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!
After yesterday’s 9-miler having been so awful, today was a repeat performance of equal awfulness. I had planned for 12 miles and I barely made it, but I did. I’m not going to bother with too many stats, instead I’ll try and understand why I’ve been struggling so much on my runs lately.
I was actually quite excited when I headed out the door. Today was the NYRR NYC Half, so I thought Central Park was going to be crowded and I’d better run a different route. I decided to run along the Hudson River, down to the Battery. It’s my old course from before moving neighborhoods and I was excited to go back. Especially since the weather was going to be nice. The course is mostly flat and I thought it would be great for my confidence.
I started my run and for one reason or another, I just couldn’t get into it. It didn’t take me very long to realize that it was going to be another long struggle and I hated it. The only thought on my mind was how I felt miserable and how I wanted to stop. I did run the first 6 miles without stopping, then I refueled, turned around to head back home. I guess if I hadn’t been all the way at the far end of Manhattan, I might’ve called it quits and just cut my run short. But I was quite a few miles away from home and the only way to get there was to suck it up and start running again. The next 6 miles were miserable and I had to slow down to a walk twice.
I don’t know why this keeps happening. It should have been 12 “easy” miles. I’ve done 13 miles without stopping at all before. I don’t know why everything longer than 8 is giving me such grief these days. I’m sure that some of it is mental. Some of it must be just in my mind. But some of it also felt physical. I’m blaming the fact that I’ve worked too much and slept too little lately. At one point, I felt so slow as if I were moving backward instead of forward. I started hurting all over and I don’t like it. Running is supposed to be fun, not something I suffer through.
My half is in less than a month and I’m quite frankly terrified. I feel in absolutely no shape to run a half marathon, let alone one that is a tough course. Quite honestly, I don’t know what to do. Suffer through and just hold on? Reduce miles and feel even less ready (especially, when the training plan that I’m following only half-heartedly tells me that I need to increase weekly mileage)? I don’t know.
To make myself feel better, I headed to Anthropologie and Uniqlo and bought myself some new clothes. So much for saving money.
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.
Took me a couple of days to figure it out, but I realized that when miles 11 & onward during my 13.5 mile run felt so ridiculously hard, guess what, I hit the wall. This never happened to me before and while I know it’s not a good practice, I never fuel during long runs. I always have water with me if I plan on running 6 miles or more, but I never carry Gu or any other type of energy source.
I’ve been wondering if/how you guys fuel during long runs? When? How often? What do you eat? I’ve particularly been looking into making my own energy bars/balls to eat. Does anybody have a good recipe?
I don’t know how, but somehow I ended up running 13.5 miles today. Without stopping. At a 10 min/mile pace. That’s a half marathon. And it’s ridiculous.
To say I’m proud (and amazed!) of myself is quite the understatement.
My last long run was a wonderful 12.3 miles and today I was determined to go a little farther. With last weekend’s race, my mileage has been a little lower, so today I felt fresh and ready to push (spoiler: until I actually headed outside). The goal was to do 13.1 miles, half-marathon distance. My first half isn’t until April, but I wanted to see whether I could do it, whether I was strong and fit enough.
I had a hearty breakfast and headed out at 12:30. My Garmin couldn’t find a signal and given the cold, I started to get annoyed. The last thing I wanted to do was to stand around in the cold and freeze my ass off, especially given the amount of time I was going to be out there! I eventually did find a signal, but it must have been a weak one. By the time I reached what my Garmin indicated as the first mile, I knew that it was not yet the first mile marker. It seemed about 0.4 miles off. This never happened to me before.
Uploading my data to Garmin Connect then confirmed that something was not right. I do have the super powers, apparently, running through houses and stuff. It’s quite funny.
The first few miles were a bit awful. I was cold, it took me quite a while to heat up, my knee hurt a little and I generally just did not want to be out there. This is a common theme for me. Whenever I do long runs, the first few miles are not enjoyable. My mantra today was Don’t think. Just do. A little Yoda, isn’t it? It worked though and I was able to push through all the rough stretches. The miles passed by as I ran my usual routine (full loop, 3 times around the Reservoir, off to the Bridle Path) and around mile three, I actually thought to myself Only 10 more, that’s not too bad. That’s when I realized that I’m quite possibly a crazy person.
