This morning I took advantage of the fact that I didn't really have to do anything today other than run and I slept in until about 10. Then I dragged myself out of bed, ate a bar and had some Gatorade and then got sucked into the TV for the next hour and a half. I didn't force myself outside until about noon. I just walked to the park because I figured that I would get enough running in without the extra mileage running there and back.
When I left the apartment, it was 41 degrees and sunny. I wore tights, shorts, thin long-sleeved shirt and windbreaker and shoved my gloves and hat in my pocket just in case. I also got to wear sunglasses! Also in my pockets were a couple of dollars as well as 3 full-sized Fig Newtons. I had tried the mini Strawberry Newtons before, but this would be my first time with the regular ones. Each one is 55 calories, so I had brought along a total of 165 calories.
Since this week was sorely lacking in the mileage department, I decided that it was time to test my legs and try out a double-digit run (my very first!). My plan was to run from the southwest corner of the Park up and over the Harlem Hill, down the west side, cross the 72nd Street transverse and then back up to 102nd Street and then all the way back down the west side back to where I started. Essentially, I made a circle within a circle.
I started out really slowly. I knew that today was less about time and more about breaking that mental barrier between 9 and 10 miles. I don't know exactly where all the mile markers are in the park, so that makes it easier to just plod along in complete bliss and not worry about how fast you're going per mile.
When I got to the Harlem Hill, I was running down the hill near Lasker Pool and there were three girls out walking. The oldest one seemed to be high-school aged and was probably with her younger sisters from what I could tell. They were sort-of goofing around and making fun of the runners who were passing them. When I was running by, I heard the oldest one say "If I had known I'd be running, I would have worn my spandex". Which really made me laugh, because in actuality, very little of what I was wearing was really spandex. (I'm such a dork that I actually checked this when I got home and my tights contain 12% spandex and my sports bra 8% and everything else is some sort of polyester - rayon blend). Next time I'll try to be all decked out in 100% spandex!
I will say that the best part of my outfit had to have been my Marilyn Monroe socks. I figure that on long journeys like this, it's best to have someone there with you - even if it is just on your socks. In case you're wondering, this is what my socks look like:
Drew's mom and dad actually sent me those socks a while ago and Marilyn and I have had some other good adventures together. However, just recently, my mom sent me an e-mail with this photo of Marilyn and JFK, so I think she was just on my mind:
After running about 5.6 miles, I was back at the 72nd Street transverse and I stopped to buy a water from the vendor on the corner. I knew that I wouldn't get through the rest of my run without some water. I ended up taking 2 walking breaks of 2:00 each to eat my Fig Newtons. I thought they were pretty good. Sweet, but not too sweet, and chased down with water, they weren't dry at all. I'm definitely thinking that they'll be my nutrition plan for the half-marathon. Especially since I don't have any of the issues that I have when taking gu or gu-related products.
After getting my water and heading back again, I was just thinking that I couldn't believe that I was really doing 10 miles today. I think that keeping a slow and steady pace really helped me not get too tired out in the beginning and having the Newtons definitely helped give me an extra little boost.
However, I don't know if they were quite enough. I just happened to look at my watch after I had burned about 1100 calories and it wasn't long after that point that I think I went a little bit crazy. I don't remember where I was exactly, but I was making my way back down the west side of the park. I was definitely getting a bit tired by this point, so I just started talking to myself. Normally I think about a lot of things while I'm running, but this time I just started talking out loud.
My dialogue went something like this, "This is easy!" "You don't need to stop again!" "You're incredible for doing this today." "This is easy!" "Lots of people out here walking today won't ever even run 1 mile and you're doing 10!" "This is easy!" "This is easy!"
The "this is easy" comment was definitely my mantra for the last mile or so. I just kept repeating it to myself. I also realized that talking to yourself out loud actually might not be as crazy as it seems since so many people are wearing iPods that they weren't paying any attention to me anyway and I had seen several people running and talking on the phone, so I couldn't be any crazier than they were.
In the actual plan from Runner's World for the half-marathon, the maximum that they have you run is 10 miles. I built in a week where I run 12, but that's really for my own mental benefit during the race. I think that doing 10 miles today really proved to me that this half-marathon is within reach and I still have a month to go!
This coming week is a little bit tough because I'm supposed to be aiming for 32-34 miles total this week and I'll be out of town over the weekend. I am planning on going running on Saturday while I'm out of town, so that'll be nice to get one long run while I'm away, so I don't know how well the rest of the week will go with following the plan. I figure as long as I can come close to the total for the week, I should be all set. (Fingers crossed!).
Distance: 10.20 miles
Maximum HR: 188
Average HR: 174
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