Sweet 16

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.

Eventually I met up with a few of my favorite running buddies: Kelly, Megan and Maria.

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.

Not cool.

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.

I’m sorry.

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!



0 Responses

  1. Huge congrats to you! A successful long run on the hottest day of the year? You’re no joke. I love it.

    I didn’t run long this weekend, but I did complete the Tough Mountain Challenge at Sunday River and my body feels like it’s been through the war. Climbing up a mountainside, through mud, and over walls hurts.

  2. You are my hero today! 16 miles in that heat? Amazing! I won’t even venture outside to do 3 these days.

    My biggest accomplishment for today was successfully shopping for maternity jeans. Let me tell you – shopping for jeans is one thing; shopping for some that contain a large, stretchy belly panel is entirely another.

  3. Congrats on the great run, especially in this heat! I’m pretty proud of my rockin recent PR at the Boilermaker 15k. I shaved a solid two minutes off my time AND felt fabulous the entire time. Gotta love those races. Congrats again on a great run – I’ll have to meet up with you sometime for a park or river run soon!

  4. Way to make me feel bad about skipping my run. I was up at 430 too and really wanted to tough it out, but where I run there is NO moving air.

  5. This post makes me feel a lot more excited about 12 miles in tomorrow’s heat. What time do you usually get out the door for these long runs?

  6. I am new to running, but something about your smiley face gets me so pumped to go out on runs! I think i want to be as macho as you when I grow up. (That said, I’m fairly sure I am older than you.) Also wish I still lived in NY ~ As those Central Park runs look so lush.

  7. Can’t believe you ran so far in that heat! I’m in Seattle… one of the few places in the country NOT currently getting 3-digit temps! It’s great running weather out here!

  8. I’ll probably have to read this tmw before I go run 14 — I plan on lots and lots of water stops! And a gu….or maybe some swedish fish or gummy bears. haha. Congrats, though! 16 is big. After 16, they all kind of start to be the same to me (18, 20, etc).

    Hmm bragging? ummm Not sure. I PR’ed last weekend? I’m getting better at critically reading medical articles and framing research questions? hmmm

  9. Way to go 16 miles! Holy cow! Also, I love when your crawl is about the speed of my sprint… So impressive and inspiring! (You, obviously, not tortoise me)

    Ready for my brag? My kickball team won the “bar champs” title within the league. Yes, that’s an official award, and we’re legitimately proud of ourselves. and you win the same prize as the real team wins for actually playing kickball. I like to think my oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies I gave to the judges helped, too…

  10. Wow girl! Way to kill it in extremely HOT temps. I agree that 16 miles earns you 16 Handles. My recent accomplishment is that I closed down 16 Handles on my birthday, yesterday. Yep, at 11:00, it was me and the 16 year-olds, closing down 16 Handles. Here’s to another year!

  11. Ali, I’m on the Couch to 5K run so reading your entries (especially during this heat wave!) is totally inspiring to me and I’m glad I found your blog from when Bun&Borough linked to you…

    My most recent accomplishment was when I was at the beach this week. I went for running distance and not speed. I ran my first ten minute mile and I’m planning to do it again today!

    – Vanessa
    Project Zen

  12. You Rock! And you’re my idol…I was thinking more along the lines of “Al Roker, you’re probably right..I will collapse and die in the heat” I took my long run inside on the treadmill and it was…boring. haha enjoy your weekend in NH!

  13. whoa — 16 miles today is pretty ridic… and bad ass. nice job. i’m super impressed 🙂

    also, it’s awesome and hilarious that your mom referred to you as macho… love it. but really, she’s right, and i’ll keep that in mind for my long run tomorrow. thanks, ali’s mom.

  14. I absolutely love your blog and look forward to reading it each day! I have to run 7 miles tomorrow morning over here in Minnesota and I was getting quite nervous about the heat. After I read this…not so nervous anymore!
    Thanks for the great post!

