Week 8 Interlude

My usual routine is like this, on a non-race week with a long run:

Monday: 8.92 miles, which is home to the bridge (a few blocks away), then back and forth over the bridge three times, in fartlek mode (90 seconds full speed, 90 seconds off, give or take).

Tuesday: 10.45 miles, from home up around the factories to Hazen and back.

Weds: I do my best to drag myself all the way to the track. Depending on the workout, it's between 7.59 and 8.84 miles. It was 7.84 this week.

Thursday: Same idea as Tuesday, 10.53 miles, from home down into BK to just past the Navy Yard and back.

Friday: Usually 7.5, sometimes a few on the elliptical to give myself a break. If I do anything on the elliptical, I finish by going full speed balls out on the treadmill so it's a real workout.

Saturday: Long run, focused on staying in the 7:15 range, 20 miles this week.

Sunday: Same as Friday.

Put it all together (including yoga, meditation, and frequent but short weight-lifting) and that's my life and routine.

I wanted to mention Tuesday and Thursday today. Both days, I don't actually turn on the pace function on my watch. I only keep my watch with me so I don't coast for too long and get home so late that I have to rush to work. But I have a vague time goal. Both runs are more or less the same length, and more or less the same difficulty (the Thursday one is a little harder because there's a bridge involved and more traffic).

I'm not at any point pushing myself to anything close to race speed (under 7), but even in this heat, if I'm focused, I run in the 7:30 range. And a curious thing happens: I always get to the halfway point later than I want to, and then I turn back around and I run much faster on the way home.

Today, for example, I started off at a good clip, but I got to the halfway point at 39 minutes. 39 minutes for 5.26 miles is about 7:24/mile. And then I turned around and proceeded to run the same distance in 37:40, which is 7:08 per mile. Mind you, it's very humid (and warm), I was presumably tired, and I didn't really do anything different. Yeah, I specifically tried to speed up at the very end, with a mile left. But I didn't feel the extra speed in my chest at all: I just focused.

Focus and consistent training is everything, at least for me. 

Even when I ran my absolutely fastest marathons, in 2015, my long runs that summer were very, very slow, at about an 8:00 pace. I didn't really do anything long and fast aside from the other races. I should be in a much better position to take my long run speed and just lop off 30-35 seconds per mile than the 2 minutes I tried to cut off (almost successfully) in 2015.

Here's hoping the shorter races prove to be positive omens.

 

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Training - Week 7

Real off week this week. I was a bit banged up early in the week so took a week off from speed (aside from bridge repeats) and my long run was shorter at 13. Just needed to reset a bit. Back to the 70 mile weeks this week and my second 20 miler on Saturday, with a 5k next week. 

Mileage: 60.76 (lol off week)

Miles in training: 504.69, in less than two months.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Training - Week 6

Biggest week since 2016 and one of best ever.

No races. Hit 20 yesterday (barely, it was 20.08), ran 7:15 average. My PR marathon pace is 6:44, and my goal is 6:40 this fall. That seems like a lot faster, but back when I was at my fastest I wasn't training faster than 7:00 on any given day really. I'm back to the consistent push I've been giving myself on long runs and it's nice.

Speedwork wasn't great this week. Very humid, couldn't break a 5:00 on the 400s. But there isn't much to be done about such weather.

Very happy with training season so far.

Miles this week (most of year so far!): 72.82

Miles in training: 443, just under 40% of the way from the start until the end of the NYC marathon.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Training - Week 5

Sorry if this is getting repetitive, but until school starts that's all I'm really writing about.

Just ran the Team Championships. Finished in 31:27. Not anywhere close to a PR (I've run several halves at a faster pace), but it was very humid, and I was close to puking. A full minute faster than last year though, and I finished second on the team, so that's something to be proud of. I see future races going as well or better. Next up, two 20 milers (with a break in between) before the Percy Sutton 5k, where I hope to really do well.

Miles for the week: 38 (race week and a pullback week too)

Miles in training: 371

Also, July will end with 271 miles, my highest month in two years. It's good.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Training - Week 4

Today marked the start of the period where I have only two weekends "off" before the first taper. Every week, aside from two, I'm running 18+ miles, or racing (or both).