After a while I really got into this run. My pace was steady, the dreaded Harlem Hills didn’t feel as tough as they usually do and even the soft, rolling hills after the Harlem Hills (my least favorite part of CP) didn’t seem quite as awful. I did have occasional thoughts of wanting to stop and walk, but I didn’t let myself and told myself to not think and just do. The Reservoir was blissfully empty, possibly due to the cold and the fact that there had been very light snowfall in NY this morning.
Some time around mile 9.5 though, things started getting tough. I don’t know what it was, but I started checking my Garmin every few minutes, hoping that the miles just magically appeared and I could be done. I was soaked in sweat, I was getting a little hungry and I was so not in the mood for it. Apparently, my brain though translated this into Run faster, it’ll mean you’ll be done sooner. I’ll take that, I guess.
Mile 9.5 was also the point where I’d just completed my third loop around the Reservoir and was off onto the Bridle Path. The Bridle Path is a dirt road as opposed to the Main Drives’ asphalt. I usually like the change from asphalt to dirt, but today my legs were screaming at me. Every single muscle started hurting.
As I finally reached mile 11, I was determined that I’d finish the last two miles and break my record of longest run ever. I was not going to stop, slow or walk.
I was at 11.5 when I closed the loop where I usually head out of CP, so I decided some more mileage was needed. I planned on stopping in the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle to grab a latte from one of my favorite bakeries, so I wouldn’t have the bonus of the extra 0.5 miles home. I ran the lower loop again (yay, more hills!) and then, because I’m a dork and I knew my Garmin was off a little and I didn’t want to take any chances, I ran that tiny, tiny loop you see at the bottom. It actually meant that the actual number of miles I ran went over the 13.1 I had planned. My Garmin ended up not being as much off I had thought.
Once I finally reached the Time Warner Center and hit Stop on my Garmin and Nike app, I was so happy, I wanted to jump. I would have probably if my whole body hadn’t been aching so bad. I got my coffee and then headed home. Since I was so soaked in sweat, it was freezing cold. I understand why the give away blankets after marathons!
Here are the overall results:
Splits (from Runkeeper, where I fixed the additional miles that Garmin added)
For miles 1 and 14, I stopped at a bunch of traffic lights. Pretty happy with my pace and that it’s mostly consistent.
Overall stats from Garmin:
Extremely happy with the average moving pace. You go, Supergirl! :)
Quick question about Garmin: When it was off because it couldn’t find a strong signal at first, it ended up adding about 0.25 miles to my run; instead of the 13.48 that I mapped out in Runkeeper, Garmin says I ran 13.71. I found how to edit the actual miles I ran. But does anybody know whether there is a way to edit the actual map so that my splits can be accurate?
I went for my long run today since I had nothing really planned. The plan was to head out at 11 and do 10 or 11 miles. I had some bread topped with peanut butter and a banana and some coffee. I really didn’t want to go but I figured I’d be fine after the first mile anyway, so I should just go. I continued procrastinating for another while and actually headed out at 1 instead. Fail! Hah.
I went on my usual route toward Central Park and I was going to do the full loop (6 miles) and then loop around the Reservoir 3x (1.5 miles per loop). I figured with getting to and from the Park, I should easily tip over the 11 mile mark - my longest run yet!
I started out too fast, considering how many more miles I had too go. I felt incredibly slow, but yet I ran the first 4 miles at sub-10 minutes (I had to stop at every single traffic light during the first mile on my way to CP):
Miles 3 and 4 are the tough ones with the big hills, which means I ran them faster than I should have. Overall, my pacing wasn’t particularly stellar. After about 4 miles my left knee started hurting really bad, followed by pain in my lower back and core. My feet started hurting around miles 8 or 9. I feel like such an old lady!
