Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Marine Marathon Race review part 2 of 2

Welcome back to another addition of #shlomotrained

This post is part 2 of 2 from the 2014 Marine Marathon, which took place on October 26, 2014.
(See previous post to read about miles 0-13)

As I continue to make my charge towards the finish and try to hit my goal time of 2:50. Let's pick it up at the half-way point.
Miles 13.1-18
After wishing Jeremy good luck on his marathon journey, I continue to keep pushing the pace to stay within reach of my target time of 2:50. You have to remember at this point in the race, the wind really started to pick up, and it felt like it was always in my face.
After getting off of Hains Point (mile 15), we make a quick dash through the tidal basin pass the World War Memorial heading next in the direction of the Washington Monument. This is the first time during the race where I feel the effects of the strong head-wind, making it tough to keep a good pace. Non-the-less, the crowds lining the streets keep cheering us on while I kick it into second gear heading east toward the Capitol Building and mile 18.

Miles 18-22
Continuing along the pancake flat roads along the National Mall and through mile 19.5, I am still believing in myself to hit my target time, until...... (take a deep breath) two other runners double cross me while we are making the left hand turn onto 14th street, not allowing me to take my full-length strides, I feel my left foot land in an awkward position (I didn't completely roll it thank God), enough to raise a "Red Flag" for caution in the final home stretch of 6 miles.
Now let's talk a little bit about wind. The wind can either be your friend or your enemy, and today it was the latter. Heading onto the approach to the 14th street bridge and back into NoVA, the wind was so strong it felt like for every step I took forward, I was being pushed back two. So pumping my arms at my side, head down, and the determination to get to the finish line I finally make it across the bridge and into Crystal City VA.

Miles 22-Finish line 
To tell you the truth I don't remember much of running through Crystal City, but please let me share with you what I do remember.
After getting off the 14th street bridge I remember going under an over-pass and making a left hand turn. The noise of the crowd was so loud I felt like the home team just won a world championship! Guess what, they were all there for me!! (because nobody else was around me)
Being at mile 22, with a "busted" ankle and 4 miles to go it was time to dig deep and see what I what I'm really made of.
Will I give in and walk? or,will I push the envelope and dig deeper?
So this is what I decided to do, I closed my eyes envisioned the finish line and kept telling myself the following few phrases.
"Soft feet, stay relaxed, drive those arms and legs and you will be there in no-time",
"You know you have this",
"This pain is only temporary, and it will pass soon".
After telling myself these phrases over and over, again and again I find myself at the 25 mile mark. Almost there!
The last mile was just really about digging deep. I wanted to stop and shake the hand of each Marine lining the street, but yet wanted to finish before 3:05 (with the wind and busted ankle I lost significant time). The crowd was 3 people deep and some places 5 or more, waving flags, holding banners with all types of quotes and funny marathon sayings, and I was soaking it all in. 
  Then came mile 26 and the final left hand turn to the finish line. What can I say, I was totally drained, I left every bit of energy out there on the course and now I had to run up a "massive" hill to get to the finish at the MCM Memorial.
I kept telling myself, "drive those arms, drive those legs!!" 
    I'm totally out of breath, drained, tired and ready to eat breakfast and all I needed to do was finish. (I'm thinking pasta, and soup at this point)
Next, I look up and I am crossing over the finish line!! 3 hours 4 minutes and 45 seconds! (not the 2:50 which I hoped, but satisfied with my finish)
Mission Accomplished!

   After shaking hands, and saying thank you to each Marine I get my finishers medal and pictures are taken.

Overall I have to say, I have no regrets doing this race and I would totally come back and do it again. The support at each aid station, the Marines, the crowds, the whether, and most of all; every type of runner. 

*I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience at the 39th Marine Corps Marathon.*
*I apologize again for a lack of pictures* 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Marine Marathon Race review part 1 of 2

Mission Accomplished!
26.2 amazing miles of running in and around the Nations Capitol; Washington DC, and Northern Virginia.
Welcome back to #shlomotrained for a special post race review.

So, here we go!
(let's get started)
Race day,
October 26, 2014 started with setting my alarm at 12:15am for a 4:25am wake up (That's because I had a family event in NY over the weekend, and I couldn't get back to Silver Spring any earlier).
I awoke Sunday morning without needing my alarms to sound at 4:15am. This was the first time I would be taking mass transit to a race start, which meant I needed to give myself extra time to get to the start.
After checking over all my race-day check lists, and eating a small breakfast of oats, and a special combination of orange juice, coconut water, and chia seeds I headed on over to the Metro (Yes. I also had regular water).

   5:24am, I board a Red line train at Wheaton heading in the direction of Downtown DC. Having to get to the Pentagon station, I know I will need to make a transfer at either Fort Totten station, or Gallery Place. I make the decision to transfer at Fort Totten to catch the Yellow line to the Pentagon and the start of the Marathon.

 6:15am, Pentagon station.You have to remember it's still dark outside and very very cold. It must have been in the low 40s with an extra windchill on top to make it feel much colder. Brrrr! Next, time to make sure that both my mind and body are ready for the race! I take this time from 6:55 am to 7:55am to use the facilities, meditate, pray, and get all warmed up (All without headphones or music).
After completing my race day routine, (In my designated corral) I hear the master of ceremonies say, "30 seconds away from the start, 20 seconds, 10 seconds, 3,2,1, and boom!"

7:55am and we are underway with the 39th running of the Marine Corps marathon!

