Thursday, April 9, 2009

Irish's Comeback

Well, I won't beat around the bush here. As the title of this post suggests . . . I did, in fact, make a comeback and totally managed to rock my long run this past weekend!

I got home from work at almost 9 p.m. on Friday evening and downed some whole wheat penne pasta with grilled chicken, spinach and portobello mushrooms along with about a gallon of water. It was delish. And? I was tired. After unwinding a bit in front of the boob tube, Wilson and I headed to bed with the alarm set to go off around 6:30 a.m.

The alarm rang and we groggily climbed out of bed, eager to grab some coffee. As we sat watching NY1 and caffeinating ourselves, we planned the route we would tackle. Have I mentioned yet that this was Wilson's first long run since running the Austin Marathon on February 15? Yes, you read that right. Wilson had run only a handful of times in the nearly two months since his first marathon, covering a total of probably 15-20 miles. Considering he is signed up to run the Long Beach Half Marathon with me on May 2nd, we figured it was probably about time for him to get back out there (ya think?!). Thus, we decided we'd head over to Prospect Park and do our respective long runs loop-style. Wilson would simply run as far as he felt like he could manage, while I'd cover the 13-14 miles I had on the schedule.

We got dressed, used the facilities and were almost ready to go when I realized I hadn't eaten breakfast (doh!). I asked Wilson if he was going to eat anything and he responded that he would just eat some sports beans before heading out. I was nervous about not eating, but I figured I'd give the sports beans a shot too, since I didn't want to have to wait for food to digest. So? Off we went.

We took off on the 2.4 mile trek towards the park, and were not even a half mile into the run when we began to feel raindrops. "PLEASE NO; NOT AGAIN," I thought aloud. Luckily, it was just a tease, and the drops were gone as quickly as they'd begun. Still, we had upwards to 40 m.p.h. winds to contend with, and I knew it wasn't going to be a "walk in the park" (hahahaha). We ran on, and before I knew it, we had reached the park entrance. We stopped to stretch out a bit before continuing on.

Well, no sooner had we stepped foot in the park then we realized there was a bike race going on. This left just a narrow lane open for foot traffic and non-race bikers. GRRR. Oh well . . . that's part of living in a big city with limited park space. What confused me, though, was why on earth the racers felt the need to cut into our tiny coned off lane every once in a while; as though having 2/3 of the road blocked off for them somehow wasn't enough. I can't even count the many times I said to Wilson, "that guy just cut the course. He should be DQ'd." (I'm sure he didn't get sick of that at all). While I was a little worried that one of the bikers might just run right over us, watching the race did prove to be a pretty decent distraction!

Just when I almost started to think I didn't mind the bikers, they had to go and ruin it. A random dog ran out into the road in front of a pack of the bikers, which I'll admit sucks and is seriously dangerous. Luckily, the owner and one of the volunteer course marshals were able to pull the dog off the course just in the nick of time. But seriously? The string of insults and obscenities that flowed from these bikers' dirty mouths seriously pissed me off. A) They must not have been cycling very hard if they had all that breath to be screaming at the course marshal, and B) They were yelling at the wrong guy! It would be one thing if they had directed their ire at the idiot dude who let his dog off the leash amidst a bike race. But no, they chose to berate the poor volunteer course marshal, who got his ass up at the ass crack o' dawn and stood for hours in less than ideal weather conditions just to enable them to hold their silly make-believe Tour de France bike race (who the hell wants to ride a bike around a 3.35-mile loop anyway?!). In response to these jerks, Wilson and I started a chant of "Aaaaasshooooles!" I swear, if I could have caught up to them and tackled them all to the ground, I would have. But unfortunately, I kind of still had a long way to run. If nothing else, I have to admit that this encounter certainly made me even more appreciative of runners . . . people who actually take the time to THANK their volunteers, rather than cuss them out!

Anyway, back to the task at hand. We stopped to take a fuel/water break somewhere around mile-5, and I could just tell that Wilson wasn't having the best time ever. I asked him if he was okay, and he made a joke about not realizing how quickly one could lose fitness after a marathon. I asked what his game plan was, and he responded that he would finish the loop of the park and then head back home for a total of about 8 miles. I finished the loop with him and then we parted ways as he exited the park and I continued on.

