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My 18-Mile Mentality
Tomorrow will not be my first time attempting an 18-mile run.
I did one 18-miler during Hamptons training, and it went really well. I feel like 18 is a solid distance. It’s far and it’s challenging, but on marathon day, reaching the 18-mile mark means you still have 8.2 miles to go.
Today is a rest day for me, and I’ve got the number 18 on the brain. I have some goals and hopes and dreams for tomorrow’s run:
- Get it done early. I’m planning to set my alarm for 7 am and hope to be out running an hour later. Yes, it takes me that long to get out the door. Blame Crohn’s. I have a hot date tomorrow afternoon with Brian, some friends and the Museum of Natural History, and I don’t want to be dragging my tired legs around the dinosaurs. So run early, have time to recover, venture to the Upper West Side. That’s the first part of this OMG SO COMPLICATED plan.
- Bring water. The fountains still aren’t on in the park, and feeling dehydrated was a pain last week. I’m planning to stash a water bottle somewhere along my route, so if you see it please don’t put drugs or dead animals in it. Thanks. I want to get in the habit of drinking water during my long runs when I’ll also drink them on the marathon course (a few sips or gulps every two or three miles).
- Fuel! I hate Gu so much. I vomited it once in Central Park. I will probably use it on Race Day just because it’s easiest, and after this week I’ll use Gu on my long runs to get my body used to it again. But tomorrow I’m going with some delicious Strawberry Gu Chomps. I tell myself they’re like candy, which is a lie, because candy is Cadbury Mini Eggs and candy is Starburst and candy is not a product called Gu.
- Follow the pace plan. Coach Cane wants marathon goal pace + 30 seconds/mile for at least the first 13 miles. After that I can pick it up to goal marathon pace if I’ve got it in me (which I will, obviously).
- But don’t obsess over the pace plan. Just run, Ali. That’s all you’ve gotta do. One foot, and then the other foot, and look, you’re running! And it’s fun!
- Keep it to the Reservoir. Coach Cane has had me doing all my runs lately on the Central Park Reservoir because it’s flat (hills aggravate my hip) and it’s a dirt path, so it’s easier on my knees and joints and the foot bone’s connected to the knee bone and now that song will be in my head all day. Ideally I’d run some miles on the main loop in the park, venture out to the West Side Highway and cruise around there for a while. But I want to stay contained to my safe little soft area, so I’m going to run to the park, run 10 laps of the Reservoir and then run back home. It’ll be tedious, that’s for sure, but it’ll be a good mental fight. Stay out of my way, tourists. The loop is mine, tomorrow.
- Take an ice bath afterward. I’ve never done one, and I think it would be good for me. I’m a little terrified. I don’t like extreme temperatures, but whatever. I’d rather be chilly for 20 minutes than injured forever. (Remind me I said that tomorrow when I’m swimming in ice cubes and probably crying.)
So that’s the plan. Easy enough, right?
In order to fully embrace the rest day leading up to long run day, I had myself an Alison Night last night. I used to have these all the time, but lately I’ve slacked because I’ve been all “Hanging out with Brian is more fun!”
That’s true, but alone time is important to me, and so while Brian was out eating BBQ with the boys last night, I wore pajama pants to the grocery store to buy dark chocolate, finished addressing Becky’s wedding invitations (yay!), caught up on some DVR’d shows and washed dishes. I really know how to rage. Every now and then though, I love these nights. I’m productive, I relax, and I do really sexy things, like floss my teeth and clip my nails and pick up the lint balls that accumulate in the corners of my apartment.
I should vacuum more often.
And for one final, cheesy note: Another reason I’m excited to run 18 miles tomorrow is because I have very fond memories of my last 18-mile run, after which I had the best weekend ever. I had to work, which wasn’t a problem, and then that Sunday morning Brian and I went for a shakeout run together in Central Park. It was roughly 900 degrees in New York City that day, and we got a late start to the run. We still hadn’t told people we were dating, so we were a little shocked when we quite literally ran into Coach Cane and his wife, Nicole (“Mrs. Coach Cane,” as she’s known), on the Bridle Path. Our secret was out, so we thought, but they claim they “had known for a while” because I was “obvious.”
I posted this photo, taken mid-run by Coach Cane:
The actual photo, the un-cropped version, looks more like this:
Mwahaha, Brian was a shady secret.
After our run, Brian and I got massages and then he told me he loved me for the first time. Awwwwww.
And that is my sappy memory for the day.
Today: rest. Tomorrow: 18 miles.
And Brian, if you want to hang out with me while I dip into an ice bath wearing a very seductive sweatshirt-and-shorts outfit, I’ll drop the L-bomb on you again. Double love if there’s hot chocolate present.
Have a wonderful Friday, everyone, and a fantastic weekend.
AND BECAUSE I LOVE NUMBERS: If you’re a runner, what’s your mileage plan for the weekend? Who’s racing? Who’s resting? Who’s relaying? Who’s rollerblading? Who’s really excited about life?