Tag Archives: 20 mile run

20 Miles to Remember

I’ve had some ups and downs this training go-round. I had a run-in with strep throat that slowed me down and made me feel super tired, I had some moments where I lacked motivation and chose to go out drinking for St. Patrick’s day rather than run a long run (oops), and every now and then I’ve had some ITB pain.

However, today’s long 20 mile run made everything better. It gave me a renewed sense of trust in my training and my strength, and it was really, really needed. I know not every run can be a good run and I accept that I need to have some bad runs to appreciate the good ones. So I am going to appreciate the heck out of this run. It was pretty much perfect.

20 Mile Run
So the run was great, but it didn’t start off well-planned at all. I was originally supposed to head upstate this weekend and run 20 miles there, with a short 5k plugged in the middle. At the 11th hour, Hubby and I decided not to go, which meant we were both planning on doing our long 20 mile runs in Central Park.

That my friends is the first problem. Central Park and I have had a love/hate relationship for a while. I love CP when I have to do a short run (8 miles or under), and I love that a lot of the NYRR races are held there–so convenient to my homestead, and it’s always been a big part of my marathon training. But that’s where the hate part comes in–sometimes I get pretty bored with Central Park pretty quickly during training. I feel myself dreading running there because I always know what comes next and where the hardest parts are.

So you are probably asking why I don’t just suck it up and try running over to West Side for a bit and then finish in Central Park? Fabulous idea–except for the fact that today I really needed to be close to water fountains because I decided to ditch my waterbelt.

What? You’re probably saying: “Girl, you’re crazy!” And Hubby looked at me the same way when I left the house. But I managed to pull off this long run without the belt…and it was pretty freaking awesome. Here goes:

Miles 1-7: Running to the park and one loop around. Easy breezy! Don’t follow my example here, but I didn’t take any water this first loop. The air was cool, I was moving fast and feeling great. I held off on water but formulated my plans.

Miles 7-13: Now I was heading into my second loop, which meant enjoying Harlem Hill another go ’round. Surprisingly, I still felt pretty strong and was cruising and pretending to be speedy. As I reached the top of Harlem Hill, I decided it was time for water. I missed the first water fountain after HH, but beelined it to the second one. I had to wait for two people to finish up, then I gulped down some heavenly water and headed back out.

Apparently the water tasted so good when it hit my lips that my body screamed for more. So I pulled over again after finishing the three rolling hills on the West side and gulped some more. I was on my way and still feeling okay.

I decided to actually buy a bottle of water and carry it around mile 12. I was on the East side, running past the stinky horse area and I was drawn to the vendor ahead. Two bucks later, and after possibly cutting in front of some tourist who couldn’t make up her mind, I had my delicious overpriced water in my hand and was back on the road. As I finished up my second loop, I sucked down a chocolate Gu and prepared myself for the last loop.

Miles 13-20: Third and final loop. Here we go. Things got tough for a little bit. Harlem Hill on the third try REALLY kicked my a$$ pretty good. But I pulled through. I finished my bottle of water as I reached the top and then made the wisest decision of my run: to not throw it out, but refill it instead. BOOM. How DID I get so smart? I refilled at the next water fountain on the West side and shuffled along. Actually – I really wasn’t moving that slow. I was kind of impressed with my pace throughout the whole run.

I made my way around the lower loop and headed back up the East side. I chucked my water bottle around mile 19, cleared out of Central Park and headed home for my last mile.

So here are my mile breakdowns:

I crept into the 9’s a few times, but most were when I was buying water, stopping for water, or refilling my bottle at a water fountain. And here’s how three lovely loops in CP looks on the map:

You’d think it was only one easy loop if I didn’t tell you!

And lastly, a few of my random thought during this run:

  1. I am pretty sure I saw Tim Tebow running the CP loop…carrying a football under his arm. Or it could have been a Tebow look alike that was trying hard to convince people he was Tebow. If the latter is the case, the imposter did a good job – or I was just moving too fast and a person walking wouldn’t have been so easily fooled.
  2. How the heck were people wearing winter sweatshirts and long sleeved shirts in 70 degrees? I did not get it. But I saw so many people who were waay over-dressed.
  3. I found my running pace twin. She doesn’t know we’re twins, but we ran about mile 11-18 pretty near each other. She kept stopping for water too or stretching or whatever she was doing, and I would pass her, and then she would pass me, etc. Normally, I might find this annoying. But this chick wasn’t all up in my space or anything and it took me a while to even notice it. But she was cool. We were running friends…even if she didn’t realize it. See ya around soon new friend – a.k.a. girl with the gray shorts and pink t-shirt.
  4. Throw your stuff in the trash, not on the ground. So I understand in a race if you’re taking a Gu, you might just fling the wrapper on the ground. You’re in a freaking race and you gotta move it – understood. But when you’re running during your free time in CP, have the common courtesy to hold it until you pass a trash can or something. Geesh people. Earth Day – ever heard of it?

So those were my random thoughts during today’s almost 3-hour run. And here’s what a happy runner looks like after finishing a fabulous 20-mile run:

And now it’s time to foam roll, roll with the marathon stick, shower, and EAT!

Happy weekend!

Running in the Rain: Half Marathon and 20-Mile Run

Happy Sunday all! I am going to make this a short and quick post since I’m sort of tired. Last night I attended the More-Fitness Magazine Half Marathon Pasta Party, where I met up with my cousin-in-law and a few of her friends. I’m usually not one to sign up for these parties and I was reminded of why last night. The food was pretty generic and unimpressive, but I didn’t go into it expecting a gourmet meal. Still, they could bring it up a notch next year. Although if I run the race next year, I will most certainly not be attending the pasta party, so it really doesn’t matter to me in the end.