  15. you are incredible for
    a. waking up that early;
    b. going out running in this heat; and
    c. being you! 🙂

    one of these mornings when it cools off me and my slow running need to get to the park in the meantime Ill stick to the treadmill inside where I wont hork up my organs (which is a side effect I have with humidity :))

    P.S. I think you might need this mug- http://www.etsy.com/listing/72509793/honey-badger-dont-care-honey-badger?ref=sr_gallery_2&ga_search_submit=&ga_search_query=honey+badger+mug&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_facet=handmade

  16. Followed your advice Ali, and I ran this morning. I had to do my long run (although it was only 7m) today since I’m unable tomorrow. Great job on your long run!!!!!!! I had a beautiful sunrise to see, which was definitely an energy booster.

  17. I’m so jealous every day I read about your running accomplishments! I haven’t been able to run in about 8 weeks due to a back injury…and I’m supposed to be training for Marine Corps Marathon (my first). Yikes!

    My recent accomplishment is starting my own blog! I’ve been following yours for a couple of months now, and I finally got the courage to start one of my own!

  18. NICE! I cannot believe you ran 16 today – I could barely finish 6 down here in Philly. You’ll be ready for this marathon in no time – Cheers!
    Your runs are so exciting and full of friend/sightings! Heidi Klum – so neat.

  19. WOW!!!! I am so incredibly IMPRESSED. I could not have done it in this disgusting heat (and HUMIDITY– the air is so thick and hard to breathe in!) but you ROCKED it and at an amazing pace too!!! I found it funny you said you’re more nervous about getting behind the wheel than running 16 miles– that reminded me of something I would say. I am such a nervous driver, esp when I drive long distances, I always feel like something bad’s gonna happen and I’m going to end up on the side of a road in a ditch. I’m such a positive person, aren’t I? 🙂

    I can’t think of anything like this to brag about, but I did manage to run 8 miles on the treadmill the other week, which for me was an accomplishment (I find treadmill running so boring..but in this heat, I have to)

  20. “Mom Feller,” haha, love it. I have peach tea flavored Gu chomps (with caffeine!) to try out during my 15 tomorrow, but I’m a little scurred since Gu gel has crossed me once…

    Umm, I guess recent brag is my 4th of July 5K PR. I normally hate the 5K distance, but I negative split this one and ran the last mile in 7:40 in the Houston heat. I think the only time I ever ran a sub-8:00 mile before that was when I raced the NYRR 5th Avenue mile last year. Emilia:1, Texas summer: 0!

  21. I know I said this already, but you are awesome!! Way to push through the tough conditions and get in a solid 16 miles. I ran 5 and was dead after 3. But at least I got up in the morning to run again, right?? That’s gotta count for something! 🙂

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  22. OMG You are amazing!!!! How you did 16 miles today boggles my mind! I made it one block walking down the street to get blueberries today, I thought that was an accomplishment 🙂

    My accomplishment lately was getting a raise at work based on merit (not just timing that I’ve been there or any of that corporate stuff)! It felt really good! Also, this week I woke up extra early 4 out of 5 of the days to run and/or do yoga – I’m getting used to the pre-sun hours!

  23. Way to go! I have a question. I live pretty close to Riverside park, so I run there after work most days. But I’m hoping to switch it up and become a morning runner. You talk so much about how packed Central Park is in the morning. Sounds awesomely motivating! However – I’ve run around the reservoir a couple of times and it’s kinda quiet sometimes. While this is usually very nice in busy NY – but do you always feel safe? I have this fear that so early and so empty it might not be the safest spot…please squelch this fear. Thanks! 🙂

    1. I always feel safe in Central Park. I have never found myself alone on the Reservoir or the running path. If you’re nervous about the Reservoir being less crowded, I recommend sticking to the main running road, where there are ALWAYS lots of cyclists and runners.

  24. I’ve got to say reading along while you train for your marathon is just so refreshing as you put a happy spin on every workout. It makes me more enthusiastic about putting in my miles for my next marathon.

