Hi, I'm Petra and this is my weight loss/fitness blog.
I used to be on Weight Watchers from January 2011 to October 2012, dropping approximately 45 lbs. I've made the transition from unhealthy and unhappy to athlete and this is my journey to becoming a healthier, happier me. I frequently post about my exercise (mostly running, yoga and lifting), the foods I eat, recipes I liked and my daily struggles. You'll also find the occasional tree hugger post, (travel) photography or anything else I find worth remembering and collecting.
I follow most blogs back that follow me. However, I do stay away from blogs that promote EDs, unhealthy methods of weight loss or negative body image.
Feel free to say hi any time!
I figure I haven’t posted about my long runs in a while. I did 14 miles yesterday and I have thoughts to share!
My first ever half is in about a month so I knew I needed to do this run. Sometimes, long runs are more mentally challenging than physically, and for me, yesterday was such a day. My previous long run brought me to 13.5 miles and I knew I wanted to go longer than this. My goal was anything between 14 and 15 miles, but the challenge wasn’t going to be the distance; it was the course.
During my 13 miler, I ran the full Central Park loop once and then added the additional miles through loops around the Reservoir - a mostly flat course. My half marathon will be in Central Park and the course will be the full loop twice (and then some more), so I knew it would be more challenging than what I’ve done before. I was quite honestly scared of running the full loop twice with all its hills. What if I couldn’t do it? What if I wasn’t strong enough? What if I was going to fail at race day? I guess I needed yesterday’s training run to assess where I stand.
Because I was dreading it so much, I left about an hour later than I had planned. I had no post-run plans (except for buying groceries), so it wasn’t a biggie. Just earlier this week, I had read an article in Runner’s World magazine about Newton shoes and funny enough, I actually spotted two runners in Newtons yesterday. It’s hilarious how you start noticing things differently after you’ve been made aware of the small details.
On my way to the Park, I stopped at a traffic light once and then finally off I was. The first mile of my runs usually feels awful, right until that moment when your muscles have warmed up, you’ve started breaking a sweat and your mind has resigned to the fact that you’ll keep doing this for the next 2 hours. Yesterday was no different.
The run felt uncharacteristically hard. I believe a lot of it was mental, that damn fear I had of not being able to complete my run. I felt slow and sluggish, even though my splits tell me that’s not really true. The miles went by and just before I hit the Harlem Hills, one of the toughest part of the course around mile 4, my mind played a trick on me and reminded me that I’d have to run up this dreaded hill again. I was certainly relieved once I made it up that hill, even if it meant my least favorite part of CP (the one mile of rolling hills that follows the Harlem Hill) was right ahead of me.
Right around that time though, I found a gross yet awesome distraction. My nose started running (note to self, bring tissues on run!) and I kept sniffing for about a mile, totally forgetting how much I hate the stretch of road I was on. Eventually I made it past it and just wiped my nose with my sleeve. I did mention it was gross.
Throughout my whole run I couldn’t help but wonder about fueling. Some of the feedback I have received on my questions about fueling was to just stick with Gu and their package instructions. I stay away from heavily processed foods as much as possible, so I took another friend’s advice and tried dried fruit. I carried some dried dates with me that were very easy on my stomach. I also dissolved some Nuun in my water, which is supposed to help with electrolyte balance (like Gatorade but without the added sugar). Overall, both of these things worked well for me, however I do think I waited too long to refuel.
Once I passed mile 6, it was mentally really tough to keep going. It was right around the point where I usually exit the park again after having completed the full loop (and extra). Knowing I had to run the whole thing again didn’t sound very appealing to me. My pace until then had been really great, running at a sub-10 min/mile except for the first mile (stop at a traffic light) and 4th mile (Harlem Hills). I kept going, stopped for a few minutes to refuel at mile 8 (at this point I was ready to die and just wanted to stop), before I set off again. I usually don’t have a hard time returning to a run after I’ve taken a walking break/stop, but yesterday I did. After stopping to have two dates, it felt like the dreaded first mile all over again. I did not like it.
As I kept running, it became harder and harder with each step. I was also having less and less fun. I tried to distract myself with watching out for birds and the flowers that have started to blossom in the park, but it was tough. I spent every single minute agonizing over the pain I was in (around mile 9 everything started hurting, knees, feet, ankles, back, core, everything). Once Harlem Hill came around again at mile 10, I was ready to cry. It was not pretty. ;o)
I guess the worst part of my run was having to run the dreaded post-Harlem Hill rolling hills mile for a second time. I was a little lucky for another distraction though: this guy with a stroller passed me by and he was panting so loudly (over the top loudly, not just your typical runner-working-hard breathing) that I dubbed him The Steam Train in my mind. He ran past me and then slowed down to a walk. Since I kept a somewhat steady pace, I passed him by until he took off for a (panty and) faster run again and passed me once more. I could hear him approaching over the sound of my music and I was so annoyed that I contemplated just taking a different path at one point. (He eventually had enough energy to keep up his run and take off.)
I hit the wall around mile 12 and the idea that I had 2 more miles to go was unbearable. I did walk about one tenth of a mile, shortly after I passed the 12 mile mark and I barely had the energy to return to a run. After completing the full loop for the second time, passing my exit point by again was even harder, even though I knew I only had the lower loop to do. It shows in my pace, but I made it to my finish line eventually. I limped out of the park, every muscle screaming at me at this point, and made sure to stretch well.
On my way home, I stopped by Bouchon bakery for a latte - apparently with salt lines all over my face. At home, I sat in the tub filled with cold water for a few minutes until I finally had the strength to take a hot shower and fix myself something to eat.
During my run I felt really awful and I was disappointed that I had to take that walking break. Immediately after, I still felt awful about the fact that I’d only done 0.5 miles more than last time and that the effort was so much harder. But then I remembered just how much more challenging the course was and that, all things considered, this was a good run. It wasn’t a great run and it doesn’t really put me all that much at ease for my half in April. But it’s a step in the right direction. Maybe I can do this after all.
Am I the only one who’s annoyed that Garmin Connect eliminated the Moving Time feature from their site? I don’t think the Forerunner 210 (which I have) lets you set Auto Pause, so I don’t know how make my Moving Time show. According to Runkeeper, my Moving time was 2:21:54 and my moving pace was 10:05.