Last Sunday I attempted a new PDR, 16 miles and I think the title of this post already spoils the ending…I did it 🙂
It’s no secret, long distances scare me. Especially distances I’ve never attempted before. It’s probably part of the unknown that scares me — how will my body feel when I push past my previous PDR? How much will I need to eat and drink?…But more importantly I think it’s fear of failure that makes attempting PDR scary to me. I’m training for a marathon though, so despite my fears I have to push past my comfort zone.
After running the Philly Half Marathon the previous weekend and accomplishing a new PR of 2:06:38, I spent the whole week contemplating whether or not I should take it easy this week and do a 8 – 10mile “long run,” or keep pushing forward with progressing my mileage (towards 26.2!). The weather was my deciding factor. The forecast showed 57 degrees (as the low!) and sunny predicted for Sunday. Seriously, above 50 degrees at the end of November, was this a joke!? Early Christmas present? Either way, it was a gorgeous day that I could not pass up and I decided I needed to take full advantage of the situation. In my future, there will many cold cold cold winter days with long runs that I will probably dread, but this past Sunday was NOT one of them!
Rewinding a bit, Saturday I went to a hockey game during the day with the BF. It was Flyers (Philadelphia) vs. Rangers — I think we (he) was one of the only Flyer’s fans in the stadium. Apparently theirs a huge Flyers vs. Rangers rivalry, so we got to see some good fights:
It was my first live hockey game. We had amazing seats and I had a lot of fun! Some how I managed to resist beer throughout the whole game (I think the cold stadium deterred me), but on the walk back to our apartment from Madison Square Garden, we passed this small beer garden/”beer wine bar” (I honestly don’t know what to call it, it’s like a wine bar for beer and they also have wine), Cannibal, that I really like and all of a sudden was craving a good belgium beer. It was only 5pm, so I figured one beer wouldn’t kill my run the next day — carbo-loading, right 😉
I stuck to one (strong) beer and managed to lay off the tasty looking sausages. We got home and spent the rest of the night watching movies and eating “home cooked” Trader Joe’s frozen meals — I’m such a chef! I’d say I was in bed by 11pm.
I didn’t set my alarm because I had no time schedule for my Sunday run! ahhh that felt good to say, “no time schedule.” I had left the day completely open so I’d have no time crunch and now that it’s not the sweltering summer, I don’t have to wake up early just to get in a run before it’s too hot. I naturally woke up around 8:30am so I listened to my body and hoped out of bed.
I checked the weather and it was about 57 degrees already and partly clouded. I was teetering between shorts or capris, but I went with my lululemon capris because they have more pockets to store food in and carry my cell phone, plus I know the wind along the river in the fall can get brutal. I also threw on a very light weight long sleeve shirt to protect my airs from any possible winds or chills. I decided against gloves, or ear warmers, but went with a visor hat to block the sun from my eyes. I really couldn’t believe this is how I was dressing for a LATE November run – heavenly!
I ate 1/2 piece of whole wheat toast with probably 1/2 tbsp of peanut butter and a full banana. This is a little less than I usually eat, but I also usually feel a bit nauseous from my food for the first 5 miles. I figured if I needed more fuel/energy, I could intake it along the way. Slow and steady fuel intake is a lot better for me than all at once.
I filled up all 4 of the water bottles on my fuel belt (I’m a thirsty girl!), 3 were just water and 1 I filled 1/2 way with pomegranate juice and filled with water. For fuel I brought along a Mocha flavored Clif Shot Gel and a left over mix of sports beans, chumps, etc.
Around 9am I headed out for my 16 mile journey!
Luckily my Garmin’s been working a lot better lately so it helped pace me. I wanted to run slow, but not too slow. My goal was to keep my miles between 10:30 – 11:10min. I did a pretty good job of that:
I’d like to say I was trying to “make myself” go slow, but the truth is my body wanted to go slow. Miles 3, 4 and 5 may be slightly skewed because I was in a very low GPS signal area. I like how I finished strong though and my splits from mile 13-16 decreased each mile.
Below is the route I took:
A little hard to see, but I went from around 23rd street and the East Side River, around the edge of Manhattan, up through Battery City Park, on to the West Side and up west to about 100th Street. I then headed south down the West Side to around 28th street and ran across to 9th Avenue — that’s where I hit 16miles and that’s where I stopped.
I ran this one completely alone and I can’t say the whole run was easy. The first 2 miles were simple, the same 2 miles that I run a few times a week down to the Williamsburg Bridge. Miles 2 – 5 were a little tougher just because the scenery gets pretty lame around that area. Mile 5 brought me to around Battery City Park, though, which is one of my favorite little city nuggets to run through, so that gave me a huge pick me up! It was also motivating to see that a lot of other runners were out enjoying the beautiful weather as well.
Mile 8 – mile 9 is where I tested out my first ever energy gell! I’ve always declared that I didn’t like gels, despite never actually trying one. I’m sorry, but the whole idea of a gel and the texture is kinda of gross to me. I’m a convert now, though. It was tasty! Now maybe my tast buds are a little off from eating too many peanut butter and banana sandwiches and energy chews, but I actually really like the taste. I’m not sure what to compare it to, but it was sweet and chocolate-y. Now, it did take me a full mile to finish the whole gel though — I still do not understand how people shoot the gels down in one gulp (anyone know??). Anyways, I took my time gracefully sucking down the tasty gooo.
Lately mile 10 is where I hit a slight block. I get really tired around mile 10 and want to stop, but if I break past and can make it to mile 12, I’m golden. So, that’s what I did! I kept my eyes on the pretty scenery and continued on. I decided I’d turn around at mile 12.5 so that would put me around 15.5miles to get back to 28th street and the West Side and would leave just a little bit of cross-town running. A smart person might end their run at home, but I have trouble with that. Ending my long runs by having weave through the city streets is a little discouraging to me.
At 12.5 miles when I turned around to start running back South, I was blasted with wind. Apparently the West Side is very windy during the Fall/Winter months. I didn’t feel any breeze pushing me forward while I was running North, but I definitely felt it against me running South. It took a lot of mental energy to blast through the wind. “Only 3 miles of this, you can do it,” I kept saying to myself. I focused on my posture and my legs muscles and arms to propel me through the windy path. When I got more mid-town on the west side the wind died down a lot and I was thankful 🙂
The last 1/2 a mile was tough and I wanted to stop, but at that point it would have just been silly. I pushed through and when my Garmin finally hit 16.00mile, my legs hit STOP. I would have done a 16mile dance, but my legs weren’t feeling it. I tired to walk and make it home, but about 5min. in I hailed a nice yellow taxi cab. I was walking like an injured duck, it was not pretty.
I was on a runners high and HUNGRY! I took a hot shower, stretch lightly (aka not enough), grabbed the BF and headed out to lunch. Being my legs weren’t taking me far, we ended up at Blue Smoke a few blocks away. I’m not a BBQ gal and not a huge meat eater, but I discovered Blue Smoke has a delicious homemade veggie burger (looked and tasted like quinoa in there)…
…and french fries, I LOVE FRIES. I contemplated getting their sweet potato wedges, which I’ve heard are very tasty, but I was craving classic french fries….oh and a mimosa to celebrate my 16 mile run and continue my 6 day drinking streak.
After a full tummy I went home and spent the rest of Sunday napping…Ahhh perfect 🙂
QUESTION: How do you motivate yourself up for long runs? What’s your favorite post run meal? Seriously, how do you down a gel in less than 10min? Any advice/tips??