The Long Run: NYC Marathon Training!

I’m running the NYC Marathon in a month. I’ve been trying to get into this marathon for years, and I somehow managed to get in after I already registered to do the L.A. Marathon this past March. This means 2 marathons too many in one year.

Here is a confession: I don’t necessarily love running long distances. OK, maybe it took me too long to discover this. I always try to follow a marathon training plan, and I always fail miserably. I almost always get injured, so I spend the last months leading up to a marathon praying that I will somehow be well enough to make it through the race. And so far, I’ve finished 7 marathons (Seattle, Las Vegas & 5 L.A.s). No, I’m not breaking any records for speed, but once I let go of that idea of getting faster and faster–marathons have become much more fun! This time around, I haven’t stressed out at all & luckily (cross your fingers) haven’t had any injuries.

Today was one of those long runs I try to avoid, but I had no excuse. 15 miles (some people run 20, but I’ll probably max out at 18 next weekend) to the beach, down the boardwalk and back. Of course all my long runs end up falling on “heat wave” weekends. If you were wondering (and I’m sure you were) what a solo long run is like for me, here is a play by play:

Miles 1-5: I wake up early today and don’t do my usual–slow coffee, breakfast, TV & then out for a leisurely weekend run. Instead, I realize it will be heating up fast, so I head out shortly after waking up. This means I am borderline asleep the first few miles. I just keep telling myself: “There is no way I can do this for 15 miles.” I have to use the restroom (already!!) at around mile 3. That meant going first to a gas station (no public restrooms) & then to a coffee shop, who kindly gave me use of their bathroom without any kind of a purchase. By the time I get to mile 5, I’m awake.

Miles 5-7: Magic. My first water views–the marina and then the ocean views. I force myself to stare at the water, to remember how lucky I am that I can do this without much pain, and to enjoy it.

Miles 7-7.5: OMG. It’s almost time to turn around. At 7.5 I can turn around, and then everything will be better. I’ll be headed back home & before too long, I will be home. Is it 7.5 yet? No, 7.3. Almost. NOW. TURN!!!

Miles 7.5-10: Let’s pump the dance music. While I don’t necessarily listen to lots of dance remixes in my daily life, I have about 40 of these on my ipod running mix. “Turn down for what!” I start silently screaming as I listen to the current dance hit. I google this later–it means “I will never sober up! Let’s keep partying!” And then, without warning, “Oh wow. It’s really really hot. How will I ever do this for 5 more miles?”

Mile 10-13: I can’t say what really happened during these dark moments. About mile 12 I found a water fountain & just kept dousing my head with water–the poor little girl at the playground just stared in horror as she waited to take a sip of water. I tried everything in my power not to let all the thoughts go to: “But Kristy. This is less than HALF the distance you’ll have to travel in one short month. You can’t go this far??!!? Good luck.” Have I mentioned these long runs are much more mental than physical? Though I swear these 80+ temps have an effect on my mental state.

Mile 13-15: On my good days, this is the most glorious part. I’m almost there. I’m thinking about all the food I’m going to stuff into my face. I try to focus on my form & maybe even speed up the final miles. This did not happen today. I became super moody. I kept telling myself I could just walk–what’s wrong with walking? It couldn’t add that much time! I ran past a church that was letting out & was visibly upset that people were getting out and talking on the sidewalk. EXCUSE ME, I’M RUNNING HERE! What, are you uplifting lives or something? Because I’m TIRED, and I need the whole sidewalk! How dare you. I’m going to cross the street. What is that person walking their dog in front of me? CAN’T THEY SEE I’M RUNNING HERE?? At this point, I realize I’m pretty much out of my mind and beg myself to stay quiet til I turn the last corner for home.

Post run: I walk in the apt, covered in mass amounts of sweat. I take ice packs from the fridge & cover myself with them. I guzzle Gatorade & put more ice in it because…it’s not cold enough! I jump into a cold shower and even that is not cold enough! Also, where is the coffee? And more importantly, where is the food?!?! Now usually, after running a half marathon or something, people give you a break. You get the whole day to stuff your face and just sit there. But no, it’s just a normal Sunday & I got dressed and went on about my day doing the typical weekend things as if I always start my days with a 15 mile run. I must admit, there is a certain swagger to my walk the entire day after a long run is completed. Oh no, that is just my tired left leg. But you know what I mean. The pride you get with finishing a 3 mile run–except multiplied by 5! It really does feel great. And brings me one step closer to NYC in a month!