For the majority of Boston marathon bound runners, March is the peak month of training. As such, this month contained some of my best training runs, ranging from hour long fartleks to running a 25 kilometer (15.5-miles) race in sub freezing conditions. Did I mention that daylight savings began? More daylight!
So let’s begin with the Caumsett Park GLIRC 25km run on March 5th. The 25km event is held at the same time as the 50 kilometer USA Track and Field Championships, on a 5 kilometer course. Since the race did not start until 8:30, I had plenty of time to get myself ready and warmed up for the event. Conditions were quite brutal out by the north shore of Long Island, with a stiff Southeastern wind that brought the 19 degree temperature down to a real feel of 5-10 degrees.
I got to Caumsett Park 7:30 and quickly walked over to the race tent to pick up my race number. Many of the athletes had made their way into the tent to stay warm and away from the freezing conditions. I decided to go back to the car to get prepped before doing a short jog to warm up the legs. Having never done a long hard run in such cold conditions, I decided to layer up on long sleeve technical shirts – in total, I had a wool baselayer, Team Chocolate Milk singlet, and 2 extra long sleeve shirts when I toed the line.
The 25km run was 5 loops of the park, so I set out to run a progression, which each succeeding lap faster than the previous one. According to my Garmin, I ran: 19:17, 19:02, 18:52, 18:36 and 18:14 for each 5 kilometer lap. The pace was on point but the greatest takeaway from run was that my average heart rate from lap #1 of 170 bpm only drifted 6.47% to 181 bpm for lap #5. In a way, it was an excellent indication of my current fitness level and it helped gauge my goal marathon time for the Boston Marathon.
Below is my run via Strava and post race photo with fellow New York Road Runner Pacer, Stephen England of Team Novo Nordisk [who is also running the Boston Marathon]:
Fast forward 6 days…
On Friday March 10, Christina got to Washington DC to take care of all the pre-race rituals (number and credential pickup, check into hotel, take run selfies, etc) =P
I wouldn’t have been able to do this race without her support since my short flight from LGA to DCA was delayed, and subsequently arrived close to 10pm.
On race morning, Christina and I made our way to the Willard hotel to meet up with our fellow Team Chocolate Milk teammates. Our friend, Dougin, was running his 50th marathon in his 52 marathon quest – see more here. Because the marathon started at 7am and the half marathon at 8:30am, we wanted to make sure that we saw Dougin before he left the hotel. With plenty of time to spare, we chatted and caught up with friends.
Race conditions were actually very similar to the GLIRC 25km, but slightly warmer. We were faced with slightly below freezing temperatures with a steady northeastern wind. This race, the Rock n Roll DC half marathon, was my one and only attempt to set a personal best in the distance before the Boston Marathon. However, with the winds, cold temperatures, and a slightly more challenging course from previous years, it seemed like a tall order to set a personal best.
At the sound of the gun, we were off and running down The Mall. It was not long until I found myself running alone after the first mile. There was a small group ahead but I was never able to catch them before they splintered. Running alone in a race takes a more concentration than running in a pack; there’s no shielding from the wind…true running.
Throughout the race, I was able to pin down a handful of runners that had gone out ahead and faded. They were not the only ones that were fading, because I was also passed by a couple of guys between miles 7 and 10. According to official results, I ran the first 10 miles in 58:22 closed off the remaining 3.1-miles (5km) in 18:05, finishing with a personal best of 1:16:27. Originally, I had set off to run a lot faster, more in the range of high 1:14 and low 1:15, but given the weather and race conditions, I was ecstatic to have been able to squeeze out a personal best result, good for 28th place overall in a field with over 13,000 runners.
After finishing, the only thing on my mind was grabbing a handful of chocolate milks to recover from such a hard effort. Luckily, the chocolate milk tent was setup not too far from the finish! CHUG CHOCOLATE MILK. DONE.
Below are the Strava results:
Afterwards, I grabbed a shirt from my bag and made my way back out on the course to flag down Christina. I didn’t have to backtrack very far as she was speeding down the last mile towards the finishing line. My legs were having trouble keeping up so I cut my way back towards the finish line for the post race meetup….but not before I took a photo of us!
So the two big takeaways from March would be my 1st place finish at the GLIRC 25km run, indicating some marathon form AND setting a personal best in the half marathon distance.
Another notable run was on March 19th, when my decided to do a 23 mile destination run from Queens to downtown Manhattan. It was another cold morning and finishing in downtown meant that I got to see my friend Henry pace the NYC half marathon! I had just made it in time and spotted him at the finish. Here’s us post run, with a pretty awesome backdrop:
As always, thank you for reading!
Stay tuned for more updates pertaining to April and of course, my first attempt at the Boston Marathon.
Cover photo 📷: Anthony Wheeler