After 5 miles, I left the main drives and headed up to the Reservoir path. It had rained yesterday in NY, so there were more puddles than I had anticipated. Jumping and sidestepping puddles actually was fun, accidentally stepping into one was not so much. But at least the puddles took my mind off the fact that I was nearing mileage that I don’t run every day and where I would most likely have to push myself a little.
After heading down from the Reservoir, I took the Bridle Path to the exit of the Park. I like the Bridle Path a lot. It’s a dirt road, less busy than the main drives and while hilly and also challenging, it doesn’t have that big hill at the Terrace Drive that I hate so much. The Bridle Path is actually a dead end, so I ran it all the way, turned around and then joined the main road again.
As I exited the Park, I realized how close I was to 12 miles (11.73) and I thought that I might as well do 12. I ended up running a little detour because I was about 0.05 away from this milestone with only one more block to go. I eventually did 12.28 miles:
This has been my longest and farthest run yet and it feels amazing! I’m pretty pleased with myself and how the run turned out. Once I was at home, I made a giant bowl of oatmeal with fruit and yogurt. I’ve just been lazying around all afternoon and after I’ve made myself some dinner, I’ll watch a bit of Sherlock. Tomorrow will definitely be a shorter run (thinking 6 or 8 miles) and some time for strength training.
Funny how the runs I never want to do usually end up the really long ones. I have today off, so the plan was to go for a 7 mile run after breakfast. Still eating, I already started dreading having to go outside and I made sure to linger and procrastinate for as long as I could. I guess the only thing that made me go out the door was the fact that I bought a running beanie yesterday and that I was desperate to try it. (It’s awesome!)
Once I was outside, the first few minutes felt awful and all I wanted to do was stop. I was so not in the mood to run. I guess at one point I stopped thinking about it and started enjoying myself. I ended up doing a 10 mile run instead. I ran a different route than where I usually run (by the Hudson instead of inside Central Park). I’d never run this far along the river before so after a while the course became unfamiliar and new and exciting. I liked it. There were a bunch of hills, one of them so steep that I literally wanted to cry as I forced myself to run it. I was in pain.
The last ten minutes were really tough and all I wanted to do was stop. It doesn’t help that the last 5 minutes are uphill whenever I head down to Hudson River Park, but I told myself that I could walk them if only I pushed through until I reached that point. Once I left the park, the last five minutes ahead of me, I actually asked myself “What do you want more? To walk those last few yards or to feel proud of yourself?”
Once I was inside my building lobby, I had to see in horror that the elevator still hadn’t been fixed. It meant walking up 6 flights of stairs. Just what you need after a tough 10 miler. ;) I then sat down in the tub, filled with cold water (no additional ice needed), followed by a hot shower and then lunch. I feel pretty accomplished.
On Saturday I met with a couple of girls from work for brunch and at one point, one mentioned that she’s signed up for a Crossfit starting session at a Crossfit gym in New York. I’ve been thinking about doing Crossfit for a while - I know that some people I follow on Tumblr are big enthusiasts - but once I saw the price tag, I did have to swallow a little bit. I currently don’t have a gym membership and I can afford it, I know I can, but damn, expensive. I think I’ll see what my colleague says, will sign up for their free trial class and then decide whether I like it or not.
I sure did. My official chip time is 1:02:23 and I’m actually mostly happy with it. I’ll post a proper race report once the pictures are available. I have to admit though that even though the main goal was to run the entire course without having to take a walking break and just complete the race, I was secretly hoping that I could beat my 10k PR.
I missed it by 22 seconds. It’s obviously not the end of the world. I’m more annoyed than upset. I started with a too slow pace where I lost a few seconds. I didn’t run the tangents efficiently. Maybe I started too far in the back so I had to dodge around other runners a lot (which then prevented me from running the tangents properly). I’m annoyed because I could have done it.
