Long Run Domination

You know those runs where you struggle about 75% of the way, and the only thoughts you have the entire time are “I HATE this. I hate the wind. I hate the sun. I hate that it feels humid. I hate the tourists. I hate the hills of San Francisco”?

Today was one of those runs.

From the second I started, I wanted to be done. I felt sluggish and was hungry from the get go, and 10 miles later I was starving and felt like my legs were made of lead. When I finally finished, and looked down at my Garmin I was shocked.

Let’s rewind.

I started out the morning like I would for any long run – coffee and toast with Almond Butter (the homemade kind), honey, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice with apple slices.

I’m in love with my French Press.

Not so in love with the small size of gluten-free bread.

But definitely more in love than ever with my homemade almond butter.

I figured that I should just stick to what I know works for my stomach, and keep the almond butter toast as a pre-long run breakfast. It’s also so darn good, I welcomed it back into my life with open arms and a huge ass bear hug.

After breakfast I set out. It was around 10am or so – later than I would ideally like to start a long run, especially with the sun already beating down in San Francisco (not something I typically have to deal with).

I started off and let myself settle into a pace that felt natural.

8:17/mile. Awesome on a tempo run when I’m gunning for a 3:35 marathon this winter. Not so awesome when I sternly tell myself I will run this long, slow run slowly. I forced myself to slow it down.

2 minutes later I glanced at my watch to check my pace again.

8:25/mile.

Better, but not by much. I was starting to get frustrated. I wanted this to be a loooong, sloooow run, giving my legs the opportunity to be out running for a couple of hours without feeling majorly fatigued. They felt heavy from the first step I took. I know better than to try to run my long runs fast, but my brain and legs weren’t really into communicating this morning.

By that time I was starting to get to my least favorite part of running in San Francisco – the hills. After that it was hill after hill and then oh right, the Golden Gate Bridge is not flat. Why can I never remember this staggering fact?

I really, really worked on slowing it down, and eventually (we’re talking mile 9.5 here) found my groove. Then mile 10 and the starvation hit. I know why I was abnormally hungry – I snacked on chips, hummus, and some ridiculously tasty roasted garlic, cauliflower, pine nut concoction my mom (and Ina Garten) dreamed up yesterday later afternoon and wasn’t hungry for dinner. Boyfriend and I ended up having some air-popped popcorn later on in the night, but I probably should have just manned up and eaten a proper dinner.

I guess someone’s a little out of her marathon training groove.

The end stats stacked up like this:

I’m really happy with the splits. Really happy.

I kept the average pace under a 9-minute mile, and my last mile (when I felt the worst) was one of my strongest. On a run where I felt sluggish and like I was running with weights attached to my legs I was shocked and very pleasantly surprised it ended up so well.

The lesson in this? As always, the crappy runs make you really appreciate the good ones. Also it sucks building up base milage and fitness, but it feels so good when your hard work pays off. Keep at it – I promise you’ll see results, and get stronger and faster.

After getting home and chugging 3 pints of water I made myself a protein smoothie. I uses these two secret weapons along with 3 cups of spinach, 1 c original almond milk, 1 T chia seeds and cinnamon.

(Both available at Whole Foods – the Acai Smoothie pack is in the frozen section).

Then I met one of my favorite friends Kendall for lunch where more food inhalation (all me, she eats like a lady) and lovely conversation occurred.

Now? I have my compression sleeves on my calves and it’s time for a relaxing couple of hours of catching up on MadMen (I’m trying SO HARD to get through Season 2, but Betty is not making it easy) on Netflix.

I’m also annihilating the last of the gluten-free berry cobblers my mom and I whipped up yesterday. Recipe to come on Monday!

Happy Friday! Any fun weekend plans? 

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