Only 12 miles?

When did 12 miles become “only 12 miles”? I don’t know exactly, but 12 miles was my plan for today.

I slept in pretty late, feeling the need for extra rest, and finally got out the door around 8:30. The park was packed. Today is the 5th Avenue Mile, so there were tons of people around. I stopped for a bit to watch some of the action, and it looks like a fun one. I’ll have to put it on the bucket list.

Anyway, once I actually started running, I remembered that 12 miles is really far.  I guess I had forgotten.  It certainly did not feel like “only 12.”

It was hard.  And it was humid.  Really, really humid.  I realize that I often complain about the humidity, but I really hate it so I am going to continue complaining.  Probably forever, so you all can get used to it.

I swear everything was harder about this run.  I was slower, the air was thicker, my legs weighed more.  Also, my water bottle actually felt heavy.  It never feels heavy.  I carried the same thing last week for 16 miles and hardly noticed it, but this week I swear it was carrying some extra weights or something:

damn you heavy Nathan's!

I was also trying to save up some energy at the beginning of this run and work on the whole negative splitting thing.  I sorta did that.  A little bit.  Naturally, I started too fast, but once I realized it I slowed down.  After a couple slower miles I started to pick it up again:

But then, I hit Harlem hill.  Stupid Harlem Hill.  It really slowed me down, as you can see.  I should really focus more of my workouts on hills.

But for now, oh well.  I got the run finished.  I am surprised at how hard it was, especially since I have had really solid runs that were much longer than this, and because I have run a half marathon in only a few minutes longer than this.

That’s just how it goes sometimes, though.  And I know that.  The good runs are only good because you have to get through the hard ones also.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

And now it’s time to enjoy the weekend.  Have a good one!

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Why am I training for a marathon again?

That’s the question I ask myself almost every single time my alarm goes off.

I usually spend a few minutes having a mental fight in my own head, where I convince myself that this whole running thing is stupid, that no normal person should be up 5:30am, or that I can always just do the run after work.

Luckily, this morning I was able to remind myself that running isn’t stupid, that maybe normal people are not up at 5:30am but runners aren’t normal, and that I never, ever want to do the run after work.

I hit the road for a very very sweaty 4.5 miles.  It was super humid, and given the rain we’ve been having I really shouldn’t be surprised, but it certainly didn’t make my run easier.

It has been taking my Garmin forever to find satellite signal these days.  I am incredibly impatient and decided to just start running while it was still searching, and I ended up covering about a mile when it finally found reception.

These are my splits after the initial Garmin-free mile:

I was definitely trying to push the pace, and I am pretty happy with how they look. But then, my Garmin died.  The time searching for the satellite can be blamed on the Garmin, but the inability to properly charge it before my run has to be blamed on me. Oops.  So I also did a bit over a mile after this.

All in all, this was a pretty good run.  I was nice and sweaty when I got home and I pushed hard.

So now I am refueling with a chocolate chip muffin that I made on Monday.  With peanut butter on top, of course.

dessert for breakfast!

There is nothing like eating chocolate in the morning.

New distance record

I have been a little MIA on this whole blog thing. It’s been a crazy work week, and my parents were in town this weekend, so I have been pretty busy.  Buuuut now things have finally slowed down a bit, so here I am 🙂

To fill everyone in, I ran 16 miles yesterday.  Just a typical Saturday morning. No big deal.

Ok, so it was totally a big deal.  I was up at 5am (on Saturday morning!) and out the door by 6:15.  I had a lot planned with my parents so I really wanted to get it finished early.

I know that I ran 15 miles last week, but I stopped quite a few times during that run to get water, take pictures, look around aimlessly….

But, I didn’t stop once yesterday.  It was gloriously crisp and humidity free in the Park, so I didn’t need to refill my water bottle at all.  And honestly, every time I stop its harder to start again, and I really didn’t want that to happen.