It goes:

19 (just now)

Team Champs

20

off! (which really means 13)

20

Percy Sutton

20

off! (13, and then a wedding, which means I must dance)

18M marathon Tune-up

My favorite long run that I haven't done in 3 years, 22ish miles on the Manhattan/WBurg/Pulaski/Qboro/Triboro bridges

Bronx

Taper week

Marathon1

Blue Line Run (but that's only 11.4, so it's taper)

Taper

Marathon2

Sleeeeeeeeep

 

I feel good about next week, and really all future weeks. Today I followed my goal, stay out of my chest (ie never push hard enough to feel it burn in my lungs), and was still only 30-40 seconds off goal marathon pace (which is about 6:30-6:35 ideally, and I was running 7:15).

I haven't felt this good during training since winter 2016, which ended with the first Boston disaster, but it's impossible for it to suddenly be 20 degrees warmer in the fall than it has been in the summer, so I'm good.

I really see good things happening. Starting next week, weather permitting. 

Miles this week: 72.34 (after 7.5 easy ones tomorrow, which will occur)

Miles in training: 332.54, 29% of the way to the miles I'll run up to and including the finish line on the first sunday of November.

Comment

Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Training - Week 3

Pretty ho-hum week. Forced myself to have a pullback week, which mostly just means my longrun was a bit faster paced and only 13 miles. Up to 19 next week, then a race, then 20 after that. But truthfully, once you get up to 19, you really could run a marathon if you wanted to, so after next week my base will be fully built and I will spend the rest of training on pacing and racing.

Hit 2:51 on my 800s this week. I believe my very fastest is 2:43, so I'd like to get back there by September. 

Miles this week: 66.34

Miles in training: 260.2

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Training - Week 2

Got new shoes yesterday. Haven't run in them yet, aside from the treadmill at the store. Will debut them on the bridge tomorrow. Exciting.

The shoes should last me through the marathon tune-up in late Sept, when I'll get the pair that will take me through the two marathons.

I really feel good about this summer and fall. PRs? Maybe, maybe not. I'm running happily and without anxiety, and not finishing races feeling ill. Finally managing to be fast and feel good. Hoping to get back to my fastest while still feeling this way.

Broke 70 this week for the first time since 2016 (when I did it a lot, just punished myself).

Step-back week, then another 70, then a race week, then my first 20.

Miles this week: 70.76

Miles during training: 193.86, in 20 days

Comment

Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Marathon Training Begins - Week 1

I'm not going to write one of these every single week, but I'll check in if I'm free.

This was week one. I took it easy between Brooklyn and my vacation, including Reunions and my birthday. And this was the first full, regular week, with two "hard" workouts (1 bridge, 1 track), two easy but solid pace (7:45 or so) 10 mile midweek runs, two easy shorter runs (6.7 and 7.5), and one longer run (15.74).

And that's basically how it's going to be. What I do on the track each week will change. And the length of the long runs will gradually grow until it hits 22ish in late September. I'm about 5 weeks from hitting 20 on the first Saturday of August, after which it will just be about getting faster.

So, July will be endurance built back up with a bit of racing (Team Champs mixed in).

Miles this week: 68.47

Miles in training: 123.1

 

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Urges and Wants

This might sound stupid, but focusing, when you're given a choice, on your wants might make you a less selfish person.

I'm not calling you selfish. I'm calling all of us selfish. And I think a lot of the time it's because we drift from urge to urge rather than sitting down and thinking about what we truly want.

Sometimes our urges can match our wants. Then that's fine.

But much of the time, our urge, that pressure, be it internal or external, comes from another place. It certainly doesn't come from a reasoned decision. This is not to say emotion has no place in decision-making. Just that it can't be the only one flying the plane.

So, of course, I came to this after doing some thinking.

