I Did A Tempo Run Today

I’m moving quite slowly this morning.

Normally my commute to work takes about 35–40 minutes door-to-door, depending on how cooperative the downtown 4/5 trains decide to be. Usually they are “delayed momentarily because of train traffic ahead. Please be patient.” Or I believe now it’s, “Thank you for your patience.” See that? They don’t even ask for my patience. The MTA just expects it.

Today, however, my commute took longer, not because of the trains, but because my stumpy little legs don’t want to go very fast. They want to use all their energy for running, and none of their energy for getting other places I need to go.

That has absolutely nothing to do with anything I want to discuss today.

What I want to discuss is running, because I always want to discuss running.

Yesterday, I ran three slow miles along the East River accompanied by a delightful sunrise and a big, happy moon.

My amazing photo skills make me think I should probably start a photography blog. Let me know if you want me to photograph your special life moments for you, like your wedding or your morning run.

After that, I went to work.

After that, I went to the gym. I’ve been so bad about lifting and strength training lately because things come up in life, and when they do, “lifting heavy things” is the first thing to go from the schedule. Then I can do more important things like “find somewhere to live.”

The apartment search officially begins this week, by the way. Brian and I are psyched to look at shoebox-sized apartments in nine floor walk-up buildings that cost $3,000 a month. New York City, have I mentioned how much I love you lately?

I’m sorry.

These tangents are ridiculous today.

I believe I was discussing strength training, or my recent lack of any bicep, tricep or muscle definition anywhere other than my big, bulky quads.

Demi plié, and I have big thighs.

So I went to a Chisel class at the gym last night with the ever-perky instructor, Angel. Apparently his plan was to have us “do 100 of everything.” Roughly translated, in gym instructor terms, that means, “Die a painful, sweaty death.”

I did just fine on the arm sections, but I didn’t want to kill my legs because I knew Coach Cane would have me running something wonderful today. So when it came time to do “100 squats,” I modified the exercise and did “100 Standing Arounds.” I definitely felt the burn… And then when Angel saw me “stretching” or doing whatever I was doing in lieu of doing the squats, he threatened the entire class with push-ups. We never actually got around to the push-ups, and I was “that girl” crapping out during the leg exercises.


It paid off, because I woke up this morning to see eight miles on the plan from Coach Cane.

This is Coach Cane. I like to assume he LOVES these screen shots that I post of him constantly.

The plan was simple:

  • 1 mile warm-up
  • 6 miles at marathon goal pace (8:45–8:50, which is starting to seem a little ambitious and scary to me, sadly)
  • 1 mile cool-down

I stayed at Brian’s apartment last night. Let’s talk about that for a moment, since I’m already all over the place with this little essay.

So Brian has been in Orlando since last week. As it turns out, his “full service ad agency” is also capable of putting on lingerie and swimwear fashion shows. So if you’re a bikini model, or if you want to strut down a runway in front of a crowd, Brian’s your go-to guy. He obviously had a really rough weekend.

Promptly upon his return yesterday, he let me know how crappy he felt. Chills. A very unsettled stomach. No appetite.


He’s not vomiting, which I think is fantastic, but all other signs point to sickness from girlfriend.

Still, I wanted to see him, and I attempted to be a good Nurse Ali by force-feeding him noodle soup and Cadbury Eggs. I hear those are staples in the stomach flu diet. I’m hoping I’m somehow immune to getting sick again, otherwise we figure we’ll just keep passing this bug back and forth for a while. Such an attractive couple…

I didn’t sleep great because my own stomach still isn’t back on the “normal” side of things, though really, is it ever?

I woke up at 5 AM today and it took me nearly a full hour to get out the door. I’m pretty sure my main request in a new apartment is two bathrooms. I can do without a kitchen, living room or bedroom, but give me a his and hers bathroom and I’ll be psyched.

I figured the run wouldn’t go super well, and to say I had “high hopes for getting through it without bathroom stops” is a massive exaggeration. I even did some early morning hate-Tweeting.