So, I just kept going.  For 16 miles.  My splits are below:

Again like last week, this is really slow for me.  It’s hard to look at these and feel satisfied with my pace, but I am not trying to race my long runs.  I just need to get used to the longer distances.

And like I have said many times before, I am not running this marathon with any sort of speed in mind.  I just want to finish.  But, its often hard to turn off the competitor in me that wants to run full speed ahead every time I am out there.

So even though I can’t help but want to improve on these splits, I am still pretty satisfied that I was able to get out there and run the 16 miles completely.  It gave me a bit more confidence that this whole marathon thing may actually be attainable.

And now it’s time to catch up on a bunch of fun things like laundry and cleaning.  But luckily, football season is upon us, so I will have plenty of entertainment.

How do you guys pace long runs? Do you care more about time or distance?

9/11 and a new distance record

On 9/11/2001,  I was in high school, in Denver, and at that time New York felt like a world away. Though I knew what had happened was very, very awful, I didn’t really understand the full extent of it.

But now, ten years later, I have found myself living in New York, and the direct impacts of that day are much more visible.

I set out for a long run this morning with lots of thoughts about 9/11 in my head.  I ended up running down the West Side and ended up all the way downtown, where the 9/11 ceremony was taking place and where the new 1WTC building is already taller than most of those in the area.

Cheesy as this may sound,  I got to thinking that I am very proud to live in this city, and in this country.

My run, on the other hand, did not make me feel so good.  I ran 15 miles, which is officially the longest distance I have ever gone.  But it was hard. And slow. Like, really slow.

Honestly, these splits make me kinda mad.  I basically never run miles over 10 minutes, and prefer to be much closer to a 9 minute mile (or under it), but I knew I had to go slow to get the distance in.  At mile 12 I stopped to refill my water bottle and stretch, and I forgot to stop my Garmin. I also used the last mile as a cool down to shake out a bit, hence that 11:28 pace.

I have been in quite a running rut, so I kinda expected to struggle a bit.  But I managed to finish, which is really the only important thing.

My complaining about being slow feels trivial on this day, so I am going to let it go. Time to go reflect watch some football  🙂

Things I love about fall

Well hello there.

I am back from the beach, where I spent two glorious days soaking up the sun.  We were lucky to have great beach weather.  It was hot and sunny, but there was also a fantastic breeze so we didn’t ever get overheated.

I didn’t want it to end.  It was almost like you could feel fall coming and knew these were the last moments of summer.

That means the end of long days, the end of warm summer nights, and the end of beach weekends.

But, fall is easily my favorite season, so it also got me feeling pretty excited about the next few months.  Here are my absolute favorite things about fall:

  1. Football
  2. Colorful leaves
  3. Pumpkin flavored everything – bread, lattes, beer…
  4. Cozy sweaters
  5. Scarves and boots
  6. The return of good TV
  7. Not sweating profusely by the time you get to work
  8. Apple picking
  9. Pumpkin picking
  10. The holiday season (or at least the beginnings of it!)

That list makes me pretty ready to say goodbye to summer.

Another key thing to look foward to during fall is this impending marathon.  It is stil strange for me to say that I am might just run a marathon, but now that its September, I feel like it is much sooner and much more real.

That is scary.  And awesome.  But mostly scary.

I know that now I am going to have to really commit to training.  After I spent the past two days drinking and sleeping on the beach, this morning’s run was not the easiest.

I did about 4.5 miles, but they felt like they were at least double that.  They were pretty slow and I was more tired than I would like to be after 4.5 miles.  Totally a good sign, I know.  But thats ok, I will get back in the groove soon.

Until then, I am going to think more about what I love about fall and try to stay dry in this rainy east coast weather.

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!

Getting in the long run before work

I pretty much always do my long runs on Saturday.  It works well for me, especially since I am super cool and usually end up in bed by 10pm on Friday nights.

