The time I was a responsible marathoner…

Sometimes I make questionable decisions. I stay out too late, don’t hydrate properly, and break every rule that Runner’s World has ever published. However, last weekend I was actually sort of responsible. I can do that sometimes, I promise! I logged my miles, said no to late nights out (okay, well maybe not on Friday…), and tried to drink a lot of water.

On Saturday evening, I had tentative plans to meet friends for cocktails in the East Village. Howeverrr, my throat was feeling a little scratchy, my bank account was a little empty, and I thought to myself – “How will drinking and staying out ’till 1am make you feel during tomorrow’s nearly THREE hour run?” The answer was…”probably not so awesome”, so I gave my regrets and spent a quiet night at home watching Gossip Girl, finishing a library book, and baking cookies. And you know what? It was lovely.

I don’t really like pasta all that much, but I had some leftover baked ziti in the freezer and figured the night before a long run was a good time to use it up.

A runner eating pasta! Hooray for cliches.

After dinner, I got to work on a recipe inspired by The Brown-Eyed Baker. They were really good. I sort of regret sharing them because now I have zero left!! I should probably just bake another batch, right?

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies (makes about 15 cookies a.k.a. not enough!)

Ingredients:

1 stick of salted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white whole wheat flour
12 Oreos or Joe-Joes (crumble up 8 of them, reserve 4 whole)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (this is important – cookies may run if you put them on just a greased sheet pan).

2. With a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.

3. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and mix until the ingredients are well-combined. Add the flour and 4 whole cookies and mix on low until  incorporated.

4. Place the cookie crumbs in a small bowl. Form the cookies into ping-pong size balls and roll in the cookie crumbs. Place the cookie balls on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.

5. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

I went to bed at a decent time, woke up around 8am, and ate my go-to pre-long run breakfast:

The plan for Sunday was to warm-up about 3.5 miles to the start of the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Prospect Park, run the race as a progession run (meaning each lap would get faster), and then finish up with a longggg cool-down back home. However, with in the first few miles, I could tell that if I wanted to finish 20 miles feeling strong, a progression run was out of the question. At this point, being able to complete my long runs is the most important thing, so that’s the decision I made. I ended up running the 10 miles at an easy, conversational pace with a former Manhattan running buddy (hi Elise!). It was a great way to catch up and make the miles go by quickly. After running three loops of Prospect Park (10 miles) I continued on for another 6.5 miles. It was fine I suppose, but my goodness….running 20 miles take a long time! I finished the 20 miler in 2:55 or ~8:45 pace. Nothing super spectacular or fast about this run, but I logged the time on my feet and so that’s important. I sipped water throughout the miles 6-12 in Prospect Park and consumed about 150 calories (Gatorade + 1/2 luna bar) around mile 13 , but don’t think it was enough because I started feeling woozy after about 2 hours of running. I know I say it every week, but I’ve gotta nail down this nutrition on the run thing. Low blood sugar and dehydration (aren’t marathons FUN?) caused me to hit the wall in Boston in 2009 and I do NOT want to repeat that situation.

Nothing too exciting about my post-run oatmeal, but at least it was healthy. And I drank a lot of coconut water and regular water! Small victories.

Last week I ran about 72 miles, which is kind of cool because it means I’ve strung together two 70+ weeks in a row and I’ve never done that before. I probably should have done some sort of tempo run or interval workout, but eh, I’m not superwoman.

Mon, Feb 13 – 9.5 miles, run commute home from work

Tues, Feb 14 – 7.5 miles, run commute to work

Wed, Feb 15 – 11 miles, run commute home from work

Thurs, Feb 16 – 5 miles during lunch break

Fri, Feb 17 – 9.5 miles, run commute home from work

Sat, Feb 18 – 10 miles

Sun, Feb 19 – 20 miles

Monday and Tuesday of this week were complete rest days – no yoga, no lifting, nada. Did I plan on taking two rest days this week? No, but the combination of a head cold and feeling a little burnt out indicated some time off was necessary. Even if I’m not feeling well or I have a rest day planned or I’m really busy, it’s still hard to ignore the voice in my head that says “You should be running!”. But you know what? There is nothing virtuous or admirable about forcing a run when you really need a day off. It’s taken me awhile to realize that, but I think I’m finally at the point where I can tell if I need a rest day or if I’m just being lazy. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t plan a lot of them in my training schedule – I’d rather take a rest day when I feel like I need it vs. scheduling to take some random Wednesday off months in advance. This approach might not work for everyone, but it works for me!

Anyway, this week will be a little lighter on the mileage (maybe 50 mpw?), but assuming I feel okay on Saturday, this weekend’s long run will go on as planned. 7 weeks until Boston and it’s time to get down to business.

Okay, tell me – how do you take care of yourself when you know you need a more sleep or healthier meals or less stress? What do you say no to?

