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My Return To Long Runs
Ali On The Run looks a little different today, right? The blog makeover is still a work in progress, but many hours were spent over the weekend moving this little blog to actually being self-hosted, and doing the whole redesign thing. Those hours were not spent by me, though I was on hand to say, “Yes, I like that” or “Meh, that’s not my favorite,” and also, “Can we eat dinner now?”
The last time we were in touch was on Thursday morning. Since then, plenty has happened, and because you know I am a huge fan of things like lists and organizational tasks, I’ll break it all down for you as neatly as possible.
I went to yoga! I know, who am I? But my body has been feeling pretty tight lately, and an hour of major stretching felt great. I can’t say I left class on a yoga high or whatever you yoga people feel after class, but I did walk out feeling sufficiently bendy. Crunch has this new yoga class called “The Yoga Adjustment” where there’s a main instructor to tell you what to do (side angle! down dog! baby cobra! argjahdnrasana!) and then there’s a second instructor on hand to adjust you so that things stretch a little further and burn a little more. I loved it. Turns out, I’m doing a lot of things incorrectly.
I went to spinning. I don’t love Crunch’s Friday morning spin class, but I do love starting my weekend early with a super sweat. Class was uneventful and the workday was productive.
We found cheerleading costumes at the office. And we wore them all day.
And then something incredible happened…
I cooked dinner. And I don’t mean I made English Muffin Pizzas or reheated leftovers. I made a legitimate, from scratch, start-to-finish meal, complete with appetizers.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to cook a real meal once a month. I’m sure plenty of you are shaking your heads because you think I’m “underachieving” and stuff, and you cook real meals every single night, but I do not. I am typically afraid of the kitchen, so I avoid it.
But on Friday, I realized that January was almost over, and I hadn’t made more than a bunch of English Muffin Pizzas and several messes in my kitchen throughout the month.
The plan: To cook dinner for Brian.
The dish: Macaroni and cheese. My favorite.
The appetizer: Bread, that I even toasted a little bit, and an olive oil concoction (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and a bit of crushed red pepper — I’m basically ready to open up my own restaurant now).
So in preparation for my big “I’m cooking a real meal” evening, I found two mac and cheese recipes: A delicious-sounding Martha Stewart one and an OK-sounding but healthier version from somewhere else.
Lesson learned: Always follow the Martha Stewart recipe.
I did not. I used the “healthier” recipe.
And while the mac and cheese was OK, it wasn’t as creamy and gooey as I had hoped.
But Brian still ate it, and he didn’t die, so success!
I ran 15 miles. No, I still haven’t committed to the Eugene Marathon on April 29. But I hadn’t done a big long run in a while, so I wanted to give it a shot, see how my pace was and see how I felt.
The result? My pace was solid and I felt awesome.
My goal was to stay under 9-minute miles. Goal achieved.
I ran all around Central Park, saw lots of familiar, happy faces, and loved the fact that, on January 28, I was running in shorts. This month has been stellar for running. If global warming is real, I really don’t see the problem. (Kidding. Kind of…)
Eventually I made my way over to the West Side Highway. I used to run there every single morning and I miss it. It’s so flat, hence the speedier splits later on in the run.
By the time I was done, I felt so good and really didn’t want to stop running. I love that!
Pace-wise, I never felt like I was pushing too hard, but it felt comfortably challenging. I most definitely couldn’t sustain that pace for a full marathon, but I like that I kept it up no problem for 15 miles. And guess what else? Zero bathroom stops. Huge accomplishment, which is sad, I know, but I’m psyched about it.
I drank fancy chocolate milk. You people are always saying that “chocolate milk is ideal for refueling,” and I believe you. I rarely have milk in my apartment, but after Cooking Fest January 2012, I had some leftover and obviously I always have chocolate stuff on hand. So I had a chocolate milk cocktail and it was delicious.
I didn’t do much else for the rest of the day. I met up with Brian and we ran some errands and got some lunch and got a lot of frozen yogurt. We spent the evening eating mac and cheese leftovers (I still have them for lunch today, too — so much cheesy pasta) and working on blog things.
Correction: He worked on blog things, I laid on my bed to read Runner’s World for a while and apparently fell asleep with it in my hands. I guess the long run wore me out. I forgot how much I love that “I’m so exhausted because I ran forever this morning” feeling.
I want to run a marathon. I want to run a marathon. I want to run a marathon.
We did more blog things. All morning. This stuff is quite a process, and I hardly even know what’s going on.
I ran 7 miles. The plan was to do a 5-mile “shakeout run,” nice and slow. I love those Sunday runs. I did keep my pace slow, but I ran a weird all-over-the-place route, so 5 miles turned into 7. Oops.
I ran with Al Roker. Well, kind of. I saw Al running in the park. This happens often, actually.
Fun fact: Al Roker is Brian’s neighbor. So Brian sees him all the time. I only see him running in the park.
Anyway, apparently I have a thing for the Today show hosts.
I ran a lot of errands, I went to the bank, and I got more 16 Handles.
And then Brian and I were up until a midnight hour continuing to work on blog things and definitely not watching the season finale of that damn Kardashian show. It’s still a work in progress and I’m making my way through some kinks, but I’m excited to have a new look with bright colors and without that really old “I’M PUMPING MY ARMS FOR JOY!” photo in the header.
So stick with me, ignore any “this site does not exist” messages and I hope you’ll keep reading.
I also hope you all had a wonderful weekend!