Grete’s Great Gallop 1/2 Marathon!

This week has been a little crazy so I apologize for the lack of posts! I’ve been in exhaustion city since running the half on Sunday but I’m starting to feel human again. Here’s a little recap for ya!

I wrote last week about how I wasn’t really feeling motivated to run, and I honestly woke up Sunday morning feeling the same way. I drank my water and coffee, ate my 1/2 banana and PB, put my Polar heart rate monitor on and headed for the subway. The race started on the east side of the 72nd St. transverse in Central Park so it was relatively easy to get to. As per usual, I was in the porta potty line 1 minute before the race began but since I’m not fast I always have about 10 minutes to spare way in the back of the corrals. That’s a perk of being slow, yes?

When I signed up for this race back in August, I was dreaming of a nice chilly start to the race being that it was in October and all. Well, 2 minutes of being outside Sunday morning and you were drenched in sweat from the thick humidity and mist. I was glad I had hydrated so well the day before and morning of and I am particularly happy with how I hydrated through the whole race. I carried a Nathan’s hand held water bottle about 3/4 or a little less full and sipped it every 5-10 minutes until I ran out of it at mile 9.

nathans

This size fits my iPhone 5 (with no case on it), my credit card and ID, and a little baggy of Swedish Fish.

I felt pretty great mentally and physically for much more of the race than I expected. The one mantra I told myself when I would start to get anxious at how much time I had left was to “stay within the mile you are in”. I have read that many times and it helps so much! I would just focus on being in mile 4 or mile 10 and get through that mile. I kept my music off until the 6th mile for a little mental break in the miles, too. Dedicating the harder miles to someone is really helpful too. I thought about my grandma for all of mile 8 when one of her favorite songs came on my playlist- Unforgettable by Nat King Cole. It brought tears to my eyes and an instant sense of motivation!

This course was 2 full loops of Central Park and let me just tell you… it’s Wednesday and the soreness in my quads is still making it very painful to walk down any stairs! Hills on hills on hills. I fueled with Swedish fish at mile 4 and mile 8 and didn’t feel like I needed any extra energy. Swedish fish are amazing and a cheap source of sugar for a long distance run!

I stopped to stretch out my calves and left IT band 3 times and while I wish I could get away with not doing that, I just don’t want to risk an injury. I wait until the tightness is pretty bad to stop so I don’t feel like such a wuss but it definitely feels like a necessity to do.

Finally mile 12 came and as it usually goes, it was the worst mile of the whole race. I almost stopped to walk about 300 times but instead I ran slower than I’ve ever run before. It honestly barely felt like I was moving my feet but soon enough I saw Brenda and John near the final .10 of the race. It gave me the boost of adrenaline I needed, and I sprinted my way through the finish and somehow managed a smile!

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I pretty much want this picture enlarged and framed in my room. So proud that my 2nd half marathon is complete! I actually finished 2 seconds slower than my first one in May but it really doesn’t matter to me! Finishing is all I’m concerned with 🙂

Finishing time was 2:29:17. Pace of 11:24 per mile. Rockin’ the 11’s like it’s my job, right Erika?! 😉

I had to go into work right after for a few hours, and had 0 appetite until I got out of work. I forced down a plain bagel with a little butter, a coconut water, and a pumpkin muffie from Panera brought to me by a co-worker! My heart rate monitor showed that I burned over 1800 calories during the race so this wasn’t nearly enough to refuel but I made up for it later! Mussels, fries, and my first BURGER in 348347329 years. NOT a good idea but I also knew that going into it…

Sorry for the dark lighting!
Sorry for the dark lighting!

Delicious, $5 mussels from Brindle Room.

I had a craving for a burger so bad I could have died. I’m more or less allergic to red meat (I don’t know what else to call it when every time I eat it it gives me a 2 day long stomach ache?) so I haven’t eaten it in a long time. I’ll usually have 1 or 2 burgers a year and it has to be EXTREMELY worth it. I knew the portion was really small and John doesn’t toss around lightly what he considers the best burger in NYC so I went for it.

burger w/ blue cheese & caramelized onions
burger w/ blue cheese & caramelized onions

Seriously worth every bit of pain that followed. YOLO?

I then proceeded to collapse in bed only to have to wake up at 4:30 AM to travel 4 hours to get my hair done. Let’s leave that for tomorrows post 🙂

I’ve rested Monday, yesterday and today out of pure exhaustion so I’ll have a chance to run twice before Sunday’s half marathon! Am I crazy or am I crazy?!?

Have you ever ran a half marathon? Thoughts on the distance?

Slow + How I Carb-Load.

