On October 3, I am running the Diva Women’s Half Marathon. I found out about this race at the NYC Half Marathon expo and was lured in by the promise of boa and tiara stations during the race, and champagne at the finish line. If there is one thing I’d run 13 miles for, it is booze.
I didn’t stick to a real training plan. I scheduled out my long runs for each weekend. I decided to train for exactly eight weeks. My weekly long runs went as follows:
- 6 miles
- 7 miles
- 8 miles
- 9 miles
- 6 miles
- 10 miles
- 12 miles
- Next week – 8 miles
- Race – 13.1 MILES!
A little recap of the long runs.
6 miles - I ran with my good friend Melissa, who I met through this blog. We trained for the NYC Half Marathon together and we will be running the Diva Women’s Half Marathon side by side. We are good running partners because we are at the same pace and we both tend to push and motivate each other. We did a full loop of Central Park and oh my were we slow. Neither of us had been running much at this point and the run felt like it took forever. After a gatorade stop more than halfway through, we both had renewed energy and finished pretty strong!
7 miles - I ran this with Melissa as well, another loop of the park plus a mile back home, on an early Friday morning before work. I struggled towards the end and was happy to exit the park. My last mile home was much faster than all the others!
8 miles – SUMMER STREETS! Summer Streets was the coolest thing and I am so happy I got to experience it this year! I love anything summery and in Manhattan, so of course this was perfect for me. I ran this one with my other friend Melissa who is also training for a half. I loved running with her and taking in the city. I love running races on city streets that are closed off to traffic and this had the same feeling. We ran from 72nd and Park Ave down to the Brooklyn Bridge and back up. I finished my eight miles shortly before 42nd street, and got to stop just in time to observe people swimming in the dumpster pools — yes, these pools were made out of real, unused clean dumpsters. Only in NYC, kids.
9 miles – I went to visit my brother Matthew and his (not at the time) wife Mallory at their new home in Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle. I took a week off work primarily to lay outside in their backyard with the adorable babypuppygirl Santana, but I decided the ideal running temperatures of Northwest summer and a change of scenery would be the perfect place to complete my nine mile run. Mallory drove me to her workplace, Bastyr University, and I ran back to their house from there.
I also got to answer the age old question, how many types of dogs is there?
This was my first time running on the same roads as traffic which was a little scary, but I had plenty of room and I ran against the traffic. I was able to move over to the grass at any time I felt like I needed to. The perks of this run, in addition to feeling AWESOME and taking in the new sights, was finding the beauty of this lake:
My BlackBerry takes some nice pictures! I was nervous coming into this run because my right hip was killing me just a few days earlier. After my eight mile run I took a Core Fusion class where we did pretzel glutes (imagine sitting on the floor with your legs like a pretzel) and I think the combination was a tough one for me. I went to hot yoga my first day in Seattle which helped and I felt great during the run! After mile six or seven I ate some Shot Blocks and got a sudden surge of fast energy! It was only during the very last mile that my hip started acting up, and by then I was almost done. I finished that day with another hot yoga class.
I had to wave these flags when I wanted to cross the street to avoid be casualty #63. I got pretty scared when I came to one with no flags in it!
But I survived.
Silly me — I forgot to include the most special of the long runs of all — the one I did in the Smoky Mountains for my brother’s wedding! Here we go:
6 WEDDING MILES - I was hoping to go for a run outside, and I was hoping to do 10, but there were no running trails, just hiking ones so I took my long run to the resort’s treadmill. Although I hate treadmills and there was no TV, I did have this gorgeous view to overlook which made my run feel like I was outside:
I split the run into two 3 mile runs and did a quick upper body workout with free weights in between. It was a sweaty time but I was the only one in the gym so off my shirt went! It felt nice.
Was a pretty great run! Even though there was no TV, I had all my new music to entertain me. Since the gym (gime? what’s a gime? OHHHHHHH, a GIME!) was empty, I was able to sing to my music. Loudly!
And then I ate a big buffet brunch and then my little baby smushy brother got married. Did you know they let children get married now?