All emotions are best expressed in 140 characters or fewer.

I did my warm-up mile and was actually happy about life. It was so warm out! Central Park had the whole post-or-pre-rain thing going for it, and the Reservoir was practically empty. More room for Ali to flail about!

The six tempo miles (see how fancy I’m getting with my running lingo?) ended up going great! I didn’t want to go slower than an 8:50 pace, but I didn’t want to go much faster than 8:45s. I wanted to be right on, and I wanted to maintain it without looking at my watch too frequently.

The best part: No stops! I cruised by the bathroom — which was open right at 6 AM! — on each lap and was so happy not to need it. Little victories, my friends. Teeny, tiny victories.

And my splits? Spot-on, mostly.

Eight pre-work miles. Yay. Go team.

On my last half-mile of the tempo portion of the workout (around mile 6.5), my stomach got all sorts of angry, but I refused to stop and play into it. So I had to slow down a bit, but I got it done and I survived and I sweat a lot, as always.

I got undressed and thought, "I bet everyone will want to see my sweaty shirt." And so I took a photo. You're welcome!

I’m the queen of elbow sweat. I’ve warned you about my sexiness, have I not?

Did this run feel easy? No. I wish it had, considering I’m hoping to hold that pace for 26.2 miles in a few weeks. But I’ll get there…right? I’m still recovering from being sick…right?

And because I’m a huge fan of rewards, I made myself chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. I probably should have foam rolled instead, but I made my decision and now I will have to spend my workday Stick-ing my legs. Worth it? Oh yes.

Now before you think to yourself, “Oh, cool, protein pancakes with whey and wheatgrass and chia seeds,” let me clarify:

You're right, I probably could have added even more chocolate chips. Next time. Like at dinner tonight...

These are straight from the Aunt Jemima box, “add milk, oil and egg,” plus a million chocolate chips, pancakes. I did buy the whole wheat kind, though. And then I doused them in syrup. Not “lite” syrup. Not natural from the trees in New Hampshire syrup. The really good, really processed, sugary stuff.

I am the picture of health.

As for my training right now: I wish my recent runs felt easier. I wish my body felt looser. I wish my stomach would be calmer.

But I’m pretty sure those things won’t happen magically, so I’m off to Stick it to my quads and drink a ton of water. That syrup for breakfast didn’t exactly leave me feeling hydrated.

Lastly, because nothing gets me worked up quite like a public typo, here is a photo I took on the subway today:

Spelling Bee Failures.

Who approves this stuff? Come on, people. I know the photo is dark, so I’ll give you a hint: The typo is the word “Participating.” Idiots.

Have a great day, run fast and then come back and tell me about it!



26 Responses

  1. I recently found out about your blog and now Im reading some of your older posts. That’s why Im commenting on a month old entry…

    I was just wondering how far you live from Central Park? It seems like thats where you run most of the time. Do you ever run in the city?

    The reason I’m asking how far you’re from the park is because I HATE running on the streets, yet there is no big open space walking distance from my place. It’s so hilly where I live… speed walking is an intense enough workout!
    There is a nice place to run which is about a 10min car ride away (or 30min bike ride).
    Do you think it’s worth taking the car to go running? I think its quite stupid, but I don’t really see any other option to run in a nice place!

    Thanks in advance if you read this long comment and answer it!

    1. I only live a few blocks from Central Park, thank goodness, because I refuse to run on the city streets! I can’t deal with stop lights and all the stop-and-go and traffic and crowded sidewalks. I only run in the park and on the river paths (East River Path and West Side Highway). Anything in between is too crazy, so I avoid it! I honestly do think a 10-minute drive is worth it to get a good run in. Sure the drive is a little annoying, but your entire run will be so much better and more relaxing!

  2. Woohoo! Good job on the tempo run lady. I’m doing my first today, only 3 miles but whatever. It’s bringing back high school track memories! All I need is an angry coach yelling at me at every mile split with my time.

