Summer 2015 Training/ Racing – 4 Weeks to Chicago…

by Antony Scott

It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog. There’s been a lot going on, mostly good, some bad, but thankfully nothing ugly… yet. After getting the Brooklyn Half out of the way back in May I was able to redeem the balance of my post Boston marathon rest days – insert big smiley face here!! I was ready for a few extra down days, but that was all it was going to be having signed up early for a few key races over the summer. I have mixed feelings about training in NYC over the summer. While I like the fact that one doesn’t have to get so bundled up as is the case during the coldest days of winter, certainly if the last two winters are anything to go by, I find training in NYC during the hottest days of summer grueling. Given the choice I would rather run in frigid weather over the sweltering humidity any day of the week. That said, hard packed snow/ ice on the running trails/ roads is a completely different story.

My goal for the summer training was to focus on some shorter distance races (Mile – 10k) with the goal of PRing in as many as possible. I always try to PR in every race and have been pretty successful at it since taking my running seriously this past 3yrs. Since racing the Brooklyn half in May of this year, I have had 5 races and PRed in all 5. How long would this streak continue? I should have sensed that this would come to a halt at some point but I was only too happy to continue placing a check in the box.

Knowing I would not be racing in one of my favorite races this year, the 5th Ave Mile, I was eager to find a meet that offered this distance as I fancied my chances at dipping under the 5min mark. I was able to rustle up a DMR team for the Henwoods Hounds to compete at one of NYRR’s Tuesday Night Speed Series in which I took the anchor leg and was able to hit my target with a 4:58. Not ground breaking by any means but it’s very satisfactory on a personal level and a 9 second PR from what I ran in the 5th Ave mile in 2014.

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Henwoods Hounds DMR Team (Bryan, Adam, Andres and Tony)

There would be another 3.5 weeks before August rolled around where two more big races were on the calendar 1) NYRR Team Champs and 2) Percy Sutton 5k. The Percy Sutton 5k is not a huge race for many, but for me it is an important race for a few reasons… It was my first race since teaming up with my coach, John Henwood so I treat this race as somewhat of a marker of my progress under Coach Henwood. Also, Harlem is where I have lived for over 10yrs, it’s where Judy and I introduced our daughter Melody to the world, and though England will always be my home, I am one for living in the here and now… so, right now, Harlem is my home.

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Harlem, NY

It was a good race with better than expected weather, though not optimal. Still, if you run a PR in any race that is progress. 17:44 was what I got for my efforts, which I was happy with, though my prep was somewhat interfered with the previous week. I was feeling a sharp needle pain in my hip during my long run and decided to bail out 9 miles into a 21 miler. With The Chicago marathon a mere 8 weeks away an injury at this stage would be a huge setback. The only sure way to rule out it being a stress fracture was to have an MRI, so it was a huge exhale moment to learn from my specialist, Dr. Duggan, that the results came back negative. I guess I got very lucky and the 2.5 days rest may well have saved my backside!

Fast forward 2 weeks and some strange pain in my foot appears out of nowhere. Ironically, again 5 days before my next race, the Chippenham Half in the UK. I have become better at paying close attention to these little niggling pains but one never really knows the extent of an injury until it is properly medically assessed. It was absolutely necessary to take the smart approach again… 1) stop running, 2) get it checked out and 3) get an MRI if necessary… I did all 3 and thankfully there was no stress fracture/ stress reaction so another silver bullet was dodged. Hugs all around to my medical team for getting me treated right away and getting another MRI turned around in super quick time, given I was flying to the UK the following day. While there was some slight swelling the injury was not that serious and could be managed with some icing, which I did for the next few days… all the way up to the morning of the half in fact.

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Ice management

The Chippenham half was a race I had been looking forward to all summer and it was all the more special as my family would be there to support me, some of whom have not seen me race before. Also, it had been 3yrs since I last saw my sister, niece and nephews so I was really geared up to see them and for having a great race. I had my eye on placing in the masters’ category and based on the results from 2014, it was possible that I could maybe snag 3rd place. I got out to a comfortable start and was holding 6min pace through the first 3 miles. I settled back and enjoyed the scenery at this pace and held firm through mile 10. After a shaky mile 11-12 I was back on pace for the final mile and a quarter and closed out the race for 14th place in 1:20:26. This equaled my best half time, which I had set in the Brooklyn half in May. As much fun as I had in this race, it’s always good to kick back post-race with family, friends and cold beer. I was very happy to be polishing off a chilled can of Heady Topper, which I packed with me from a recent trip to Vermont… it never tasted better!