Most days, I eat lunch quickly at my desk and then go outside to sit and read. I like to read by the water (since I can), and that leads me to be surrounded by workers at American Express and other financial firms. And these workers look like I once assumed I would, and have enough money to buy the fourteen-dollar salads the food court sells. 

Lately I've had to refocus my spending habits (not so much that I was spending a lot but that I needed to reprioritize), and I realized I've been sort of mourning a person who never existed, and who absolutely should not exist.

You all know my little story by now (Fast forward version 1. Insecure and isolated high schooler 2. Well-connected best friend whom I desperately wanted to impress and thus started becoming more broadly party-centric 3. This repeats itself in college to a much greater extent, and friends this time choose to distance themselves from me in ways that I didn't understand and I thus blamed my character and self-worth for it 4. College ends, I don't know what I want to do, but i know I can't work with the type of folks who didn't really like me 5. I spend most of my 20s figuring my career out, treating every weekend as the only thing to look forward to, while lamenting I never had work friends and happy hours and the other things I saw people doing 6. Finally get to a path I wanted, but now I work near these folks and I feel pangs of sadness for the life I chose not to lead and frankly never wanted to lead).

Ultimately, in my life, the big choices - after college - have been what I actually wanted. The smaller choices, it's been harder to avoid what I've felt pressure to do - by others, by society, by my brain - and so I still sit there, enjoying a book but also telling myself I'm not so great because I didn't get to have the Coworkers and Happy Hours and Rooftops mid20s that others had.

"Well don't go over there," you're saying. Okay maybe. But I still have to function in the world. It's best I acknowledge this for what it is - a bit of mourning, some irrational anxiety stuff - and  understand that, like almost all of my urges, it's best it didn't happen since it's not actually what I ever wanted.

What would I have become had I opted to force myself into those interviews? It's been the biggest question of the last eleven years. I think I would have been successful, yes, and miserable, abjectly so. Now that I am actually working on the things in my brain, no six-figure bonus would have been enough to make me feel better, and I already felt pretty crummy. Yet I only felt bad in my actual life because of the pressure I felt to be this guy. Forget about actually having those jobs: what would I be like if I just didn't care about what society thought of my "success?" Because that would be something to truly want.

Hopefully I am getting closer to not allowing such things to have an impact on me. This is my goal, especially before school starts: to be free of caring about what other people want me to do.

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality

Crazy Rich

So my wife picked up "China Rich Girlfriend" and brought it with us on our vacation. It's the sequel to "Crazy Rich Asians," and I wanted to support the latter as it will be what seems to be a fun movie later this summer. I'm kind of spoiling the ending for myself of course, but still.

My god, everything about these peoples' lives seems so empty.

When I first started reading it, it seemed intoxicating and exciting. I've never liked shopping, but the travel? The homes? The restaurants?

But the more I read, the more I realized how little any of that would do for our happiness. Author Kevin Kwan is clear that much of what the people in the books care about is impressing and outdoing each other, and I know that feeling, certainly having been overjoyed the first time I brought people to nice things I enjoy.

I've been thinking a lot about my dreams in life, and despite what the President will tell you, being a tacky and ostentatious fool doesn't actually seem... fun. Fun for a minute, or for the length of a trip. But for life?

Money buys relief, sure. I want my theoretical children not to want for much if I can help it. But beyond the level of relative privilege I have now (I'm not complaining), all evidence shows that just lusting after MORE doesn't actually bring you anything but agony.

Let's be clear: our country is turning into a corrupt developing nation because it's being run by absolutely miserable old men who only derive joy from crushing their enemies.

It was never likely I would be a Captain of Industry, despite what... others have wanted for me. But I think even if I won a powerball or something I'd do whatever I could to give most of it away and only keep enough to pay for schooling and retirement of the closest people to me.

(Okay, probably a nice home and season tickets to the Yankees).

It's a privilege to be able to be somewhat exposed to these things - I know people like that - and know it's not a dream of mine. And to have the support of the people around me, especially my wife, as I realize that the dream has to be meaningful achievement much more than capitalistic enemy-crushing.

I don't need my name on anything. I'm happy just helping adult learners achieve their goals.

 

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Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality