I did it!
This morning, I made 16 miles my bitch.
OK, that’s not totally true.
In fact, those 16 miles sort of made me their bitch. But I got through those miles and ended today’s run — a new personal distance record — with a giant smile on my face.
I took today off from work because I’m headed up to New Hampshire this afternoon for a lovely weekend with my best friend, Becky.
Having the day off also meant I could do my long run today instead of attempting to find 16 runnable miles in Contoocook, New Hampshire.
Last night I inhaled some carbohydrates, as always.
Do you want the recipe for this? Here you go: Boil pasta, strain, add store-bought pasta sauce (no need to heat it up beforehand — laziness is key), add microwaved frozen spinach, stir, eat. Yeah, you’re welcome for that. It’s tricky and complicated, I know, but also totally delicious.
And with wise words of encouragement from my favorite supporter, I was off to bed by 10 pm.
Thanks, Mom. Don’t worry — I wasn’t macho.
My alarm went off at the ripe hour of 4:30 am. Time to run!
In my head, I thought all the weather people were crazy. They were all, “Oh blah blah blah, it’s going to be 100 degrees on Friday, blah blah blah, we love weather.”
And I’m thinking, “Al Roker, you don’t know anything. I’m basically a meteorologist and I am sure it’s going to cool down by the time I have to run for several hours on Friday morning.”
But maybe Al and his weather friends were right.
Not even 5 am and already on the way to record-breaking heat.
Whatever. Honey badger don’t care.
I took my time getting out the door: ate a granola bar, drank some water, did some ab things, put away my clean dishes (never leave for a weekend with dirty dishes — that’s nasty, like a honey badger eating larvae) and was out about an hour later.
(Seriously, what do I do for an entire hour in the morning? I have no idea.)
Mentally, I was psyched about this run. I took a total rest day yesterday (crazy, I know) so my legs were itching to hit the road. I didn’t let the heat discourage me — I was about to run a new distance. I thrive on challenges.
I walked out of my apartment and it was like getting smacked in the face with heat. Seriously muggy out there. But I stayed positive. I have found that that’s crucial when it comes to running. It’s such a mental battle, and I’ve let negative thoughts get the best of me in the past.
So off I went, Central Park-bound.
I ran my first 5 (I think) miles solo. Central Park was hilariously empty this morning. Everyone was smart and stayed in their air conditioned apartments, or at least opted for cool gym workouts.
I felt good for the first few miles. Sure, it was hot. But I didn’t dwell on it and tried to stick to shaded areas.
There was also a wonderful breeze coming off the Reservoir.
While we hydrated, Megan put on a Lady Gaga-inspired performance for us.
It was awesome. Someone get this girl an agent.
So off we all went. Everyone had a different plan for the day. So we started on the Bridle Path and eventually everyone parted ways. But as always, running as a group was the highlight. It’s so much easier and more fun than running alone!
We all agreed that the heat sucked and we were all keeping a more…leisurely pace, we’ll say, than usual.
Thanks for running with me today, friends! You’re all lifesavers.
I found myself alone on the Bridle Path (doesn’t that sound tragic?) when I was 8 or 9 miles into the run.
I stopped for water a lot and made one bathroom stop.
That’s me in the bathroom, looking happy. Right?
I also fueled today, which went well. I ate three Strawberry Gu Chomps: one at mile 6, a second at mile 10 and the last one at mile 12.
And the sun continued to beat down on me.
Something crazy happened after I left my trusty running group: I didn’t listen to music.
I had my stellar playlists ready to go and had my headphones around my neck (I listened to music when I was alone at the start of the run). But I never turned it back on.
And I liked it.
Quiet running was kind of nice.
I also got some background music, courtesy of “Good Morning America” and the Goo Goo Dolls.
I also had a lovely little celebrity sighting.
I’m totally that pretty when I run, too. And my sweat smells like roses. But thanks for the thumbs up, Heids! Keep up the great work. Yay running!
Around mile 12 I stopped at a water fountain — and happened to meet a fellow runner wearing the same shirt as me. We chatted as we fueled and drank and eventually the conversation led to a fun fact: her boyfriend has colitis. She was excited to hear that I’m fundraising for CCFA — and I was thrilled to find out that she’s a mentor with Team Challenge! Crazy connection. Digestive disorders are everywhere and they are sexy.
While I was stopped (I stopped a lot, honestly, both to get water and to stretch out my legs), Jess ran by!
“How many miles do you have left?” she asked me.
“Ugh, four,” I responded.
“Me too! Can I join you?”
Um, yes please.
Jess is quite fast, but she kindly understood that I was wrapping up a long ass run. We stuck close to 9-minute-miles, sometimes faster, sometimes slower.
And Jess was by my side when my watch beeped to signal the 16 mile mark!
It felt so good to finish this run. It was really tough. But I am completely convinced that trying not to dwell on the ever-rising temperature is what got me through it.
Well, that and the fact that I just kind of like running.
And that I have awesome runner friends to pull me along.
Here’s the route I covered today:
And, despite feeling like I was crawling most of the time, the overall splits aren’t too bad! Yes, they’re considerably slower than my last long run, but I think that’s to be expected considering the high heat.
I’ll take it.
I was really dirty when I got back home.
And I’ll spare you a photo of my sad, stumpy little feet. They’re callused, blistered and totally badass. I may have also left a toenail somewhere on the Bridle Path, because it’s sure as heck not totally on my foot.
That was graphic and disgusting.
So I’m feeling pretty pumped right now. I’m going to go pack (mostly laundry — hope the laundry room is ready for me, Mom) and run a few errands before hitting the road.
You know, really important errands…
I’m more nervous about getting behind the wheel of a car than I was about running 16 miles. Go figure.
Thank you for all the great encouragement today. It feels awesome having another MILEstone (That was punny, right? No? Dang.) behind me. I’m feeling OK about those 26.2 miles I get to run in September!
Also, I titled this post “Sweet 16,” which can apply to both today’s mile-count and 16 Handles. Duh.
I WANT TO KNOW: Brag for me. Tell me about an awesome recent accomplishment. No need for modesty. I want to hear about the great things you’re all doing, whether they’re fitness related (you ran in the heat today, perhaps), food related (maybe you invented a recipe for chocolate brownies and you’re bringing samples over for me to test taste) or career related (yes, you deserved that promotion and that raise — well done). Just tell me.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!