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I Did A Tempo Run Today
I’m moving quite slowly this morning.
Normally my commute to work takes about 35–40 minutes door-to-door, depending on how cooperative the downtown 4/5 trains decide to be. Usually they are “delayed momentarily because of train traffic ahead. Please be patient.” Or I believe now it’s, “Thank you for your patience.” See that? They don’t even ask for my patience. The MTA just expects it.
Today, however, my commute took longer, not because of the trains, but because my stumpy little legs don’t want to go very fast. They want to use all their energy for running, and none of their energy for getting other places I need to go.
That has absolutely nothing to do with anything I want to discuss today.
What I want to discuss is running, because I always want to discuss running.
Yesterday, I ran three slow miles along the East River accompanied by a delightful sunrise and a big, happy moon.
After that, I went to work.
After that, I went to the gym. I’ve been so bad about lifting and strength training lately because things come up in life, and when they do, “lifting heavy things” is the first thing to go from the schedule. Then I can do more important things like “find somewhere to live.”
The apartment search officially begins this week, by the way. Brian and I are psyched to look at shoebox-sized apartments in nine floor walk-up buildings that cost $3,000 a month. New York City, have I mentioned how much I love you lately?
These tangents are ridiculous today.
I believe I was discussing strength training, or my recent lack of any bicep, tricep or muscle definition anywhere other than my big, bulky quads.
So I went to a Chisel class at the gym last night with the ever-perky instructor, Angel. Apparently his plan was to have us “do 100 of everything.” Roughly translated, in gym instructor terms, that means, “Die a painful, sweaty death.”
I did just fine on the arm sections, but I didn’t want to kill my legs because I knew Coach Cane would have me running something wonderful today. So when it came time to do “100 squats,” I modified the exercise and did “100 Standing Arounds.” I definitely felt the burn… And then when Angel saw me “stretching” or doing whatever I was doing in lieu of doing the squats, he threatened the entire class with push-ups. We never actually got around to the push-ups, and I was “that girl” crapping out during the leg exercises.
It paid off, because I woke up this morning to see eight miles on the plan from Coach Cane.
The plan was simple:
- 1 mile warm-up
- 6 miles at marathon goal pace (8:45–8:50, which is starting to seem a little ambitious and scary to me, sadly)
- 1 mile cool-down
I stayed at Brian’s apartment last night. Let’s talk about that for a moment, since I’m already all over the place with this little essay.
So Brian has been in Orlando since last week. As it turns out, his “full service ad agency” is also capable of putting on lingerie and swimwear fashion shows. So if you’re a bikini model, or if you want to strut down a runway in front of a crowd, Brian’s your go-to guy. He obviously had a really rough weekend.
Promptly upon his return yesterday, he let me know how crappy he felt. Chills. A very unsettled stomach. No appetite.
He’s not vomiting, which I think is fantastic, but all other signs point to sickness from girlfriend.
Still, I wanted to see him, and I attempted to be a good Nurse Ali by force-feeding him noodle soup and Cadbury Eggs. I hear those are staples in the stomach flu diet. I’m hoping I’m somehow immune to getting sick again, otherwise we figure we’ll just keep passing this bug back and forth for a while. Such an attractive couple…
I didn’t sleep great because my own stomach still isn’t back on the “normal” side of things, though really, is it ever?
I woke up at 5 AM today and it took me nearly a full hour to get out the door. I’m pretty sure my main request in a new apartment is two bathrooms. I can do without a kitchen, living room or bedroom, but give me a his and hers bathroom and I’ll be psyched.
I figured the run wouldn’t go super well, and to say I had “high hopes for getting through it without bathroom stops” is a massive exaggeration. I even did some early morning hate-Tweeting.
I did my warm-up mile and was actually happy about life. It was so warm out! Central Park had the whole post-or-pre-rain thing going for it, and the Reservoir was practically empty. More room for Ali to flail about!
The six tempo miles (see how fancy I’m getting with my running lingo?) ended up going great! I didn’t want to go slower than an 8:50 pace, but I didn’t want to go much faster than 8:45s. I wanted to be right on, and I wanted to maintain it without looking at my watch too frequently.
The best part: No stops! I cruised by the bathroom — which was open right at 6 AM! — on each lap and was so happy not to need it. Little victories, my friends. Teeny, tiny victories.
And my splits? Spot-on, mostly.
On my last half-mile of the tempo portion of the workout (around mile 6.5), my stomach got all sorts of angry, but I refused to stop and play into it. So I had to slow down a bit, but I got it done and I survived and I sweat a lot, as always.
I’m the queen of elbow sweat. I’ve warned you about my sexiness, have I not?
Did this run feel easy? No. I wish it had, considering I’m hoping to hold that pace for 26.2 miles in a few weeks. But I’ll get there…right? I’m still recovering from being sick…right?
And because I’m a huge fan of rewards, I made myself chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. I probably should have foam rolled instead, but I made my decision and now I will have to spend my workday Stick-ing my legs. Worth it? Oh yes.
Now before you think to yourself, “Oh, cool, protein pancakes with whey and wheatgrass and chia seeds,” let me clarify:
These are straight from the Aunt Jemima box, “add milk, oil and egg,” plus a million chocolate chips, pancakes. I did buy the whole wheat kind, though. And then I doused them in syrup. Not “lite” syrup. Not natural from the trees in New Hampshire syrup. The really good, really processed, sugary stuff.
I am the picture of health.
As for my training right now: I wish my recent runs felt easier. I wish my body felt looser. I wish my stomach would be calmer.
But I’m pretty sure those things won’t happen magically, so I’m off to Stick it to my quads and drink a ton of water. That syrup for breakfast didn’t exactly leave me feeling hydrated.
Lastly, because nothing gets me worked up quite like a public typo, here is a photo I took on the subway today:
Who approves this stuff? Come on, people. I know the photo is dark, so I’ll give you a hint: The typo is the word “Participating.” Idiots.
Have a great day, run fast and then come back and tell me about it!