Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Almost 23 Mile Weekend Recap

Saturday I knew I had to get a long run.  A really good long run.  And my longest long run yet.  I had mapped out what I thought would be the perfect 19 mile run.  It would take me across the George Washington Bridge, just into New Jersey, and then back home.  I've been biking across the bridge several times, but never running and I figured that it couldn't be that hard to figure out how to get there.

So, I did my usual run up the Westside Path and when I got to the base of the bridge, instead of turning around and heading home, I kept going up the hills to the pedestrian bridge at 181st Street.  The first hill wasn't so bad.  The second hill, I made it up and practically doubled over trying to catch my breath.  Holy cow.  That's a steep climb.  The only thing that made me feel good about this is the biker I was chasing up the hill, I caught on the second hill and the second hill the biker walked and I ran up!  So, at least I've got that going for me. 

After I got across the pedestrian bridge and was at the corner of 181st Street and Riverside Drive and I made a fatal error.  I headed south right away towards the bridge, which was a really big mistake.  I basically ended up getting lost and running along the side of the entrance to the freeway not on any sort of sidewalk, but under the bridge and under the road (sort-of) and all I can say is that I was scared. 

I eventually saw a staircase that should have taken me where I wanted to go, so I started up the stairs and took a spill up the stairs.  I wasn't too worried about this until I realized that I fell into a bunch of drug paraphernalia, which wasn't ideal.  I made my way up the rest of the stairs only to discover that there was a wall at the top, which I couldn't get over.  So, I made my way back down the stairs.  I decided to turn off my watch because obviously I wasn't going anywhere and I wasn't running and in fact I was blinking back tears.

Finally, I made my way back to the sidewalks and regular roads, started my watch and started running again, and couldn't decide if I should just go home and be okay with a shorter run or if I should make my way back to the bridge and do the original run plus a little extra.  I was bound and determined to figure out this whole bridge thing, so I made my way across the bridge and back.

Holy cow, it's windy on the bridge.  But the views are pretty awesome.  It was almost worth getting lost to see it.  It reminded me of the first time I rode my bike up the bridge and got lost getting there.  I would have thought that on foot (since I theoretically knew where I was going) it would have been a lot harder to get lost.  Not so much.  So, here's a word to the wise:  if you're running on the Westside Path and get to the 181st Street pedestrian bridge, head East for a couple blocks before you head South.  Your run will be much more enjoyable! 

After getting back to New York from my very brief visit to New Jersey, I made my way back to the Westside Path, now that I had a much better idea of where I was going.  And then I ran home.  I had a pretty good nutrition plan for this run and it worked really well up to a point.  Starting at around 35 minutes, I had a sip of Gatorade every 10 minutes.  At one hour and two hours I ate 4 jelly beans each time followed by some water.  I had my third set of jelly beans at 2:45:00 because it just seemed like a good time. 

After that, I was pretty much parched.  So, I'm still not doing something quite right because at some point on all these long runs, I basically feel like I cannot drink enough.  The only problem?  I have no idea what to do about it. 

After about 3:15:00, I had pretty much had it.  I was tired of running and tired of having my Fuel Belt around my hips and just wanted to be done.  It was at this point where I think I hit my mental wall and I'm not really convinced that I came out ahead on this one.  I just kept thinking that if I was tired now, how would I ever finish a marathon?  I would still have so many miles left to go.  So, I just did the best I could getting home.  I definitely took several (quick) walking breaks.  I would mostly count to 5 or 10 in my head while walking and then start running again.  I also took my Fuel Belt off and wore it around my neck/shoulder.  I got a lot of funny looks, but I didn't care.

When I got home, I just laid down on the ground for a while, before figuring out that my 19 mile run was a 19.75 mile run (plus a little extra not counted for getting lost).  I've never felt so discouraged after a long run.  The funny thing is that I actually did pretty well on the pacing.  I think the problem really was getting lost.  If I had just made it to the bridge and done the run as planned, I think (I hope) I would have felt a lot better in the end.  The good news is that I've still got a couple more long runs to go before the race!

Today I needed to put that discouragement behind me.  I was on-call at work from 12 to 4, but ended up not having to go in, so at 4:00 I changed into running clothes and headed out for a really short 3-mile run.  I went to the Park, where I knew I couldn't get lost and where I've done this 3 mile run on several occasions.  It seemed almost fool-proof.  Plus, there were so many people to look at, it couldn't be boring!  On my walk to the Park, one of the bike rental guys looked at me and said, "Running is overrated, you know."  On some days, I couldn't agree more!

I also decided not to wear my watch or any other gadget.  Of course, I had to look at the big CNN clock at Columbus Circle on the way into the Park and the way out of the Park and it turns out that I ran the 3 miles in 31 minutes.  I'll take it.  The most important thing was that I enjoyed the run and my legs felt good, so I must have still had something in them yesterday, too.  Makes me feel a lot better overall. 

Saturday Running
Time: 3:34:20
Distance: 19.75 miles
Pace: 10:51/mile

Sunday Running
Time: 31:00
Distance: 3.00 miles
Pace: 10:20/mile

Wardrobe Challenge is still ongoing! 

Friday, Day 19: Black pants and black short-sleeved sweater with glasses and a necklace from a sidewalk guy in Barcelona.  Oh, and Drew says hello!

Saturday, Day 20: Jeans, gray short-sleeved t-shirt paired with silver headband and silver bangles.  Wore gray Converse with this outfit.

Sunday, Day 21: I have to confess, I've been cheating a little bit.  Drew is a huge San Francisco Giants fan (as a result of being a huge Will Clark fan as a kid) and the Giants are currently in the playoffs.  I've been wearing various Giants gear, but up until today, it was all pretty much in the "pajama" category since until now, the games pretty much started at 10 pm.  But, today's game started at 4:30 and so I'm wearing a Will Clark t-shirt with jeans.  However, I did not wear this out of the house, so it's borderline debatable that it's a real outfit and if the Giants weren't playing, I probably wouldn't have really gotten dressed at all today, but I felt I needed to come clean on my cheating: 


  1. You did great on that long run! I had a sucky 16 last week and I was very discouraged. My anxiety level over my marathon in 6 weeks was crazy high for the past week. I had a great 17 mile run this morning. Can't wait to hear how your next long run is!

  2. Wow! 19+ miles is definitely a loong run! Way to push through it even though you got lost, I can definitely relate to how discouraging that is!

    Maybe alternating sips of gatorade and water every 10 minutes would help you keep your thirst at bay?