Oh, friends. I’m struggling to find words for what I experienced this morning.
The prep: Last night I went to Jacki’s to assist with making her mom’s birthday cake. Her mom wanted German chocolate, and I was called to be on frosting duty. I had never made it before, but I sure as hell like coconut, so I was excited to. They have such a gorgeous, dream kitchen that I suggested I could be their personal chef just for an excuse to cook in it. They also have an egg separator which blew my mind because separating eggs isn’t a hobby or a strong point of mine! The cake turned out very lovely…
They invited me to stay for dinner, and I wasn’t going to, because it was pizza. However, then I decided to try a Lactaid, and, lo and behold, it worked! I guess that’s good news and bad news. YES! more pizza in my life but NO! more pizza on my ass. After that, I headed home and painted my nails with OPI “Dear Santa,” because I needed something pretty and shiny to look at while I was running. And red is really a power color; I’ve been wearing it when I’m running lately, and it makes me feel really fierce.
The strategy: For my first all-indoor-track long run, I concluded…18 miles is 72 laps. Counting that out is just unimaginable. So I broke it into three sets: 24 laps. So…count up 12, count back down 12. That I could handle. And I made three playlists, to get me through each set of 24. The first was “18 Foreplay,” which was a lot of songs from this playlist. Second was “18 Get It” which was all my favorite fun/dirty pop songs. I figured this was when I’d hit my stride so I’d want to cruise to Britney, Missy, and company. The last was “18 Power” which was all the songs that make me want to run and really keep me going. I’m not normally so strategic, but I knew I was going to need a little something extra. And the music totally got me pumped. I knew when I heard “Stronger,” I was going to be in the home stretch!
Then I went to bed. I realized that the marathon is at 5 AM so I need to start getting used to early long runs. I set my alarm for 6 with the intention to be at the track between 7 and 8.
The morning: I woke up at 5 AM and I was actually feeling ready to go. I didn’t have major anxiety keeping me awake, but I had enough that I knew it was worthwhile to get out of bed and just get it over with, cause I wasn’t going back to sleep. For breakfast, I had a chocolate banana smoothie, a bagel with a little butter spray, almonds, and coffee.
Oh and a lot of water; I wanted to be well-hydrated, so I was drinking the whole way there. On the drive I was listening to more power music, and I was just so pumped!!
18 Foreplay: The new system was a great idea, because it had me imagining the run in thirds, which felt manageable. And the new playlists were great! I had put on a lot of oldies-but-goodies, and what I love about new playlists is that I never know what song is going to come next. That helped me a lot through the first six miles, although they really weren’t bad anyway. Also, I realized that 7 AM is primo MAN TIME at my gym! Hello, gym crushes!!! I mean obviously I wasn’t picking anyone up today, but…good to know.
18 Get It: I actually hit a state of flow around four miles, which was awesome. There were so many good songs on this playlist and I was so grooving, I actually got goosebumps at one point. The laps were flying by and I felt really good. Possibly too good, because I was pacing a full minute faster than I usually do. Around mile nine — and it’s kind of hard to remember, because when I’m counting laps, the miles don’t seem relevant — it got harder, but I knew I was halfway there. And the sun had finally come up!
18 Power: At mile 12, it was like someone flipped a switch that said, “Oh, honey, you want to run a marathon? Hmmmm….ARE YOU SURE?” I had to fight for every lap of the last 24. I don’t know exactly why. I had my energy gel, I had water. My body wasn’t too bad; most of the pain was in the balls of the feet and my quads, which is new. I can’t really explain; it just became hard. I was passing people on the track thinking, “Holy shit, I have been here for almost three hours, WHAT THE HELL!!!!” The laps weren’t going as fast, and, well, neither was I. I cut a lot of speed at the end, which was annoying, but whatever.
The finish: Once I got to the countdown of the last 12 laps, I felt like it should be smooth sailing, but it was still tough! I had to go two miles more than I was used to…my body has been liking the 16 miles for the past three weeks, so it wasn’t too cool with the additional. It was like throwing a dinner party for 8 and having two extras show up, and you’re like, “Well, I don’t have place settings for two extras…” UGH. Then at 17.5 — two more laps to go, Kanye was on — Jacki appeared on the track with her kickboxing class. That was exactly what I needed. She ran like, half a lap with me, but just talking for a minute made me realize, Oh, wow, I’m still alive. I can speak and make jokes and I’m going to be OK! (You forget these things when you run alone for 18 miles.) After that little friend moment, all I had was Brazilian Girls “Don’t Stop” and one more lap. I mean, I kinda felt like I was having an asthma attack, but I finished.
The recovery: So I see now why people take ice baths after marathons. When I stopped, the first instinct I had was that I wanted to be plunged into a pool of ice water. Weird! So I had water, I walked, I stretched (as much as I could…I hurt a LOT), and generally just kept thinking over and over, “Oh my GOD, that was the HARDEST thing I’ve EVER DONE.” I had my snack in the gym cafe: chocolate milk! The perfect recovery snack and it totally brought back memories of second grade lunch…which kinda made me want to cry a little less. I was feeling very emotional.
When I was driving home, the 50 Cent/Nine Inch Nails “Closer in Da Club,” remix came on. The hook to “Closer” is “I wanna f*ck you like an animal,” and, I mean, in all honesty, that’s what I felt like had happened to me this morning. Like…was I just tag-teamed by wolves?! But then I just realized, RACHEL, THIS IS WHAT TRAINING FOR A MARATHON IS. IT’S GONNA BE HARD. THIS IS WHY IT’S A BIG DEAL WHEN PEOPLE DO THEM. STOP BEING SUCH A LITTLE PUSS.
So…thank you Fifty/NIN for helping me get over myself! I’m lucky it’s not hard all the time. I’m lucky for a lot of reasons!
The carbs: Lunch is a homemade bagel, eggs, bacon, and butternut squash. Oh and OJ for some fruit/carbs. Kind of an unusual combo, but it worked! Mmm…MUST FEED THE MONSTER REAL FOOD!!
It was freezing out, so I stopped fantasizing about an ice bath and I threw myself in a hot shower until my skin wrinkled. I took ibuprofen, I’m rocking the Uggs/basketball pants. And, not gonna lie, I still hurt. But whatever. I just ran 18 miles. And I’m going to do it again. And then I’m going to run a marathon. And as for today I’m going to do all my online Christmas shopping, have Panera for dinner, dig into some German chocolate cake, watch “Modern Family,” and eat painkillers. S’all good.
Oh and some housekeeping: I LOVE all the comments on The Nuts giveaway! They were waiting for me post-run and they made me laugh. But to answer your questions, I hate Jamba Juice because even though there are some perfectly healthy things on the menu, those are RECENT ADDITIONS. JJ has this super-cute healthy-looking packaging that inside contains things like the “Peanut Butter Moo’d”…which is not juice at all, it’s ICE CREAM. I have a whole rant about it here.