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Posts Tagged ‘long runs’

Saturday’s long run was one of those runs that I think can be defined as being “banged out.” There was no high point or low point, but pretty consistent splits throughout and I felt strong.

I ran my usual Central Park/Riverside Park loops, and even though it’s familiar to me and I love it, I am getting a little sick of its predictability. Sometimes running feels easier when I have no idea where I’m going or exploring a new place. Good thing next weekend’s long run will take place in the Bronx!

When I got home, I did the usual stretching, refueling: fresh peach, grapes, walnuts and honey over Greek yogurt

And ice bathing:

Since I’m far too cheap to buy bags of ice each week, I usually just fill the tub with cold water and ice from about 5 trays that I have.  It melts a little quicker, but I think it still does the trick. My legs felt a lot less sore all day and I was able to walk around NYC like a fully functional human being.

Recently, Meggie and I discovered our mutual love for gymnastics. We were both gymnasts for many years and keep up on the sport as much as we can, so we made grand plans to watch the national championships at my apartment on Saturday night.

But first…

We needed to get our 16 Handles fix. Obviously.

It was awesome to hang with someone that “got” gymnastics, and just watching it on TV brought back tons of old memories.

On my recovery run this morning, I was still thinking about the competition and how gymnastics was once a HUGE part of my life.

I never thought I would love any sport as much as I loved gymnastics.

I also thought I’d always be able to do a round-off, back handspring, double-full. HA.

But gymnastics isn’t a sport you can do forever. It basically beats the crap out of you.

It’s funny how cough eleven cough years can change things. Even though the sport taught me a lot and I have (mostly) great memories from it, sometimes I forget I ever was a gymnast.

And interestingly, sometimes it feels like I’ve always been a runner, and I can’t imagine loving a sport any more than I love running.

It’s a different kind of love, though. With gymnastics, I was good. My goal was always to be perfect and win. And I did. Part of my love for the sport came from the medals, trophies and success I had.

With running, I’m pretty sure I’ll never win. Or come close to winning. In fact, the only person that probably cares that I run at all is me.

And I kind of love that. I can run for enjoyment, I can run to PR in a race, I can train hard for a marathon.  I can run for whatever the hell reason I want. And I usually always want to run.

So even though running is something I’ll never technically “excel” at, it makes me feel awesome every day. And if winning against myself counts, then I do it multiple times per week 🙂

Question: Is running your first sport? Why do you run?

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It’s a rainy, rainy Sunday in NYC.

Even though I really love sun, sometimes a rainy day is just what I need to force me to relax.

But rewinding to Saturday, a.k.a. long run day. I was up even earlier than usual to bang out 18 miles before heading to New Jersey to see a few of my favorite people.

Confession: I’ve been wearing all black on my long runs because it makes me feel a kind of bad ass. And speedier.

My goal for this run was to not be as wiped as I was after last weekend’s 17 miler. I read a while back that Magdalena Lewy-Boulet started taking gels on every long run because she found they helped speed up her recovery and she could actually do things like play with her kids, run errands and feel like a functional human being during the day.

I’ve only taken Gatorade with me on all of my previous runs so far and usually save the gels for my 20 milers, but decided that Magda (an Olympic marathoner) probably knows a thing or two. So I grabbed a mint chocolate Gu (a new flavor for me – I’m partial to vanilla Power Gels) along with some watered down Gatorade to take on the road.

(source)

I took the Gu around mile 10 and a). it was delicious, b). it definitely gave me more energy during the last half of the run.

After getting the first couple of slower, junky miles out of my system, the run felt pretty good. I did notice a few niggles here and there, so I’m glad this coming week is a cut-back one!

Even though the Gu helped keep my energy up during the run, I was pretty pooped afterwards. But I had places to be – New Jersey, to be exact.

My friend Meghan (who got married last September), was having a baby shower for her sister Erin. I hadn’t seen either of them since the wedding and it was SO great to finally hang again.

And eat all of their food (kind of. But that tub of hummus was no match for me).

One of my favorite things about baby showers:

Cake. And pink things (Erin’s having a girl!).

It was refreshing to get out of the city and hang out at an actual house with a yard, a pool, a washer/dryer…

Meghan and I

Sometimes I forget how different Manhattan is from other areas. We have cabs, delivery of anything and everything, the best restaurants, culture and nightlife.

