Double digits, that is. This weekend was my first long run in the double digits since my last half marathon. I woke up feeling sorta iffy, since I had ended up staying up much later than intended the night before. I also ate half a pizza at around 10 at night, so that happened as well. Super good pre-run strategy.

I have to say, I think the 10 miler went great! I was presently surprised since my last 9 miler had been chopped up a little so I could do the 10k. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of my fitness level and ability to run well for longer than 8 miles (my longest consecutive long run since the half). I’ve come to terms with the fact that miles 3-5 will always royally suck for me. They are just super hard for some reason, and they always discourage me a little and make me feel like I’ll be unable to run longer distances. Once I get past those miles and into miles 7-8 though, I start feeling MUCH better. I was even running faster at mile 9.5 than I had been mile 2. Apparently, it takes my body about an hour to warm up since it spends so much time either sitting in a chair staring at a computer or horizontal staring at a tv. I even think that I might be able to go sub-2 hours, which is my A goal for the Brooklyn Half. I’m not entirely sure since I usually stop my gps for water breaks, but I think that if  I walk through water stops, it actually helps me to make up some time when I start running again (does that sentence even make sense? Not sure at this point. Pretty sure I’m hungover right now). Anyways, feeling good for the half and really appreciating that I’ve been able to stick to training even though this awful winter.

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I’m not even going to discuss the trauma of waking up to snow and ice after a week of 60 degree temps. I’m just not going to. What I WILL discuss, however, is the trauma of having to do my long-ish 6 mile run in the coldest, windiest, (totes not being dramatic here), iciest conditions pretty much ever. I legitimately went back and forth in my head about the length of this run about 400 times this morning. I have a 3 mile and 5 mile run on the docket later this week and a rest day Saturday, that could have potentially been used to run the 6 miler. But, no. I decided that it was now or never and that 30-something degrees wasn’t really all that bad. And it’s not! But what IS bad is frigid wind blowing in your goddamned face the. entire. run. It was horrible and, if I wasn’t so far from home and needing to get back so that I could go to work, I would legitimately have just ducked into the nearest coffee shop and stayed there. Forever. My hands were seriously not working properly and I didn’t even have the dexterity to be able to pause my MapMyRun at stoplights. Which ended up being okay, because, by the end of this run, I could have cared less about my split time. I was just hoping that my fingers wouldn’t have to be surgically removed due to frostbite, because that would not be a good look for me. 

In addition to the 45 mile per hour (is that fast? I don’t really get wind speeds) winds blowing in my facials, there was also the black ice all over the sidewalk. Literally sheets of ice. I had visions of myself eating it in APRIL of all times, and I simply wasn’t about to go out like that after somehow making it through this winter without falling. 

When I got home, I couldn’t even enjoy my hot shower because it literally hurt my frozen skin. Drama, y’all. 

In the end, today’s run was a reminder to really cherish those warm running days, even when the humidity makes you want to curl up and die. And it was a reminder that I AM tough enough to do this running thing. Even on days that suck. Even on days where I not only want to give up ,but I don’t even want to start in the first place. 

Also, please, for the love of god, can we just have it be summer already? Enough, Winter. Enough.

Following my 4 miler yesterday morning, I had some serious hip discomfort in my left hip. I am basically convinced at this point that the entire left side of my body is slowly shutting down. I RSVP’d for a JackRabbit yoga class and was REALLY looking forward to it since the topic was supposed to be, get this, mother effing hips, y’all. Class started at 6:30pm and imagine how happy I was, when, at 6:10pm, I found myself stuck on a train that clearly had no intentions of moving anytime soon. I had such a great day emotionally yesterday and I knew this train + yoga class situation had the potential to undo all of the good vibes I was feeling. I get super stressed about being late for things and I knew that, even if the train started moving again, I’d have to haul ass once I got to my stop just to make it close to starting time. I stood on that train for about 3 minutes going back and forth about what to do. I felt really bad about RSVPing and not showing up. I was starving already and, if I made the class, I wouldn’t be home until after 8. I was really wanting to stretch out my hip and knew there was a zero percent chance of that happening if I just went home. It was raining and I just wanted to curl up in bed and watch shitty tv. 

Finally, I made the decision to just head home, more to save myself the stress of trying to make it to class on time than anything else. I walked home in the pouring rain and was SO happy to get into my apartment and carbo load. As much as I appreciate how (relatively) committed I’ve been to working out the past year or so, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not. that. serious. If I miss a workout, or run one mile less than the training plan, or decide to go to yoga instead of going for my run, it’s not the end of the world. I am a serious planner, and I beat myself (and others, let’s be real) up if the plan doesn’t go the way I anticipated. But it’s important to have balance and not get burned out and not get to the point where I’m doing damage to my body or soul all because I was too inflexible. 

The solution to my train ish yesterday? Going today instead. So simple, and yet I had some serious pause about not doing my run this morning and going to yoga instead. But, at the end of the day, I want to make sure that I wait until I’m actually and old lady to have old lady hips, and the best way of making sure that happens to learning to listen to my body. And do lots of pigeon pose- that shit works, forreals.

Saturday I ran the Scotland Run 10k in Central Park. I had 9 miles on the training plan, so I got there early and busted out 3, way too fast miles beforehand. Because I felt like I had royally fucked up by (unintentionally) running the 3 miles too quickly,  I decided to run without gps and to run by feel for the actual 10k. I figured this would help reduce any pressure I might put on myself to try and get a PR, and would instead force me to slow down and make this the long run it was intended to be.