Anyway – sorry for the tangent. It was good to catch up with my cousin a bit and talk about the upcoming race – and the terrible weather predicted. Everyone there seemed pretty optimistic that the rain would hold off, but I did not share their sentiments. My cousin actually brought down my light rain jacket with her – that’s how non-optimistic I was.

I stopped at the store on my way home from the pasta dinner and besides a bunch of healthy stuff, I also bought some Tostitos Hint of Lime chips – they are an addiction. So I snacked on a few of those before bed because the dinner hadn’t really filled me up.

I headed to bed around 10:00 p.m. and was up by 6:00 a.m. this morning (Sunday). I had my normal pre-run breakfast of an English muffin with peanut butter and a banana, as well as a granola bar and a big glass of water. I grabbed my Garmin as I headed out the door at 7:15.

I decided to catch a cab to the start since it was indeed RAINING when I left. And I’m not talking a sprinkle here and there. It was rain. As I tried to hail a cab, a girl in running gear came up right next to me. She asked if I wanted to share one to the start and I said heck yes! Apparently, she lives in the building right next to me – who knew?!

Made it to the start and decided to huddle under a tree until the very last minute in order to avoid the direct rain. I also noticed pretty quickly that my race bib had me placed in THE FIRST CORRAL!! What is that?!! My time on my bib said 7:49 as my expected pace and I did not think that would place me in the first section. Being the chicken that I am, I opted to line-up in the 2,000 corral, a few back from the start. We all huddled in the corrals for what seemed an inordinate amount of time and then finally we started.

And it was WET! This was a whole new kind of wet I’ve never in my life experienced. I was optimistic about the power of my waterproof rain jacket for the first 2 miles or so, but then slowly felt the wetness seeping in.

Oh oops – totally forgot to mention the BIGGEST bummer of the day…and no it wasn’t even the rain. My Garmin froze. Yup – totally froze at 7:04 a.m. apparently. I was pushing buttons like a crazy woman while lining up at the start, but finally just gave up and decided to wing it. After Googling the issue when I got home later, I learned I needed to hold the Start and Reset buttons down at the same time for about 10 seconds. I had tried holding them both down, but for only a few seconds. So this presented a HUGE problem. Yes, I wouldn’t be able to track my speed during the race, but I also needed to run extra after the race to get in my last 20+ run for training. I did a few mental calculations and planned out a route I thought might work.

So, back to the race. It began, it was raining hard, and I was Garmin-less. Sounds like a worst-case scenario right? Well yes, it was, but I also just decided to run whatever pace I felt comfortable with. The first few miles were really rough. My body wasn’t warmed up, but my clothes were getting soaked and it was making for a very uncomfortable run. Finally, by about mile five I was sufficiently warmed up and used to the rain (as used to it as one can get).

I made it around 1 loop and was even feeling pretty happy when the rain cleared a bit and it was only drizzling slightly. That was short-lived when it started raining hard again around mile 9 just as I was approaching the big hill on West side near 110 Street. Fun. Around this time, we also started passing the walkers, which meant I was basically running in the center of the drive the whole time – a.k.a. running more than required. Awesome.

But I’m making this sound horrible. Despite the rain, the cold, the lack of Garmin and the extra mileage, it was actually a good race for me. In fact, I PR-ed. Haha! My official finish time was 1:46:00!! That is about 3 minutes faster than my half marathon in January. Average pace was 8:05 minute mile and I came in 168 place overall. So maybe my bib number wasn’t all that far off?

Yeah – go figure, I ran my best in the worst of conditions. I can’t explain it.

So after I crossed the finish and marveled at the fact that they announced my name even without my racing bib on display (those sly NYRR officiators are so quick), I grabbed a gatorade and water and washed down a Gu I’d had in my pocket throughout the run. I paused for a moment and argued with myself about continuing the rest of my long run or calling it quits and heading home (I sooo wanted to go home). But guilt and fear won out (afraid I wouldn’t be prepared for the marathon) and I trudged on. I headed West out of the 72nd Transverse and then headed South again to do another loop. The funny part was that I was mixed in with runners and walkers still racing. This also served as incentive to keep running since I was being cheered on (I know I’m such a liar) and I figured that these other racers were going to be in the rain for the same amount of time as me, so if they could stand it – so could I.

I did another loop and then turned into the 72nd Transverse from the West side and headed North up the East side. I left the park around 85th and made a bee-line for home. Walking indoors out of the rain felt amazing – everything I’d dreamt it would be and more. I later used mapmyrun to determine how far I’d run and it was 21.3 miles! I was hoping to get to 22 this time around, but I will happily take 21.

Here are a few photos of my state after this wretched run:

See Hubby – look at my superlow Bib number!!

And my nasty socks and leg – those socks used to be white.

I literally stripped at the front door and immediately jumped in the shower. My legs were screaming for a good stretch, but I had to get rid of all the mud and muck first. After my quick shower I gave my legs what they were begging for and stretched really well – also including some rolling with my marathon stick.

Since then, I’ve snacked on this:

Chobani with granola

And some carrots, grape tomatoes, hummus, cheese and grilled chicken breast.

I also ate quite a few Hint of Lime Tostitos as well. And Hubby and I just finished watching The Blind Side and I loved it!! So cute.

Anyway, this has turned into a super long post. But I am very happy that my last 20+ run is finally done and I didn’t skimp out on it like I soooo wanted to! Yay for determination and perseverance despite ALL ODDS!

Hope you’ve had a great weekend. What was the best part of yours? Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!