The Day I Ate 20 Miles For Breakfast

Today was the run I’ve been wanting.

It was the run I needed.

It was the run that convinced me I’m going to kick the crap out of the Hamptons Marathon on September 24.

My confidence has officially been boosted.

Put me in coach. I'm ready to do something awesome. Today. Look at me. I can be. Not centerfield but a RUNNER. Woo! New song alert.

I can easily list a handful of reasons today’s 20-mile run went so well:

I slept great the past two nights in a row. Last night, in fact, I was in bed at 9:30 pm. When my alarm went off at 4:30 this morning (yes, I willingly woke up at 4:30 am on a Saturday) I jumped out of bed and felt sufficiently rested.

I took a total rest day yesterday. I wanted to do a yoga class after work, but apparently class was canceled and I “would have known that if I had checked the Labor Day schedule.” Sorry, front desk lady, I’ve been busy. Downward Dog fail.

Fine, though, because I felt nice and fresh today.

I baked and relaxed all afternoon. Baking isn’t really relaxing to me, honestly. But I had fun with it. I decided to attempt Mama Pea’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Dough Balls. Holy hell, Mama Pea. You make a good cookie. And I probably didn’t even do it right.

I should be a food blogger. Clearly.
Cute little balls. I may have eaten a lot of dough by the handful.

When these came out of the oven, they were a bit crumbly (most definitely my fault, not the recipe’s fault) but oh-so-delicious. I accidentally ate three.

Holy yum. Seriously. YUM.

Now there are not very many cookies left for me to bring to the Labor Day BBQ I’m on my way to. Oops! Sorry, fellow party guests. My appetite is clearly more valuable to me than yours.

Dough balls for the big-time win. I will make these again.

I ate a solid pre-run dinner, but I didn’t overeat it. I have this bad habit of over-stuffing my face in anticipation of long runs. Last night, however, I stopped shoveled lamb ragu pasta in my mouth. Well played, Ali. Well played.

I gave myself plenty of time. I woke up at 4:30 am but didn’t start running until 5:45.

Check out my amazing new sweatband from my friend Teddy. It's my favorite color. And wearing it underneath my watch was genius. Way more comfortable!

Since my stomach has been a horrid beast all week, I wanted to give it time to decide if it wanted to chill out or not. It took a while, but eventually — after some ab work and jumping jacks to get things moving and test the…waters? — I hit the road.

Also, it was early, and very, very dark out.

Dark and empty. Very weird. Totally safe though, Mom. Relax. There was a drunk couple stumbling around and I'm sure they would have come to my assistance if something happened.

Apparently Central Park wasn’t even technically “open” when I got there, because all the gates were closed. Good thing I’m awesome at hurdles. Or good thing the gates don’t really block anything and I ran right past them… I know what you’re thinking: I am such a rebel. Except not. I hate breaking rules.

I didn’t Gu-barf. My fueling methods were spot-on today, witchy stomach and all. I ate two “granola bars” (Entenmann’s-made, of course) for breakfast, which was lovely. I ate a mint chocolate Gu around mile 7 and a chocolate Hammer Gel around mile 13.

Apparently these are much better the second time around. Last week, I vomited Gu in Central Park. Today, I took it like a champ.

Though I did manage to spill some mint chocolate Gu all over myself while I drank some water. And when I say “all over myself” I mean all down my shirt, slathered onto my phone, in my hair, on my shoes and on the dog standing next to me. I have wonderful manners.

But really, the gel-intake thing went much better this time. I’m pumped about it.

I only made two bathroom stops. Based on how the ol’ stomach has been feeling, I thought it would be way more than that, and I thought they’d be more urgent. Instead, I was pretty much OK. I was happy to find open restrooms in Central Park. I even discovered new ones, near Columbus Circle. Sweet find.

I did what Coach Cane told me to do. His instructions for today were to run the first 16 miles at 45 seconds slower than my marathon goal pace, then run at my marathon goal pace for the final four miles.