But forget owning your home, peace and quiet, having a backyard, driving a car or having an apartment that could even remotely be called “spacious.”

I guess there are always tradeoffs. Besides, I’m a disaster behind the wheel, get freaked out by total quiet and actually consider Central Park a pretty great backyard.

When I think of New York compared to other places, I’m always reminded of a quote from Sex and the City.

Miranda: Why do I think living in Manhattan is so fantastic?

Carrie: Because it is.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Question: City or suburbs? Why? And, any tips on how not to be totally wiped after long runs?

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Running 23 miles in two days plus entertaining momma Meals for Miles, who was visiting, is kind of tiring.

But despite the fact that I almost fell asleep at Cirque du Soleil on Saturday night, it was a great weekend.

Sometimes I like to think I can do it all – work, school, weekend trips, plans with friends, blogging – while marathon training and it will all go extremely smoothly. Other times, like this weekend, I’m reminded why people don’t typically train for marathons all the time.

Because it’s exhausting, yo.

When you’re working the body hard six or seven days a week, getting the proper rest isn’t optional, it’s essential. In fact, I may just go to bed before the sun completely goes down tonight…

I also don’t think I could afford to feed myself if I trained for marathons year-round, because I am hungry ALL THE TIME.

At least my mom was kind enough to feed me this weekend, and did not judge when I refused to share desserts with her.

ABC Kitchen carrot cake – to fuel my long run the next morning, obviously.

Sidenote: our entire meal at ABC Kitchen was amazing – simple and subtle with tons of flavor at the same time.

Mexican Chocolate Brownie with caramelized banana, vanilla mole ice cream, toasted pecans and chocolate ancho sauce from Candle 79

Sidenote: Our trip to Candle 79 was my mom’s first vegan restaurant experience. She survived and liked it!

I had planned to run my long run on Saturday morning, and mom was a good sport regarding an obnoxiously early bedtime after our trip to ABC Kitchen (bless her). Since I was going to be running for ~2.5 hours, I wanted to make sure to get it done early so we had the day to do some very important shopping.

So it was out the door by 6:15. My first couple miles were pretty slowish, and I was a little worried the run would be somewhat of a struggle. But once I got to the Riverside Park part of my run (around miles 6-9), the legs noticeably pepped up and stayed that way when I returned to Central Park.

The second half of the run was much stronger than the first, and I actually felt good picking up the pace. Runs like this gives me much-needed confidence that I’ll be able to hold a similar pace for the marathon, and hopefully PR the crap out of it 🙂

Even though I do prefer to chill out after long runs, sometimes walking around a bit helps prevent stiffness. So my mom and I shopped for a bit and hit up the High Line, which is an elevated park on NYC’s West side, constructed on some old railroad tracks.

It’s kind of awesome. And has a gelato stand.

Mint gelato with chocolate chunks – delicious.

I think my sweet tooth is officially out of control. But I’m ok with it.

I actually haven’t hung out with my mom one-on-one in maybe years. When you’re a twin, this can be somewhat difficult. And while we missed my sis up in Boston, having my mom all to myself was probably the sweetest treat of the weekend. 🙂

Question: Do you make sure to save room for dessert? I always, always do. Also, what do you prefer to do after long runs – rest? Hit up the town? Take a trapeze class?

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Last year, when training for the NYC Marathon, I remember my first 16 miler as being a huge step for me. It was a personal distance record, sounded really far (i.e., bragging rights: “I just ran 16 miles, yo”) and was only 10 miles short of the marathon distance.

I thought for the first time, “If I can run 16 that strong, then 26.2 is totally doable!”

16 miles is still one of my favorite distances, and I’m excited to be at the point in training when I get to crack it (and exceed it!). So I set out early on Saturday morning, which was a delightfully pleasant 75 degrees with low humidity at 6:00 a.m. – a picnic compared to last weekend’s slog fest.

I did my usual loop around Central Park and out to Riverside Park for another loop, and returned to CP to meet up with Ali for the last part of the run.

We chatted away the miles, and before I knew it the run was over (though I was totally tempted to keep going with Ali, who had an 18 miler on tap). We parted ways after taking a sweat-tastic photo.