  3. I love that I’m not the only person who notices grammar mistakes in public (and promptly freaks out). Good work!

    And great work on the run. And the chocolate chip pancakes. Especially the pancakes… ; )

  4. It took me an embarrassing amount of time to find that typo! I, too, am the queen of elbow sweat! Way to go sweaty-elbow sister!

  5. Nice tempo run! I think you’ll be at your goal pace come marathon day. You’re doing an excellent job considering that silly stomach flu.

    Also, I’ve gotten in the habit of being that person in class who is half-assing it and getting everyone else in trouble trying to avoid exercises I shouldn’t be doing.

  6. ebooks are notorious for typos and it makes me feel smart when I spot one. I am off to the track to do 6x800s. I am feeling like you did at 6am-little motivation.

  7. I love seeing typos in books and such. I don’t know why. I think it makes me feel smarter, haha.

    Good luck with apartment hunting! I’ve been looking too…so brutal! I don’t know how you feel about living down near Wall Street but I’ve found some nicer and (a little) more affordable buildings there. It’s just so far away, haha

  8. Lol. LOVE the chocolate pancakes. No wonder Brian wants to be roomies! Who says you can’t cook???

    I ran 4.15 miles last night in the pouring rain (yes, I live near Seattle and rain is code for fallwinterspring). Lots of hills and I managed to keep fairly close to my goal pace which was happy. Glad you are so much better and let’s hope Brian doesn’t have what you had and decide to share it back in vengence!

  9. Love the grammar police & Cadbury Cream Eggs!! My bf was yelling at the show the voice last night about their inappropriate word usage, “announcing” and “pronouncing” when they should have used “diction” or at the very least “annunciation”. He was so into it! And I’m sure I just botched my grammar above, perhaps I should go back to English 101.

  10. A few comments (in list form because I know you dig it).
    1. Cadbury eggs do have magical healing powers. Just the mini eggs though. Not the big ones with the goop inside. I’m a nurse, so I know these things.
    2. Running isn’t supposed to be easy. You got your whole run in – and PS – you were FASTER than your MGP for most of those tempo miles. Winning!
    3. Since you asked, I *did* run fast this morning. It felt amazing to be back at the track for the first time since the fall! Bring on spring race season!
    Happy Tuesday!

  11. I live in a huge 1 bed apartment (1000 sq ft!!) with 1.5 bathrooms for less than $3k on the UWS. It can be done!! Thos pancakes look amazing. Totally beats my egg, bacon on a bagel brinner last night.

  12. Nice work getting through the tempo run. Central Park was quite damp and basically humid this morning! Did you do your tempo run entirely on the res? I know how much you like it, but constantly turning left might not be the best thing for your hip!

    1. Yes, you’re so right! I was actually thinking that this weekend when I was long running. I’ve been sticking to the Reservoir because it’s flat and because it’s near the bathrooms, but I think I need to start doing one loop of the Res and then maybe jumping down to the Bridle Path and doing a loop in the other direction? You’re very wise.

      1. Yes! That’s the ticket. I’ve run far too many 5Ks on 200m indoor tracks and learned my lesson! Damp days like the today, the bridle is wet enough, making it a bit harder and more res-like.

  13. I second the Kodiak cakes comment – they taste like regular old unhealthy pancakes but are a much better option – and you only have to add water! 🙂 I don’t at all mind the poor quality of the photo – it’s still gorgeous!

  14. Annnddddd now I want pancakes. When I was in elementary and middle school my mom used to make us chocolate chip pancakes every morning for breakfast. I should really work on having her teleport to NY for breakfast every morning……

  15. The good news is that if you had a virus, you ARE immune to it now. So I bet you will be fine. Nice run, I am jealous! I’m still a little run down myself from my own bug and working from home today.

  16. You should try Kodiak Cakes.. they are even easier than Aunt Jemima… you just add water to the mix, stir and BOOM — pancakes! (And yes, they are wheat and healthy but I swear they taste like normal ones)

    I have my parents shipped them from the States to Europe because that’s how much I love lazy pancakes.

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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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