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2015 Chippenham Half

I have been back in NYC for a week now and training was going well, but I seem to have aggravated my foot issue. I am not quite sure what this means but timing could not be worse. It seems to be responding well to cross training and rest days, so I’ll take those as positives. I just want to get Chicago out of the way, at which point I will figure out some tweaks to my current training format and see how we do as we ramp up for Boston 2016.

Race Report: Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon, Brooklyn, NY, May 16, 2015

by Antony Scott

The Brooklyn half is one of those races that you just have to take part in if you are in town that weekend. However, it comes at somewhat of a tough time for those runners that race Boston as it is typically only 3-4 weeks following the marathon and doesn’t give too much time to recover in between, especially if one is looking to PR. If the goal is just to have fun and run it (not at race pace) then great, but I almost always approach my races with the expectation to PR or at least get pretty darn close to PRing. Equally, I also make sure to have fun and enjoy every moment. I just don’t want to be looking at my race results down the line and thinking, “oh yeah, that 10k I was doing a tempo”. Call me old fashioned but in races I like to stick to racing.

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2015 Brooklyn Half – Course Elevation

With the weather forecast predicted to have some showers before the start of the race, I gave more thought to what clothing I would wear en route to Brooklyn, what garments I could toss and what to wear post-race. I shared the subway ride to Franklyn Ave. with Liza who was also just coming back from racing a 2:50 in Boston. We had a fair bit to talk about as we both cheered on our team mates as spectators in this race last year due to injuries. It was my second time racing Brooklyn after racing in it in 2013 and it was Liza’s first.

To my surprise the rain held off until much later in the day so this allowed us to go through our pre-race warm up and drills in comfort. Partway through our warm up we ran into our teammate, Kelly Chin DeCsepel, who joined us for a stretch out. We made our way towards the front of corral 0 and just tried to stay loose before burning through our stored energy en route to Coney Island. With 2 waves, each having over 13,000 runners the Brooklyn half is the second largest race on the NYRR calendar behind only the NYC marathon.

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2015 Brooklyn Half Security – Police Patrol

A few seconds past 7am, the gun went off and the race was underway. I was trying to find my pace over the first half mile. Though feeling comfortable, I was trying to slow my heels as my Garmin was telling me I was on 5:40 p/mile pace. My goal today was to 1) PR, which meant beating my 2015 NYC half time of 1:20:37 (6:09 pace) and 2) if I was feeling it, break 1:20 (6:06 pace). I was feeling very confident of both after coming off a strong training block for Boston and PRing there by over 7mins. I clocked 6:08 for my first mile so I was right on target for PRing but slightly off sub 1:20 pace.

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2015 Brooklyn Half – Race Start

Half a mile into the race I recognized a runner friend whom I had just recently met and whom I never knew was racing Brooklyn, Johanna Nielsen. After exchanging a few pleasantries and some light conversation it was clear we were very evenly paced and had a very good rhythm going. There was unspoken team work going on as we matched one another’s pace and stride. I didn’t know until after the race that Johanna has a marathon PR of 2:40 so in hindsight, it was great to race alongside such a talented athlete. This was Johanna’s first Brooklyn half so I was glad I could contribute to her race by giving some cues on when the hilly section of Prospect Park was nearing.

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2015 Brooklyn Half – Grand Army Plaza

Having some familiarity with this course, in particular the undulation of Prospect Park is a big advantage. I felt as though I dealt with that hill pretty well and within 10-15secs after reaching the top of that hill I was back into my regular stride. Mile 7 marks the exit of the park and my average pace was 6:07/mile. This was encouraging as the first 6 miles are the hardest part of the course. All I needed to do at this point was to just do more of the same, which shouldn’t be too difficult as the rest of the way was downhill and flat. Miles 8 and 9 both went well, 6:04 and 6:08 respectively, then things started to become like work.

Miles 10, 11 and 12 were 6:14, 6:15 and 6:16 in that order. I’ll go as far as saying I really don’t mind the long, straight, flat stretches in races and I generally deal with them very well… but, Ocean Parkway is soooo looonnnggg. Did anyone else make the mistake of looking for the bridge at West Brighton Ave. immediately after entering Ocean Parkway? I am sure I wasn’t the only one. I was able to get back down to 6min pace for the final 1.1 miles for an 11sec PR for 1:20:26. It’s not the sub 1:20 that I was gunning for but it turned out I PRed not only my half, but also my 10k, 15k and 10m distances. They were all small margins of a few secs here and there but they all count and I will take them.

