Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Purple Arm-Warmers. The New Little Black Dress?

Last Saturday was the longest training run of the season, capping out at a whopping 20.6 miles. And -- yes -- the point 6 matters when you are running these types of distances. I want full credit.

The run started bright and early at 7 am, which is also about when sunrise hits. I arrived in the Park at the team's designated starting point about 20 minutes early to have time to pee and prep. It was pitch black and 37 degrees.

I was like this:

Although I wore a billion and a half layers to the start -- similar to what I will do on race day -- for the run itself which started in the morning's twilight (with the temp rising to a smoldering 40 or so) I just wore my shorts, TFK tank, and a new addition to the wardrobe: the purple arm warmers.

My pace group before the run. I am the one circled in yellow.

Don't answer that.

Wait, do. If the answer is: Super, Meredith. Super Sexy.

It's like sleeves without a shirt. Genius. The rationale is that I can have my jersey visible and not have to worry about taking clothes off and on while I'm running. And who doesn't like to show a little shoulder?

And we started, and it was great. The route was really cool. It went a little something like this:

We started in the park, ran to the East Side and down first until we could get on the FDR, around the tip of the Island and up the West Side Highway. From there we went through Riverside Park, cut across around 120th and then headed down into the North side of Central Park and back to where we started. Actually a really cool loop, and one I would highly, highly recommend for those who need future NY training runs.

I warmed up seriously after just about 1 mile. Gave a really good indication of what race-day will be like (the temps were pretty right on-par for average Nov. 4th) and why you see runners looking like they are wearing nothing but they seem fine. Because they are. Because they are running far.

I ran next to my friend Jazmin the entire way, as she is a perfect training partner for me. We are a really good pace for eachother, and we have plenty to chat about. There also were a lot of others near our pace (we ran an average of about a 10 minute mile for the run), and with plenty of water fountains along the way it was a nice lil' day.

J and I with our respective matching outfits: white hats, tanks, SAME Lulu shorts and warm warmers. TWINSIES!
The run was supposed to be either 20 or 22 miles (depending on what you wanted to do). I really did have every intention of doing 22 when I started...but then when we hit 20 POINT 6 the coaches were there and basically were like, "Meh, run it...don't run's up to you. Feel free to go down the road a bit and back." Um. I decline. Evidently at this stage of the game we have done all the training we are going to do. The extra mileage would have just been psychological and -- frankly -- I am A-OK.

So what does it feel like after you run that many miles?

At first you're kind of in a state of shock. Immediately after I basically dove into my duffel bag and chugged a muscle milk because your body is just dying to consume some calories. Dying. There is also a stiffness. The TFK coaches are great and they stretch you out after (which does immediately help for sure), and it's great to continue doing that at home and for the subsequent days after these runs. Because the aching and soreness can be quite, um, apparent. What else? Oh, yeah. Sometimes you've lost a toenail or you have a massive blister or an unfortunate chafing situation. That hurts. You take care of that as soon as possible.

But ultimately -- despite all of the above -- I actually was feeling pretty darn great! The emotional joy of accomplishing something that rationally your mind says "uh-uh, that seems improbable" is really cool. It's a mixture of elation and lunacy. I imagine it to be akin to childbirth. Everyone says after, "yes, it hurt...but it was so worth it! It's the good type of pain!"

They are liars and -- to be frank -- I probably am too.

Michele, Me and Jazmin: Lunatics All
So now, with 18 more days to go, what am I doing?

Well, as far as work-outs go, we are officially in the "taper" period. Meaning that I am running easy workouts and no more crazy weekend runs. I mean, I have one more 12 left. But that's not crazy anymore.

I just read that last paragraph again and I understand that I need to punch myself in the face for writing that. Aligned.

Okay, so this week I do a few runs, and then next week same. The week before the marathon I take it super duper easy leading up to race day.

What else? Okay, so lots of stretching and healthy eating (meh?) and staying away from sick people. Now is note the time for my body to become a wonderland of disease.

Also prepping for race day. I want to have every single little detail ironed out before that weekend. When am I going to go to the expo? What food exactly do I want at my home that morning and to pack with me? What clothes am I wearing that I will throw away? Where will my parents meet me? And the important question: WHERE IS THE AFTER PARTY? (More on that to come this week for those interested!)

I hope you, too, are getting as excited as I am! It's been a long road and I couldn't be more excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel! I'll be sending out an email soon to friends and family on tips/tricks on where and how to watch me on Sunday, November 4th. And where and how to enjoy a beer with me after.

Let's do this, ladies and gentlemen. It's taper time.

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