10 miles - ALONE! This was the longest run I have ever done alone (not counting the half marathons) and I was nervous. My hip had been tight again and I was concerned about a potential injury. I ran to Central Park and ran a full loop and then some. After four miles my hip started hurting, and after five I took a stretching break. My hip felt a little better, but quickly got bad again. At mile seven I took another stretch. When I was close to nine miles I was really struggling with the pain and I felt like I had no energy. I was planning on leaving the park and running home and around my neighborhood to get the last two in, but I found myself alongside the Fitness Magazine 4 Mile race a few minutes before the start! I stopped and looked in the corrals for either of my friends Melissa, but couldn’t find them. I heard the horn to signal the start, and the NYRR was playing Counting Crows through the speakers, and I took that as a sign to run in the race.
Yes. I bandited a race! Eek!!!
IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. I could not stop smiling. I suddenly had all this energy that came from the adrenaline of racing. I LOVE RACING! Mile 9 was my fastest mile of the entire run! I thought I had nothing left in me, yet I had my fastes mile left! I felt no pain, just happiness at running with so many other women. I debated finishing the race but decided it would be smarter to stop when I reached 10 miles. And it turned out I had no choice, because by the time I was almost finished with my 10th mile, my hip pain was back with a vengeance and my left knee was acting up too. I sped up way too much after being in pain! I could barely run at all. Oops.
I finished my 10 miles on the west side of the park. I walked to the east side but I hadn’t been paying attention to where in the park I was and I wrongly assumed I was much closer to him. It turned out I had about 2.5-3 miles to walk home. Aaahhh. I was starving and tired and just wanted my bed. I ended up picking up some breakfast and slowly making my way home. I spent the rest of the day in bed and woke up the following day feeling like a truck ran over me. My body was tight all over, worse than it has ever been after a long run. I debated spending another day in bed but decided that would be stupid, and I went to yoga at exhale. I told the teacher that my hip flexor was in pain and she tailored the entire class to my needs! She even came over to me and helped me get into the best positions. The next day I felt a lot better, but took more yoga. And the next day, more. And then some Core Fusion Cardio, which is an excellent class for hip opening. I even ran to and from class (1.10 miles each way) and felt good! After that I was as good as new! All runners should practice yoga for some necessary stretching.
12 miles - My body not only bounced back from that difficult 10 miler, but it seems to have resolved its own issues. I ran three miles around my neighborhood before meeting Melissa at Central Park for nine more miles. I was only planning on running two before meeting her, but my body felt so good I decided to squeeze one more in!
We ran some loop and then we ran the reservoir, and then a lot more loop. This was my first time running the reservoir and I loved it! So pretty and peaceful. We talked for the first seven miles and then put our music in for the last two. I was testing out a half marathon playlist and loving it. I am so excited to post this one for you guys, it is such an amazing group of songs and they ALL pump me up! Those last two miles were faster for us and we really pushed through. I was smiling and mouthing the words to my music and just enjoying the fact that my knees felt no pain and my hip, while a little tight, was not hurting at all! By the way, I am absolutely loving my Garmin and will discuss more on that in a future post.
And just like that, 12 miles was done. I felt amazing! So much more energy than after that 10 miler. We treated ourselves to a huge brunch at the Central Park Boathouse (my first time there too) and when I got home I didn’t feel the need to fall into a deep sleep like I always do after long runs! I stayed awake until bedtime, and my legs, hips, knees all felt great. Even though it is my hip that has been bothering me through training, I am most surprised by my knees. I have never run such a long distance without any knee discomfort– but here I was, 12 miles in, ZERO knee pain. I attribute this to Core Fusion and my Karhu running shoes.
The next day I woke up and felt . . . like I didn’t even run the day before! What a difference from the week before. No trucks ran over me, getting out of bed wasn’t a daunting idea, and I just felt amazing. My body seems to have adapted to the long run and I feel so much more excited for my half marathon now. I really think I can break my previous time and come away less beat up in the process.
I will continue to take lots of yoga, stretch out and ice my hip and prepare my body for the half marathon. This weekend I will taper with an eight miler and then it will be race weekend! I am so excited and can’t wait to share it with you! And can you believe today is exactly six months since I ran the NYC Half Marathon??! See how time fly? Here I am about to run my third, six months after my first.
Do you find your body reacts differently to long runs each time or does it always behave the same? Do you feel great after a long run or do you feel like a truck ran over you?