record.

My stomach is still not quite back to normal, neither are those of the rest of my family. It has made running a bit uncomfortable at times but has not actually interfered with my training as yet. On the other hand, I suppose it has helped shed some of the excess weight I had accumulated over the holidays...

I'm happy to be back running on my treadmill, although I think I will have to get it serviced professionally after all: it has a disconcerting tendency to stop, suddenly and without warning, after about 30 minutes of activity. Considering that most of human evolution took place before treadmills were invented, I find it surprising how instinctively I react to what feels like the carpet being pulled out from underneath my feet: before I even realize what has happened, my body has made all the apropriate adjustments to stop me from falling over. More than anything, it is just annoying and breaks up my workout.

If I do any more early morning workouts on the treadmill, such as the 40 minute Marathon Pace run on Saturday before heading off to Ciudad Real, I must remember to warm up. After about ten minutes, patterns started to appear in the center of my vision - like those I used to get preceding a migraine when I was a teenager, or those you get from staring too long at the sun - and, apart from making it rather difficult to follow the episode of  Under the Dome that I was watching, it was distracting enough to put me off running. After all, I really didn't want to end up fainting: can you imagine the "carpet burn" you'd get if you face-planted a moving treadmill? I had to stop and put my head between my legs until the blood was flowing properly. This is something that happens to me now and again but it seems to be influenced by (a) the time of day (mornings are worse), (b) being in a dark basement watching a projection and (c) the intensity of the workout (neither too easy nor too hard). A bit of digging around on the internet has thrown up the intriguingly named "Scintillating Scotoma" as a possible label for what I experienced. One article I read suggested it was an "exercise induced migraine" without the headache. The migraines I used to get were ferocious and seemed only to go away once I had thrown up. One time I got the "signs" just before an exam and was able to postpone sitting it until later that afternoon (all the while being kept in solitary confinement in case I was tempted to cheat by talking to one of my classmates who had already sat the exam). I became quite paranoid whenever I saw those signs that I would immediately stop whatever I was doing and put my head between my knees. Whether it was as a result of that or simply that I grew out of them, I had my last migraine (with headache) when I was about 17, during a rowing training camp.

The rest of the weekend was spent with my in-laws in Ciudad Real. Glad for any opportunity to do my "long run" (not really very long just yet, although it did feel long) anywhere but near home, where I am quite bored by the usual routes, I set off along the Ruta de Don Quijote, leaving the house relatively early (9 am) to avoid the heat. The Ruta de Don Quijote seems to be a bit like the Camino de Santiago in that it is less of a specific route than a bunch of different paths you can take: for example, it is almost impossible to go anywhere near our place in Asturias that does not claim to be on the Camino de Santiago. Some of the paths are quite stoney - in fact, I'm fairly sure that it was on one of these that an unfortunate stepping on a stone in Vibram Five Fingers initiated what eventually turned out to be a metatarsal stress freacture - enough for me to decide to retire my VFF Spyridons, in which a hole in the sole has appeared.


  1. Your paces are improving more and more Rob! Me i'm doing my long and easy runs witha slower pace this year, the injuries caused it i think. Can't go to NY this year but for 2014 i'd need to beat 1h19' in Half Marathon!!! I'll follow your road to NY again, me i'm doing a short plan for South Africa Marathon 22nd september. Good luck on this new road!!! Javi

  2. Hi Javi!

    I'm sorry to have read about all your injuries this year - it really is demoralizing, I know - but it sounds like you are doing the sensible thing and backing off a little.

    Wow, South Africa Marathon!! I'd love to go to SA and, more than anything, I'd like one day to do the Comrades Ultramarathon.

    You put an exclamation mark (!) after the 1h19 time for the Half Marathon but I'm sure you can manage to do it once you get over your injuries - Getafe 2014? I read that the Half Marathon in Valencia in OCtober is supposed to be very fast (three runners finished sub 1h!).

    Will you run San Silvestre again this year? International or Popular?

  3. Maybe 1h19' it's reachable for me ROb, but i need to be very fit for it and my training plan will be a triathlon plan again.

    Valencia too soon, i'll take the season break until 2nd week of october, so my attempts for half marathon should be december/january before deadline 31st january, still don't know, Vitoria, Getafe, Santa POla again....

    If i'm in Madrid 31st december i'll run International race again as we're qualified from last year's race. But not sure if i'll be in Madrid or away. I'll keep you informed.

    See ya!