Lessons Learned (with a side of salad)

On Monday, I ran the New Haven 20k. Just getting there felt like a marathon in itself. I’m sure signing up for a race that started at 8:30am in another state seemed like a good idea at one point in time, but when I woke up on Monday morning, it did not.

3:30am – I wake up to pee. I decide to check email on my iphone. Damn it. It’s 4am before I know it.

4:10am – alarm goes off, I gather up my stuff, and head out the door. Not much “getting ready” needs to be done because I sleep in my running clothes. Mmm, spandex.

4:20am – I strap on my drawstring back-pack and run 1.25 miles to the subway stop that will get me to Grand Central Station in the least amount of time.

4:45am – I sip my Dunkin’ Donuts pumpkin iced coffee (verdict: delicious!) and ride the subway to Grand Central.

5:15am – arrive at the station, find my train, settle in. Get a call from my bank. Apparently buying a train ticket at 5:15am is cause for “suspicious account activity”. Nope, I’m not suspicious, just crazy.

5:45am – eat my usual pre race/long run breakfast. Bagel thin, dark chocolate dreams peanut butter, banana. I like Thomas’ bagel thins as pre-run fuel because they’re lighter on the stomach.

7:45am – train arrives in New Haven. I jog a mile to the start, collect my bib number, check my bag, meet up with Meggie, use the porta-potty.

8:40am – Race begins. Andddd I’ve already been awake for 5 hours.

The plan was to run the first 10k easy (like a regular run) and then complete the second 10k at half marathon goal pace. There were many problems with this plan. 1) HM goal pace (7:00) is hard for me. I always try to trick myself into thinking I can run 7:00 pace easy-peasy. Nope, I can’t. 7:00 is fast and it will feel that way. Especially when I’ve already run 8+ miles that day.  2) It’s realllly hard to put your game face/race face on after you’ve been chillin’ for the first 6 miles.

Megan: “Come on legs, let’s drop the pace! Time to go fast!”

Legs: “Lolz, no thanks. 8:00 pace feels pretty nice.”

Uh yeah. So while I DID manage to negative split the 20k (12.4 mi), it wasn’t nearly as close to race pace as I had hoped. Also, I did a horrible job of running the tangents. Mr. Garmin was right on target with the course mile markers till the halfway point and then I apparently ran .12 miles extra. Hmph.


But not all is lost. Here are my thoughts on what might have affected the workout/race: First, I’ve increased my mileage lately (55-60 mpw) and ran a tough workout last Thursday, so I’m going to assume that my legs were tired. Hopefully they’ll feel better after a week of tapering. Secondly, I felt like I was running whilst wrapped in Saran wrap. It was THAT humid in New Haven. Yum. And finally, while the latter half wasn’t as fast as I would have liked, it was still a decent tempo effort. The main take-away from this race: do not expect race pace to feel easy. Even if you’re only doing it for a few miles.

I wallowed a little bit on Sunday night/Monday morning, but then pulled myself together. I had a dinner party to prepare for! About a month ago (um, yeah, before I even moved…) I planned a housewarming-dinner get together. Wishbone salad dressings had sent me some free samples and I thought it would be a good excuse to whip up some creative salads. Generally I’m not a bottled salad dressing fan, but they have their place (i.e. they’re handy to stash in the work fridge). My favorite variety is the Greek Vinaigrette (that’s why it’s half empty!), but all are decent. I also like that they contain Omega-3’s. Fat in your salad dressing is good, people. It helps absorb nutrients from the veg!

So anyway. I had six lovely lady friends schlep through the heavy rain, to my new Brooklyn apartment after they had all worked long days. That is friendship! Ali wrote a fabulous recap – there may or may not be photos of tipsy Megan in her post. The wine was free flowing…I could not resist.

On to the salads!

#1 Fruit and Nut salad – mesclun greens, sliced figs, chopped plum, goat cheese and pecans tossed in Wishbone Superfruit Berry dressing.

#2 Mediterranean Vegetable Salad – Shrimp sauteed in Wishbone Mediterranean Italian dressing and then piled on top of mesclun greens, roasted zucchini, tomatoes, and onions, and topped with goat cheese.

#3 Greek Salad – Arugula, tomatoes, black olives, chickpeas, and feta tossed in Wishbone Greek Vinaigrette.

There was also bread. And cookies. And peanut butter filled pretzels. And chocolate. And wine. Because although I love me some salad, it definitely needs company.

Thank you ladies for warming up my apartment with nearly 5 hours of chatting, laughter, and wine. It made me forget all about my sweaty, grouchy, early morning 20k in New Haven and focus on life’s more important things.

Andddd I’m about to get another big shipment of CSA veggies, so how about you tell me your favorite salad combo?

  • I am SO GLAD you ran in New Haven so I could find a friendly face there! I should’ve run the first mile with you instead of crazy Meggie who is like “Garmin lies about pace and I feel fine! No need to slow down!” Also, you forgot to mention how it smelled horrible near the water in addition to the oppressive humidity. I don’t think the stench did anything for my speed.

