You know the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? That’s kind of how I feel about Saturday’s solo 20-miler. But, since I do purport to be a “runner wife,” I will provide something of a recap.
Friday night, The Huz and I decided to make his-and-her pasta dishes. Mine involved pan-fried tofu tossed with tomatoes, ½ a red pepper and fresh garlic all stewed in marinara sauce and served over linguine. The Huz used organic ground beef instead of tofu for his dish and covered the whole mess with Romano cheese. The Huz definitely won out on this meal, mostly because of the cheese. We watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (amazing movie, by the way!) and passed out fairly early.
I woke up on Saturday feeling sleepy, but generally very good. I’d followed my pre-run list as required: no dairy, lots of complex carbs, protein, good fats, lots of water. All signs pointed toward a good run. I had a slice of toast with almond butter, packed up my fuel belt, sports beans, ipod and directions (I modified my route a bit from last weekend’s 20 miler with Melissa since I was running solo from my apartment) and hit the road. If I’m being completely honest, I have to admit that I was hoping to improve my time from the prior 20 and to get a good gauge of how the marathon would go. Normally, I’ve approached long runs as a chance to run at whatever pace I want as long as I log the miles. I should have stuck with that gameplan.
Miles 1-4 took me over to Central Park, around the Great Lawn, and up to 110th St along the East Drive. I used my 7:1 method from the beginning and was feeling good. I was pushing myself during the run portions, but not to a breaking point. My legs were loosening up and I couldn’t get enough of the cool, crisp morning air. I broke through the park just after mile 4 and headed across the West Side and over to Riverside Park. Things got a little dicey at this point because I couldn’t remember how to get to the West Side Highway. I was still doing my 7:1s, but I kept darting off the path, thinking I had missed the changeover and having to double back. Eventually, I found a way over to the river and settled in a bit more. My ipod was cranking some good tunes, I’d had my first packet of sports beans at mile 6 and I was spacing my water out well.
I noticed my mindset began to shift around mile 10. Suddenly, I was checking my watch every 2-3 minutes, frustrated that I hadn’t reached my walk break. Even though I had been feeling good just 20 minutes earlier, I suddenly felt aches and pains that seemed like wonderful excuses to take an early break. I got hit with a wave of nasty stomach/lower GI pains around mile 12. Without going into too much detail, I was forced to walk for a solid five minutes since no lavatories were in sight. My head was now totally out of the game and I was not at all pleased to have another hour or so to run.
I reached Battery Park in a pretty foul mood, which wasn’t helped by having to weave through crowds of tourists and double back due to construction barricades. I’d come to the conclusion that I’d started my run waaaay to fast. I had two general checkpoints (miles 10 and 17) and I knew I’d reached mile 10 far too early and 17 seemed to be terribly far away. I cut back my pace and tried to snap myself out of my funk but it just wouldn’t budge. I started to loathe each landmark as I approached it. The Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the water taxi/yacht club thing that blocks the bike path. You name it, I hated it. My hopes of finishing the run in 3:20 (thus lining me up for a 4:30 projected marathon finish) were long gone. The sun was high, my water was warm and I was in a very dark place. At mile 17, I decided to cut the trip uptown short by a few blocks. Rather than running all the way to Fifth Ave and then back out to the East Side, I headed north as quickly as possible, only venturing west as traffic lights demanded, and then back east when I could. I arrived home grouchy, smelly, and thirsty. The Huz and Bodhi were both in downward facing dog when I walked in the door so I went straight to the shower so I wouldn’t tarnish the good zen.
Showered and settled on the couch in sweats, I grumbled when The Huz asked how the run went. Clearly, the mood hadn’t gone down the drain with my sweat. The afternoon passed quietly. I made lazy girl’s pasta soup (1 can Campbell’s tomato soup + 1.5 cups ditalini pasta) and moved only to get water or to adjust the pillows under my legs.
Six hours of bad TV (America’s Next Top Model marathon, The Wedding Date, and Sweet Home Alabama) did little to improve my mood so I was positively thrilled when The Huz agreed to a dinner of leftovers and a relaxing night. I had a massive bowl of granola with frozen Maine blueberries and soy milk, which was followed by a slightly less massive bowl of raspberry sorbet covered in more granola and blueberries.
We rounded out the night with two more tasty treats – a cappuccino martini for me and a healthy serving of Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. Rawr.
In an effort to gain something positive from such a lousy run, I’ve spent the past few days mulling over the experience. Here’s my takeaway:
2. I need my running buddy! – short solo runs are great, but 20 miles shouldn’t have to be run alone. Ever.
3. I far prefer lemon-lime sports beans to other flavors.
4. Back-to-back 20 milers are a mixed blessing – I was glad to have a second chance to face the big 2-0, but my competitive spirit got the best of me and I burned out early trying to beat last week’s time.
6. I can’t wait until the marathon so I can put all this hard work to the test and, more importantly, celebrate with my friends!!
PS Speaking of friends who are running, check out Kristen’s fundraising page! I’ve known this chick since she hired me as a lowly intern back in 2004 and she might be one of the coolest people I know. Part sports fan, part super writer, part runner, part drinking buddy and budding shark enthusiast, Kristen is an incredible woman who is running the marathon in honor of her Memere.
PPS Check out Heather’s awesome Ugg Boots giveaway!!