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Hi! How are you on this Tuesday morning?
I’m psyched for you.
Now, we could discuss one of two things today:
- The latest in my Crohn’s flare-up saga, including an update on how yesterday’s doctor appointment went.
All those in favor of #2?
That’s the correct choice.
I’m into Week 2 of New York City Marathon training, and I suppose now is the time to tell you about The Plan. I know you’ve been perched on the edge of your seat wondering what sort of training plan I’m following, and what kind of cross-training I’ll be incorporating into my weekly runs, and whether I plan to do two or three 20-mile runs before the marathon.
Well, I don’t know the status of the 20-miler situation, but I can tell you one thing about The Plan: He’s baaaack!
Coach Cane got me to the start and finish lines of the Hamptons Marathon feeling confident and injury-free, so we’re attempting 26.2 together again. I promised him I would follow his instructions, not be dramatic, not whine and do my best. I also said I’d try to keep my hourly emails to 1,200 words or fewer, and I would stop sending emails with the subject lines saying, “DEATH, INJURY, LIFE IS OVER” to get his attention.
So here we are, teamed up, Part II (kind of Part III if you count the disaster that was Eugene Marathon Training, which I don’t). Eventually, once I’m feeling totally better, I’ll be joining Coach Cane’s City Coach runners at their Thursday night group runs, but since I’m not ready to embarrass myself by demanding that the entire group make bathroom stops at the tennis courts every mile, he isn’t forcing those on me just yet.
With the first official week complete, it’s time for a little reflection, don’t you think?
Well, despite the, uh, environmental factors working against me last week (the Crohnsing, mostly), I did pretty well staying on track, hitting my paces and keeping my mileage where it should be. I loved Thursday’s hilly run, and kind of hated Saturday’s long run.
Coach Cane asked for 12 miles at 30 seconds slower than my marathon goal pace. So ideally my average pace would be around 9:15.
Really, I did. My average pace came out to 9:15 on the dot over the course of 12 miles.
But the truth behind the numbers is that this run was so, so rough for me. I was bathroom stopping. I was overheating. I was desperate for water far too often (they call that “dehydration,” young Ali). I had a great running buddy — my hot friend Sara — and thank goodness she was cool with the bathroom stops. She was the ideal running friend because she never said, “I have to go to the bathroom, too,” and then followed me in. I hate that. You don’t want to hear what’s happening in there. Then we probably won’t be running buddies anymore.
Central Park was lively as always with people racing and long running, and I saw just about everyone I know and love in Dry Fit.
I’m glad I powered through, and I knew I’d feel good once the run was over.
I did not, however, realize just how much 12 miles would kick my ass.
I was pretty shot for the rest of the weekend, which I blame more on the whole “autoimmune disease” thing than the running, but also it’s clearly a combination of the two.
Luckily, my only other plans for the weekend were to dog sit and celebrate National Ice Cream Day on Sunday, and I accomplished both of those things with flair.
“Dog sit” is a term I use loosely. Translated it means “Brian held the leash and kept the dog cool in the park so she didn’t attack the other dogs. Brian also picked up the dog poop while I giggled and Brian was the dog’s favorite.” I, however, fed her. Boom, best dog-sitters ever.
And yes, Sunday was National Ice Cream Day, and so Brian and I went all the way down to the West Village to get what he swears is “the best ice cream.” Oh really, Brian? Would “The Best Ice Cream Place Ever” be closed on National Ice Cream Day?
I banged on the door for a long time, and eventually the man behind the counter let me know they would open at 1:00. And so I waited there, pouting, until 1 PM, at which point I sprinted inside to carefully select my flavors.
Ultimately I went with the Mocha Chip and Mint Chocolate Chip in a cup.
I don’t think it was the Best Ice Cream Ever. Sorry, Brian.
I attempted to hang onto my Girlfriend of the Year title Sunday by waking up before 6 AM to cheer for yet another one of Brian’s bike races. I slept through my alarm so I missed seeing him during the first seven laps of the park, but I made it in time for the finish!
Girlfriend of the Year title possibly revoked.
Oh I’m sorry, were we supposed to be talking about running? It’s weird how that happens.
One of the main reasons I wanted to work with Coach Cane again was because he’s a multisport coach — that means he coaches fancy people who swim, bike and run, also known as “triathletes” — and I want to incorporate more cycling into my training.
After being riddled with stupid overuse injuries throughout the spring, I know I can’t up my mileage too quickly, and I know I’m probably not a great candidate for an 80-mile running week. My body would break down and then Brian would have to pick up the Scraps of Ali left scattered on the Bridle Path. I feel like he won’t want to do that.
And so Coach Cane is on board to keep me running safely, smartly and, if all goes well, injury-free.
This coming weekend, for example, we’re changing it up a bit: Instead of upping my long run from 12 miles to 14 or so, I’ll be doing a long bike ride on Saturday (55 miles, my longest yet!) and a 10-mile run on Sunday.
Then, on Monday, I will pay any of you $10 to come massage my legs.
A sample weekly plan is something like this:
- Monday: Easy bike ride
- Tuesday: Speedwork! Mile repeats, for example
- Wednesday: Easy run
- Thursday: Group runs eventually
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: Long run or ride
- Sunday: Long run if I didn’t run the day before or recovery run (this past Sunday I was told to do “my slowest run ever”)
I’m excited about this plan and I’m looking forward to using the bike to supplement my running. Yesterday I rode 22 miles and it was a fun change of pace in the morning. It also made me excited to run again, so that’s cool.
Another thing I’m doing this time around? Sticking to The Plan.
I knew I’d be doing speedwork today (mile repeats that made me want to die, cry and puke), and so, for once, I didn’t go to my beloved Chisel class last night.
Look how smart I’m getting, LC! (One of her favorite pastimes is yelling at me when I do too many squats the day before attempting a hard running workout.)
I’m excited for things like mile repeats to start feeling easier. Today’s “half marathon pace” was ridiculously difficult for me to maintain, and the “remainder of lap at marathon goal pace” was more like “shuffle back to Engineers’ Gate and try not to barf, you little brat.” It was a really challenging workout for me, and it was slightly discouraging.
The multiple bathroom stops I made on the way to the park didn’t help, but miraculously I didn’t have to make a single pit stop once I actually started the workout. Still, I can feel the lingering effects of Crohn’s before, during and after every run, and I’m feeling sufficiently fatigued. Not overworked, not dying, just like I’m working hard, and like maybe hitting certain paces should be a little easier.
In due time, I suppose. In the meantime, I’m mastering the art of Sleeping Anywhere, Anytime.
I know running can only get easier from this point. I’ll get healthy, I’ll get speedy and I’ll feel like my “old self” soon enough.
Right, Assistant Coach Tyler?
So that’s The Plan!
Coach Cane to the rescue…again.
WHAT’S YOUR PLAN? I’m always curious to know what other people do for training plans when gearing up for races. Do you come up with your own plan? Get a knowledgeable friend to write one for you? Hire a coach who puts up with your crap? Just wing it and hope race day goes well? Tell me your secrets.
And tomorrow we’ll talk about the doctor. Spoiler alert: I think he’s best friends with my last doctor! Seriously.