Megan Hogan and Sarah Cummings go 1 - 2 for NYAC!

2015 Brooklyn Half – Megan Hogan and Sarah Cummings go 1 – 2 for NYAC!

Amazingly, the rain held off for the entire race and began very lightly only a few minutes after crossing the finishing line. This turned into a huge downpour as I was just a few steps from Peggy O’Neill’s bar where it was great to catch up with the rest of the Henwood’s Hounds team over some refreshing carbs!

Spring 2015 Training Report – 7 Days to Boston…

by Antony Scott

So there it is… my last long run in the books, albeit a tapered one, before racing in the Boston marathon on April 20th. I don’t know whether it’s the tapering, early psychological jitters for the big race or something else. I have been feeling soreness in my right foot, could that be plantar related?… tightness in my left ankle, might that be an Achilles issue?… and a sharp pain in the left knee, which felt like fibers splitting. This latter niggle was during strength training last Wednesday, which only lasted a few seconds but came back moments later, again only for a few seconds. It was enough of a signal for me to cut short my strength session and head immediately into stretching and foam rolling. This was certainly not what I wanted to be dealing with either physically or mentally this close to something I have been training very hard for since the beginning of January, not to mention over one of the most frigid and snowy training blocks.

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Training in Central Park – Feb, 2015

The following day I had 80mins scheduled, which I decided to do, mostly just to satisfy curiosity and assess how the knee would respond. Besides being a little nervous initially, once I got out the door I was fine and was able to put away just over 10 miles without issue. However, shortly afterwards I sensed some minor swelling in the knee, so my game plan was to treat it with cryotherapy. That afternoon I had both full body and local cryo treatment and went back to my office afterwards feeling refreshed. The next day I had a scheduled rest day so dedicated a full hour on stretching and foam rolling in prep for my final speed workout the following day. It’s incredible what a difference taking a rest day does. I felt both recharged and rejuvenated and the pain that was in my knee over those two days had completely gone. This was a huge ‘exhale’ moment!

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Local Cryotherapy

It’s been a long road back to finding my race fitness. In short, I had to take 8 weeks off right after the NYC marathon due to a pelvic stress reaction. Having already gone through a similar running hiatus last May with a sacral stress fracture, I feel as though coming through that huge challenge gave me an edge and some mental toughness this time around. I was able to deal with it with much more confidence and with a clearer timeline. There were moments before getting stuck into this training cycle where I didn’t believe there was enough time for me to get the amount of training in that I needed to run a marathon, or at least to get me to the pace that I felt I needed to be at, which for me is PR pace. I am glad these thoughts were only for fleeting moments and I owe some thanks to my coach, John Henwood and my specialist, Pete Duggan for their guidance, experience and encouragement.

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Roll Recovery R8 – my new pre-workout tool

The breakdown of my Boston training (and post injury) plan was as follows:

1/3: Rediscover my running wheels, build mileage and core strength
2/3: Gradual introduction of speed work, continue to build mileage and core strength
3/3: Increase speed work volume, race in 5k and half marathon, continue mileage building and core strength

My Henwood’s Hounds team mate and training partner, Liza Howard, a 2:53 marathoner, was a blessing to be around, particularly during these early weeks. Throughout this entire training block we have trained together 3-4 times a week covering our speed, tempo and long runs. It has been a brutally cold and long winter and very tough for many to train outside. Fortunately, Liza also has the mental toughness for training outdoors in arctic-like weather, otherwise I would have been going solo at it for what would have felt like an even longer winter. Once into February I was happy to be adding speed work to my schedule. For my first few speed sessions, I was able to link up with another team mate, Kelly Chin, who was gearing up to run the LA marathon. I was barely able to stay on Kelly’s heels for the two tempo runs we did together… talk about a short, sharp shock treatment! A definite wakeup call, but I was very excited by the challenge that lay ahead after the first 4 weeks of base building. I had given myself 2 build-up races to do prior to running Boston 1) the Washington Heights Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks (WHSBS) 5k and 2) the NYC half and my goal was to PR in both… then PR in Boston. Staying injury free was key and remained the number one goal along the way so I kept a very watchful eye on a deliberate mileage buildup.