Well, I PR’d (obviously. Hence the title)!! I had only run one 10k before, the Queens one, which also happened to be my first 10k ever. And it was hot. So, so, so hot. So, I wasn’t totally surprised that I might run this one faster, but it still felt really good. Especially since it was technically part of my long run. I know I complain about the .5 mile uphill in Prospect Park, but Central Park more than represents in the hill department. I tried to really focus on form during this run, so for every uphill, I forced myself to move my arms and shorten my stride, and it really did help. The hills in Central Park don’t feel as long as the one in Prospect Park, but they look horrible when you’re coming up on them. They also somehow always manage to put an uphill at the end of the race, which is a huge mindfuck. Overall, I really loved this race. There were bag pipers playing at every mile and, though the race was sold out, it never felt uncomfortably crowded. It did feel like it took forever to get to the start line, and I really don’t love the idea of people feeling the need to jog a whole half mile to the start. But this race really helped boost my confidence and I feel like my training for the Half is right on track.

I took yesterday off, since I’m having a little bit of hip discomfort and I figured I really did run that race a little faster than I should have. I ran 4 miles this morning and plan to hit up yoga this evening to stretch some stuff out.

Scotland Run 10k: 57:17 (9:15 mm)

After much hand wringing about whether or not I ACTUALLY signed up for the NYC marathon (the NYRR website format was whack and super confusing), I received my OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL e-mail welcoming me to the 2014 class of the NYC Marathon! When I signed up forever ago, I was really hesitant to tell anyone, because I seriously am going to be freaking out enough without the added pressure of other people asking me about the marathon all the time. Since then, I’ve definitely not been hiding it, but I still don’t feel comfortable sharing it with the world (no one reads this blog, so this doesn’t count). There’s still this part of me that feels like I might fail, which is ridiculous, because I certainly WILL finish (even if I have to walk the whole thing). And it’s not like running marathons is that uncommon- all kinds of people do it all the time. So, even though intellectually I know I’ll be okay, I’m still not at the point where I really feel like I can own my participation in the event. If that even makes sense.

This week’s training has gone really well, probably because it’s been fairly light. Monday and Thursday were 3 milers, Wednesday was a 5 miler, and Tuesday was a rest day. I’m supposed to run 4 miles today, but, depending on the rain situation, I might push it to tomorrow, which is supposed to be a rest day. Running after work is really, really hard for me. My commute home is about an hour, so by the time I get off the train, I’m starving and exhausted and the last thing I want to do is run. Being able to wake up early on Saturday to do my 4 miles might be the mental health break I need. Sunday is my long run of 8 miles. I know I’m following the training plan and that it’s a gradual build up, but I’m really anxious to get back up to double digits. Well, at least I will be when the freaking water fountains get turned on again. I hate hand held water bottles with a burning, burning passion. How do you people do it?!?! Are your arms made of steel?

Well, the schizophrenic weather continues,  much to my dismay. It seems like the general pattern is cold weekdays and a warmer weekend, which, in theory is nice, but I am just so, so ready to be done with winter altogether. Throwing me a bone 2 days a week just isn’t cutting it anymore.

I had my longest run since the half last year this past weekend (7 miles!). And I am happy to report that the run felt really, really good. I’ve been having a lot of lackluster 3 and 4 mile rules that feels slow and hard and it makes me question whether I’ll be able to run a half, much less a marathon. The long run this week felt super good, partly because I wasn’t worrying about pace and was just focused on increasing my mileage. I’m having to re-train myself to not think so much about pace considering I’m going to be running a marathon that will be nowhere near what I average per mile when I’m running shorter distances (duh). As obvi as that sounds, there’s still always this little voice inside my head that makes me feel badly when I hear that my pace is hovering about 10mm, when I know I can run faster. Anyways, feeling good as my mileage increase was insanely great for my confidence level.

Because the weather has been all over the place, I have varied my runs between the treadmill on cold days and outside on relatively warmer ones. Can I just say, I truly believe that treadmill running is much, much harder than running outside? I know everyone says that treadmills are easier on your body, and I don’t doubt that, but Jesus Christ does doing 3 miles on the treadmill feel like death. I even end up running slower on the treadmill because the exertion feels that much more. Granted, I am doing my treadmill runs at Planet Fitness, whose motto seems to be: “You only pay us $10 so don’t expect A/C, you cheap bastard”. Seriously. It. Is. Fucking. Hot. Like, huge drops of sweat flying off my body. It’s gross. So, maybe that’s it. Or the fact that I’m focusing so much energy on not eating it in front of total strangers.

So, fingers crossed that this weather gets its shit together and I can finally abandon the gym for more awesome runs in nature, aka Prospect Park.

Since I still feel pretty new to this whole “running” thing, I’ve never really sat down and thought about specific goals races. I generally just know that I want to PR, although, truthfully, I often go into races having no idea of what time I’m trying to beat. While I know that I am not particularly motivated to put in the training necessary to become significantly faster, I do want to start giving myself some real benchmarks. Up until now, I’ve really been focusing on increasing distance, but, soon, I’ll have completed a marathon (?) and I’m going to want to work more on speed. That having been said, here are my (completely arbitrary) time goals for races this year:

5k- 25:00

4 Miles- 34:00

5 Miles- 45:00

10k- 1:00:00

Half- 2:00:00

Marathon- Finishing alive