Looking at the Bright Side

Sometimes a bit of time to reflect is a good thing.

I usually write posts about events pretty soon after they happen. As a former journalist, old habits die hard, and part of the fun of blogging is to be able to post something immediately after it happens.

But sometimes a little space to process something helps, too.

Yesterday, I started writing about my run, and I wrote maybe one of the whiniest posts I’d ever written.

My blog was down for a bit, and so I had to save the post without posting it. I remembered I had to get that Barilla post up last night, and I switched to that.

I have been so negative and so hard on myself lately, but I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s new book right now (I met her a few years ago!) and working again at being mindful to cultivate a positive-yet-realistic (I mean, life isn’t ALL puppies and sunshine) environment for myself.

Screen shot 2012-10-01 at 7.07.15 PM.png

I was really annoyed at myself for missing a run on Saturday–even though I barely moved all day, I was so exhausted and now I’m sick–and then I logged into my TrainingPeaks account last night and saw this in the description of tomorrow’s workout.

Oh, Training Peaks. You’re like a miniature Buddha, covered in running knowledge.


So, back to yesterday. 15 miles on the docket. Skipped an 8-miler Saturday and was determined to make this run wonderful.

Ashley told me about the NY Flyers 3-Bridges Run. It was an organized group long run with pacers and rest stops for $10.

I met up with her husband, Bo, and we took off to JackRabbit to join the 9:30 pace group.


[via Ashley]

My Garmin seemed to find satellites right away, but as we ran west into Central Park, I looked down and it told me I was doing a 19:00 mile, which obviously wasn’t right. Around .82 and nearly 11 minutes in, I hit the lap button and realized just how fast our pacer was going. Every time I looked, he was going far closer to a 9:00 mile.

When we tried to tell him he wasn’t pacing at the pace we’d signed up for, he told us our watches were wrong. All of them? We stopped at a water stop about 7 miles in, at Chambers Street, and most of the pace group kept going. I was pissed–at him for running faster than 9:30, at myself for trying so hard to keep up with him and his 9:00 miles. He finally left, and we started running closer to an actual 9:30. As we ran over the bridge, whatever mile I hit there finally showed up as 9:30 for me.

We continued into Brooklyn and on part of the marathon course. Part of our route was somewhat unfamiliar to me, but running past the Navy Yard reminded me of a run through Brooklyn I did two years ago. We continued on and ended up on part of the NYC Marathon course, and it brought back all kinds of happy memories: of the race and of a long run through there last year.

It wasn’t quite the good long, slow distance run I was looking for yesterday, but considering I haven’t gotten many marathon goal pace runs in, I’ll just call it 15 miles with quite a few at marathon goal pace. Either way, it gave me more confidence that I can run at a faster speed for a long time.

I cut out at 15 while most of the rest of the group did 20. I took the subway back with two other runners who only had 15 to run. One guy said he was also aiming for 4 hours. Either we’re both delusional, or I’m on track. It felt so damn good to stop at 15.

But I have 22 miles on deck for this weekend. AND THEN I TAPER.

How are you feeling about your training right now? If you’re a marathoner, do you usually max out at 20 or 22? For my first two, I maxed out at 20, but my plan is calling for 22 this year…

14 comments on “Looking at the Bright Side

  1. Ashley

    I have been in so many races where the pacers are not going anywhere near the pace they are assigned. It is definitely frustrating!! I am going out for a long run on Saturday morning too – hoping for 22 as well – where/when are you planning on running?

  2. Allyson

    I’m training for the NYC Marathon (My first!!) I have 20 miles on the schedule for this weekend. Not sure how I’m feeling about it…my training has been a little (a lot?) sub-par for the race next month. I’ve run into some IT Band issues as well as a touch of runner’s knee-all in the same knee btw. I’ve also been super hard on myself when my running isn’t where it should be. Good luck with the rest of your training!! You’re gonna kill it girl!

  3. Linda

    My plan has my longest run at 21 miles this year. My longest run on my plan last year was 20 miles, but I ran with a Niketown group and we actually ran just under 20. I don’t know if it makes a difference to the legs and body or if it’s really just a mind/confidence thing. I can se running multiple 20+ runs if I were a stronger runner, but it’s probably too demanding at my pace to run three 20+ mile runs.
    You can totally run a 4:00 or sub 4:00 marathon. Training runs are there for you to get all the kinks out. Just don’t follow that fast Jack Rabbit guy at your marathon. πŸ™‚

  4. Rachel C.

    I think I only got to 18 for my 1st marathon…last year I maxed out at 22…and this year 23…I’m running Chicago in 5 days!

  5. Life's a Bowl

    Awesome job completing the long run!!! I trained for a marathon a couple of years ago and maxed out at 22- thinking about it now I have nooo clueee how I ever ran that many miles πŸ˜› Sometimes I compare driving to running- I drive just over 20 miles to work but cannot imagine running that route!

  6. Liz

    Pacing is tough but I have to say The Flyers are usually on target for the NYRR long training runs, at least that was my experience…I could never lead a group…too much pressure! I’m in taper mode and of course I’m all “OMG I should have run a 22” but I completed 3 20’s and am feeling confident! I’m hoping for a 4:30 – Chicago be kind to me!!

  7. Mary @foodandfunontherun

    I have been running 22 miles for my last few races, and I definitely like it. I feel mentally stronger when race day comes. Knowing that I only have 4 mile longer than my training runs sounds so much better than 6! Good luck on the last big run before taper this weekend! You earned it!

  8. Meghan

    I usually go in the middle with 21! I usually taper for way too long though because I always start training too early, get excited, injured, then burnt out. This time around I feel like my more solid miles will be at the end of training which is new. We’ll see how it affects marathon day!

  9. Maureen

    I’m maxing out at 20 miles for my marathon (Philadelphia next month). This will be my first marathon so I tried to stay fairly conservative with my training plan. After a bad long run last week, I’m not feeling as confident as I would like to going into a 20 miler this weekend. I’m hoping some type of runner amnesia sets in soon so I’m not freaking out about how far I have to run.

  10. Deborah

    Great job on plowing through those 15 miles despite the pacer issues! NYC this year will be my 2nd marathon. The first one I did in 2006 called for (2) 20 milers. A good friend of mine told me if I could get the 2nd 20 miler to be a 22 that would be really helpful in getting to the finish line on race day. So I did the 22 miler and was very thankful I did it. This year I did a shorter training schedule and it only calls for a 20 miler. I am not thrilled about it and am going to try to get to 21 this weekend. If I can’t get past the 20 miles this Sunday, then I will reevaluate my schedule.

  11. Melissa

    I haven’t run a full marathon yet, but I’m strongly leaning on running the LA Marathon in March. By then I will have run 5 halfs, so I’m hoping I can max at 22. But, we’ll see. I’m not sure how much is too much for a full even if you’ve run a lot of halfs or other long distances.


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