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2015 NYC Half – Times Sq.

The month of February seemed to pass by very fast and I got through all but 1 workout outside… yes in those sub-zero temperatures. With two months of training under my belt I was very close to being back to full fitness and had an ok first race back in the WHSBS 5k. Though I missed a PR by 12 seconds I was satisfied with my time of 18:25 (5:56pace) and to be honest, was probably still another two weeks away from full fitness. With the NYC half exactly two weeks away, I had already begun focusing on doing some damage there. Fast forward a fortnight and in what was near perfect race day weather, I quadruple PRed (10k, 15k, 10mile, 13.1m), the most pleasing being a 1:20:37 finish and slashing 2:19 off my half PR, which I had only set 5 months earlier in Grete’s. This was a huge confidence booster and a confirmation to myself that I had regained my race sharpness and was the perfect final tune up race that I was hoping for.

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The final long run with team mates, Liza Howard and Kelly Chin

With only another 5 weeks to go before crossing the start line in Hopkinton, there was still some business to take care of… a tad more than a fortnight of continued effort to 1) remain healthy and 2) become even sharper. Those 2.5 weeks have now passed and we are now into single digit days remaining before Patriot’s Day. The countdown has truly begun…

Race Report: United Airlines NYC Half, New York, March 15, 2015

by Antony Scott

This past two weeks of training we have been blessed with the odd day or two of marginally warmer running weather… well, warm enough at least to swap out the long johns, double layer synthetics and shell for shorts, long socks and a single layer top. That being said, NYC based runners’ favorite stomping ground, the bridle path, remained mostly covered with snow and ice until the day before the United Airlines NYC Half. It felt nice after 8 weeks of building mileage on concrete to treat myself to a shakeout run on the soft trails in Central Park. Even Mother Nature played her part in making it a memorable experience with a very heavy downpour for most of the day.

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2015 United Airlines NYC Half – Course Map

Those that have raced in the NYC Half before will know that this is an energetic race that draws a very strong elite field and this year was no different. It is also my favorite half marathon. The course takes you around one loop of the hilly Central Park before exiting at the 6 mile point for a tad shy of 1 mile of downhill through the bright lights of Times Square, which is most peoples fastest mile split through this course. Taking a right on 42nd St. for a further mile brings the athletes to the West Side Highway where after going north 2 blocks, one makes a ‘180’ before 4 miles of straight roads with a very slight downhill. Mile 12 brings the runners through the Battery Tunnel, which has a challenging rise when exiting the tunnel, though a very welcome 800m to go sign is perched just over the top of the incline. With only a few turns remaining the athletes make the final left onto Water Street for a fast, last 100m dart towards the finishing line.

This would be my final tune up race before racing in the Boston marathon in April. My training has been going well since starting to run again on 12/31 after taking 8 weeks off due to a nagging injury. The last 2-3 weeks in particular I have seen encouraging signs that I have rediscovered my stride and am ready to build on where I left off pre-injury. Well, at least the numbers from my latest workouts compared to those before the 2014 NYC marathon give that indication. This gave me a lot of confidence in possibly running a PR in this race.

The morning of the race it was cool but comfortable and after checking my bag I began going through my race-day warm up routine with team mates, Liza Howard and Bryan Kob. There was a positive buzz around the southern tip of Central Park as swarms of people, buoyed on by the good running weather, went through their pre-race drills. We took our spot in a crowded corral around 20mins before the starting gun and tried to stay limber while the wheelchair and elite ladies fields got underway. It wasn’t long before ‘wave 1’ was being ushered towards the elite men and local elites that were already assembled on the starting line. After the national anthem was rung through it was time to get the show on the road and with the sound of the horn, the race was underway.

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2015 United Airlines NYC Half – Start Line

The race begins with the immediate 50ft climb up the 400 meters of Cat Hill, before a nice flat and downhill stretch over the next 2 miles. Given all the hills in this race are within Central Park, my strategy was to go at a steady 6:10 p/mile pace until exiting the park. I was on 6:06 pace over miles 1-3 before leveling out to 6:10avg when hitting the 6 mile marker. I was passed in the opening mile by Queens Distance Runners Kevin Montalvo and decided that I wanted to keep a tab on him as a marker. Kevin and I are similarly paced runners, though he has a slightly faster PR than me in the half. If I were to keep pace with him today I would have to have a solid race.

