a (half) marathon kind of morning

Whew!  It’s not even noon and I’ve already done so much…

I decided to go for 13 miles this morning; it’s been quite a while since I’d run a half-marathon (last September, perhaps?) and the weather outside was perfect: mid-70s and overcast.

I’m not sure what came first; my eyes popping open at 6:18 a.m. or me hearing Hadrian’s collar clinking as he awoke.  After taking him out and caffeinating myself, I powered up with this:

Kath would be so proud!   It was 1/4 C oats, thinned with my new find So Delicious Coconut Milk, 1/2 banana, 1/2 C sliced strawberries, 4 oz. strawberry yogurt, 2 tbsp Wegmans granola and some flax seeds.  It was awesome!  I was a bit worried it would be a little heavy in my tummy for my run, but I had to fuel up somehow.

I devised a plan that would allow me to not carry anything on my run.  I hate holding stuff, like a water bottle, while running.  I would do 4-5 miles outside, then 3-4 miles inside on the treadmill while eating and drinking, then finish up the remaining miles outside again.  I set my towel, water bottle and snack out by the door and headed outside.  I did my 5-mile residential route near the hotel in 40:30 and quickly let myself back into the hotel.

I grabbed this, along with my water bottle and towel:

Susy found these awhile back and we ended up splitting a box of them that she ordered online.  I only have two left!  Instead of a goo or a gel, these are nickel-sized gummies you can chew while running.  I’m not sure which I prefer (sport beans, goo or chews), but these certainly take a little while to eat.  Goos are often thick and a little chalky, so I have to have water immediately after, but the upside of goo is that it’s super quick to take.  I’ll have to do some recon around here to see where I can find an assortment of refueling options and pick up a couple soon.  I used to think I didn’t need a gel or anything unless I was running a full marathon, but in reality, anytime I run ten or more miles, I make sure to take something around mile 4 or 5 to help keep me going.

Anyway…  I hopped on the treadmill and set it for 7.7.  I’m not sure what that equates to (this machine didn’t tell me what my pace per mile was), but I ended up doing 5 miles in 39 minutes–FAST!  Thankfully, I got to talking to the guy next to me, who just relocated temporarily from Florida, so that helped kill the time.

I quickly dropped my towel and water bottle back off in the room and headed out for the remaining 3 miles.  My legs were tired after such a fast pace on the treadmill, but I smiled to myself as I left the parking lot for the second time this morning, because I felt so good and strong and healthy.  Despite my fatigue (ten-plus miles will do that to you no matter how well you refuel), I was definitely on a runner’s high.

I slowed a bit to about a 9-minute mile for my remaining three, but still felt good.  It’s not often I run 13 miles.  On a whim.  By myself.

I was soaked, obviously, so I stretched and changed my clothes once back in the room, then headed BACK out to take Hadrian on a slow jaunt around the hotel.  I downed a cup of the coconut milk and took this to go:

I was craving something chocolate-y and decadent after that run and knew I needed to start eating soon.  I LOVE Luna bars.  They taste great, and with only about 180 calories each, they are great snacks without being too much.

I figured out my time for this morning, and it is my fastest yet!  My last actual half-marathons have all been almost exactly 2 hours, to the minute.  My first one at that time was great, but later on I’d been training faster yet always crashed mid-race.  Needless to say, my last couple half-marathons have been very disappointing.  My time today:  1:46!  As in ONE HOUR AND FORTY-SIX MINUTES!  Holy cow!  How did that happen?  Well, losing 18 pounds doesn’t hurt, and I think I’ve come up with the reason I was always crashing.  I always went out fast with Susy, and I just couldn’t maintain her speed.  I’ve gotten faster, but I have to keep my pace strong and even to have energy left to finish the distance.  For me, that’s about 8-minute miles, max.

After the walk, I whipped up some smoothies for Andrew (who got up just as I returned from my run) and myself:

I used the remaining half of my banana, 1/2 cups each of pineapple and frozen peaches and mango chunks, 1/4 C plain yogurt, 1/2 C coconut milk and flaxseed meal.  YUM.  Andrew got a strawberry-banana one with oats and flaxseed meal.

I’ve still to shower; between shake-making, dish-doing and now blogging, I feel kinda lazy right now!  Well, I suppose “lazy” might not be the right word to describe me…

We’re having a low-key day today 🙂  Andrew has already fallen asleep on the couch in front of a gangster movie, and after a late lunch we’re going to head into EA to visit Abigail at work and borrow a cooler from his parents.  Some friends of Andrew’s from work have invited us on a “beach” trip tomorrow, so I’m going to try to find a bathing suit today–all of mine are a bit big!  Wish me luck…