“You gon’ look like a damn fool, layin’ at the hospital dyin’ from nothin’!”

I stuck to the plan. I logged 57 miles this week, and a marathon yesterday as the long run. The marathon was a PR. I feel great and not too sore.

So, I had originally planned on running this free, fat-ass-style “New Year’s Marathon” in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx on New Year’s Day. There’s a group of runners in New York City that volunteer their time to organize free marathons on a bunch of major holidays, and I’ve always been curious what kind of experience one of those might be (probably a lot of really cool runners). I’m occasionally in New York as I pass between Montreal and Princeton, and I thought it would be a neat way to kick off the new year.

Sadly, the New Year’s Marathon was canceled this year due to conflicts with the city’s park services. I thought about just going and doing the marathon solo anyway, and later there emerged an “Occupy Van Cortlandt Park” facebook event, by/for runners who felt similarly. But the Bronx is quite far from where I’m staying in Brooklyn, and my regular long run day is Saturday, so I decided to do a solo marathon on New Year’s Eve, in Pennington.

This was somewhere between a regular weekly long run and a more concentrated effort, because, while I didn’t taper at all, I had been looking forward to running that New Year’s Marathon for a long time, and I’ve also been itching to prove what I’ve long felt: that I could run a much faster marathon than the 3:45 (Hamburg 2010) which is my PR. I just always train and never race, so I feel like my official PRs never accurately reflect my abilities. This run was different – I thought about it days in advance, got in the headspace I needed to be in to make a solid effort, took care of myself the day before, and set up an “aid station” on my front porch so I could make quick pit-stops any time I passed the house on one of my 2.6-mile loops around Pennington. (The “course” was this loop 10 times, but I added in one more mile because – according to my Garmin – the loop wasn’t quite the 2.6 miles that Google Maps said it was.)

So I definitely ran at least 26.2 miles yesterday, and my time (Garmin) was 3:32:44. Add about 2 minutes for immobility while drinking gatorade (didn’t want to carry the liter bottles with me, so I left them on the porch and made my stops very brief). The run was everything I’d hoped for. I crushed my old PR without tapering and without even leaving my comfort zone in terms of pace. My soreness afterwards was minimal and I feel I could run today just fine, but I’m keeping Sunday my rest day. My efforts to pace, hydrate and fuel have become much more habitual and REALLY improved the way I feel after a long run. I’ve been doing a weekly long run in the neighborhood of this distance all fall, and in 2012 that long run is going to be a marathon at the very least, every Saturday. Ultimately I want to be doing a 50k once a week. So for these long runs, I just need to work on making each one a little bit less of an “event,” a little more instinctive.

Did I mention the weather was perfect? 42-43 degrees F when I started out, and about 50 by the time I finished. Mostly sunny with a light breeze. I wore only a t-shirt (and tights) for most of my last run of 2011… that’s awesome.

The salt on my face was pretty intense when I got back:

Sadly, my mastery of pacing, hydrating and electrolyte maintenance completely abandoned me in part 2 of New Year’s Eve, 2011. I am speaking of the events of the evening, which I spent with my friend Woody in his neighborhood in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This is the first time I’ve visited him in New York, and in fact the first time I’ve ever spent time in Brooklyn, and it seems really quite close to how I had already pictured it. For instance, the loft space Woody calls home with two pretty great flatmates (all of whom are very kindly giving me a place to sleep for these few days):

Woody took me to a house-party/”gathering” at his friend Seth’s place, with numerous disclaimers that everyone there was going to be a non-drinking “yoga vegan,” and that Seth wanted us all out by 10 pm so he could go to a group meditation shindig. Our plan was to check out that scene, but gradually head over to a theoretically more high-energy party situation. It is perhaps equally a mark of my own deficiencies and of the actually-really-great nature of Seth’s party that we never made it to this latter party. Suffice to say that it did go until well past midnight, and it was all very convivial and celebratory until I got sick and immobile. Honestly, it does seem idiotic of me, that I could be so completely not attuned to what my body needed, at the end of a long day in which I had accomplished a really significant (for me) feat of body awareness and physical endurance. I mean, feeling good after/while drinking a lot requires all the same things as feeling good after running a lot: strategic pacing, hydration and essential nutrients. And sometimes, a support crew can make all the difference in the world (thanks, guys). I guess it goes to show that the lessons you learn from running – even these very literal/physical ones – are lessons that you definitely can and should apply to your life, even if you don’t! But all things considered, I’d rather be a well-trained runner who occasionally screws up when it comes to drinking, than the other way around.

Happy New Year to anybody out there. Make your resolution relentless forward progress. If you feel all broken down and you think you can’t run anymore… walk.

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~ by edmundmilly on January 1, 2012.

2 Responses to ““You gon’ look like a damn fool, layin’ at the hospital dyin’ from nothin’!””

  1. (1) the title of that last post doesn’t sound like woody talking. (2) yes, it does seem idiotic. (3) looks like tom hanks’ “big” place, but actually lived in.

  2. (1) Who said it was supposed to?
    (2) No need to rub it in.
    (3) Yeah, I can see that, kind of the archetypal NY loft space. Definitely more lived in, though.

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