Food = Energy

Food = Energy

Friday, November 22, 2013

Long run, no fun

Late post today and I'm pretty exhausted from this past week so I'll try to keep it short. It's weird. I can never and will never get enough of running. I love the training, the tense muscles, the soreness, the early mornings, the sound of my breathing, the gear, the fuel...all of it. And today's run was probably my favorite run to look forward to all week: the long run. My long runs are considerably shorter than when I was in full training-mode for the Tesla ultramarathon, but nevertheless the two hours I put in today still count for me. But something was different about today and I am still trying to wrap my ahead around it.

I was looking forward to the long run all day. It was raining when I woke up for school, but there was a three hour period from 3-6pm that was apparently going to be cloudy skies, but no rain. Great! The universe is helping me out here (although I certainly would have run the long run anyway!). So I arrive at my apartment after school and am trying to figure out what gear to throw on. It was about 56 degrees at the time which is and felt amazing but I knew the sun would be dropping while I was out there. So my questions: Gloves or no gloves? Headband or no headband? Just long sleeve or add the running vest? This kind of back and forth could have gone on for another twenty minutes if Val wasn't there to give me the straight answers. Gloves? "Nooo." Headband? "I really don't think you need it." Okay, well if no headband and no gloves then the running vest is a done deal.

So out the door I went with her biking by my side for the first half mile as she was heading to the Barnes and Noble on campus to get some studying done. An hour and a half later and I was struggling. "This never happens," I found myself thinking. I thought my 8-8:10 minute pace was a perfect speed, but my knee started bothering me and I was being challenged mentally by something I can't explain. At the 1 hour 45 minute mark I was about .4 miles from the apartment and I was considering stopping and walking it back. Fortunately this isn't the first time I wanted to stop a run short, but I decided to slow it down instead and stick it out for another 15 minutes.**

When Val got back from the Barnes and Noble to drop off her bag before we head out to our dinner date (veggie rolls with brown rice at a local sushi place we love), she asked me how my run was and I found it quite difficult to say the usual, "It was good!" It sure as heck was Not good! But that's what I love about this running thing. The relationship I have with running is not much different than any other relationship. We have our good days, our great days, and, like today, our not-so-good days. But if we only had great days, if all of my runs were these amazing, time-shattering runs and workouts, then how would I be able to grow as a runner? It is the difficult days, the struggles, that keep my mind open and challenge me to think about what went wrong or how to improve myself. Should I have eaten better the past couple days or week? Did I get enough sleep this past week? <-- This is why I think I started bonking with about 25-30 minutes left to go. In other words, lack of adequate sleep this week, I think, led to my body to want to throw in the proverbial towel after 90 minutes.

So I completed the two hours, went out for dinner to get veggie rolls and salad appetizers with Val, and then went out to dinner...again. Those veggie rolls just weren't doing it for me. I was craving heavier carbs and there was nothing I could do about it! So I busted out the iPhone, dialed the pizza place around the corner from our apartment and yep...ordered a vegan cheese pizza for pickup before we even paid the bill at our first dinner. What can I say...we may be vegan and we may love exercising and health, but we sure do love our food! Let's just call that proper fueling for tomorrow's 90 minute run with Val.

Speaking of tomorrow, Val and I (maybe just "I" if Val stays up all night studying for an exam) are volunteering at a YMCA 5k in the morning. I've never volunteered at a race before and I've been wanting to for a little while now. I'm so excited to see what this experience has to offer and what I can learn from being on the other side of the water/sign-in table or wherever else they station me! I'll be sure to post about it tomorrow night so check back in the late evening!

**It is usually not a bad thing to stop a run short especially if you are physically drained or are returning from an injury or something of the like. I pushed myself because I knew my struggle was mainly a mental struggle. My knee wasn't it's best today, but that wasn't what made me want to stop running with 15 minutes left. Always look at the positives of a run, not just the negatives. It's important to learn from the negatives, like I will hopefully do, but finishing an hour and 45 minutes would not have been anything I should have been bummed about....Same goes for any time you may struggle during a run or any other kind of exercise you may take part in.


Pre-run fuel: Honey Stinger's Strawberry Waffle (160 calories)
During-run fuel: energy gel
Post-run recovery: veggie rolls w/ brown rice, avocado and tofu salad, 1/2 of a small vegan cheese pizza pie, two small, gluten-free gingerbread cookies, banana and peanut butter. No judging!

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