I heat running with this lady!

I was pretty happy with my splits –  my goal for the run was to keep it fairly easy paced and hover around the 9:00 minute/mile range.

 

I usually do about half or a third of my long runs on the bridle path and the rest on the roads, and during the week I tend to stick to the bridle more often unless I’m tempo-ing. But a recent article in the New York Times by Gina Kolata (a runner who often writes about running. I heart her) debates whether running on soft surfaces is actually better for you.

Soft?

Hard?

According to Ms. Kolata, there are limited studies on actual runners and injury rate on soft surface vs. hard, and there’s no actual proof that soft surfaces can prevent injuries. Some can even cause them because of uneven surfaces increasing risk for things like rolled ankles or falls.

Still, I’m not completely sold. I’m pretty injury prone, and last year did a lot of my marathon training on the bridle and managed to stay healthy. I think that’s definitely worth something!

However, I do see the importance of running on the roads too – most races are on roads, so it’s important that our bodies are used to running on them. I guess like a lot of things, balance is key.

And of course, getting to the starting line healthy and in one piece.

On long run days I always crave pizza, and decided to make a super easy version with some whole wheat flatbread, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and tons of veggies.

It only took about 10 minutes in the oven – easiest dinner ever!

Delicious.

Of course it needed to be followed by 16 Handles

I promise there is froyo underneath the toppings and that I demolished every ounce of this massive creation.

Congrats to everyone who raced yesterday and good luck to everyone racing today!

Question: Hard surfaces, or soft? What’s your favorite distance to run?

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Hope everyone is managing to stay cool this weekend!

“Ugh” is how I would describe the last couple of days, including Saturday morning’s long run.

Or just “hot as balls.”

I woke up at 5:42 a.m. and it was already 84 degrees outside, but I knew the run needed to get done and that I could do it if I took it slow.

So I had a banana with a little chocolate peanut butter and a sprinkle of salt (in anticipation of a TON of sweat loss)

Stretched, grabbed my bottle of frozen Gatorade and left my apartment before I could convince myself otherwise.

Not gonna lie, the run was rough. I kept the pace super easy, which is probably the only reason I made it through and finished fairly strong.

Much slower than any long run I’ve had in a while, but I’ll take it. I think toughing it out during runs like this really help build us up mentally for hard races. I know I’ll remember this one in particular during, oh, mile 24 on November 6.

I was a sweat machine by the time I got home – literally my socks were sloshing in my shoes and I was dripping everywhere. A lot of Gatorade was necessary.

And so was an ice bath, followed by the usual – Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast with peanut butter and berries

Besides the promise of air conditioning and a delicious breakfast, visions of visiting the UES’ new Fairway helped get me through the run and gave me something to look forward to.

Basically, it’s everything I dreamed of and more. I visited Fairway on the day it opened and got a few things, but Saturday I aimed to get more of my usual stuff.

And I seriously die for the produce section – fresh and delivered daily

Everything was so organized! I also love the coffee section, where you can pick out what kind of beans you want and have them freshly ground.

I was kind of worried Fairway wouldn’t have all of the foods I usually get at Whole Foods, but they do and then some.

Tons of fresh fish with reasonable prices

And a large selection of Barbara’s cereals (namely Peanut Butter Puffins, which I’m slightly obsessed with…)

It may be weird to (still) be this excited about a grocery store, but having a place like this so easily accessible is such a change for me. And I guess you all know by now that I get super jazzed about food-related things 🙂

It was really strange not going to Whole Foods this weekend, and I kind of feel like I’m cheating on it (him?). But I’ll still visit every once and a while – nothing beats the Whole Foods salad bar!

When I gave the check out girl my reusable bags (from Whole Foods) to use, she gave me a free Fairway one instead.

Good job, Fairway marketing peeps.

The rest of my day involved not going outside for longer than 10 minutes, hydrating and having a delicious and fun dinner/froyo date 🙂

Question: Did you run long this weekend? How’d it go?

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My sister is visiting this weekend – hooray!

So of course before she could even get completely settled at my apartment, I had to bring her to the Holy Grail of the Upper East Side (well, at least until Wednesday WHEN WE GET OUR VERY OWN FAIRWAY! Not that I’m excited or anything.)

