Live and Learn

My attempted 30 miler today did not go as planned.  I ran just over 16 miles before I decided to call it a day.  I am trying to remain positive and use my failed attempt as a learning tool for future long runs.

The whole day started out on the wrong foot.  I had a 645am photoshoot with the Daily News in Central Park – my plan was to start my run immediately upon finishing.  Unfortunately, although I was promised it would only take 15 min, the shoot actually lasted almost 2 hours – and about an hour of it consisted of me running up and down a hill – over and over and over again.  Because of the delay, I didn’t actually start my run until 945 – after being up over 5 hours and having only eaten a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter.  In addition, there were refueling issues, major crowding in the park due to a breast cancer walk, and strong winds – which only added to my lack of motivation to finish the run.  Here are my key takeaways from today:

1. Don’t leave things to the last minute.  I realized last night that I had run out of power gels (my energy refueling option).  I decided to put it off until this morning – and planned to stop at a pharmacy on our way into the city.  Unfortunately, I completely forgot until we were already in the city and getting ready to head out the door.  Paul ran to 3 local stores – the only option were vitamin chews (that I had never tried before) – but I figured that it was better than nothing.  This leads to my next lesson…

2. Never try something new on a long run. Assuming the vitamin chews would meet my energy requirements was foolish.  I took the first at mile 8 and never felt any energy boost like I usually do with the caffeinated power gels I rely on.  About 10 minutes after taking the second at mile 13, my stomach started to cramp and I felt as though I was going to be sick.  I hoped it would fade away, but after a mile, I realized I would not be able to run another 13+ miles with the vitamin chews as my only source of energy.

3. Always bring extra food with you. My pre-long run ritual is simple.  I eat one piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter about 45 min before I begin.  I assumed the photoshoot would take 15-30 min, so I ate in the car into the city.  Big mistake.  If I had packed an extra sandwich, I could have just repeated the ritual after the photoshoot ended.  Instead, I had to rely on food that I ate 3 hours prior to starting the run.

4. Never run in Central Park after 10am on the weekend.  This is a lesson that I thought I thought I had learned the hard way numerous times.  Central Park is a beautiful, amazing, quiet place to run – as long as you are running before the hordes of tourists are out.  There was also a breast cancer walk going on at 9am which attracted thousands of walkers.  Combine the walkers with the tourists and the result was an overcrowded park – so packed that at times there was no room to run – I had to weave in and out of the crowds.   This was my own fault.  I know better and should have made sure I was running long before the event started and the tourists were out sightseeing.  The “stop and go” running only added to my building frustration and was another factor of why I wanted to stop.

5. When trying my longest run ever, pick a flatter, easier course.  I shouldn’t have been so ambitious with wanting to do my 30 miler in Central Park (my favorite place in the world to run).  I should have planned a route that included more flat, even terrain.  After a few 30+ milers under my belt, then I should attempt a tougher course.

Taking all of these lessons into account, I have decided to give the 30-miler another try this Friday (on my actual birthday).  I plan on doing the course along the SI boardwalk and into Fort Wadsworth (which has a few hills- should be a nice break from the flat boardwalk) first thing in the morning (5am).  If all goes as planned, I should be finished before 930 and still have the whole day to spend with Paul and AJ!!!  Keep your fingers crossed!

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    One thought on “Live and Learn

    1. Sensing your disappointment yet knowing your dedication and determination, we know Friday will bring you renewed enthusiasm and resolve — another year older and wiser.