But one thing that was fabulous about the race was that it gave me so much confidence. My running confidence has been shit lately and I know it’s all just been in my head. Apparently one good run was all it took to get me motivated for an incredible long run. After yesterday, I decided to go for a longer run today to see whether I could push past my run/walk pattern again and just run, like I used to. I started with the goal to do 8.5 miles, which would be the same course as yesterday, plus two loops around the Reservoir. The loop is 1.5 miles, so it would add 3 miles to the 6 mile loop. I told myself that I could stop and walk some once I reached 8.5 miles or in between if I really needed it.
It was just a little under 50F, a nice temperature for running, I think. On my way to Central Park, I had to stop at a traffic light and as I was standing there, waiting to cross the street, I started thinking how nice it was to just stand there and not start running again. I wasn’t even five minutes in. It was going to be an amazing run. O.o
Once I actually was in Central Park, I actually managed to find a good pace, albeit very slow. I kept checking my Garmin and forced myself to slow down because I knew what was still to come. I zoned out of it quite quickly and before I realized I was already about half an hour in to my run. This never happened to me before. I ran past yesterday’s starting line and finish line and thought how different it looked without all the people and runners.
I hadn’t even realized when I was running Cat Hill. It gave me confidence for the next challenge around mile four: Harlem Hill. I always struggle a little because it’s the meanest hill of Central Park, but I remembered how easy it had felt the day before. I guess that helped. (Note, the race started a lot further north than were I enter on my training runs, so during the race, Harlem Hill was run on still fresh legs.) After the hill, the course just dragged along and I zoned out of it again. In fact, so much that I missed to make my turn from the main path to the Reservoir path. So I had to run back a little. See where the red marker is below? That’s when I realized. I’m such an idiot. Hah.
During my last long run in Central Park, the Reservoir was where I did a lot of walking. I was curious whether I would have the strength (physical and mental) to push through this time and run it not only once, but twice without stopping. I did. I was slow, sure, but I ran the whole thing. (And I was glad that it was sort of a slow day in CP. Not many people on the Reservoir path which can get crowded because it’s so narrow. Makes it easier to dodge the idiots who run it the wrong direction, despite the clear instructions to do it counter-clockwise.)
Once I got off the Reservoir path, I took a different path than I usually take home because I felt like I - surprisingly - still had energy, despite being at mile 8.5. I ran a path called Bridle Path without knowing where it would lead me. I knew it stayed mostly parallel to the main road I usually run, but I didn’t know about specific elevation, hills or where it would eventually end.
It has a dead end and even though it’s a bit hilly, it doesn’t feel as challenging as the last big hill of my usual way home. I’ll be running it again.
I was pretty happy once I could finally exist Central Park and head home. While I had felt great during my run, I was starting to ache and I was dying to get home. I stopped by a store to run a quick errand and then home I was.
I’m actually extremely pleased with these results. Not only is the pace great (considering that I kept it for 10+ miles!), but I ran the whole thing, except for the minute I waited at the traffic light. I think the race yesterday was a huge confidence booster, showing me that I can do it. I sometimes just need to push through and possibly learn to pace myself better. But I can do it.
At home, I strength trained and stretched for about 35 minutes before I then cooked lunch. I wasted some time on the internet, headed to the grocery store after that and I made the most amazing dinner. I found the original recipe for this stew. While it doesn’t look overly appetizing, let me assure it’s delicious! (I’m so glad that I have another five portions of it. *g*)
I’m ridiculously exhausted but I feel so accomplished. I think I’m headed to bed and tomorrow I’ll do an easy run.
Today was another day for a Long Run and since I’m a masochist, apparently, I decided I wanted to see whether I could go further than last week’s 8-miler. I woke up around 9:30, had my pre-run breakfast (bread, PB, banana and coffee) and read some Runner’s World while my food digested. I was out the door by 10:45.
It was a pretty mild day in New York and I had to realize quickly that I was wearing too much clothing. I had picked capris and a long-sleeved shirt, but I should’ve worn something short-sleeved underneath. I became warm pretty quickly.