Our splits together looked like this:

mile-1: 10:05
mile-2: 10:04
mile-3: 9:45
mile-4: 9:40
mile-5: 9:41
mile-6: 9:45

Well, I don't know what happened after Wilson left, but all of a sudden, I could not keep my pace down. I was flying, and it felt like I was exerting next to no effort. This seems to happen to me a lot during long runs . . . I eventually get into a groove where I am running much faster, but my perceived effort is the same--or even less than it was at the beginning of the run. But seriously? This was out of control. Check out my splits for the remainder of the run:

mile-7: 9:11
mile-8: 9:19
mile-9: 9:16
mile-10: 9:18
mile-11: 10:45 (I was a huge wimp and walked up a huge hill in the park during this lap because the wind was blowing in my face at about 40 m.p.h., and I just didn't have enough juice left to fight it)
mile-12: 9:02
mile-13: 9:09

See what I mean? That's 13 miles in 2:04:58 for about a 9:37/mile pace. Other than some sore hips and legs, I really did feel great. As you can see, I ended up completing the low end of my goal range--13 miles--but that was more a product of my own poor math skills than my inability to complete the distance. Ha, oopsies! I finished up 13 miles, walked about a third of a mile home to cool down (I'm superstitious about finishing my run right on the mile--it's seriously stupid, I know), and then immediately chugged some Gatorade upon arriving home. As my legs were rather angry, I figured an ice bath couldn't hurt; but having never actually taken an ice bath, I was scurrred! To make matters worse, Wilson had just gotten into the shower when I got home, giving me ample time to sit and think about how horrible the ice bath would be.

And? It was. I didn't even bother with ice . . . I simply filled the bathtub with freezing cold water from just the cold faucet. I was convinced I was freezing to death. Check it out (haha, and yes, those are my kashi crackers on the side of the tub--as I said to Wilson, who made fun of me for bringing crackers into my ice bath with me, "Lay off me, I'm starving!") :

I kept begging Wilson to let me get out of my ice bath, and finally, after what seemed like FOREVER (but was probably about 5 minutes), he let me get out. I got ready for the hottest shower of my life . . . but when I undressed myself, I noticed that my sports bra had apparently attacked me during me run. I had no idea! Check out the damage:

Ah well, such is the life of a female long distance runner, I suppose.

After getting cleaned up, Wilson and I celebrated by heading to the Mets new stadium, Citi Field, to take in a preseason game against the Boston Red Sox (Wilson's team--I'm a Cubs girl, naturally). It? WAS FREEZING! We stayed until they took the starters out, and then left somewhere in the middle of the 6th inning. BRRRR! That wind was just brutal! I was totally wishing I had a better camera than the one on my blackberry . . . you guys would NOT have believed how much trash was all over the field! It was hilarious!

Of course, Sunday ending up having the type of warm, sunny weather that would have been perfect for a ball game. Oh well. We made the most of it by going for a nice, long walk throughout some of the neighborhoods that border ours. Oh, and I also scrubbed the bathroom from top to bottom, which in my book, scores me extra cross-training points! The best part of the day was that I wasn't sore AT ALL. As painful as ice baths are, I'm starting to become a fan, you guys. I'm becoming like a real, crazy runner who takes ice baths and loses toenails (yep, that one just happened too). Who would've thunk it?

Whew . . . so there you have it! My magnificent return to not sucking at running. And to think, it only took me a week to post this! I seriously need to find more time in the day . . .


EmLit said...

Way to rock the long run! Well done. I've never had an ice bath before although after reading your testimonial I may have to try one when the next bout of marathon training comes on. That picture of you in the ice water makes me cold just looking at it, though.

Rachel said...

Awesome! Sounds like an amazing run!! I hate those horrible cuts that us women endure from the sports bra. If you ever find a solution to that one, let me know! I've tried everything and nothing seems to work.

Kita said...

Irish, Way to get out there and Just Do it! And an ice bath to boot. Awesome.

I wanted to tell you that my son's name is Bailey and my other is Emmett so I definately have a thing for Irish Cream. I might even have a drinking problem...I joke.

SueBob said...

Sounds like a good run overall. I still haven't been brave enough for the ice bath...I just use a wimpy ice pack on my shins.

Anonymous said...

Holy Cr.p! You are one hard-core runner. The long run is awesome and the cold-water bath is epic.

Congratulations on your excellent return

Running and living said...

Awesome long run, and on empty, too! I am addicted to ice baths, and take one now after every run. It's not even a big deal anymore, I got used to the initial pain, so my body is like: "oh, we're fine, just another ice bath, no biggie". I usually out on a swimsuit and a sweater (and make sure that it does not get wet) and I think that has helped me a lot as my upper body stays nice and warm. Ana-Maria

Spike said...

what a great long run--especially facing 40mph winds! the cold tub treatment is the worst, I'm not totally sure I believe what those experts say about it.

keep up the great running!

aron said...

nice job on the long run!!!!! you totally nailed it!

the ice really isnt that bad :)

Fair Weather Runner said...

I just found your blog (although I read about you in the Runners Lounge interview) and the fact that you mention you love beer and meat TWICE on your profile 'about me' makes me want to be a faithful follower. I thought I was the only long distance runner out there who enjoys her some BEEF and BEER! Cheers to a good weekend.

Lisa said...

Isn't it great when a faster pace can feel like the same effort as a slower pace on a different day?

Great job on your long run!


Nice Bra Chafe. I get the same thing from my HRM.

Bodyglide helps.