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And So I Peaked
Last week I tried to be all profound and was like, “Hey everyone, I learned some lessons this week and this is all my knowledge. I don’t think I’m meant for semi-high mileage running.”
Oh really, Ali?
Is that why, after a weekday high of 37 miles, I managed to have one of my best long runs ever on Saturday?
Yes, friends, Mom, Tyler, Internet strangers: I take it back.
I love high (for me, blah blah blah) mileage running and it’s the funnest. I don’t think it was the running miles wearing me down last week. It’s far more likely I was beat up on account of the mass traveling, late nights and early mornings. And also the running on top of that. But mostly the travel. And the jet lag. And the dehydration. And the work. So much work.
So last week was marathon training Peak Week, and peaking is what I did. I ran 65 miles — 10 in Las Vegas, 17 in L.A. and the remainder in NYC — which is the most I’ve ever run in a single week.
And today I feel mighty fine. Look at that.
My running last week wasn’t perfect. I did mile repeats on the treadmill instead of outside, which is fine, but I tend to have an easier time doing speedwork on the treadmill versus in the great outdoors. Hopefully they’re equally beneficial. Feel free to let me know.
I struggled a bit during my “easy run” Wednesday in L.A. with Margot (don’t be afraid of meeting strangers from the Internet in a dark parking lot in a strange city — I do it all the time and I’m totally fine).
We ran six miles together and chatted most of the time, but I was feeling slightly sleepier than I would have liked. I think that was more because of lack of sleep than anything running-related. After Margot and I parted ways, I continued along the Santa Monica beach path for four additional miles, and stupidly ended my run with a hike up these bitches:
I got back to NYC on Thursday, which we’ve already discussed, and I had a particularly tough time “sprinting” through eight hill repeats. It was a solid challenge, though, and one I look forward to repeating — with better sprints — in the future.
Friday’s rest day was the best thing ever. I needed it badly, and after a long day at the office I spent the night partying pretty hard.
First, I bought new sneakers. The same Brooks Adrenalines, but these are now the ones I’ll race the New York City Marathon in. That’s exciting stuff, right?
Then, I made macaroni. Not some fancy dish and certainly nothing Sexy Giada would approve of, but I had two big bowls of pasta with some butter, salt and pepper, and it was delightful.
Next, I Skyped with my best friend.
Honestly, Skype-time with Tyler is a bit frustrating these days. He used to sit there and smile and laugh and he was a really good listener. He’d let me go on about my mile splits and he never minded when I had to briefly leave the room to get more chocolate chips to dip in the almond butter jar.
Tyler doesn’t want to listen.
Tyler doesn’t care.
Tyler is training to become a Baby Yoga Instructor, and all he wants to do is wiggle around and roll over and show off his poses.
He’s still cute, he just doesn’t really care about my life anymore, which is a little rude.
So we were discussing running, right? Kind of.
I was excited to tackle 22 miles on Saturday morning because I’d never done a 22-mile training run. So this would be the longest I’d ever run except for that one time I ran a marathon. Cool stuff, I know.
Guess who didn’t care about every detail of my 22 miler?
Yeah. Thanks, friend. Thanks for your interest.
But now that I have a captive audience, I can go into great detail.
Except that really, I don’t have a ton of “great detail” to share because this run went by really quickly (in my brain, not according to the actual amount of time it took).
I ran 22 miles and I smiled most of the time. I ran alone, though I saw tons of familiar faces along the way. I didn’t pre-plan my route and I didn’t do much to “mock race day conditions.” I ran into Central Park for a bit, and ran through where the NYCM finish line will be. I ran up the west side of the park, and eventually crossed over to the West Side Highway. I ran all the way down to the bottom of Manhattan and into Battery Park City, and eventually made my way back north.
I took one Hammer Gel (chocolate) around mile 8.5, which was fine, and then tried a Honey Stinger gel (also chocolate) around mile 15. I like Hammer Gels because of the thicker, more frosting-like consistency, and I hated the Honey Stinger (sad, I love their chomps, though!) because it was too watery.
Now I know.
The first 10 miles flew by. I felt great and kept repeating to myself, “rest days are magical!!!”
I never thought about my stomach, but I did frequently remind myself that I was lucky to be running. I do that a lot these days.
The weather was chilly, but I stuck with my usual shorts and tank top. I also ran in compression socks, which left me with a nice heel blister on my left foot.
Again, now I know.
I had fun new music, great weather (albeit windy along the water) and happy thoughts.
I am the cheesiest runner.
I love cheese.
From start to finish, I just kept running. I stopped at a few water fountains and a few stop lights, but my total running time and total time time were just two minutes apart. I’m pretty psyched about that.
My pace came naturally — it was right where it should have been and my miles were oddly consistent — and I was never breathing heavily. My legs felt good until around mile 18, at which point I started to feel fatigued. When my watch beeped signaling 22 completed miles, I was pumped. I was in Riverside Park on the Upper West Side and I desperately looked around for anyone who might be interested in hearing about my splits.
Sadly, I found no one.
And as soon as I stopped running, everything hurt. My quads tightened, my knees started to ache, my body got cold and I pathetically hobbled my way up the little hill toward West End Avenue and into a warm cab.
But I couldn’t stop smiling.
For the rest of the entire day, I kept on smiling like a fool.
I wimped out on an ice bath (couldn’t even get into the chilly water — I suck), got brunch with friends and treated myself to a much-needed haircut.
I took myself to the movies to see Pitch Perfect (hilarious) and then dance partied my way home listening to the soundtrack.
Brian and I got dinner at Flex Mussels and I fought the urge to slap his hand every time he so much as came near the bread basket. My bread!
And then I recovered a little bit.
I woke up Sunday feeling sore. My quads were so tight (I should probably learn to stretch and foam roll…), but I had stupidly committed to a spin class with my Hot Friend Sara.
I joined her in Union Square for a little SoulCycling, and I shot her death stares during the entire first 10 minutes of class.
But then, magically, things started to feel good.
I never went high on the resistance, and I was in no way “keeping up” with the instructor, but moving my legs around was great, and by the end of class I felt so much better.
So I celebrated that little victory, too.
All in all, a very sweaty weekend.
I had to do a lot of laundry last night.
Now I’m supposed to taper, which doesn’t sound as fun as running 65 miles. But I’ll do it. Because everyone says it’s good for me.
SHARE YOUR NUMBERS: As you’ve just read, the numbers in my head, clearly, are 22 and 65. What digits are clogging your brain? A fresh PR time from the weekend? Peak Week numbers? Five, which is an absolutely acceptable number of times to hit snooze on a Monday morning in lieu of “cross training?” Tell me now.