I decided to do the same route as last week: to the park (˜0.5 miles), full loop (˜6 miles), around the reservoir (˜1.5 miles) and back home (˜0.5 miles), only this time, I was going to do the reservoir twice. Ambitious much? I don’t think so. I figured, in the worst case I could walk some of it.
The first mile was really awful. I felt slow, my legs were heavy and I just wanted to stop. I’ve never run as many miles in a week before as this week (5 on Monday, 6 on Wednesday and 4 on Thursday) and I’ve felt it. When I look at the actual pace map for miles 1 and 2, it’s not that bad (green is fast, red is slow). It felt like a big effort though.
I kept running and as expected, I slowed down around the big hill in Harlem. It wasn’t as bad though. The real challenge came further down, when it was time to loop around the Reservoir. When I entered the path, I was just finishing mile five and I felt it. Boy, I felt it.
My legs were on fire and not the good kind of fire. They kept screaming at me to stop, but my mind was very, very willing so I decided to run at least one loop, see how I felt and then decide whether I wanted to do the second loop too. As I said above, I knew that I could always walk parts of the course if needed.
Miles 6, 7 and 8 felt long. So, so long. I was slow, considering that the course is mostly flat. I was definitely reaching my limit but I was too proud to slow down to a walk, so I just kept going. Obviously, in retrospect I’m proud that I did it and I feel accomplished, but at the time, I just wanted to collapse. Hah.
The last two miles after exiting the reservoir path seemed to drag on forever. They always do. It doesn’t helpt that they’re hilly and that actually the highest point of the whole big loop is not the big hill - it goes from very low to pretty high and then stays somewhat elevated until you head down to the 70s, where you go up to the highest point. I really wanted to walk at this point, but my pride wouldn’t let me. I knew I was so close to the “finish line” and if only I could make it past 72nd street, then it was going to be so much easier and I would be able to finish strong. I don’t know where I found that extra bit of power, but while I was slow, I did not walk.
When I exited the park, my Nike app told me that I’d run 9.99 miles. My original plan was to do 10 miles and walk once I’m leaving the park. But since Nike has been randomly adding a bunch of yards to my runs before, I didn’t want to take a chance and decided to run at least half of the way home.
I mapped out the route in Runkeeper and it turns out I ran a total of 10.36 miles in 1:45:11 today. The time might not be 100% accurate because I accidentally paused the app when I tried to pick a power song. But still, I can’t believe I did that. This is the longest and farthest I’ve ever run. I did 10.85 once before but it was a run/walk combination so this was the first time, I ever truly ran it all.
I made sure to stretch well - my legs were certainly feeling it. I then proceeded to eat all the food and have a short nap. Now of course I’m hungry again, so I’ll make some quinoa with chickpea Marsala.
Next week, I’ll probably cut back some of the miles. With today’s long run and Thursday’s really fast 4 miler, it might be a good idea to take a little easy. Let’s see whether I’ll be able to follow through with this plan. ;o)
After this week being so extremely busy, it feels good not to have any weekend plans at all. Today I slept until noon, something I hadn’t done in a very long time. I think I went to bed around 11 last night, meaning I got a solid 13 hours of sleep. I only woke up once around 9ish to use the bathroom, but figured I didn’t have anything to do, nowhere to be, no one to meet, so I might as well get another hour of shuteye.
After I had finally dragged myself out of bed, I made a pre-run breakfast (bread, PB, a banana and coffee), updated Tumblr and then headed out. I ended up running in Central Park again because I love Central Park. I love the hills, the challenge, the fact that it’s so huge and that there are so many great routes one can take. I wanted to do the full loop again (aprox. 6 miles) and see whether I could beat last Sunday’s time of 1:12 at a 10:09 pace.
I ended up running the full loop, plus around the reservoir once. A total of 8.34 miles in 1:23. Despite the extra distance, I managed to beat last Sunday’s pace, running the whole course at a 9:59 min/mile. I have never run such a long distance this fast before. That’s pretty badass.
I ended up pacing myself pretty badly, I think. I started off quite fast and then became slower and slower as the miles dragged by.
