This weekend was wonderful in all the weirdest ways.
Did I do all my usual things, like running and eventually showering and eating a lot? Yes, yes I did. But I also did many other things that are a bit out of character for me. Now I will tell you all about those things.
I did a long run on Saturday. And on Sunday. I know, normally I long run Saturday and then recover on Sunday. But after the whole “I’m dying of a very terrible stomach flu” thing, Coach Cane wanted to ease me back into things, and apparently “ease back into things” meant back-to-back double-digit runs. In case you were wondering exactly what Coach Cane said when I asked, “How far do you want me to run Saturday?” here are his words: “In all candor, I’m torn. If you hadn’t had a setback, I’d have you doing 18–20 tomorrow. At this stage, I feel like sending you out for that tomorrow would be counterproductive and too risky. Instead, I think the smart thing to do is to pile on some good mileage over both days of the weekend. (That’s actually something that we sometimes do with ultra runners so they get used to running on tired legs.)”
You know how I read that, right? I read it as, “I am now training you to run an ultra-marathon, because you are totally capable of doing that and, in my eyes, you are on par with ultra runners I know and train. You are amazing, Ali. You are basically the best runner ever.”
So with that little vote of confidence, I hit the road Saturday morning to cover 10 miles. I had asked Coach Cane if he wanted me doing more than 10 “if I felt good,” and he said that was fine, but, “You can’t be a cowboy. I’d rather you do 10 and feel good, and follow it with 10–14 Sunday rather than let your ambition get the best of you and then you end up back in your sick bed.”
And that, my friends, is why I have a coach. To remind me not to be stupid.
I ended up running 11 miles, zero of which felt good. I didn’t think it would be so hard to get back into the groove, but my body was tight, my hip was being bratty and I just couldn’t relax and enjoy the run. I tried to keep my pace around 9:15s, except on the last mile, at which point I was like, “F this.” Mom, just so you know for sure, “F” stands for “Fun!” Fun this!
I ran mostly around the Reservoir, plus one lower loop of the park, at which point I was immediately reminded that I haven’t run on anything remotely resembling a hill in, um, months. So I should probably get on that sometime before Eugene.
I was a little bummed after this run, because it was “only” 11 miles, and that shouldn’t be so difficult at this stage. I had to continually remind myself that I’m coming back from 72-straight hours of puking and doing other dehydration-inducing activities. So I think it’s OK that this wasn’t my strongest or happiest run.
And then on Sunday, I got a re-do! And it was so much better!
I went out Sunday with a way better mentality, which is a start. I told myself that regardless of my pace or how I felt, I needed to enjoy this run, or it would be impossible to get through. So I looped the Reservoir a million times, tacked on a lower Central Park loop, and completed 14 miles with a smile on my face. Seriously. I was smiling and running happy. It was nice and special. My pace was also faster but felt more comfortable than the day before.
My first 14-miler of training was that sad day I ran with Coach Cane, and the second attempt at 14 resulted in a stomach flu and four days in bed. So I’d say this is a major success!
I’m definitely not completely back to normal. My stomach is still feeling way off, and both runs required a bathroom stop, which I wasn’t too pleased about. But hey, a 25-mile weekend after a setback? I’m OK with that.
Back to weird things I did this weekend…
I tried a new kind of fuel. I didn’t eat my standard amazing Entenmann’s “granola” bar before my runs. Instead I went for a way more nutritious breakfast delicacy: toast and Nutella. Yum! During yesterday’s run, I knew I might need a little extra kick along the way, and while I don’t usually fuel for runs shorter than 15–16 miles, I was happy to have a little stash of chewy candies in my pocket, which I ate (half the package) around mile 8 or 9.
The verdict? Tasty, and easier to chew than the Gu Chomps. They also agreed just fine with my stomach, which is always a minor miracle. I didn’t feel much change in my energy after I ate them, but whatever. I also stashed a water bottle along the Reservoir, which is my new favorite thing to do. I feel cool when I stop to grab it and people see me and I’m like, “Yeah, what up, I have a personal hydration source right here! Don’t be jealous. Don’t steal it. Don’t contaminate it. Bye.”
I drank a juice. Normally I’m a water/milk/wine kind of girl, and whenever people tell me about how they had a juice for a meal I think they’re crazy. (Brian, are you reading this? You freak.) But on Saturday, after a spin class (I’ll get to that), I walked by Juice Generation, and everything smelled all fresh and delicious and wonderful. I was interested.
I looked at the menu and I will admit, I’m afraid of the green juices. They look like the stuff my mom empties out of the lawn mower. So I’ll work my way up to that. But I ordered a juice that sounded like it would be good and would help my post-flu body.
I ordered the “Citrus Super C,” and I am happy to report that it was GOOD. It tasted like vacation, but without the rum. I also felt trendy and cool, walking down the street with my spinning glow and my fancy juice…and my legwarmers.
So yeah, I’m basically a “healthy living blogger” now. I also had oatmeal at one point this weekend, which I never do, but found myself craving. Who am I?
I went to a spin class in between long runs. I see you there, shaking your head, thinking I’m crazy. But I was playing around on my computer after my run Saturday, and I was on the SoulCycle website, and I found myself logged in and getting click happy. The next thing I knew, I was signed up for Bike 36 at the 2 PM class. Oops. But I went, and it actually felt really really good to spin my legs around. Was it the smartest plan? Maybe not. But did I have a dang good, sweaty time? Sure did.
