Monday, October 7, 2013

New York City Marathon Week 7 / 11

Monday: core
Tuesday: 2 x 1'-2'-3'-2'-1'-2'-3' @ 3:25 with 1%-2.5%-4.5% gradient
Wednesday: 60' @ 4:21 + core
Thursday: 3 x 15' @ 3:45
Friday: 40' @ 4:27 + 5 x hill sprints
Saturday: 20' @ 4:27
Sunday: Alcázar de San Juan Half Marathon in 1:19:53
Total kilometres: 64

I don't have much to say about the training this week so I'll move straight on to the race report.

The idea had been to spend the weekend with the in-laws in Ciudad Real and to stop off at Alcázar de San Juan on the way back, where my family could see some friends while I ran the Half Marathon. Unfortunately, not only were those friends out of town that weekend, but my wife was feeling so poorly that the last thing she felt like doing was getting up at 7:30 am to drive 100 kilometres. It's not like I felt much like doing that either, but I was obviously a lot more motivated to do so; it was just a shame I had to drive back to Ciudad Real again afterwards only to go all the way back to Madrid that afternoon. Oh well, the things we will do for our sport...

While I was warming up by bouncing up and down on the spot, my necklace came off - just as well it didn't happen in the race! Only a few weeks ago, I lost the last one I had - presumably during a training run - and I had gone to the trouble of getting a replacement from this guy who makes necklaces by cutting and filing old coins. As usual, I lined up right at the front but some last minute stragglers squeezed in between the line and the timing mats just before the gun went off, catching us completely by surprise. It was actually on the verge of being dangerous as I clashed fairly hard with a woman (sorry) as we stampeded off.

As I clocked off the kilometres at 3:45 a pop, I noticed that whoever had put the kilometre markers up must have done it using a GPS watch because, unlike most races, there was near perfect agreement with my Garmin all the way... with the exception of the 2nd kilometre which was about 100m long, leading to a confusing 4:10 split followed by a 3:20 one. I got to the 10K point right on the money: 37:30 exactly.

The second lap of the two lap circuit didn't quite go as smoothly but I wasn't really aware of myself fading (the second half was only about 45 seconds slower but that amounts to 4 seconds a kilometre). Perhaps it had something to do with my decision to stop pressing the "lap" button on my watch at every kilometre marker and to just concentrate on running as best as I could. If I had detected a sustained slow down it is just possible I would have turned up the pressure a little.

You can see my shoe is at the point of falling apart completely
In the same way I was lucky not to lose my necklace before the race, I was also lucky that my shoes lasted until the end of the race. The left shoe felt all floppy and loose for the last kilometres (see the photo above) and I remember just looking forward to finishing so that I could sort it out. It turned out that both the shoes, in fact, had fallen apart in the race. They've done me pretty proud, I should say, having got me my personal best times in 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and the Marathon, as well as suffering with me through countless interval sessions since this time last year. I've already got my replacements which I picked up when I was in Boston a few months ago, so I'm all set for NYC!

Ah, yes, the other thing that happened was that my heart rate monitor slipped down during the race. Not that it mattered at all because I don't actually remember checking my heart rate once during the race, but I was quite curious to see it afterwards. The highest it got to was around 170 bpm at the 50 minute mark - again, markedly lower and slower to creep up than in previous races.

I was pleased to have at least broken 1:20 again, even if I didn't manage a personal best time. Not counting Half Marathons run at Marathon pace, it is the first time I have ever not got a PB running this distance! Still, while I can't expect to go on indefinitely I believe there is a smidgen of room for improvement: after all, the temperature was about 10 degrees hotter than the Half Marathon I ran in Getafe back in January, where I recorded my best time to date.

The runner's "goody bag" was the most complete I have ever seen. Just trying to remember everything in it reminds me of that game "I went to the supermarket and bought...". Let's see: a bottle of wine, an apple, an orange, a cereal bar, a bottle of Powerade, a bottle of water, a sample of Manchego cheese, a t-shirt, a cap, a diary for 2014, an inflatable neck support for travelling, two key rings and a purse! I'm not complaining by any means but I really could do with more shorts than t-shirts, of which I have got far too many.


  1. Looks like glorious weather in the photos - probably a good call over the Oxford half marathon this weekend, which was about 8 degrees and non-stop heavy rain!

    1. It was lovely weather but I would have traded the 8 degrees (perhaps not the heavy rain though). How did it go?

    2. Just looked you up: sub 1:16 and 13 / 3,500, very impressive!

    3. Yes it's a pretty fast course - although not one I'd recommend to be honest. It seemed to be mainly a tour of the dual carriageways and bypasses on the edge of Oxford without ever getting into the town centre properly itself - not a dreaming spire in sight!

      Do you have any more races lined up before NY? Some impressive sessions on this blog, you should be on for a good race...

    4. No more races between now and then: one more week of hard graft and two of taper to go. I'm thinking of doing London Marathon next year (although, right now, I'm thinking of not doing ANY Marathons next year, if truth be told). I can't remember if you've run it before or whether you are running next year.