    My accomplishment is getting up at 4:30 the last 3 days to run before work. Normally I run at lunch or after work but this heat and humidity has been intense and I intend to avoid it as much as possible. I didn’t actually run this morning because we had thunderstorms and I’ll run in everything except lightening so I need to figure out when to get in a few miles…

  25. This is awesome girlie! I, too, ran my first sixteen miler today, and it pretty much kicked my butt. Actually, my knee kicked my butt…I can’t seem to shake whatever is going on with it, but I was happy to cover the distance even though I had to walk a lot at the end! I love reading you recaps because it motivates me to finish these miles!!! Keep inspiring!

  26. Haha 16 miles is totally badass and totally DOES deserve 16 Handles! I can’t imagine running that Manu miles in this heat. I am way more of a wuss than you are. (I’ll stick to triathlons in July, ha.) congrats on setting a new PDR – I have LOVED following along with your training journey and I know you’re going to do amazing in September!

  27. I am SO GLAD the photos of Megan made the blog – that made my morning! Well, that and running with you guys – I didn’t think about the heat whilst we were chatting. You are an amazing rockstar for getting 16 done today – I shall channel you for my long run tomorrow morning. Still so jealous you saw Heidi. I wonder how far she actually ran…

    Have a fab weekend in NH – 16 Handles date when you get back!

    1. bwahaha, i am so glad the jazz hands made an appearance! next time i will do the whole routine for you – one shouldered sports bra, glitter eye shadow, the works!

      congrats on 16 miles, in beastly heat! You are going to feel so awesome when marathon day rolls around and it’s crisp, cool, and Autumn-like 🙂

  28. Amazing job girl!!! You are so incredibly inspiring! 16 is such a huge accomplishment, you should be so proud! My big accomplishment for today will be getting through my physiology chapters and cooking my boyfriend pork chops (and brownies!) for dinner. Yours is way more impressive than mine haha, Have a great weekend 🙂

    Angie at eatlovecure.wordpress.com

  29. Okay, you are waaay awesome because it really is Africa Hot out there! I woke up in bed (in AC w/o blankets) sweating this morning and opted for a lunchtime treadmill run. Also, I love that you have your mom in your phone with her last name. I list my parents the same way and my friends always make fun of me. I also love that you, like me, don’t actually cook but instead, put things together to eat. 😉 You are my inspiration for tomorrow’s 11 miler. You should sleep in 😉 Have a good trip!

  30. Damn girl. Seriously badass (macho – lol, that was funny). You are my running idol. Like whoa. Have a great time in NH! Will wave as I drive through to Maine 😉

  31. Awesome run!!! I can NOT fathom doing 16 miles in this heat. And you are incredible for getting yourself out of bed that early… I need to stop complaining about 6:30 wakeups! You are badass!! Oh, and 100% agree on the 16 miles = 16 handles. Do it.

    My brag: yesterday, I had a 50/50 run (1mi warmup, 2.5 mi semi-tempo, 2.5 mi sub-5k pace), and my last mile was sub 7. I did this on the treadmill AND without music (because I guess my ears sweat, and my earphones always stop working once the sweat gets in…sexy). My distance PR may be 17.5 miles, but my TREADMILL distance PR before this was like 4. I have gym ADD.

  32. I can’t believe you were able to do 16 in this heat! I struggled so much with my 3. Also — in the scorching heat and humidity, you run 16 miles in the same amount of time I run 13.1. I hope you realized how awesome you are. The East River path was also empty, I think I only saw 2 other runners. And lastly, Heidi Klum ran in PANTS today??!

  33. YAY YOU!!! 16 miles in this heat is UNREAL. I was proud of myself for getting through 7 of the 10 I had planned for this AM. These muggies are UNREAL. Seriously!! I hope you enjoy every last bit of your weekend in NH, you’ve more than earned it. 🙂 PS. I love running in the silence. So soothing, just me and my thoughts!

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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