Can a 6 mile run through the Nor'easter storm and a few more training runs at 6,600 feet make up for those lost miles?
The NYC United Half Marathon is only six days away, I am quite nervous about my last race in NYC as I really want to make it my best before leaving this fantastic city for good. The training has gone well until two weeks ago when I got a really bad cough and had to stop running for a week. I really love winter running in NYC especially on a sunny, crispy cold day. For me, no other form of exercise beats running the five bridges (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, Pulaski and Queensboro) and exploring all the chic NYC neighborhoods on foot.
Trouble happened when I caught a cold with a chesty cough in my peak training week and I only managed to run 19 out of 41 miles scheduled that week. It wasn't a disaster but I was so annoyed. I never doubted whether I could finish a half marathon but missing my peak training week could be a deal breaker for a PR. I felt so miserable, helpless and also worried about passing germs off to the innocents around me.
My husband and I were visiting his sister and family in Washington DC/ Virginia the weekend of Mar 24-25, I was SO looking forward to my 15 miles long run along the Potomac River on Sunday but of course even walking outside was out of the question. I also missed the Al Gordon 4 Mile race in Brooklyn on Saturday morning. Missing the short race didn't upset me nearly as much as missing the long run. Long runs are the most important part of a weekly training. Also 4 Mile races are just not my jam, I am not a sprinter and it just gets harder with age anyway. It also sucked that I couldn't have the satisfaction of logging my 15 miles on Strava. I ended up jealously stalking fellow NYC United Half Virtual Trainer and Group Training runners completing their beautiful training runs that weekend.
One week of no running was not fun. Getting high on cough medicine was no match to internally generated endorphins from running. Every morning I wished I was getting strong enough for a soft and easy run but I was also in fear of making my cough worse. The point was to strike a balance between recovery and not tipping it backwards. Just one week of coughing made me think about runners who have to stop training for weeks and even months because of injuries. What I went through was so petty and I am grateful to feel better and able to run so soon.
As of last week I was well and strong enough for an Epic ski trip in Park City, Utah. By the way, the ski pass is called EPIC so I didn't make it up! Since I missed a whole week of running, I was eager to fit some high altitude training runs early in the day or maybe in between skiing and après-skiing. It's my first time becoming this obsessed about running as I have never done training runs or even gone to the gym during any ski trip in the past. I wasn't sure if I was fit enough to run at 6,600 feet or if the air could trigger the coughing again but it was worth a try.
Our flight to Salt Lake City was on Friday (Mar 2) evening which meant I had time for a 6 mile run in the morning. I was freshly motivated from my recent recovery and I wanted to get some mileage done in homeground New York before confronting the unknown conditions in the mountains of Utah. Had I read up about the forecast for the Nor'easter I wouldn't have gone. The storm turned for the worst as I was battling my 6 miler down the West Side Highway. It was a frightful and surreal experience through the wind chill, rain, snow and sleet. After about 4 miles I realized that some form of madness has taken hold of me. It was probably a good idea to throw in the towel and take a taxi home. I still can’t believe I ran through that storm. WTF!
Our original flight was cancelled and we were rebooked to the same flight the next evening, this meant I could squeeze in another run before we left New York on Saturday afternoon. Yay! It was a great opportunity to run through my favorite bridges - Brooklyn and Manhattan. What difference a day made. The weather was glorious and I could see downtown Manhattan from Manhattan Bridge. A little kid high-fived me on Brooklyn Bridge, but I hope I didn't pass any germs to him through my running gloves. The long run was slightly hard work. I managed to run 13 miles in about 2 hours but I couldn't do any more. I felt I haven't quite recovered from my cold but the run gave me some assurance for the half marathon race in two weeks time.
As we arrived into Salt Lake City, the area was also hit by a snowstorm. Great news for skiing but not so great for running. On the first day I wanted to be careful and checked out the area before I ran outdoors so I did a 30 minutes work out on the crosstrainer. It was hard work and I already missed the outdoors. Between the evil pain of the Victorian torture dread-mill device and the crisp cold mountain air, the choice was clear. I was really pleased that I managed to run outside every day for the next 5 days, even though I was very slow and kept running out of breath. I didn't have a clue of where to run as the trails were covered in snow and running by the roadside with no sidewalk/ pavement was not something I wanted to repeat after my first day. For several days I just ran laps around the resort, up some ski slopes, through a few private driveways, construction sites and public car parks, I probably looked like an idiot and I really didn't give a (blank). The best part was that I got 27 miles covered in the week, which admittedly included my 5 mile run in New York this last Sunday.
I enjoyed every moment of running in Park City, running around the ski resort in the cold and by myself made me feel so hard core like I had super powers. LOL