Went on a 19-mile run yesterday, longest run in 12 years. I almost always run on my own, but this time I ran with an attendee at a conference I spoke at in San Diego last year. We started at 6:20 am to beat the heat. She said she was nervous about running with me. I don’t know why… am I that intimidating? God knows I’m not nearly as fast as I used to be when I was in my 20s. And when it comes to long endurance, that’s not my strength. I’ve always been better at short, intense work compared to long, enduring work. So this New York City Marathon training is hard for me. But guess what? Life is hard.
So off we went for 19 miles around Mission Bay. Not a bad place to run. I never carry a phone or camera with me when I run, so I never have pictures, but my running partner carried her phone, so here’s the rare picture in my blog, courtesy of Kristin. Thanks, Kristin!
I can’t believe how many times she stopped to take a picture. I’m all about the running. The only reason I know it was 19 miles is because she was wearing a GPS. I don’t own a GPS. I usually go by time and estimate the mileage. Call me a purist, but for me, it’s always been about the running. No gadgets, no smart phone, no fuel belt. Just me, my heart beat, my legs, and the open road.
I did carry a couple of PowerGels in my shorts pocket to use on the run – one raspberry cream and one berry blast. I’ve been alternating long runs on which I consume and don’t consume carbohydrates so I can force the physiological adaptations associated with getting low on glycogen on one hand (better use of fat, greater glycogen resynthesis during recovery, and enhanced liver gluconeogenesis) and practice my carb-consuming marathon strategy on the other hand. Don’t want to spend time in a New York City porta-potty on the side of the road because I didn’t practice consuming carbs on a long run!
I made it through the run feeling pretty good, and soaked my legs in the cool water of Mission Bay afterward.
Not sure if soaking legs in cold water really helps me recover faster (research doesn’t really support that it does), but it feels good. Never underestimate the value of a placebo. If you think something works, it often does, even if it doesn’t.
Kristin and I finished our run in front of the Bahia Hotel so we could get iced cold water.
I ate a lot the rest of the day yesterday, starting with some French toast (my favorite!), to recover and stock up on calories since I’m fasting today for Yom Kippur, the symbolic action that Jews take once a year to deny ourselves as we ask God to forgive and absolve us of our sins of the previous year. It’s a day to reflect and to commit promise try to become a better person (is it okay to write a blog on Yom Kippur?). This Yom Kippur falls on the day before the 3-year anniversary of my mom’s death – September 15. I miss the days when our whole family would go to synagogue together on Yom Kippur.
I wonder what my mom would think of me running the New York City Marathon in her memory. I know she’d be worried about my health. She always used to worry about the effects that running has on my heart. Although she competed in a number of sports herself, including the crazy sport of roller derby(!), she was worried that running so much is not good for my heart given that my father died of a heart attack when he was 51 years old (my twin brother and I were 8). I guess it’s true that as we get older, our parents get wiser… my mother died before the recent research has come to the forefront that excessive amounts of endurance training can lead to scarring of the heart. However, that’s the extreme case. For nearly all of us, running is good for our hearts. Although running acutely increases the risk of heart attack, as heart rate and blood pressure rise, running chronically reduces the risk of heart disease.
If your goal is to live for the next hour of your life, don’t run. But if your goal is to live for many more years as healthy as possible, then run as much as you can. There’s a mountain of research to support that.
One more quality workout tomorrow on the track, then a recovery week of reduced mileage. Next very long run is in two weeks. Shall I ask Kristin to join me again and bring her camera phone?