While I’ve been very aware that I have a half marathon this weekend and next, it didn’t really hit me until last night. I’m nervous but also have taken the approach to running that works for me… very laid back. I’d say I care about my pace somewhat and it would be great to run 9 minute miles “easy”, but I know I’m slow and ACTUALLY slow. Nothing annoys me more than reading blogs about runners who say their 8:30 minute miles are sooo slow. You KNOW that’s not slow. It may be slow for you and that’s totally fine because we are all different, but stop considering that slow. I can’t even sprint an 8 minute mile. Let’s keep it real. You have natural speed talent, OWN it. Be proud! I think it’s safe to say 11 minute miles are pretty damn slow but I’m pretty damn proud that I can run at all  🙂

My point to that is that I know I’m not going to win any race and while I think it’s great to compete against yourself, you never know how you’re going to feel on race day. I give myself too much anxiety thinking about all the outcomes of a race, and I think that’s one component of why it’s so exciting. But I tend to get too down on myself thinking that my paces are embarrassing… and then I remind myself that just 4 years ago, I was carrying 110 extra pounds and couldn’t even WALK a mile without dying. It’s not that I don’t go out there and run my heart out, but keeping a 10 minute mile pace for 13.1 miles, right now, would have me dry heaving by the 3rd mile. Maybe one day I’ll have some speed back, but it just isn’t natural for me right now. And I am okay with that, and that’s great since I’m the only person who HAS to be okay with that 🙂

I’m starting with this stuff because this week I felt so unmotivated to run at all. My 10 mile race last weekend was great, and then I stressed myself out about being so sore for the following days. I finally ran Wednesday and it hurt. Everything hurt. I took Thursday off, then when I got to the gym yesterday to run I was over it before it even began. I ran 1 mile on the treadmill, then did some upper body work because I didn’t have it in me to run 1 more foot. I thought about why I was so over it all day, and I realized that I’m making races too much about the outcome. I run because I love it and I have to allow races to just be a day of running that I had to pay for (WTF) and that happens to be with thousands of other people while getting water handed to me for free. Pretty sweet deal. So I have to stop worrying about my pace and enjoy the ride! The fact that I have the ability to run and the ability to run these amazing races is enough to make me happy.

Moving on to the good stuff. If you are new to running longer distances or races, I will share with you what seems to work the best for me when it comes to “carb loading.” If you are also new to reading my blog, first of all… thank you 🙂 Second of all, I have a little history with binge eating. It was a period of about 4 months of bad binge eating… I would eat normal all day, then come home and eat a ton and wake up in the middle of the night to eat. It was in between my lowest, unhealthy weight when I needed to gain some back and I lost control. I had restricted for so long that suddenly eating more became MUCH more, and I put on 20 pounds in those 4 months. I am thankful every day that I have overcome it but it did take over a year to really rid myself of it completely. How this relates to carb loading is that I HATE feeling overly full now, so when I got into distance running I thought it would be a little tricky to add extra calories and carbs the day before the race without that feeling. The trick is to start carb loading the 3-4 days before the race by adding in extra calories and carbs without overdoing it. Trust me, you do NOT want to wake up the day of the race (or a long training run) with a food hangover. If my race is Sunday, I start to add a bit more to my day starting Thursday.

Oats in a jar with some lovely flowers and reading material.
Oats in a jar with some lovely flowers and reading material.

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Thursday’s breakfast was oats in a jar with a few scoops of apple butter. I eat oats every morning, but on this day I added in another banana (well, ate it on the side) and these scoops of apple butter.

Yesterday’s lunch was amazing. I had to go to the Upper East Side to get my race stuff for Sunday, and since Panera Bread is up here and I am never up there I decided to grab it for lunch.

photo 3 (1)

I ALWAYS get the greek salad with grilled chicken (which costs more to add, of course) and once I got back to my desk I was beyond pissed to see that no grilled chicken had been added. SO PISSED. Luckily the pumpkin pie bagel I got to carb up with didn’t disappoint.

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I just had it toasted with nothing on it and it was perfection!

Last night John and I went to the great new restaurant in our neighborhood, Heights Tavern. It’s so great to have a restaurant in our neighborhood that’s really good and not entirely spanish food!

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I had grilled chicken, avocado & goat cheese on ciabatta with sweet potato fries. Nothing is oily and greasy there which I absolutely love!

Today’s breakfast was extra carby of course, since it’s the day before the race.

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Just so happened to have another almost empty jar of Justin’s deliciousness, so I added in my heated up banana chia oats and added 1/4 cup of dark chocolate macaroon granola AND a mini dark chocolate mounds bar. Chocolate coconut heaven! I found that granola at TJ Maxx and it’s amazing.