On my way back (and after I’d done the hardest part of the course), I took a loop around the reservoire, adding another 1.5 miles to my run. Considering that the course up there is pretty much flat, I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t run it faster. I mean, I probably could’ve but I knew I still had about 2 miles to go once I’d finished that loop and I didn’t want to have to walk any of it.
(Green marks fast pace, yellow, orange, red then gradually become slower.)
I liked adding the extra bit though. It’s very scenic, especially once you’re at the north end of the reservoir. Seeing the Midtown skyline is extremely beautiful. (Note though: if you ever come to visit NY, do us runners a favor and please walk the path in the direction that is given. It’s a narrow path that tends to get busy and it’s shared by runners and walkers. You make it easier for all of us if you’re not walking against the stream.)
Overall, I’m very pleased with my splits, even though the first mile split is not accurate:
With today’s run, I’ve broken both my Most mile ran in a week record (Runkeeper) as well as progressed from Yellow to Orange Level on Nike+ (since I started using it last week).
I stopped as soon as I came out of Central Park and did not run the half mile home. I wanted to stop by Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center for a post run treat. I got a large cafe au lait (you need protein after a run, right?) and also a muffin. I then headed home, strength trained and stretched for about 20 minutes, showered and then made a huge portion of eggs with veggies. It was around 5 PM and I’d only had my breakfast and that coffee at that point. I ended up eating half of the muffin and saved the other half for tomorrow’s breakfast. Yum!
Two things I noticed today:
On Saturday, I met with a lovely friend who took the time to walk me around Central Park for almost 2 hours. She walks a lot in the Park and knows it like the back of her hand, whereas I’ve always been very intimidated by its size and loopy ways - especially after having gotten lost a few times. So this weekend, we took a tour and she pointed out where I could run, which landmarks to watch out for to make sure I’ll always be able to assess where I am and some nifty shortcuts for me to be able to tailor my run depending on how much time and energy I have that day.
On Sunday then, I got up around 9 in the morning and headed to the Park, ready to run the full loop. The full loop course is about 6 miles and goes all the way up to the edge of Harlem. I’d walked around that area once and I knew that it featured one Big Hill and I was ready to conquer it that day. The path for the full loop is pretty straight forward and easy to follow, which I personally thought was great because it allowed me to look for other things, like the shortcuts my friend had pointed out, allowing myself to familiarize myself with my new backyard.
I was tracking with the Nike Plus app and while it seems more accurate than Runkeeper, it’s still a little flakey and added about 0.5 mile to my run. Funny thing, it was more accurate inside the Park where you’d think the trees would block the GPS sensor. Christmas present to myself will definitely be a proper Garmin. Anyway.
I felt great when I headed out, ready to run and conquer. I fell into a good pace, not going too fast on purpose because I knew I had a couple of miles ahead of me. I haven’t really done anything longer than 4 miles since my 10k race in October and I knew that Central Park is hilly, so I tried to pace myself well.
Overall, I ran at a fairly consistent pace and even managed to increase speed again a little toward the end. (To be fair, this was not the most challenging part of the course. The challenging miles are also my slowest.) You enter the Park and then you run counterclockwise.
Unfortunately, the splits for Miles 1 and 7 aren’t accurate. I think the rest pretty much is. Mile 4 was definitely the one I was feeling the most. It wasn’t the most challenging one, tackling the Big Hill, but as you can see below, it is very hilly and builds up some elevation.
Overall, the course is very hilly, but not once did I stop to walk. I certainly wanted to. The final two miles heading back home seemed endless. I was waiting for the course to get easier but there were more hills and yet more hills. As I neared the end of the Central Park route, I just wanted to slow down, walk, collapse, rest. But somehow I ended up running the half mile back to my apartment - mostly because I just wanted to be at home. Hah. Once there, I felt great and accomplished.
Considering I hadn’t done any longer runs in a while and especially none that were so challenging, I’m pretty happy with how the run turned out. See you soon, Central Park!