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2015 United Airlines NYC Half – Cat Hill

I was feeling pretty strong in the opening miles and was able to pass Kevin during mile 2, but this was a short lived moment as he passed me just after the downhill stretch of Harlem Hill (between miles 3 and 4). I stuck to my game plan at this point, which resulted in a sizable gap between Kevin and I, so much so that I lost sight of him amidst the sea of bobbing race heads. As I was moving down the West Drive I saw over my shoulder that my team mate and training partner, Liza Howard, was only 2-3 yards behind. I controlled my pace so that we were side by side and able to work off one another’s pace. To be honest, I didn’t think I would be able to hang with Liza over the long stretch as I knew she would be stepping harder on the fuel during the second half of the race, so I tried to hold on for as long as I could. Crossing the 10k marker I was pleasantly surprised that I had PRed my 10k best by 14secs.

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2015 United Airlines NYC Half – Times Sq.

We made it through Times Square (thanks for the cheers at 55 th St., Haley!) and down 42nd Street at around 6:00 p/mile pace to reach arguably my favorite stretch of the course… the flat and straight 4 miles of the West Side Highway. I love this 4 mile stretch as I am able to get the blinkers on and just zone out! Somewhere between miles 8-9 I caught view of Kevin again and decided it was time for me to try and catch him. I got myself level with him and was able to take a slight lead at around the 15k marker. At mile 10 I seemed to get a second wind and was able to up my tempo a notch. I was very mindful that there was still another 3 miles to go so made sure I kept my pace under control. I was also paying some attention to the 15k and 10m markers and realized I had PRed in both in 57:31 and 61:37 respectively. Would my uptick in pace be my undoing over the closing stretch?… in other races it has been, but right at that moment I was still feeling energized and confident I had more left for a strong closing kick over the last 400m.

I made the left onto Maiden Lane, lengthened my stride and was able to pick off 2-3 more runners over the final 150m on Water Street for a 1:20:37 finish, which was a 2:19 PR from my Grete’s performance in October, 2014. At this point, I took a very easy 10min shuffle jog back to the subway with Liza and beer buddy, Kevin Beganics and looked forward to the chilled Double Jack I had waiting for me at home.

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Post Race Fuel – Firestone Walker “Double Jack”

While a sub 1:20 finish would have been nice, I will take breaking 4 PRs today. My sights are now firmly set on having a strong race in the Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day.

PRs
10k 14s (38:35 (38:49))
15k 1:35 (57:31 (59:06))
10m 1:55 (61:37 (63:32))
1/2: 2:19 (1:20:37 (1:22:56))

Negative Splits
1. 40:40 (0 – 10.55km)
2. 39:57 (10.55km – 21.11km)

Race Report: Washington Heights Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K

by Antony Scott

In what was my first race back since returning from a 8 week running hiatus, 8 weeks of progressive outdoor training in a (mostly) Arctic-like NYC was not quite enough for a PR today. The weather was a chilly 22f and with the MTA cancelling my planned subway ride to Washington Heights I was fighting off the sub-zero temperatures for 20mins longer.

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Washington Heights 5K – Start Line

The race got underway a minute late but without anyone falling as was the case last year. My race goal was simply to keep a steady pace through 2 miles and kick hard over the last 1.1 miles. After getting over that steep incline in the opening half mile, I clocked 6:02 for at the first mile marker, which left me not only having to pick up the pace but to claw back 12secs. At around 1.5 miles I glanced at my Garmin and realized that I had managed to grab 10secs back and get back onto my goal pace, which made for a pleasant read. However, this was not as impressive as it sounds as the last 800m that I covered was mostly downhill and flat. Being that this is an out-and-back race, the following mile was mostly uphill… this caught me out a little and told me that I went too fast from mile 1-1.5, while bringing my avg pace through 2.5 miles to a modest 5:58 p/mile. I felt as though I had enough juice left to increase the pace over the closing stages and had some fast fun over the final 0.6 mile, finishing in 18:25 (5:55 p/mile). While it was nice picking off other runners over the final few hundred meters, the damage was done with my paltry first mile split, which my attempt to correct over mile 2 didn’t work out as planned.