I went to bed by 10 PM every night. Just kidding. That’s not weird at all.
I ate at a Vegan restaurant. I blame Kelly for this one. She swore we would all like it, and yes, as a meat-loving, fish-eating, cheese-consuming human, I can confirm that this restaurant was good. I had the lasagna, which was made with “cheese.” It was delicious and Kelly was right.
I finished everything on my To Do list.
Usually it’s just a guide, and lately I’ve been better about not being overly ambitious on the weekends. But this weekend, with Brian out of town, I knew I could be productive. Granted, the list wasn’t very crazy, and “foam roll” was on there four times, but I’m still proud I checked everything off.
I planned a baby shower. My sister-in-law is due in mid-May (two days after my best friend Becky’s wedding, which I’m Maid of Honor-ing in Charlotte, NC), and I’m getting so excited about her shower! I want it to be good. Last night I planned things. I have a color scheme. Thank goodness for Google and the website I found called “The Baby Shower Planning Checklist.”
I stalked puppies. Just kidding. Not weird. I always do this.
The weather yesterday was perfect for a walk, and my legs needed to move after running. So I walked to the East River, where Carl Schurz Park was packed with puppies playing and people being happy. I sat there looking at all the dogs I don’t own, and I tried to steal some. I called my mom to let her know I was about to steal a little dog, and she was all, “You can’t, because Brian isn’t around to bail you out of jail, and I’m not coming down there to do it.” She can be so mean. I love you, Mom, but I really don’t think you get me sometimes.
I foam rolled four times. FOUR TIMES. My legs and I are going through a bit of a rough patch. I feel like we’re out of the marathon honeymoon stage, and this relationship is starting to take some real effort. Until this point, my legs were the ones doing most of the work and carrying this relationship. It wasn’t until recently, when things started to hurt, that I realized I wasn’t carrying my weight and doing my part. So this weekend, I returned the love by foam rolling, Stick-ing and icing. I think we’re going to be just fine together, legs.
I finally parted with my favorite pair of Express jeans. We went through high school and college together and fell in love early on. These jeans are soft and they’re basically sweatpants. Also, the front zipper is crooked. For three years I thought my belly button was crooked, but no, it’s the pants. Sadly, last year I got over-excited during a particularly competitive round of Wii Jousting and the pants split right from the crotch all the way down to the knee. It was tragic, and in the spirit of moving and cleaning out most things I own, I finally parted ways with my beloved sweatjeans.
I got crafty. Despite basically having a broken knee, Brian is insisting on running the New York City Half Marathon this weekend. I’m excited for him, and so I bought poster board and big fat Sharpie markers, and last night I made some box letters of enthusiasm.
My plan is to be the best spectator on the course.
I cooked. I know, this is getting to be a long post. Thanks for sticking around. I’m almost done. So, Brian has been out of town since Friday (and there’s an excellent chance I gave him a sweet stomach flu just in time for his trip to Orlando — yes, I realize I’m an ass), and so I’ve been on my own for meals. It’s a scary thing, really. But last night I made a pasta concoction inspired by my friend Brianne (whole wheat pasta, some oil, Parmesan cheese, little tomatoes and tons of garlic, which I’m pretty sure I over-browned), and on Friday night I cooked a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. I’m probably going to start a food blog.
I made pancakes. When I was training for my first half marathon, I most definitely did not lose any weight.
I remember my first “long run,” which was one lower loop of Central Park. That’s about 1.79 miles. I did that run, went home, made a massive batch of chocolate chip pancakes and spent the entire rest of the day in bed. I was living the life, man. But after that first run, I got into the habit of ALWAYS making chocolate chip pancakes after weekend runs. Eventually, when I got to half marathon #3, I got sick of the pancakes. Yesterday, though, I was craving them. And so I made some. And they were just as magical and chocolatey as I remember. Good call, Ali. Really, really good call.
I watched 60 Minutes. Sunday nights are usually reserved for catching up on the DVR’d shows from the week (Modern Family, 30 Rock and definitely not Dance Moms). But with Brian out of town, I promised to save those shows for his return (he totally loves Dance Moms, I swear). I found myself missing my dad, and so I watched his favorite show. I figured he was watching it himself at home in New Hampshire, and so it was basically like we were watching it together. Love you, Dad. Miss you. Come visit me soon…like after I move and need all my electrical wires neatly staple-gunned to the wall. See you then.
That wraps up my weird, out-of-character weekend. This morning, I got to return to normalcy by waking up and running. Well, more like waking up, witnessing my stomach throw a complete fit, running half a mile, stopping at Starbucks, and then running some more. But you get it.
Coach Cane said I could run three of the slowest miles of my life to get things moving, and that’s what I did. I’m actually pretty sore from this weekend, which is a great feeling. Also, the sunrise along the river this morning was incredible. I took multiple photos because it was so pretty, and because I was moving slowly, so why not?
I love life.
It’s a good day. It’s a good week. I don’t have the flu anymore! Have I mentioned my appetite is back? Oh right, I did. The pancakes proved that point I’m sure.
Have a wonderful day! Happy Monday!
AND BECAUSE THIS IS A FUN GAME: Tell me something you did this weekend that was out-of-character, like not running, or waking up before your alarm, or going on a spontaneous trip, or stealing a puppy, in which case, TELL ME HOW YOU PULLED IT OFF.