Savoring the Perfect Runs

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You know those confidence building, smile inducing runs that remind you why you enjoy the act of running so much? As runners, we lace up our shoes not knowing what the miles will bring. Regardless the preparatory measures we take like resting our legs, stretching, foam rolling and getting sleep – sometimes the result is far from perfect. But, those runs that include lots of smiles, flowing conversation with a running buddy and smiles are the ones we savor.

Luckily, for an hour and a half yesterday, I was able to experience one of those near perfect runs.

Originally, Ashley and I were going to run on Friday but we thought the sunshine and warmer temperatures in Saturday’s forecast seemed more appealing than snow, below 30 degree temperatures and wind gusts that greeted us when we each woke up Friday morning. The text message chain that takes place between running partners is hilarious ranging from “but I planned my week around this run” to “won’t the wind and cold just make me stronger.”  Luckily, Ashley’s argument that sunshine would be far more enjoyable won and we met yesterday on the Upper East Side at 9:15 ready for a great run.

Before leaving the house I made a pre-run breakfast of coffee, NUUN and peanut butter banana toast using Ezekiel bread, which Kristine introduced me to a few weeks ago.

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Our goal for the run was to keep around a 9:10 pace since I’ll need to keep under a 9:09 during the NYC Half if I want to break 1:59:59. Since the first six miles of the NYC Half are in Central Park we figured there was no better place to run than the park. Harlem Hill, Cat Hill and the rolling West Side hills were the perfect way to test my legs and see if Prospect Park, Mile High and Barry’s Bootcamp hill training has worked.

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As you can see from our path, we did one loop of Central Park before heading towards the reservoir for a loop and half and finally coming South back towards the Met before finally ending at Butterfield Market. The first few miles flew by even as we continued talking while our legs pushed up Harlem Hills undulating twists and turns. After starting out a bit too fast, we pulled back the pace and settled into goal race pace. The weather was perfectly cool and crisp, the park was filled with runners and we were so busy talking that we both forgot to take fuel.

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Wearing: Vest Turtleneck Fleece TightsShoes Favorite UGA hat 

I love having an end goal in mind during long runs whether it’s a post run bagel, brunch date or smoothie. Knowing that we had delicious smoothies waiting for us when we finished was the extra boost I needed to find a kick in my step for the final half mile.
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I woke up this morning feeling the after effects of the hills, pace and run in my hips and IT band – a perfect reminder that today should be all about foam rolling, gentle yoga and rest. Luckily, I am two episodes into Season 1 of House of Cards so there is nothing I’d rather do after church than relax with a few more episodes.

Hope you guys are having great runs, workouts or weekend fun!

 

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A Hilly New York City Training Run

This morning we were going to be running our first race in Vermont, the Maple Leaf Half Marathon.

Unfortunately due to adult priorities like work, we had to change our plans last minute and stay in town this weekend.

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Instead of running a half marathon through the lush mountains of Vermont, we ran 11 miles yesterday morning in honor of 9/11. We used bridges to simulate hills and ran through both Brooklyn and Manhattan to switch things up a bit.

Our morning started at the way too early hour of 4:15 when our alarms went off, signaling that it was time to get dressed and chug some coffee before heading out the door. Luckily we both bounced right out of bed thanks to the previous night’s 9:45 bed time.

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You know what makes delicious long run fuel? Homemade banana bread muffins with a smear of almond butter.

By 4:45 we were out the door, keeping a 9:45 pace as we headed towards our first bridge of the morning: the Brooklyn Bridge. We carried a handheld water bottle and one pack of Honey Stinger chews with us to fuel our run. Our goal for the run was to maintain a steady pace, include some hills and test fueling methods.

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Running over the Brooklyn Bridge while New York City was still engulfed in darkness and a dense haze was very ominous until we hit the midway point on the bridge and saw the American flag waving in the darkness. Tears came to our eyes as took a moment to appreciate all the city has provided to us and gave quiet thanks to those people who lost their lives on September 11th.

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After exiting the Brooklyn Bridge we headed north on the East River Path towards the Williamsburg Bridge. The path was empty except for a few people heading home from bars and a few cyclists. We headed back over towards Brooklyn via the Williamsburg Bridge which is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world at 1.4 miles. I forgot how wide the path is on this bridge versus the other ones in NYC – what a treat!

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Once we arrived back in Brooklyn we ran through Williamsburg, BedStuy, Crown Heights, Park Slope, Gowanus and back to Carroll Gardens. The gentle incline never seemed to end and as each mile passed my legs screamed just a bit louder.

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We were able to talk during the entire run while maintaining a pace around the 9:40 range until the final two miles which were downhill, allowing us to flush out the legs and keep a sub 9 minute pace!

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This was a weekday personal distance record for Bo, as historically he would have rolled over and gone back to sleep, saying he’d do the longer distance on the weekend. Instead, he was able to experience the Friday morning runner’s high as he walked through the office at 8am, explaining to people that he’d already finished his long run.

Some people think we’re crazy to wake up this early but at the end of the day, it allows us to train for a half marathon without impacting our social plans. We both love being able to squeeze in social workout dates on the weekend without worrying about our run. This morning I’m taking a Bar Method class with a girlfriend while he can go on a long ride.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

 

 

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A Great NYC Summer Run

You know those runs that go exactly as planned? Everything clicks and you feel as if you could run forever? Luckily, that is what Bo and I enjoyed yesterday morning.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that we enjoyed a strong, fast run yesterday. Unlike week’s past, we set ourselves up for success.

Friday night we cooked together, whipping up a delicious Frutti di Mare and spent a few hours watching Orange is the New Black and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. We both foam rolled and stretched before going to bed at 10pm. Yes, we went to bed on a Friday night at 10pm and it was glorious.

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Even though our alarm clock went off at 6am, far earlier than either of us would like on a Saturday, we felt rested and refreshed. We sipped on some NUUN, coffee and had a few bites of bread and peanut butter before heading out the door 30 minutes later.

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We chose to run early on Saturday for three reasons: avoid crowds, avoid heat and get it done before we headed out of town for the day.

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We created a great path which allowed us to enjoy both the water views and breeze off the Hudson River as well as NYC’s Summer Streets. On three consecutive Saturdays, August 1st, 8th and 15th, NYC shuts down seven miles of streets so the public and tourists alike may bike, run, walk and play in the streets from 7am until 1pm.

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It is AWESOME and includes five rest stops, outdoor yoga, bike tune-ups, a Vita Coco sponsored slip and slide, as well as music and lots of other great activities.

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Yesterday morning’s run was such a blast. Since we were rested, the miles came far easier than last week’s long run. Our goal was to keep a 9:45-9:50 for the first seven miles and then drop the pace for the final mile. Due to rested legs, proper fueling and perfect weather we were able to finish the 8 miles at an 9:26 pace including the final mile at an 8:02 pace!

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Hope you guys had a great weekend and remember, if your run doesn’t go well take a few minutes to think about how you can make it better next time! Our goal for the next few weeks is to make sure we are well rested for long runs!

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