February 18, 2008

My first marathon training run (or, how I survived my first hangover)

Last night, Kelly’s Sports Bar in the East Village ran a special: 80 cent jagermeister shots and 80 cent Newcastle pints. Ridiculous! This started at 9, and when we got there at 11, it was absolutely packed. Within five minutes of our arrival, they ran out of beer (no, I was not responsible for that – in fact, I had not even managed to get a bartender’s attention yet). People cleared out pretty quickly, but we decided to stay and enjoy the jager. The place was far from empty, but it was definitely more comfortable than before, and we even managed to snag a couple stools at the bar. As we pulled up our seats, the bartenders announced that because they were sorry to have run out of Newcastle, they were now going to open up the 80 cent special to include anything on tap!!! I drank way more than my fair share, and it was amazing. I don’t think I’ve been that drunk in quite a while.

After the bars, my group decided to stop at this little burrito place on Houston Street. It was a teeny-tiny late night place where almost everything was $5 or less. I don’t remember what I got, but it was delicious. I knew before biting into it that I was over my calories for the day, but I didn’t care, and figured that being a little bit over wasn’t too bad, especially since I was going for a long run the next day. We ate, and then on the sidewalk everyone said their goodbyes and went their separate ways. My way, however, was back into the burrito place. I ordered something else – I think some kind of chicken tostado? I then proceeded to join some group at a table, and chow down. When finished with that, I went back up and ordered a dessert tostado – it was like a flatbread with some kind of apple cinnamon topping.

When I ordered it, the guy at the counter made some joke asking if I was going to eat the whole store. I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed in my left – I felt like the proverbial fat kid who gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I know that I am far from fat, but I am trying to drop a few pounds, and going on a late-night Mexican binge is certainly not the way to do it. After receiving my dessert, I slunk out of the store with it still in the bag. I probably should have thrown it out, but I was drunk enough that what the guy had said to me didn’t really sink until the next day, so I ate it in the cab. It was great as well. Really, if I was going to splurge like that, the food I picked to splurge on was pretty good.

I woke up this morning feeling like absolute crap. Not only did I remember with absolute shame and horror what the counter guy had said to me, but I also had my very first hangover. I was alternately excited and disappointed – that meant my streak of countless nights of drinking till I was sick and then being 100% fine the next day was over. Curses! All I wanted to do was lie in bed, drink water, and do absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, I had planned to do my long run that day, and especially after eating all that crap the night before, I was reluctant to skip it.

I stayed in bed until 1 PM, and then forced myself to get up and put my running clothes on. I’ve discovered that once my running clothes are on, it’s hard for me to not go. (Especially if I pick a cute outfit and want to show it off). I felt somewhat dizzy and weirdly disoriented when I was walking around my apartment, but I was determined not to let my drinking get in the way of my run.

I headed out the door, and when I hit the fresh air and started jogging, I actually felt a zillion times better. A peppy song had come on my iPod (“Brand New Jones,” by Thicke) and I felt great. I decided not to go to Central Park, because the distance I was planning meant more than two loops, and that’s just boring. Instead, I headed over to Riverside Park to go up and down the Hudson River (like what I did Friday). Instead of turning down immediately at 72nd, I first headed up to 86th Street. I got a bit lost in the upper regions of the park – even though I had run up to 86th Street from the river and come back down, I somehow got slightly confused trying to figure out how to do it in reverse. After a bit of meandering, I hit the river path and was off.

It wasn’t as windy as Friday, at least not at first. I was so proud of myself for dragging myself out of bed to run that it translated into an automatic good mood for my run. I felt pretty good – not sick or tired anymore at all. Around 34th Street, I started feeling a little tired – my body tried to convince me to give up this silly idea of a long run and just do another 7 miler. However, I decided that instead of turning around at Chelsea Piers like last time, I would run down to Battery Park (which is about 7 miles), and then if I was too tired to keep going I could always take a cab home.

Right after I passed Chelsea Piers, I saw something really cool. It was a little shack labeled “The Runners’ Station.” I noticed it when I was just past it, so I decided I’d stop by on the way back. I kept going, and was really impressed by how pretty the Hudson River Park was. The areas right next to the water were beautifully maintained, and when it gets to be summer I think I’ll definitely go hang out there sometimes. There were even poles announcing free WiFi hotspots – cool! So expect to see me blogging from the park this summer 🙂

At the World Trade Center, there were a ton of tourists, as usual. But it got me thinking… I really don’t like that people come to NYC and just want to see the big holes in the ground. I understand wanting to know what happened, and reading about the events and whatnot. At the New York State Museum in Albany, they even have a pretty comprehensive exhibit that details all the events and a lot of the stories, examining a lot of different angles and facets of September 11th – I would highly recommend it if you’re interested in learning about that part of history. But I just find it a little bit morbid to want to come see the destruction. And really, there’s not much to see anyway… it looks like a lot of new construction sites in NYC. I guess I’m a bit used to it, since my company has offices in 2 WFC (one of the other towers), but I still don’t understand all the tourists that line up to see it.

