Sunday, March 25, 2012

9 Miles

This morning, I ran* 9 miles. The farthest I have ever run at one time. Also, it was the first time that I realized that I am actually getting better at this.  *I walked a little

Last Monday, I attempted a double loop of the inner circle of the park - appx. 8 miles - and nearly died. I experienced what most runners refer to as "hitting the wall". On the west side of the park (opposite of where I need to be to get home quickly), I hit the wall around the 6 mile point. I was exhausted. My legs ached. My feet hurt. It was getting dark and I knew I needed to just get home. **Though it is completely safe to run in Central Park in the evenings (plenty of people out, police presence, etc.) after a certain point, most runners have finished their run and the park starts to get a bit scary** The pain and exhaustion combined with the panic of feeling alone in the park made my chest feel tight. How would I run away from harm if my legs couldn't even move from my own will?  I was anxiety ridden and put everything into keeping my legs moving in small bursts of running to get out of the park as fast as I could.

Hitting the wall hurts. Hitting the wall sucks.

But, there is a way through the wall - along with properly fueling your body before a long run (something of which I did not do on Monday), energy gels (like Gu) can help break through the pain and exhaustion of reaching that point.

Today, I ran prepared. I properly fueled my body the night before (knowing I had planned a long run this morning), filled both bottles in the run belt with electrolyte-filled Gatorade, and packed a berry-flavored Gu within the pocket of the Amphipod.

**The running belt belongs to Craig and he kindly lets me borrow it when I need the hydration during long runs. He has been resting and recuperating from running the NYC Half Marathon last weekend.**

After a full loop of the park (appx. 6 miles), I decided it was time to test out the Gu. The horror stories I heard about this stuff made me apprehensive, but I found it to be not so terrible. Sure, the consistency is unusually thick, but the flavoring wasn't bad. The tri-berry flavor tasted sort of like how the interior of a pre-packaged jelly doughnut would taste. You know, that fake kind of filling that is a little bit too thick for the outside of it?  But, it served its purpose. I gives you that boost that allows you to feel like you can keep going, at least for a little while. Even if it's raining outside. Miracle product, I swear.

So, I finished the 9.2 miles in approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes. And, for the first time since starting this, I feel like I might actually be prepared to complete the More/Fitness Magazine Half Marathon in 3 weeks.

I have noticed that I am needing to walk less and less each time I go out there.  I am feeling like my legs are getting stronger, and my breathing is getting better. There are still times when I need to stop and walk through the cramps that pop up, but those seem to be subsiding faster as well.

Two months ago, I was feeling continuously defeated. I felt like there was no way I could get any better and that I would be plagued with the inability to run for the rest of my life. But, the more I try, the more I get out there and do it, the easier it becomes. Is running easy to me? Ha, not by a long shot. Yet, it's easier than it was. And that is what matters, right?

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Tomorrow, I am scheduled to run the longest run I have ever attempted. Also, I will be attempting to take energy gels for the first time.

I have seen so many runners choking down these things while running in the park. It should be interesting to see how well I do with them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On listening to your body...

"Listen to your body" is something that anyone who has ever done anything fitness related has heard over and over again. "Your body knows what its doing" "Your body knows what it needs" "Your body is telling you what to do" "Listen to it."

Yeah, well no offense to genetics (sorry, Mom and Dad!) but my body is a whiny little bitch. There. I said it!

Never being one prone to physical fitness, this new "fit" lifestyle is completely new to me. Sure, I danced as a child (up until college), I swam and dove competitively, and even played some team sports as a wee girl (didn't last long); but I was never the "give it my all" type of athlete. I was in it to participate. In it for the friends, in it for the "fun".

The first thing I ever found to be 'hard' (fitness related) was spinning. Riding a bike isn't hard, right? Well, I coughed and hacked my way through my first class and clutched my stomach trying to force the nausea away while shuffling my way home. My legs burned, my heart was pounding, so I spent most of the class sitting on the bike just pedaling along.

When I began running, everything hurt. My knees, my thighs, my butt actually moved up and down as I trotted down the road, leaving the muscle actually sore from impact. (Hint: compression pants are your friend!) My lungs burned, my heart raced, and my body was screaming "STOP! STOP! STOP RIGHT NOW!" So, I stopped. I always stopped.

Granted, there are times where walking is necessary, and I have stopped beating myself up over the absolute need to slow it down during a run; but, listening to my body often leads to me accepting less than what I can actually do.

Sure, my body feels like it knows what it needs.

"Rest today. Feel the hurt in your legs? It's because you did too much yesterday. Know what would be better? Order pasta in and just rest."


My body thought it knew what it needed 50 pounds ago. Now, I can power through a 45 minute spin class pushing myself harder each step of the way. I can push myself hard to get a tough workout even if the instructor, for lack of a better word, sucks. And running will eventually be the same. Body screaming "Stop!" or not, I'll show that little voice just how much more can be done.