    Hmm – lately in my salad from Just Salad I’ve REALLY been into edamame and string beans in my salad. Sometimes I even get double edamame. Guess I’m getting my soy requirement. My salad of the month has been: butter lettuce, croutons, hard boiled egg, edamame, string beans, turkey bacon, and honey herb dijon. Sometimes I also throw in broccoli, red onion, or corn, depending on my mood.

  • I made my new favorite salad combo on Sunday. Sadly, it’s a summer salad, but there’s still time to try it: fresh corn off the cob, tomato, basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Trust me.

  • Anonymous

    running/racing in humidity = yuck. Always. And what a loooong morning! Nice work getting out there and racing.

    I am so sad I missed the salad/housewarming party! Those all look so delicious. My favorite salad involves goat cheese, beets, greens and some kind of toasted nut. But salad #1 with the figs, plum and goat cheese sounds AMAZING and I may have to make it. I <3 figs.

  • mmmm, those salads look delicious.  I am also loving figs in my salads (and smoothies) these days. 

    Great job on the race! I couldn’t run 8 min miles on my best days.

  • RunTheLongRoad

    i hate running in the humidity.  i hate it even more since it’s september and it’s supposed to be cooler.  

    i saw ali’s recap and it looked like a good time.  i believe in working hard and playing hard, so what’s a little wine (or a lot of wine)?!?!

  • sorry your race was not so bueno, but i’m glad we could brighten your spirits with wish bone cheer 😀 you are a lovely (slightly or more than slightly tipsy) hostess, as always. my favorite power lunch salad (when i buy it out at one of those pricey little shops) involves chick peas, avocado, broccoli and pumpkin seeds over spinach with some sort of tangy balsamic dressing. fab.

  • you actually got a call from your bank? i’ve never had that happen to me. guess all my purchases aren’t as suspicious as i sometimes think they are hahahah

    sounds like the humidity really affected your race. that sucks. but you still ran hard, it’s the effort right? and race pace is supposed to be hard. because you’re racing. so it’s good that it felt hard?

  • Anonymous

    actually, i got an email from them telling me that they locked my account. it’s a good thing i have a smart phone and was able to 1) see that email and 2) call them immediately. i only brought that one credit card with me – no cash. GULP.

  • Anonymous

    yumm, i think you’ve just inspired today’s lunch!

  • this is literally exactly what i was going to recommend. do it while the csa veggies are still coming in!

  • thank you so much for being such a fabulous hostess/chef and not yelling at me for pouring too much wine in your glass. 🙂 can’t wait for all the brooklyn nights ahead of us!

  • The shrimp salad looks amazing. Jealous, jealous, jealous.

  • Amanda

    New favorite salad (in fact I’m having it for lunch today)

    Quinoa mixed with diced tomoatos and onion, shredded spinach, a little leamon juice and olive oil and some salt.  I eat it over spinach, but probably any dark leafy green would be tasty.  The recipe also calls for sliced avacado, but they have been $2 a piece and I don’t like paying that much.

  • Anonymous

    i love avocado, but i hate that restaurants charge like $2 for a slice on a sandwich or in a salad. and it’s usually a measly little slice 🙁

    good idea re: using lemon, olive oil, and salt as a dressing. actually i think the original word salad (“or in Italian, salata”) refers to seasoning lettuce with salt. cool, huh?

  • Humidity is the worst as is the heat. I am soooooo ready for fall. I am sure it will be much easier with better weather. Wishing good weather for you in Philly!

    That fruit and nut salad sounds heavenly! I loveee figs and goat cheese. Plums are really good too! When I get a salad at a salad place I just generally mix a random assortment of veges with feta cheese and balsamic dressing. Not super creative but I like the way it tastes. I think I am going to have to try to recreate your salad…though probably at home.

  • If Leslie says it, it must be true!!

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  • Corey @ runner’s cookie

    I’d say that 20k is still an awesome accomplishment given that your legs weren’t rested to really “race”, you were up at 3:30 and you still ran some solid negative splits! I know it’s hard to not live up to the expectations you have for a race, but I think you’re absolutely right that your extra mileage and tough workouts didn’t really set yourself up to run at 7-min pace for half the race. You are still well on your way to your goal HM!!

  • I’ve had races like this. And while it can initially be disappointing, I think there is still a lot of value to them, for all of the reasons that you mentioned. Running on tired legs through humidity is awful…and not exactly a recipe for a great race! You really did awesome, considering the circumstances. Your splits are still really strong, and I bet you’ll reach that 7:00/mile pace during the half with a little tapering! So I think a huge congratulations is in order. 🙂

    Your house warming sounded like a really good time. The salads look delicious and the company seemed great 🙂

  • Sarah-Mae Pyndus

    I LOVE this post! I ran my marathon tune-up race (a half as well) this morning and had a VERY similar experience. While not SLOW, it was about where I wanted my race pace to be – although it was only half the distance… ha… not to mention I also felt totally fine after finishing, which is usually my sign that I didn’t really push it all out!