As I reached Battery Park City, a gust of wind hit, and suddenly I felt like I was back in the Bronx. This wind was even more intense than the race, and it was really hard to keep going forward, but it only lasted for a minute or so. I reached Battery Place, turned around and headed back uptown. No thoughts of a cab were in my mind – I felt great, and definitely felt like I could make it back home. Heading uptown, my only concern was that my run might not be long enough. I really wanted to hit 14 miles, and I didn’t know if I was going to make it. I definitely need to get a Garmin.

When I got up around 14th Street, I began looking for the Runners’ Station. Going in, I was greeted by a really hot guy, which gave me an instant good first impression. Basically, the Runners’ Station is a little shack sponsored by Nike that has everything you could need for a run: water, Gatorade, hair ties, tissues, bandaids, energy gels and bars, etc. Everything seemed to be just a dollar, which was awesome! I had my own gel but I bought a Poland Spring while Hot Worker Guy showed me around more. There’s a computer so that if you use a Nike+ you can sync up and see how far you’ve run. He gave me a free map of the Hudson River Park running areas, which had mileage posted, and we tried to figure out about how far my run was – we guessed at about 13.5, so my fears of not getting 14 weren’t really allayed. However, it was hard to figure out because I was doing a few miles from my apartment to and from Riverside Park. There were bulletin boards with all kinds of cool stuff posted: upcoming races and training runs, stretching tips, facts about running, and my favorite, a list of people’s resolutions for 2008 and what they would do if they didn’t succeed. A lot of people said they would give up drinking in 2009 if they didn’t reach their goal in 2008, which was pretty impressive. At that point, I was proud to be a champion drinker and runner 🙂 Hot Worker Guy didn’t tell me about this feature, but apparently Nike also offers some way to do a test run in Nike sneakers (you leave a pair of your own behind while you go), which sounded interesting. All in all, I was really impressed by the Runners’ Station and will definitely try to go there again! Maybe I’ll bring a business card to give to Hot Worker Guy next time. I could really go for a guy who knows his running.

I kept running home, but was much colder now that I had stopped for a bit. I was also regretting the water I drank. Not sure if I’ve blogged about this before, but last year I had this weird medical thing where drinking (any liquids, I don’t mean alcohol) made me extremely cold. Like, on the ground curled in a ball shaking and unable to do anything else. One time I even passed out, which was really really scary. I went to a few doctors, none of whom could really figure anything out. (The oh-so-smart nutritionist insisted that I was anorexic and lying about what I ate… she then proceeded to rail on my “negative body image” when I responded to her diagnosis by saying “are you kidding… do I LOOK anorexic?!”) The problem has basically gone away – I’m thinking it was some combination of stress and drinking liquids? – but when I drink things now I still do feel my body temperature drop a little bit. Not as much as last year, when I had freaky body temperatures that basically put me in the hypothermic category, but I just feel slightly colder. I don’t tend to drink much when I run, so here’s a question for all of you: if I drink a ton as soon as I return from a long run, is it okay not to hydrate during? At least in the winter?

I think I’m going to have lots of running questions in the next few weeks. When I got home, I discovered I had run an incredible 15.6 miles!!! By far my furthest run yet, and I really felt good about it. My pace was slower than usual (about 9:45), but I’ll attribute that to the hangover. I am so proud of myself for getting out there and doing that much even when I felt so crappy, and it actually cured me – I felt fantastic the rest of the day. Very minimal soreness, and none in my left thigh, even though I forgot to use my roller, so hopefully that little injury is getting better.

So since today’s run went so well, now I want to start training for a marathon in earnest. My running plan in the past has always been just kind of run as long and as far as I want. Then a few weeks before the race, I realize that I’m nowhere near prepared enough, so I throw in some long runs. However, as brilliant as my plan is, I don’t think it’s necessarily the right way to prepare for a marathon. The plans out there seem to be about 16-18 weeks, but I’ve looked at some of them, and most have a 15-16 mile run somewhere around week 9 or 10. So… does that mean I’d be okay starting at that week, and doing a 6-8 week program? My goal isn’t necessarily to come in at any specific time – just to finish. Though knowing me, when it gets close to race day I’ll come up with some ridiculous goal that I will then be disappointed by not reaching.

Wow, that was a really long post. And unfortunately, not too witty, even after thinking about lots to say during my run. I may need to buy some kind of teeny tape recorder so I can record the brilliance I come up with during my runs – I promise it’s better than this long-winded diatribe.


6 thoughts on “My first marathon training run (or, how I survived my first hangover)”

  1. Sounds like you logged the perfect detox run. And I can’t believe those drink prices.

    For your first marathon I would suggest you follow the full training plan, but 15 miles is a great start. Congrats.

  2. You do need to hydrate during long runs…think of long runs as “practice” for marathon day…use this time to really get things down pat (hydration, nutriion, etc), so that it’s smooth sailing on race day.

    Also-google “GMaps pedometer” -it’s a great site to map out distances of runs.

    And that counter guy sounds like a complete ass.

    And I have also been known to cure hangovers by running…good way to sweat out any additional alcohol 🙂

  3. I hope I’m just as lucky with my 8 mile run tonight…

    $2 Red Stripes :-(. Tator Tot basket :-(. How guilty am I :-)!!! Not really, it was fun!

    Great recollection – wish I had cool places to run around!

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