Marathon Training Update Week 12 – Grete’s Great Gallop

After last week’s high mileage and long run of 19 miles, this week was a very much appreciated lighter week of marathon training. I checked my training schedule three times during the week, certain I’d missed a key run I was supposed to get done, because it almost felt like not enough running.

One thing I did have planned was a half marathon race yesterday, the NYRR race Grete’s Great Gallop. I’ve run this race before, back in 2010, and used it as a long training run for the marathon then, too. That was the last year Grete Waitz, the namesake of the race, was present, and I was thrilled to wave to her at the starting podium as I passed by. (She waved back at me! Although I’m sure the 20 or 30 people surrounding me thought the same). She died from cancer the following April. She was such an inspirational woman and female athlete.

Marathon Training Week 12 UpdateSo, update for the week? It was such a warm week. Seriously, what happened to Autumn? It feels like Summer out there still. Warm and muggy – the only saving grace I guess is that training runs that feel hard now will pay off on Marathon Sunday, when (HOPEFULLY!) it is crisp and cool out.

New shoes – I’ve added a third pair of shoes to my rotation. I was switching between my Mizunos and Sauconys, but I bought a new pair of Mizunos last week. I broke them in with an 8 mile run (which my training plan for the week called my ‘Pseudo Long Run’) and I also ended up wearing them for the half marathon I ran as my long run yesterday. I still haven’t decided which pair I’ll wear for the marathon itself.

LONG RUN: 13.1 miles (actually 13.28 miles according to my trusty Garmin).

Long Run Week 12

So I mentioned the last time I ran Grete’s Great Gallop was in 2010, when I was training for the NYC Marathon that year. That race also happened to be my half marathon PR. I was really, really, really nervous for the race yesterday. I rarely get nervous for races these days – ever since that PR, I’ve been running races just to qualify for the marathon; to pace someone else; been pregnant and just taking it easy; or able to chalk a slower time up to being postpartum and getting back into running slowly.

But now? I’m seriously training. I’m as fast as I was 3 years ago. I feel fitter and more prepared than I did three years ago. So the pressure was ON. Pressure from myself, that is. I was SO nervous going into this race because I desperately wanted to PR, to prove to myself I was in great shape for the marathon in 4 weeks. It felt like a litmus test for me.

What happened? I did PR. I ran 3 minutes faster than my previous best. I was a little down on myself, because I wanted a more dramatic PR. A dear friend of mine texted me afterwards and wrote, ‘Why would you want to leave it all out there for a half marathon when the race that counts is the full marathon?‘ She was right and she put it into perspective for me.

I also saw my old friend Jenny Joseph Williamson, an amazing personal trainer I used to work with at Equinox (she’s since become an independent trainer). Jenny is running the NYC Marathon this year too, but she’s training for a 5 hour finish, despite being faster than that. WHY? Because she’s pacing a blind athlete through the Achilles program and that’s his goal time. She will literally be tied to this athlete for the duration of the race. She’s paced Achilles athletes before, and the man she’s paired with is a veteran (he’s even done half Ironman races), so she’s not worried about the experience apart from being on her feet at a slow pace for such a long time. UM, SHE’S AMAZING.

So, this week went really well. I feel rested, I feel strong and that’s just as well, because this week of marathon training brings a 21 miler – my last long run before starting to taper. My stomach is already flipping over just thinking about it. Wish me luck this week, guys!


Do you put pressure on yourself in any area of your life?

Do you get nervous before a race, or a big event?



  1. WooHoo- you should be proud!! A PR is great and like your friend said – this was part of your training not your ultimate race!!!

    • Thanks, Kim! And I know, my friend is totally right. I think I felt a bit like Hunter at his x-country race – I went into it very confident and expecting a certain time, so it was tough to deal with a slower result!

  2. You are amazing! Congrats on your PR! 3 minutes is huge! Also, thanks for the shout out. It was great to see you, Fran and little Roman. By the way…I spoke to the athlete I will be guiding and he expects it to be doing more like 12-13 minute miles for the marathon…. Needless to say, it is going to be looong marathon day for me BUT I know it will be a life changing experience.