marathon training: weeks three, four & five (or, why you should be prepared to mistake your own shadow for a petite man trying to murder you)
seventy-one. that’s the number of miles i’ve run since christmas eve. coincidentally, it’s also the number of times i’ve used, “i’m training for a marathon” as an excuse for eating. like when i drowned hot wings in ranch, or baked chocolate chip cookies three weekends in a row, or shoveled peanut butter and jelly into my mouth by the spoonful—not even via bread WHAAAT! it’s all for training, you guys! i need the carbs, i need the protein, i don’t need the fat, but whatever-just-go-with-it!
truthfully, i haven’t been that bad, although all of the above food incidents are very, very real. i’ve just been padding my poor food decisions with better ones: trying to make more whole wheat pasta, eating more turkey and avocado, lots of bananas, spinach, boring stuff like that.
i read that training for a marathon drastically alters your lifestyle, but truth be told, i don’t feel like mine has changed all that much. i still watch ungodly amounts of tv, i still go to work, i’m still addicted to playing snood on my phone, still doing crossfit, still hanging out with my friends. really, the biggest change (aside from the whole running all the time thing) is how many times i can now pee in a single day. sorry if that’s TMI, but proper hydration is an essential part of marathon training, and i am nothing if not a proper marathon trainer. i haven’t been this passionate about pee since the last time i bought a starbucks tumbler with a straw. (that’s the trick, by the way—a straw that you attach to your mouth at all times.)
anyway, enough about pee. let’s talk running, ammiright? yes, i’m running more than i ever have before, and so far it’s been pretty good. i had to prepare though, otherwise, i don’t think things would be going so smoothly. in case you’re wondering, i now have proper running shoes, and let me say this—thank god for under armour cold gear! i would’ve died of hypothermia many miles ago if it weren’t for that stuff. i also have a sporty arm band to hold my iphone and a super cool running belt, which is really just a glorified fanny pack that holds water and keys and energy gel things. the energy gel things, by the way, are called GUs. hmm, how can i best explain GU to you? well, first off, it’s pronounced “goo,” not “gee-you” like i said in the running store. what a n00b! basically, they’re little packs of goo that you squirt into your mouth every 45 minutes so you don’t collapse and die, and they come in a whole range of flavors like peanut butter, vanilla bean, tri-berry, lemon-lime, and just plain, which i assume is short for JUST PLAIN GROSS. “what’s it like?” you ask. it’s like if you melted a bunch of old caramels and mixed them with jello and then tried swallowing a handful while running. which, come to find out, is difficult to do all at once.
speaking of “come to find out,” here are a few things i’ve learned:
- i run roughly a 10-minute mile. this is good enough for me. my friend matt, who’s running a half-marathon in march, asked me what my pace for 8 miles was. my response was that my pace for every run is to finish it. whereas he’s doing the real runner-y thing of pushing yourself farther than you ever thought possible, i’m doing that other thing where i push myself out of bed and then call it a day.
- shadows are scary. usually i run along the hudson river greenway, which runs parallel to the west side highway, which is always busy. sometimes i run at night when all the lights from cars, billboards, lamps, and the smog-covered moon create multiple shadows. on more than one occasion, i’ve mistaken one of my own for a man who wants to play law & order: svu. luckily, since i’m already running, the flight portion of my flight-or-fight response is all, “i got this!” buuut, then i realize that the man is pretty small and has a ponytail and gait just like mine…and then we all have a good laugh because of the misunderstanding.
- sometimes you need to listen to your body, and other times, you should listen to the weather. my training got a little derailed after lindsay and i did 10 miles on the 19th. during that little jaunt, my left knee started to hurt, and didn’t stop hurting until several days later. come to find out, it was my vastus medialis muscle (look it up, dummies) crying out for help. so instead of running the following week, i iced and heated and icy-hott-ed it. this ended up being pretty convenient since that was the week the whole east coast decided to drop temperature and new york hovered around 10 degrees. luckily, it’s warmed up, but to be safe, i went ahead and bought a very sinister-looking face mask.
since the 10-mile knee-wipeout, i’ve jumped feet-first back into the running game (one pun every post, okay?). so far, so good. now if you’ll excuse me, it’s eating time. and probably peeing time, if i’m being honest.