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Washington Heights Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K

All things considered I am happy with this performance as a reasonable tune up for the NYC half, which is now only 2 weeks away. The race day shenanigans were capped off with a nice bit of post-race banter with Warren Street’s Paul Thompson (1st master) and Carlo Agostinetto on a 3 mile cool down run before the snow began to hit once again.

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Snow begins to fall in uptown Manhattan

 

Race Report: Grete’s Great Gallop, New York, October 5, 2014

by Antony Scott

The week prior to Grete’s I hit 81 miles, which was my strongest mileage week since before running the Boston marathon. It was a significant uptick from the previous week of 64 miles, but knowing that I had Grete’s coming the following week and with a few days of tapering I was comfortable putting my body through a few additional miles. 5 days before race day I did a solid 14 x (2 on, 2 off) speed session in between a 2 mile warm up and 3 mile cool down. I recorded my quickest training splits of the season but was still feeling the post workout muscle soreness 3 days later. My concerns were laid to rest 4 days after this intense workout with a very easy 35mins on the bridle path… I was out the door at 7am and it was as if my body had recovered overnight and my final pre-race workout came and passed with comfort.

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Central Park’s Bridle Path

The remainder of the day I tried to stay off my feet as much as possible and after fighting through the crowded streets of Chinatown while dropping my daughter off at Mandarin class, I rewarded myself with Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai soup dumplings) and a foot massage. What better way to kill 90mins while in Chinatown! Early evening my family and I settled on a simple dinner at home, with a slight focus on carbs on my part. Cheese and poppy seed water biscuits, sliced apple, Kalamata olives, baby tomatoes… and a bottle of Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA. I remember at this point feeling very well rested and soothed having had a day full of wellness treats and reading that the weather forecast was set to be a very comfortable 50 degrees and sunny for the race.

Grete’s Gallop (13.1 miles) would be my longest race since Boston and while I was conscious that my PR for this distance was set back in January on the same course, albeit run in the opposite direction, I felt as though my training had moved up a notch over the past 3 weeks and a new PR could be on. Both my coach and I had the same race pace in mind (6:20-6:25 p/mile avg.), which would give me a faster time by 1-2min, but how was I going to execute that? I kept things simple and aimed to run within thsee goal paces.

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Central Park 6 Mile Loop

The morning of, the weather was exactly as predicted. Besides the 12mph westerly wind it was pretty close to perfect conditions. There were plenty of the Henwood’s Hounds signed up for this race so some small talk in the coral before the starting gun went off made those final 20mins or so whittle by rapidly. I wasn’t half a mile into the race before I decided to tuck myself in behind 2 NYAC ladies that seemed to be moving at a pace close to my goal pace. I picked up on their conversation that one of them was looking to run a sub 3hr marathon, so I figured that staying at this relaxed pace and riding out part of the course with them would be smart. The NYAC ladies generally get some good support at NYRR races, so being around those energizing moments of cheering was also a motivator! Around mile 2 a pack had formed with about 8 runners and we were moving up the West Drive working off one another’s pace with an unspoken togetherness. It was a nice feel and certainly helped me focus on something other than arguably the toughest stage of the Central Park loop. I was averaging 6:23 pace when I had reached Harlem Hill (Mile 3) and feeling very relaxed, but overrode thoughts of speeding up to save that part for the last 3 miles of the race.

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2014 Grete’s Gallop Start

Before I knew it I was already into the second loop of the course and had covered the first half of the race in 41:38 (6:21 p/mile avg.). My initial thoughts were, great, I am on my goal pace and this feels very comfortable… let me stay at this pace until I get past the 3rd of 4 Harlem Hills and if I still feel good I will open up more from there. It was at mile 8 that I also realized that I was going faster than my 15k and 10 mile PRs and I was feeling good for bettering these times. I smashed my 15k PR by 7m7s and crossed the 10 mile marker 29secs under my PR. To be honest, I didn’t feel as though I had truly begun working hard in this race until around the 9.5 mile mark where some other racer upon running the downhill section of Harlem Hill passed me by, turned and pretty bluntly told me “you shouldn’t race so f*****g hard on the uphill, you’ll have it on the downhill”. I didn’t necessarily go any faster on the uphill… it seemed more like he and 1 or 2 others around my slowed down some. He pulled away from me at this point and I stayed focused on my race. My avg. pace at mile 10 was 6:21 p/mile flat.