And as it would be, 16 Handles was out of the small sized cups. We had no problem filling up the medium sized ones instead. NOM.

I took Friday off to hang with the sis and do some fun New Yorky things.

The Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met was amazeballs (and totally worth the 1.5 hour wait). I actually haven’t been to the Met since I moved to NYC almost five years ago, which is kind of ridiculous since it’s located, um, basically on my street. I think it’s the tourists that scare me away.

After the exhibit we traipsed up Madison and shopped. And shopped. And tried on many shoes at the Barney’s sale that I would never be able to walk in in real life.

Birkenstocks > Louboutin?

We worked up quite an appetite, and sister humored me be allowing me to take her to one of my favorite vegan restaurants – Peacefood Cafe. I think it’s my mission in life to get people to like vegan restaurants as much as I do (even though I’ll never actually become vegan. Homegirl likes Greek yogurt far too much).

We shared nachos with homemade black bean sauce, salsa, guacamole topped with black olives & melted daiya vegan cheese

And then I had the Asian greens salad with seasonal baby Asian vegetables, mixed sprouts, shredded carrots, tomatoes, marinated & baked tempeh, ground peanuts, in a garlic, ginger, cilantro, ponsu & sesame dressing

I ordered the salad as my entree for a very specific reason – I am slightly obsessed with vegan carrot cake and wanted to make sure I had room for some.

OMG so delicious. And it turned out to be perfect fuel for my long run the next morning.

I set out with a goal of 4-5 fast finish miles at the end of the run, but felt awesome about halfway through so I pushed the pace a little early. As I was rounding the southern end of the park around mile 11 I ran into Ali, and after watching runners start a 4 mile race in CP, we hauled arse up Cat hill and around the bridle to finish our long runs together.

Honestly, this run felt awesome. I think Ali and I ran into each other at the perfect time, because we pushed each other through the last few miles at a great pace that felt pretty easy because we chatted through it. Visit Ali’s blog for an awesome, sweaty picture of us. 🙂

My runner’s high today is at 120%. Perfect for another day of shopping, eating and fun-having.

Question: Do you run with buddies?  Do you think they help/hinder your running? I heart them, and don’t know if I could get through some runs without ’em! Also, have you ever had vegan carrot cake? YOU HAVE TO TRY IT.

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Thank you SO MUCH for your comments and thoughts on my training plan for this year’s NYC Marathon. I love “knowing” so many knowledgable and awesome runners, and will definitely take your advice as I continuously tweak the plan.

One of the most important parts of marathon training is long runs, and they’re also kind of my favorite. I love getting out on the roads for a good couple hours and working hard, and my first long run of this training cycle couldn’t have gone better.

The plan was to run about 9 miles on my own and then meet up with Ali, Lindsay and Megan for the last 6 or so. It was awesome to have something to look forward to for the last, and sometimes hardest, part of the run!

The miles with the ladies flew by, and like Ali, I didn’t want to stop! I felt great, but knew I had to stick with the plan and ended with 15.25 miles.

Note to self: running with buddies on long runs = winning. We were a sweaty, color coordinated bunch.

(thanks for the photo, Ali!)

I stretched, ice-bathed and refueled when I got home. Ezekiel sprouted grain cinnamon raisin toast, berries and crunchy peanut butter

And relaxed with the paper and some coffee.

On Friday, Whole Foods (i.e., my favorite place on earth) had a one day sale of organic cherries – $2.99/lb! This is pretty unheard of, so clearly I had to stock up on my favorite summer fruit.

And now I’m working my way through 4.5 pounds worth of them. I get a little crazy when it comes to deals like this. Luckily they’re packed with antioxidants, which have been shown to help aid muscle recovery after long runs or tough workouts (among many other things!).

Also a necessary daily post-run treat – 16 Handles (obviously).

It’s been a gorgeous weekend in NYC, but 15 miles plus a day in the sun = a tired Kelly. But also a tired, happy Kelly, because my runner’s high was in full effect into the night. Here’s hoping the next 16 weeks are as awesome as this one as been.

Question: Do you have a post-long run or workout routine? I like chilling out, having breakfast and reading the paper before returning to civilization.

 

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