Consider it done, Coach.

Here are my splits. I don't think they're all accurate, but whatever.

I based my times off an 8:45 marathon goal pace. I think that’s a little ambitious for my first 26.2, but we’ll see what happens. I rocked out on those last four miles though.

My watch was also super spotty today. It kept jumping around like a little kid on crack. Because lots of little kids do crack. And it makes them crazy and untrustworthy. So I’ll take the splits, but considering I attempted an all-out sprint at mile 16, I don’t think those numbers are quite right. But I’m no Garmin. So I won’t argue. (Damn you, Garmin liar.)

I left Central Park. Lately I’ve been sticking within the confines of my safe little greenery, but today I hit up the West Side Highway for some additional fun. It was flat and lovely.

This is where I went today. Blogger tip: Don't start your watch right outside your apartment, because then if you post a picture like this, people can fiiiiind you. Be more sneaky than that.

I did it all on my own. It was a huge confidence boost knowing I could cover 20 miles — that’s three hours of running — without any friends pushing me along the way or helping me out. I did it. Me. No help. Ka-pow.

The weather was perfect. Breezy, cool and wonderful. Thanks, NYC.

I felt strong at the end. I could have run 6.2 more miles. Marathon Day is approaching, and I’m ready.

Yes, I asked a random stranger on the street to take this picture. I said, "I just had a really good run & want to send a photo to my mom." I lied to her. I'm such an awful person. I never sent my mom the photo. I just wanted it for myself. Narcissist? Little bit.

And now, according to Coach Cane, we taper.

In other news, immediately after wrapping up the run I showered, packed and headed to the Hamptons Jitney. I’m spending a fun-filled weekend outlet shopping, BBQing and probably falling asleep in random places in front of total strangers.

And I’m not going to share my dough balls with anyone.

Happy long weekend, everyone!



49 Responses

  1. It’s not technically a lie, right?! Your mom totally reads this blog because I remember you’ve posted about her reading it before (Hi, Mom of Ali!).

    Your splits = AMAZING! So excited for you to run the Hamptons Marathon. I’m totally living vicariously through you. The way I see it, reading your marathon recap will probably be the closest I ever come to running my own 26.2! (That’s such a lie, I’m gearing up to finish the NYRR 9+1 qualification, but still. Vicariously. Yeah.)

    Definitely trying the sweatband + watch idea … should be a sexy tan, can’t wait.

  2. YOU ARE A BEAST! Those last couple of miles are speedy – not easy to do after you’ve been running for, oh 3 hours. Also, I really want to make those dough balls for a friend’s bachelorette party next weekend….the name sort of sounds dirty hehehe. super appropriate for a dozen, 20-something girls getting ready for a night out!

    umm, ok enough of me being R-rated. i’m still planning my CP run this week – i miss you!!

  3. Yay Ali!! Congratulations on rocking 20!! I don’t think my first ever 20-miler went nearly this well. I am so incredibly impressed! You definitely are ready to rock the marathon in a few weeks.

    Now rest up and enjoy that taper! You’ve earned it.

  4. That’s an amazingly accurate and STRONG long run! Now plop your rear end down and rest. Or, you know, do what your coach tells you to do. That previous sentence was probably a good indication of why I don’t coach. But seriously, yay! Amazing runs do elicit those kind of responses, eh?

  5. Did I see you on the path on the WSH this morning? What I mean is, I was running there, you were running there, and the friend I was running with said, “That’s Ali from Jack Rabbit,” and then I turned around to look, and you had run past.

    Incidentally, we also passed John Goodman and I totally didn’t see him either.

    I could have used some of your motivation! Or demotivation! I did NOT eat my run for breakfast this morning.

  6. Great job Ali! I’m so proud of you! You are going to rock your marathon!

    Even though it is a bit difficult for me emotionally to read posts like this (because of this injury that absolutely REFUSES to heal! So far- 1 month without running. Boo.) I found myself smiling through the entire post. 🙂

    Have a great weekend Ali!