Miles 1-4; 
The first few miles of any run, and in this case the marathon are used to settle in and see how you are feeling. Today, I am feeling strong and my spirits are high.
Being myself, I like to run with people for at least the first half of the marathon, and this morning was no different. Running along side a young man named Jeremy.
With a few small hills in NoVA in miles 1-3 and with good legs we are running, and moving fast! Ready to take the race over the Key Bridge and into the Georgetown neighborhood of NW Washington DC.
On the approach ramp to Key Bridge is where the crowds started to get loud, and it only got louder going through the streets in G'Town!

Miles 4-8; 
Took us through G'Town and Rock Creek Parkway. This portion of the course had the first few special moments of the day! (and there were many of them) On the corner of M street and Wisconsin Ave there was a special surprise for me, a good friend of mine and co-worker from the Washington Sports Club Brittany T. was out there cheering for me. Yay!
         After continuing through G'Town and making my way over to Rock Creek Parkway for miles 5.5-9.5, I'm still running along with Jeremy still cruising at a nice pace, and on target to hit a time of 2:50. Rock Creek Parkway in my opinion was the most scenic portion of the route. Being that it runs through a state park, there was just some beautiful fall colors and the opportunity to see others heading northbound while your on the southbound lanes. Guess what, just before mile 8, I got another boost of inspiration, I got a special shout out from another great friend and first-time marathoner Brittany Peterson. Congrats on your great finish of 3:52!

Miles 8-13.1; 
        Still feeling strong and the winds starting to pick up I wished Jeremy good luck! (as he wanted to go faster)
Passing by the Lincoln Memorial was my next big moment. The crowds were swelling and the noise was let's just say extremely loud. After acknowledging the crowd, they got even louder. As I approach miles 11 through 13 and Hains Point I get some more chills and get emotional. (You may be asking why is that?) Hains Point in my opinion is the hardest portion of the race course because there aren't many spectators. However lining Ohio Dr (the street name on Hains Point), there were pictures of our fallen heroes and motivational quotes to keep you going!

Stay strong, and be #shlomotrained

*I apologize for a lack of pictures*


Monday, October 20, 2014

Marathon week!

Did I mention that I am running a marathon this coming Sunday here in the Washington DC area?
Anyhow, for all of you who are new here, welcome to #shlomotrained!

Finally, we are here. Marathon week.
A week that is filled with lots of 1-sleep, 2-stretching, 3-easy runs, and 4-plenty of good nutrition.
and one simple rule, KISS (Keep It Simple Smarty).

As a competitive age-grouper, Personal Trainer, and Sports Performance Coach, I would like to share a few key "ingredients" that have helped me succeed and stay injury-free.

1- Sleep,
As many of you know, your next workout is only as good as your recovery. As an endurance athlete, I aim for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night, and 9 hours on the weekends. Sleeping enough will keep you feeling fresh and ready for each and every workout, without feeling burnt-out.

2- Stretching,
Stretching out both before and after your workout will help you stay injury-free. Your muscles are attached to your levers (known as bones), by a tendon called the Golgi Tendon Organ (or GTO). Stretching relaxes the GTO and allows more blood flow to the working muscles so you can move with ease and full range of motion.

3- Easy runs,
Yes! You heard it from me, easy runs.
Going out for easy runs at a minimum of 3 times a week, has allowed my body to build a strong base to my aerobic engine, so I can work harder for longer. Yes, I do go out and complete hard training sessions. Just remember, if you treat every session as a competition, you are bound to injure yourself. Proceed with caution, and listen to your body and how it feels.

4- Good nutrition,
"Food shall be thy medicine, and medicine shall be thy food" -Hippocrates 
I will keep this one short. Eating as close as possible to it's original state the better it is for you.
Eat when hungry, and eat to survive.

Lastly, KISS.
When I think I'm keeping things simple, I simplify it more.
The more you can simplify your goals the better the out come (I know I'm being vague). The less you have cluttered in your head while training has allowed me to focus at the goal at hand.

With that being, yesterday I went out and enjoyed a nice bike ride from my apartment to Mount Vernon VA. a round trip of 65 miles at an easy average of 15 mph.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

"The few the proud"

"Victorious warriors win first in their minds, and then go to war. Defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." - Sun Tzu

What can I say. Welcome back to another addition of #shlomotrained. I took a week off, and I am happy to be back to give you my best most authentic self, and hopefully some motivation to help you lead a healthy, happy, fun fit and active life.

With only 14 days to go to the Marine Corp Marathon I have to say that the DC area is already starting to feel the buzz in the air. I was out biking today (besides my early 10 miles), and all I hear people asking one another, "So are you running the MCM in two weeks?"

With my taper in full swing I decided to get myself back on the bike so I don't totally defeat myself before race weekend comes around.

(Here I am at the mid way point of my 20 mile ride, and major sun glare)

You may be asking why is that? (Don't you want to be running)
Yes and No.
During the taper period (Taper- a period of time before a race where you decrease your training so your body will be fresh and ready to go on race day), I like to keep my legs fresh with less running and yet still feel ready to go for race day, and the bike allows me to do that. I still get in my aerobic work without all the pounding that running has to offer.

I plan to get on the bike at least 5 times per week, followed by a short yet fast run of anywhere between 3 and 7 miles.
(Some more pics from today)

Now on to bigger and better things:

Veterans Day is right around the corner, let me know if you are planning on joining me on the 10k run; register here, 

A special shout out to all of you who ran in the Army Ten Miler today and the Staten Island Half Marathon! (there were so many of you!!)

Exercise of the week:

Good luck and post your best times below!