At mile 11 and with only 2 more slight uphill sections remaining (not including the last 400m) I decided to make a move and catch up some runners that I was in the company of during the first lap. It was not until after moving past a few CPTC guys while decending Cat Hill that into focus came the interesting chap from Harlem Hill 3 miles earlier. I caught and passed him with just over a mile to go and interestingly, he took a glance over at me as I ran alongside him then passed him… so I have no doubt he knew it was me. My split at mile 12 was 6:02 so I eased slightly to save myself for a sprint finish with this guy if that was his strategy. I was so in the zone at this point and knew I was in a battle with this guy… I could hear his breathing down my neck. I was able to pull away from him over the last 1200m, taking a couple of looks over my shoulder as I began the double take uphill to Tavern on the Green. With about 150m to go I switched gears to focus on the finishing line clock with it ticking down from 1h22m38s and my sights now set on dipping under 1h23m. I opened up my stride further passing by a couple more runners and finished in 1:22:56 for what was my most controlled and relaxed race in 2yrs by PRing by 1m47s with negative splits.

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Grete’s Race Bib

It was a pretty successful day for the Henwood’s Hounds team overall, with 10 out 16 PRing on a very tough course. There were also 4 age group place getters, the ladies team came 3rd overall, the ladies masters team were 2nd and stand-out top HH female, Liza Howard was 4th overall female in 1h20m50s. Everyone’s performance on the team today bodes very well for the NYC marathon in 4 weeks’ time, many of whom will be racing that day.

PRs
15k: 7m7s (59:06 (63:13))
10 mile: 27s (63:32 (63:59))
13.1 mile: 1m47s (1:22:56 (1:24:43))

Negative Splits
1. 41:38 (20:52, 20:46)
2. 41:18 (20:47, 20:31)

Mile Splits
1. 6:18
2. 6:30
3. 6:19
4. 6:18
5. 6:29
6. 6:13
7. 6:23
8. 6:26
9. 6:14
10. 6:20
11. 6:34
12. 6:02
13. 6:11
.1 0:36 (5:17 pace)

 

NYC Marathon ’14 Training: Week 10

by Antony Scott 

So here ends week 10 of my training for the NYC marathon and it culminated with my longest training run this autumn thus far, a 21 miler! More on that in a mo, but first, I feel as though I have hit a milestone in this past week’s training. It was not some obvious workout marker that I set myself, rather one of those indicators that, as fellow runners will attest to, both physically and psychologically give you ‘that feeling’.

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Post 5th Ave Mile with Brie Felnagle

Last week, after coming off a PR in the 5th Ave Mile and hitting 20 miles in my long run for the first time this season, I followed up with what I see as my most significant training run this term – 13.1 miles, with 10 miles at 6:39 pace on Central Park’s bridle path. I also increased my long run from 20 to 21 miles and went 12 seconds per mile quicker. That being said, my weekly mileage of 64.13 was a fraction less than my previous week. Squeezing in training was tough for a couple of days due to a 24hr whirlwind trip to Houston, TX to attend a wedding. If it wasn’t for a good family friend (thank you, Loretta!) giving us a whistle stop tour of the city, including highlighting the bridle path style surface of the 3 mile loop of Rice University, who knows where I would have been doing my long run. For any runners that end up in Houston and need to run, I recommend this loop for 1) the surface, and 2) the entire perimeter is tree lined, which offers good protection from the direct sunlight, in this otherwise hot and humid environment.

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Rice University perimeter trail run!

Other notable observations this past week have mostly been related to food and drink, or as I like to term them, fuel! Earlier in my training programme, I decided to make some slight tweaks to my diet. Not that I need to lose any weight per se, but this was more of an experiment to see how I could perform 4-6lbs lighter. Seeing reduced minutes in my weekly diet are beer and muffins, with everything else pretty much staying the same. I have been able to shed about 3-4lbs… maybe I’ll go for another 3-4lbs more but I have given myself a hard stop at shedding 8lbs total. That’ll put me at 7lbs lighter than I was at the Boston marathon earlier this year.

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Muffins & beer seeing reduced minutes!

Overall, I am feeling ok with where I am performance wise at this point and I am definitely getting quicker as I rediscover my endurance and pace. It is difficult to say whether this is mostly down to my body re-adapting to running or whether the reduced weight is playing a part… I tend to think the former is responsible for the lion’s share and the latter, maybe 20%. That being said, I would still like to be a little quicker. I know that more speed will come over the next few weeks as I put the closing touches on my marathon training prep.