As for lunch today, I will have a bagel and some Popchips with guacamole and dinner later is my pre-race ritual of cheese-less Domino’s pizza! I’m aiming for about 2500 calories today so even with the pizza I still need a snack of about 500 calories! Hard job fueling for a race, huh? 😉

One other thing… if I had ran more miles this week I would be eating a bit more than I am since I would need the extra fuel from burning more calories. I have this worked out for my own body and its’ needs, keeping in mind that I still want to lose a few pounds so there is no need for me to go out of control with calories! It’s a constant learning process and since it involves food… it’s pretty fun.

How do you fuel for races or long runs?

Stolen Surveys.

The following are surveys stolen from two cute gals, Ashley and Beth, meshed together. I’ve only done 1 or 2 surveys on here, but I figured it would be fun and let’s face it: it’s Friday and my brain is barely functioning so I need some content to go on 😉 I’m also pretty nervous about my 5K tomorrow morning (ya know the fun pre-race jitters we all get) so trying to distract myself before going home and eating my pre-race ritual of cheese-less jalapeno pizza from Domino’s! Even though a 5K only burns off about 1.5 slices of that… can’t mess with tradition. Also, can’t say no to pizza. Evvveeerrr. Feel free to copy any/all of these in the comment section and answer them with your own answers! I’d love to read them.

What made you start your blog?

I started blogging in the beginning of high school because I love writing and yes, I love talking about myself. It ain’t no use in hiding it. This blog I started 2 years ago because I fell in love with reading other runner blogs!

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

2 things come to mind… #1: absolutely nothing with people that I love like john and brenda, or alone. Like just laying in bed, talking, laughing and watching TV. Napping. Eating. Perfect. #2: Walking around the city all day shopping and eating with people I love. Easy to please, yo.

Pretty much my exact night stand set up.
Pretty much my exact night stand set up.

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What is your favorite food to eat?

Pizza. Always and forever.

pizza

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What is your favorite way to stay active?

Running!

first race Nov. 2011!
first race Nov. 2011!

If you could travel to anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

California, because I’m obsessed. Even though I’ve only been once. 

What is your favorite animal and why?

Not an animal person, but I love elephants. Babar was my favorite cartoon!

babar

 

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What is your favorite movie?

Closer. Jude Law AND Clive Owen?! I still die.

closer-7

 

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Sweet or savory breakfast?

9% of the time sweet (like oatmeal with PB I consider sweet) but I also love breakfast sandwiches with eggs, bacon or sausage. And homefries. With a looooot of hot sauce and ketchup. At a greasy diner. With coffee. Yum.

breakfast-train-dairy

 

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How many rest days do you take a week?

I have no set #. I listen to my body and sometimes it’s 2, sometimes it’s 4, sometimes its a week off. And guess what? You won’t gain weight if you are still eating within your calories! In fact, I usually lose water weight and end up feeling stronger once I’ve taken a few days off. Don’t fear rest, ya’ll.

If you could meet any famous athlete, who would it be, and why?

Truthfully I don’t follow any sports nor famous athletes. I don’t run to compete but of course I admire professional runners!

What is your favorite restaurant?

This isn’t 100% for sure because I love SO MANY but I think my top would be Grey Dog. Amazing food, great atmosphere, and we go like 5 times a month.

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If you had to eat thing  for and entire month, what would it be?

Pizza. See above.

Do you prefer AM or PM workouts?

AM! Unless it’s cross-training, I can’t really run after eating all day without extreme stomach pains not to mention no desire to do anything but sleep after 10+ hour work days.

What is the farthest distance you’ve ran?

13.1 miles 🙂

What is your favorite childhood memory?

Many many many. All with my wonderful grandma who I miss every day.

<3 <3 <3

Where do you want to be in 10 years?

Wherever I am happy, working a job I love and surrounded by the people I love. Whatever that looks like in 10 years, I’ll be cool with.

cool

 

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If you had to move to another country, where would you move and why?

Australia. I won’t let my life long dream of being a surfer girl (via Blue Crush) EVER die.

blue_crush_17846

 

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Would you rather live in the country or in the city?

CITY. No country for this girl.

If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?

A hair stylist. Like a really great one. Since I can barely brush my hair on my own, it would be so cool to have that talent!

What’s your favorite part of your body?

I like my legs.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

Most people in my life know pretty much everything about me cause I am an open book! I guess most people don’t know my family life details because that I keep private.

If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say?

Exercise a lot and eat a lot (but not too much). Enjoy it all. It’s good for ya.

Name three things hanging out in your fridge door.

Sriracha, pickled jalapenos, and Frank’s. Can’t live with my hot condiments!

franks-red-hot-y-u-so-good-on-everything

 

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Happy Friday night! I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with my 5K race recap! 🙂