  7. Congrats on the awesome run! You’re going to kick some serious ass on the 24th. I wanted to pick up an I Heart Sweat shirt at the Union Square Jack Rabbit store today, but I totally missed the boat. (Congrats on selling out again!) Is there going to be another bunch arriving before the marathon, or is online ordering my only hope?

  8. WOW! What an AMAZING long run! I have no doubt that you’re going into the race confident, completely well trained, and ready to go. Definitely don’t get too focused on time – I made that mistake in my first and I know it frustrated me a lot. Enjoy it, run without headphones and listen to the crowd, cheer, scream, fist pump, you know… 😉

    Hoping to channel some good vibes for my last 20 mile run on Monday! It was supposed to be tomorrow, but it is going to be mid 80s, totally humid, and Monday is 60s and cool. Easy peasy choice right there.

  9. Awesome, awesome, awesome! Good job!! Yay!! And so on 🙂

    I most definitely ate 1/4 of the bowl of Mama Pea’s dough before making any cookies, it was just so good!!

  10. hooray for a great long run!! You are more than ready for the marathon. Excellent splits at the end of the run too, speedy! My Garmin was a little wonky on the WSH today too. Hope you have a great weekend in the Hampy’s (that’s what the cool people call it, no?)

    PS, I’ll trade you zucchini chocolate chip bread for some of those cookies?

  11. Great job on the run, Ali! I am so happy that your confidence is flying high.. just the way it should be. You have done so much in preparation for the marathon.. and you will rock it no doubt. Enjoy your batch of cookie dough balls.. and your weekend 🙂

  12. You’re definitely going to rock your marathon easily and I think 345 pace will be no problem for you! I think my last marathon was around that pace (I should probably know that stuff ha!) and I ran most of my longruns much slower than that.

    Also I swear the garmin is sometimes a liar ESP on the westside highway…when I did my long run mon over there it was all over the place!

    I’m excited for you….you’re going to have a great time!

  13. Congrats! So happy you had such a great run! You are going to do amazing on race day! 🙂 Hope you have a lovely long weekend!!

  14. GREAT job! You are way more than ready : ) I need to channel your optimism and enthusiasm…and maybe your legs… can I borrow your hips? Mine aren’t in the best shape, ha.

  15. Ah the 20 miler before the taper is such a big milestone!! I’m glad it’s left you feeling confident and prepared – that’s exactly what it should do! And it sounds like this week you figured out what works for you fueling wise (definitely most important to do what’s best for your body, regardless of what works for other runners.) Coach Cane definitely prepared you well and I bet you will surprise yourself on the 24th!
    (Is it weird that I want to mark my calendar with the date of your marathon?? haha I am so excited for you!!0

  16. That’s amazing! There’s nothing better than a totally wonderful confidence boosting run. I’m so impressed that you ran 20 miles by yourself! I feel like I would have gotten lonely. This post made me so happy for you. It’s inspiring! I really want to run a marathon in the spring so reading about how you’ve had such a good experience training for yours is great. You have such a great attitude even though you have a lot more to struggle with than just the basics of training. I hope you enjoy your taper and your race! You’ll beast it for sure.

  17. I’ve never met you, but I’m convinced I saw you scooting along down East Drive around 9 this morning, probably finishing off your run. Congratulations!

  18. Awesome run! So good to go into taper with a 20 miler like that so your confidence can be high like it should be! You are going to do great! I think you should def be able to hit your goal pace but my biggest advice is to really enjoy your first marathon. You only experience it once…and this is coming from someone who was too worried about hitting a certain time and hard on herself to enjoy the experience…luckily still had enough fun to come back for more, but that is one thing I’d do differently. Enjoy the long weekend!!

  19. I was smiling through this whole post! So happy for you–I know how amazing it is to feel great on your last long run before tapering! You are going to rock the Hampton’s Marathon!! I cannot wait to read all about it. 🙂 Enjoy your day girl, you deserve it!

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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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