But this weekend, I am going to a friend’s house in New Jersey to soak up the last of the beach time while we can.  I plan to spend a lot of time laying in the sun, day-drinking, sleeping and celebrating my friend’s birthday. 

So clearly, I will be very busy and needed to get in my long run before the weekend.

I am just about to the point in training where getting in a pre-work long run is out of the question (unless I wake up at 3am) but I managed to squeeze it in this morning.

I was up at the crack of dawn.  Immediately when my alarm went off, I tried to talk myself out of it.  But I knew there was now way that I would be able to run in New Jersey (especially since none of the friends I will be with are runners, and I don’t know the area at all), so I told myself to get over it.  I downed some coffee and ate a bit of breakfast.

I actually headed to the gym for the first portion of my run.  I try to never do long runs on the treadmill, but it was 5am and very dark.  I also have been feeling the slightest bit of injury coming on in my knees, so I wanted to run on the more forgiving treadmill for a bit.

I did 6.5 miles on the treadmill.  One thing I’ve been working on is keeping my long runs at a bit of a slower pace so that I don’t burn out and want to kill myself.  So I kept at about a 9:30/9:40 pace on the treadmill.

Then I headed for the park where I did about 7 miles.  I had my Garmin but I am lazy and haven’t uploaded the splits yet. 

As always, I went a bit fast in the beginning and ran the first mile in about 8:50, but I managaed to slow down keep the other miles around the 9:40 pace. 

It was hard, but manageable.  I could definitely feel the distance in my legs by the end. And, I was dripping sweat when I got home, which is always the sign of a good workout.

Central park was especialy full of bikers today.  There was some sort of race going on for them, and that always makes the park more alive and fun for running. 

I got back to my apartment with just enough time to shower, eat and get out the door for work.  And of course, I had some of my favorite post-run snack:

 
chocolate milk!

I think from now on, I’ll have to keep my long runs on the weekend.  But for this week, I am so glad I got it done, because now I can go enjoy the weekend without that hanging over my head. 

On a compltely unrelated note, I was wrong about pumpkin spice lattes being back on September 1st. Oops. Apparently they will arrive post-labor day weekend.  Mark your calendars!

I hope everyone enjoys the long weekend!

 
 

Knowing when to rest

I’m not all that good at listening to my body.  I tend to try to push through rather than rest. And I almost never let myself get extra sleep when I feel like I need it.

So that’s why it’s surprising that I managed to let myself sleep for almost an extra hour this morning.

For some reason, my alarm went off and I just couldn’t pry myself out of bed.  I often feel like that, but once I turn on the light and sit up, I get past it.  Not today.  My body was insistent on the extra rest.

So I listened.

I skipped my morning workout all together in favor of sleep. Madness! I know.  Ok, not really.  But it was a big deal for me.

I’m learning that if I really want to do a marathon, I have got to get better at listening to myself and to my body.  Which includes getting the extra sleep when I need it.

Yesterday I did a pretty sluggish 6.5 miles.  I think I was even feeling the need for extra sleep then.

Tomorrow I’m going to try to get in my long run for the week, so I actually feel ok about taking a rest day today.  I might end up going to yoga later, but given my track record, that could also easily not happen.

I almost never do long runs on a weekday,  but I’m going away for the weekend so I want to make sure I get it in before that.  I guess we will see how that goes tomorrow morning!

In other news, today is September 1st. In case you didn’t manage to pick up on that yourself.  September is officially the first fall month, in my mind.  I know that its still 80 degrees and will be for a while, but today still marks the beginning of the transition to fall. Also, fall is my favorite time of year, so I am pretty psyched.

September 1st also means that pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks! Yes, I know the date of their return.

Pumpkin spice lattes are my favorite seasonal Starbucks drink, so thus also begins the season of me spending far too much money on lattes.  I can’t wait.

Tell me: Are you good at taking rest days & listening to your body? What is your favorite Starbucks drink?