  • Oreo cheesecake cookies?!? I am definitely putting these on my to-do list 🙂
    I’ve said no to many nights out with friends just so I can sleep. Or cut the night short. It’s hard but I just remind myself how crappy I will feel if I don’t. Luckily my friends understand! And that there are many more nights out ahead anyway 😉

  • Joe Joe’s > Oreo’s. I love the vanilla ones!

    Nights out are the first thing I say no to. I’m not that into the bar scene anyway (I know, I’m such an old lady!).

    Nice running! 72 miles in one week is amazing!

  • Ali

    I am very confused by this: “I don’t really like pasta all that much.” It’s amazing that we’re friends after that bold statement, especially since you made those cookies and did not share.

    But hey buddy, nice job with the responsible running, the hugely heavy mileage and the solid 20-miler (and the wise thinking with the rest days). I can hear Boston crying from the Upper East Side!

  • Anonymous

    it is true! despite living in italy for a semester, pasta and i are not BFF. but maybe if *you* made it for me, i would like it? i hear you are becoming quite the chef!

  • Nice job on the 20-miler! I don’t know why I always seem to forget just how long it takes to run 20 miles. But yikes – that’s a long way. I still haven’t done my first yet. I’ve debated adding on to my half marathon this weekend, but then the week after that I’m doing a 20 mile race…and I’m not always the best about racing at a relaxing pace just for fun.

    Hope the extra rest helped you kick the cold/burn out!

  • Anonymous

    I have got to figure out hydration and nutrition too :/ hard when I hate carrying water and there are barely any water fountains open… Good job on the 20 miler! I am planning 21 this weekend. Let me know if you want a buddy!

  • I think I need to sloooooow down my long runs. Also need to figure out nutrition because I usually don’t take any on my runs and then race day I’m like, “Oh yeah, I should probably eat something…” and then I die at mile 21.  You think I’d learn!

    Anyway.  Late nights are definitely one of the first things to go when I’m trying to get into training mode…beer and staying out until 3am doesn’t really mesh well with a 20 miler the next morning, or hydration for that matter.

  • i like your runnin’-tude, lady. if you’re not feeling it, why force it? and if cookies are gonna do you more good than a night out of drinking (which they surely will before 20 miles!), then eat your cookies and i will be jealz when i see pictures of them while i’m tipsy from tha booze. yep. (can you tell i haven’t been sleeping?!)

  • sarah

    It’s funny, but I always tell myself that I can totally perceive, as a a running addict, when I really need a rest day. Usually. The thing is, I think signs of “needing” a rest day are kind of like signs of dehydration – once you start feeling thirsty, it might be too late and you should have already taken a drink (I phrased it that way because I can never remember the past tense of drink, yay!). Similarly, it’s probably not the best to be flattened on your ass before you realize that you need a day off running. Not that I abide by that theory.

  • Anonymous

    Nice running lady! And, those cookies look like perfect for post run refueling. yum. You know, i think you do a pretty good job with training, having a life, etc. The way you balance it all out seems to work well for you in the long run, even if a week here and there leans more  heavily towards one or the other. Honestly, to take care of myself I usually say no to getting those drinks or going out – time to myself to do whatever – cook, go to bed early, etc. does the trick. 

  • Those cookies look incredible. 

    I am really bad about trying to do everything and the truth is, I can’t. I am trying to be better about sleeping more, but sadly that seems to be one of the first things to go. 

  • Congrats on the back-to-back 70+ weeks! 

  • Great post and great run! I try to evaluate my priorities.  For example, I’m not training for anything but I AM trying to finish up two graduate degrees in the next 20ish (!!) days and trying to find a job for after that.  It’s hard to let my running go into maintenance mode but it is necessary right now.  I know I need a break from everything and anything when I am just crabby and unproductive.  Friday and Saturday nights won’t always be so low key but for the next couple weeks they just have to be! 

  • Gemma C

    I love pre- and post-run breakfasts. In fact I get really excited going to sleep thinking about breakfast the next morning! Ahh I’m such a breakfast/early morning geek! Usually when life is getting on top of me, I cut out a few dispensible activities such as baking and shopping and that seems to free up a bit of relaxation time.

  • I made those cookies last night! I had to (“had to”) use chocolate-on-chocolate fake oreos because they were the only ones my store had, and they were delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Whoa, nice job on the back to back 70+ weeks! You are a super hero, especially for baking those delicious cookies & sharing with me in my drunken state on Sunday. I’m channeling my inner responsible marathoner tonight and hitting the sheets early to rest up before running 18 miles to meet you for beer & waffles in the morning….yayyyy! 

  • Excellent 20 miler! Must be a relief to get that one in the books. Side note, nutrition-wise – I know you love Picky Bars – these are perfect for long runs because they’re pretty small (in comparison to other bars) but pack in 200 calories. Plus they re-seal you can snack on it throughout the run. 
    When I know I need to relax more, I honestly just have to force myself to sit on the couch and watch TV (no errands, no work, no cleaning!)
    Enjoy the wknd 🙂

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  • Ummm WOW those cookies look to die for! (or to run for!)

    Awesome training week, too!