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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!