After my ego took a huge blow by a hellish week of training, I had no choice but to hit every scheduled workout on my calendar last week.
This meant a few things: putting myself in the pain box for my speed workouts (aka hitting the puke threshold), and not quitting my long run early because “I just didn’t feel like it even though I know I could have gone two more miles.”
So after some debate on Thursday evening, I took a much needed mental health day on Friday. And after sleeping in (hooray, 7:00!) and eating a breakfast of steel cut oats with blueberries, I ventured out for my longest run since Connemara.
In an effort to keep my head clear, I broke my run into sectors: a loop of Central Park, an an out and back course with Randall’s Island being the turnaround point. And to keep myself accountable, I decided to take a photo after each sector whilst gelling. (I told you, I’m very mental, and also, very weird.)
Somewhere along the West Side Drive in Central Park, I ventured to the Bridle Path, and ran in places I hadn’t been in well over a year. (Running the same loop in Central Park can become very redundant, which gives rise to ye olde anxiety.)
After what seemed like an eternity, I stopped at the Mall to gel, and finished my first sector.
Sector 2: Get to Randall’s Island. As I made my way over to the East River path, I felt something completely new: a twinge in my IT band. I stopped along the river to stretch it out. While the pain subsided, the rest of me started to feel sluggish—perhaps it was the tempo run I nailed with Walsh the day before, or perhaps it was the pre-long run meal of tacos and wine. Either way, Sector 2 became daunting, which is no way to feel going over the 103rd Street bridge to Randall’s Island, which has quite possibly the most tedious incline ever. (I felt very sorry for the young boy in soccer cleats doing drills on said incline while being berated by his coach.)
I haven’t been to Randall’s Island in two years, and have never ventured into the park. It’s quite lovely, and I recommend it to anyone wanting to get out of his or her comfort zone.
After getting lost and stretching out my IT band once more, I finished sector 2.
More gel and back over that godforsaken bridge, I decided to run along the East River up to 116th Street, only to turn around and make my descent back to Central Park.
And then I looked down at my watch and realized that it hadn’t been tracking the last half a mile. Frustration hit. And so did the twinge. I stretched some more and started running slower to keep myself comfortable. And, by the time I came back to the park, I felt myself bonking out. Gatorade would have to come sooner, rather than at the cool-down around the reservoir.
It was the best $2 I’ve ever spent. I sat on the West Side of the Park contemplating my options. I was beat, smelled horrible (no—seriously) and sort of needed to vomit. Regardless of everything else, I needed to get back to the East Side, so I figured the quickest way was to run, however slow it would be. And so I did.
Finally, after the pangs of the last two miles, I finished Sector 3. I was completely depleted of energy, and made a bee line (well, more like a bumble bee with a gimp wing, as there was no straight line left in my beat-up legs) and picked up the necessary items to make a delicious turkey sandwich.
While my splits weren’t the greatest—and my route completely spastic—I somehow managed myself over the mental hump that’s been nagging at me as of late.
Like I said, no way in hell was that a comeback. But I’ll take in stride over the next few weeks.
Sally forth. Or something.