Sometimes I think I must black out when I run. No, really…I do. One minute I’m stretching in the corrals before the gun at a race, and after just a few fuzzy memories of agony vs. tuning into my inner cheerleader, I’m somehow limping past the finish line chugging Gatorade. But in most cases–and especially today–I’m beaming on the inside as I slosh down some electrolyte grossness (note: for some reason I like gatorade…except for when it’s served before, during or after a run. weird, I know).
But as per usual…let’s back up a bit, to the beginning of the weekend.
Friday night I met my aunt, cousin and new friend Holly in midtown to go see Brandi Carlile perform at Town Hall (did you listen in all weekend as I recommended?). Traffic was HORRENDOUS all over the city with delays on the 1, 2 and 3 and cars at a standstill due to rain and rush hour. So by the time I finally made it to Penn to meet up with my posse for the evening, my decision to not drink has shifted a smidge. We grabbed a few drinks and appetizers at a nearby bar and headed in for Brandi.
She. was. amazing. Tingles my friends, tingles.
Afterwards we decided to keep the happiness of the night flowing by keeping the drinks flowing and stopped into yet another midtown bar (not necessarily a favorite neighborhood for a Friday night, but certainly convenient when friends need to hit the LIRR later), where we were met by the JD. Long story short, but we ended up coming home much later than anticipated, having had much more wine than needed.
So when I woke up for the 5th Avenue Mile on Saturday morning I was severely sleep deprived, and water deprived. But my $18 were paid and its a marathon qualifying race, so off I went. The run wasn’t so bad…it was, after all, just a mile–which is my “go-to” distance. It gets me through every run. I repeat the mantra “one more mile” in my head in whatever form necessary, and I’m no longer dragging (example: one more mile and this run is done, one more mile til the next big turn, one more mile and then there’s only a 5k left, etc. etc). So regardless of the fact that my pores were leaking wine instead of sweat, I laced up and powered through that mile run. And later found out I did so in 7:23. Not bad! But now I’m kicking myself wondering how much better that time would have been had I stuck to the original plan of no vino and mucho sleepo. Man, my spanish skills improve with age.
I spent the rest of Saturday more or less on the couch, catching up on the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy and wrapping all of the JD’s birthday presents. Then I suited up and went to training/work for the evening. Details on that later…maybe?
Now we’re getting to the good part of the post (thanks for sticking with me if you’re still reading)!
I got out of work super late and hurried home to down half a veggie burger and try to get my gear together for Sunday morning’s run. What run is that you ask? Oh, the NYRR 18-mile Tune Up Run. NBD.
I got to bed at the horribly late hour of midnight and was up again at 5:30 (with a wee little 2:30 a.m.interuption when the JD and his sis and friend who were visiting returned home from their night out on the town). I suppressed the little voice in my head that constantly chides me and tells me I’m not a runner, and snuck off to the kitchen to start downing some PB.
Completely having forgotten to stock up on some more honey stingers, the pre-run breakfast yesterday was a cinnamon nature valley bar topped with PB, and a few extra scoops of PB & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams…you know, just to be safe.
Not wanting to put my legs through any extra work before this run (a distance that Hal hadn’t had on schedule for a few more weeks), I took the sissy route to the start line. Aka, hopped on the subway for one stop (covering all of 7 blocks) before walking east across the park to the 102nd st driveway where runners were lining up in the corrals.
Here is my second favorite part of the day: the emcee (I need to remember his name since he emcees like every NYRR race and is awesome) introduced the course–3 solid loops around the park, complete with 3 whole trips through the Harlem Hills–and told everyone out there that if they conquered this tune-up run, they could conquer anything. Three cycles through the nasty Harlem Hills would for sure prepare runners for the ING NYC Marathon, and definitely prepare runners on less intense courses [read: RICHMOND MARATHON]. With that thought in mind, the gun went off and we followed.
The first 6 miles were just okay–the weather was sticky and humid, which wasn’t so bad except I was expecting a chilly September morning and got the equivalent of a middle-of-July kind of day. But that’s par for the coure…it always takes the first few miles for the juices to get pumping.
Part of the reason I opted to run this a few weeks earlier than called for was to practice a long run with water stations. So around mile 5 or 6 I decided to take a few honey stinger chews and swig some water–so far so good. And by the time I hit mile 7 I was in my groove. If I’ve learned anything from this marathon training, it may be that I like–really like–the half marathon distance. I knew from the last couple of long runs that for miles 7-13 (maybe even longer), I’d be good to go. And I was.
Around mile 10 I forced myself to do some more fueling…by way of trying a Cliff Energy Gel for the first time, courtesy of NYRR. Unfortunately, I accidentally grabbed the “raspberry and cream” flavored one. And was definitelyyy not a huge fan of the taste, but consistency was much easier to work with while on the run than the Vanilla GUs I usually go for (too bad I have two full boxes to go through before I’ll allow a Cliff purchase).
After that, due to the icky mugginess of the morning I tried to make myself take in a lot more water, and probably picked up a cup at every other or every other few stops. Taking the advice from my RB, I even tried to walk through all of the “fluid” stations to get a little breather and conserve some energy.
I let that energy and a good chunk of excitement carry me over the last of the Harlem Hills (woohoo! I made it over HH 3 times, canttouchthis!) and down the west side of the park, but things started getting sluggish near Columbus Circle. My feet were in painnnn and there were snippets of time where I felt I was reliving that run from hell from a few weeks ago. I don’t know if I was having an Ali-like experience in which the “new” gel didn’t get along well with my tum, or chugging H20 was actually not in my bad interest, but I thought I might be sick a few times.
This is where I assume I blacked out. Because the next thing I knew I was powering up Cat Hill with everything I had in me, had another few minutes of fuzz and saw the finish line just around the corner. What? The finish line? But that would mean I ran 18 miles. 18! Omg, I did!
And there is my second favorite part of the day. I crossed the finish line with what I think/vaguely believe was a smile on my face. But I KNOW I was giddy on the inside.
Unfortunately, I did not have a lot of time to bask in the glory of running awesomeness, because there was a Mets game to get to. So I grabbed a half a bagel and a banana (neither of which I was really able to consume due to still feeling a little iffy in the tum) and walked back to the UWS. There was minimal stretching done (I’m definitely not happy or proud of this factoid and would have much preferred a very long ice bath with a coffee in hand) before hopping into a shower and onto the subway to meet up with the rest of the JDs fam and some friends for Citifield.
It was a beautiful day for baseball, followed by an awesome dinner out to celebrate my very old boyfriends birthday (he turns 27 TOMORROW). We went to Acqua where I inhaled every (and there were many) scrumptious carb in sight–this place is highly recommended. All in all, an epic weekend.
Covering those 18 miles was a HUGE confidence booster leading up to the marathon. And I think it even helped that the distance was a little longer than planned, because now I have a solid base of what my pace is like on a crucially long run (NYRR.org tells me 9:15…with those hills, I can dig it) and more time to try to improve it if I feel so inclined (not sure that I will). There’s still another 18 miler and a superultramegascary 20 miler on the schedule before The Big Day.
In the meantime, I’m going to spend the rest of today riding out the high that is 18 miles under my belt and toying with the idea of some easy form of cross training, but if the couch wants me for company, I may just give in…
- Did you do the 5th Ave Mile or TuneUp this weekend? How’d it go?
- Any recommends? During my run the two biggest issues plaguing my happiness were soreness on the balls of my feet (sorry if you don’t want to hear nasty runner details, but they burnnnned) and the feeling of maaaaybe wanting to vom a wee bit for the last 6 miles–was that brought on by the gel? too much water chugging?