Friday, March 2, 2012

Smells and the City

Last night I totally kicked butt on my longest ever non-race run!

And I learned some important lessons.

So let's get to it!

Let's be honest - I've been dreading this training week ever since I put it on my schedule three months ago. The dreaded 10 mile long run week. The last (and only) other time I've run 10 miles was the Army 10 Miler in Washington, DC in October and it was not pretty. In fact, when I was finished I posted this status update on my Facebook:

"Well... I think that 10 miles may be the furthest I ever run. Lord. Have. Mercy. (unofficial time 1:52:35)"

After I recovered from that terrible experience, I analyzed what I think  went wrong (bad choice of pre-race food, not enough water before the race, and taking an Advil before the race) and now try to make sure that I avoid those things. I was determined that this 10 miler would be better. So, I planned my "fuel" very carefully: 1/2 peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread at noon, a smoothie with pre-workout enhancer around 2:30 (unplanned bag of Pirate's Booty at 2:30... whoops), lots of water between 3:00 and 4:30, and Swedish Fish for the run itself.


The crazy "winter" weather in Richmond has continued - and believe me I use the term "winter" very  loosely. Yesterday's high was in the upper 70's. Yes, the upper 70's on March 1. I wasn't very thrilled about that because, as I've mentioned before, I hate sweating and I hate running when it is anything that could be called warm.

When Prabir and I met outside of the Y at 4:55ish it was 70 degrees with a slight breeze. I wish I had thought to take my phone into the Y to take an illegal locker room pic because even if I wasn't feeling the 10 miler I was about to do in the 70 degree weather, I was totally feeling my outfit. I wore my new sneaks (which, sadly, are going to have to go back, more on that later), my herringbone gray Lulu shorts, and my the new Paris Pink Striped Cool Racerback that I bought on Fat Tuesday with a black sports bra underneath. It was super cute. I also have to say that the Striped Ribbed Racerback is the  most comfortable running shirt that I have ever run in. Since it was 70 degrees, I was sweating buckets, but I never once felt overly hot or like my shirt was getting damp. A real miracle.

Anyways, the first 6 miles of the run were pretty uneventful. Prabir and I talked a lot, which was a good thing. We established that my new nickname is K.Prime and that Prabir's name is very fun to say backwards (Ribarp). When I was getting kind of delirious during mile 4, every time Prabir started to talk I would say "RIBARP!" and interrupt him. It was kind of ridiculous - I was like an annoying drunk person that you just want to punch.

Sorry about that, Prabs. I was just trying to distract myself from the fact that it felt like my stomach was about to explode while my left foot simultaneously popped off.

During miles 4 and 5 I kind of felt like death and wanted to quit, but we ran the whole thing. I designed the 10 mile route in such a way that it was out and back for 6 miles, then the last 4 miles were a loop back out so if Prabir didn't want to hang for the full 10, we could easily part at the 6 mile mark, which we did.

After a high five, I left Prabir and his OMK (Old Man Knee) and set out to finish up. By this time the sun had all but set and it was feeling cooler. In fact, I would say I got a second wind and felt pretty darn good during miles 6 and 7. Except for one thing. This is where I learned an important lesson about running in the city (and where the title of this post finally makes sense).

The first leg of the run had been up and down Monument Avenue, which, while pretty, is also bereft of restaurants. However, I had stupidly planned the last 4 miles of my 10 mile dinner-time run down a stretch of Main Street that includes nearly twenty restaurants.

Don't believe me? Here's a list that's not even completely inclusive: City Dogs, Mulligans Sports Grille, Baja Bean Company, Home Team Grille, Six Burner Restaurant, Bacchus, Sidewalk Cafe, Rowland Fine Dining, Delux, Sticky Rice, F.W. Sullivan's, 3 Monkey's Bar & Grille, Avalon, Roxy Cafe, Piccola Pizza & Subs, and Star-Lite Lounge.

Because it was so beautiful, many of them had thrown open their windows and opened outdoor seating. Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than running the last half of your 10 miler past patio after patio of people happily noshing on all kinds of delicious delicacies. Even worse than seeing them eating is all of the amazing smells of deep fried goodness, pizza, coffee, and Chinese food that waft to you.

Torture. Complete. Torture.

In the future I will not be taking that route again. The Swedish Fish that I was carrying with me did nothing to quell my cravings after inhaling all of the delicious aromas wafting from the restaurants of Main Street.

Here's the report from the Almighty Garmin.

This completely shatters my only other 10 mile time (1:49:31) by more than 15 minutes. While I was tired and absolutely covered with a thin layer of salt by the time I got back to my car, I didn't feel too bad. After the Army 10 Miler I felt like death. So, all in all, I'd have to say I've come pretty far in the last few months!

Next week brings my longest run ever - 11 miles. That will be the last long run of my half marathon training before my taper week leading up to the race. It's going to take some creative course planning to avoid running down Main Street during that one, but I will definitely not be running the restaurant gauntlet again.



  1. Nice work on your 10 miler....15 minutes off your previous time (which was in a race) is HUGE!

    And your lulu outfit sounds SO cute, definitely need a photo next time haha.

  2. I have heard of the Dooley Noted Society, I would love to get involved with them! My e-mail is katherine.hopper or you can send me stuff on facebook if that's easier (Katherine Hopper).