Paris Marathon Training Log: Long Run, December 25 2017

Remember those “non-negotiable” twelve miles I was due on Saturday morning? The universe had a different plan. On Friday afternoon I got a kidney infection and was rushed out of Disney. Not only did I miss Mickey’s Christmas Party, but I was also in no shape to run the next day.

Not one to give up, I finally got them in this morning. At first I wasn’t sure I was going to make it because my legs were stiff as rocks when I got out of bed. Three consecutive days of walking around Disney parks—I logged nearly 45,000 steps on these thirty-year-old legs—will do that to you. I moved like molasses and clocked the first half mile at 13 min/mi. But as faja reminded me, “No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.”


Once my legs warmed up around mile four, it was smooth sailing. I managed a perfect “predator run” (a Roy-ism for a run where each mile is slightly faster than the previous one), ending with a 9:37 min/mi pace on mile 12. I made my way to the car dancing to “16 Shots” à la this Tim Milgram video as my dad watched in awe. A few hours later, I’m resting on the couch, watching my family unwrap their Christmas gifts and reminiscing about a time when I wasn’t completely immobilized:


Before I go, I came upon another interesting conundrum during today’s run so I posted a poll. Leave your answer in the comments below or submit it via Twitter. Also, you can now follow me on Strava if you’re into that sorta thing. Merry Christmas, everyone!


Training On Vacation Is Hard

I’ve been on vacation for less than 24 hours and my Paris Marathon training is already discombobulated. I was scheduled for sprints yesterday that I couldn’t find time for amidst work and packing. Today was a rest day and I went on a four mile fun run with my dad because he asked so nicely. Then there’s tomorrow. I’m due for twelve miles while I’m with my family at Disney.

Training on vacation is hard. For tomorrow’s long run, which I consider non-negotiable, I had to broker a backroom deal with my mom—she set the military-like itinerary for our family Disney road trip—to carve out the two hours I need to get it in. There’s also the fact that we’re going to be walking all day today and tomorrow in the parks so my legs will be tired. Oh, and we’re going to Mickey’s Christmas Party tonight so I won’t be getting into bed early.

Tomorrow morning won’t be easy. Heck, the next two weeks of vacation are going to be a challenge for my training. But I’m coming to terms with it and instead of wallowing in what I can’t do, I am going to find the flexibility in my travels to do what I can. This morning’s run, while not marathon training material, was a good start. (And, even though the route is mega boring, my dad and I had a great conversation that made it pass quickly!)


Paris Marathon Training Log: Tempo Run, December 19 2017

I was due for a tempo run yesterday…then work got in the way. (Why is it every week before I take vacation the sky starts falling?) Luckily, last night I went out for a drink with my friend Joah who is in town and because he’s a runner, we decided to meet up this morning for a sunrise 6-miler.

If it hadn’t been for Joah, I would not have gotten up at 6 a.m. Even on weekend long run days, I have a really hard time getting out of bed early to go running because my cozy bed is so much more appealing. It was definitely the case this morning, but I got up because I knew Joah was waiting downstairs. Three cheers to him for keeping me accountable!

Our run wasn’t the fastest. It took us about three miles to find our groove as running partners, averaging between 11 minutes to 10 minutes per mile. It didn’t help that the Venetian Causeway bridges are Kate Moss thin and hard to navigate with two people. Nevertheless, we were able to pick it up at mile 4 and we finished mile 6 at an 8:50 min/mi pace. Either way, the run was a win: 1. Because we showed up, 2. Because the company was great, and 3. Because we caught a killer sunrise. (How stunning is the photo Joah took on the Venetian Causeway on the way back?)


Paris Marathon Training Log: Long Run, December 16 2017

I’m sure it comes to no one’s surprise that I didn’t wake up at 7 a.m. Not even close. I snoozed my alarm every 30 minutes until 9:30 a.m. Training lesson #1: Don’t stay up until 2 a.m. launching a blog before an early morning long run.

I did everything else right. I ate a well-balanced (ish) meal of carbs and protein for dinner. I got into bed early, instead of staying out with friends. I hydrated profusely. Nevertheless, the self-induced lack of sleep and/or noticeably hotter time at which I started my run made today’s 11-miler absolutely brutal.

The run started okay, kicking off on West Avenue in the direction of the beachwalk via Lincoln Road. My legs—primarily my ankles—felt tight so I began at a 10:30 min/mi pace. Around mile 4, they started to loosen up and I got into a groove as I made it onto the eastbound shoulder of the MacArthur Causeway.


Then, as I was closing in on mile 7, I hit the MacArthur Causeway bridge on the way back and hit a wall. The rest of the run I looked like I was being tortured. I’m usually a very animated runner that dances, plays the air drums, sings to passing cars, and even raps. During the second half of todays run, every movement was carefully calculated. Even the deep frown on my face was crafted so as to require minimum energy expenditure.

I finished by breaking the remaining route into smaller segments and celebrating as I finished each one. It’s a mental trick that really works for me. Another strategy that helped was reminding myself that I have run 11 miles before with ease. Alas, I completed today’s long run training in 1 hour and 50 minutes.

According to Roy, “sometimes hitting the wall is a good thing” because your body adapts to suffering and it makes you stronger for the next run. Here’s to hoping he’s right. (He’s been right about most everything else so the odds are in his favor.) I’m definitely keeping it in mind as I go into a new week of training.

P.S. I came upon an interesting conundrum during today’s run and am polling runners on what they would do. Leave your answer in the comments below or submit it via Twitter.


I Just Felt Like Running.

I started running in the early 2000s. Inspired by my New York and Chicago marathon-running dad, I signed up for my very first race in November 2004: the 10th annual Holiday Fantasy of Lights 5K. I was already an athlete—I played volleyball, basketball, and soccer throughout high school—so it seemed like a no-brainer to give running a try. I just felt like running so I did.

My performance in my very first race was lackluster. My friend Erica Dunayer and I ran it together, finishing it completely winded in 32 minutes and 21 seconds. (For a sporty 17-year-old, that’s pretty damn slow.) Nevertheless, the rush of endorphins and feeling of accomplishment at the end launched a life-long passion. I have been a runner ever since and it has done me a lot of good.

Despite years of practice, I am still not the best runner. I am not the fastest or the most consistent with my training. In fact, running and I have had a pretty tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship for the last thirteen years wherein I go from being in great running shape to wheezing like a chainsmoker after half a mile in a matter of months. The worst phase of our relationship was in 2015 when I took a year-long hiatus.

Right now, running and I are having a “moment”. Not only can I not get enough of it, but I am also in the best running shape of my life thanks to my friend Roy’s coaching. (At 29, he helped me PR the Tunnel to Towers 5K at a cool 25 minutes and 57 seconds.) I am so motivated in my running that I recently signed up to run my very first marathon with my friend Dario. We’re training for and will be running the Paris Marathon in April 2018. I am nervous and excited all at once!

As I venture into marathon training for the very first time, I want to have a place where I can share my training logs—the good, the bad and the ugly—and trade favorite routes, race stories, run clubs, gear and other running resources with fellow runners. That’s where this blog comes in. I hope that you enjoy reading it and engage with me in conversation in the comments or via twitter @margaritaruns. At a minimum, I could use encouraging words during the coming months of hard work.

Anyway, I am due for 11 miles tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. —eek!—so I’m headed to bed. You’ll get my very first training log tomorrow as soon as I recover. Good night!