The 2 x 4 mile Beast

Last night’s 8 mile tempo run went decently, but my goodness it hurt! Cardiovascular-ly (is that a word?) I was strong, but my legs are certainly feeling the effects of marathon mileage and were quite heavy. The goal was to run about 7:30’s (marathon pace) for the first 4 miles and then drop it down to 7:00 (half-marathon pace) for the final 4.

The first 4 mile loop was run in 30:28 and then I ran it in 28:34 the second time around. The second loop was almost 2 minutes faster, so I was happy to see that. Mile 7 was slower than I would have liked (wicked headwind on that side of the park), but I think it was an important lesson for racing. In long races like the half and marathon, you might not feel strong the entire time. There may be miles where you begin to doubt yourself, where you feel slow and tired, but I think it’s important to remember that even if you have a bad mile or two, you can still come back and rally for a strong finish. So much of distance running is mental and when you start thinking negatively it can be really hard to remain focused. Of course these long tempos provide physical benefits, but I also think they’re good practice for the mental aspects of race day. Getting used to a certain amount of discomfort and practicing positive thinking are just as important as strong quads.

One of the things I like best about this workout is that I can compare it to previous times. For example, last night’s run was faster than my February 2010 and April 2010 efforts, but a little slower than my August 2010 workout. Given that yesterday was a lot warmer than usual (66 degrees vs 45 degrees), I think that definitely affected my time a bit. When I finished, I was covered in sweat and salt, something I hadn’t experienced since the early fall. I chugged a bottle of water and a chocolate milk on the subway ride home, but still felt kind of sick for the remainder of the evening. Probably due to slight dehydration. Ah! That nauseated, depleted, whole body ache…I haven’t felt that in awhile! Isn’t running fun?!

Anyway, I’m basically on track in terms of my mileage plan for the week. As of Friday morning, I’ve got 52 done. The original plan for tomorrow was to run 20, but since the NYC half is next weekend, my coach strongly advised against it. I want to have a decent race and running 20 this weekend would probably deplete me too much. Instead, I’m going to run 14-15, easy. Sure, it’s less than I planned and my long run last week was only 12, but I’ve been running high mileage, so I’m not too worried. After next weekend’s half, I’ll have one more chance to run 20+ miles before the taper. Here’s hoping that goes well!

In other news, I have a product review for you! A few weeks ago, chef’s diet delivery service contacted me about trying out their product for a day (free of charge). I immediately dismissed the idea – did these people read my blog?! I’m not a girl who diets or calorie counts. I run a lot, I eat a lot, and so I thought “thanks, but no thanks.” But then I read my friend Katie’s review and I thought..hmm all of that food looks pretty good! And at the time I was working a lot, running a lot, trying to maintain a social life, and often just eating something quick like a veggie burger for dinner. I figured I’d give this company a shot, for the convenience factor if nothing else.

My meals for the day were delivered overnight in an insulated cooler bag. Everything was packaged really well and came clearly labeled. When I first read the menu, I was a little skeptical of all the meat- polish sausage, turkey pastrami, tilapia…for a girl who is mostly vegetarian at home, this seemed a little much. But you know what? All of that protein kept me pretty full and it made me realize that my diet is probably a little too carb/fat based and that I could use some more protein. Even though the meals kept me pretty full, I knew it wasn’t enough calories for me, so I supplemented with a few extra things: hot chocolate with whole milk with breakfast, homemade cafe au lait with my afternoon cookie, some ravioli while I was babysitting, etc.

Check out the meals:

Breakfast: Steel cut oats with dried fruit, nuts, and maple nut cream (I have no idea what that is, but it was DELICIOUS). Plus a hot chocolate from a nearby cafe.

Snack #1: Polish sausage with celeriac salad

Lunch: Turkey pastrami, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on rye bread with coleslaw and a pickle.

Snack #2: lemon cornmeal cookie with my own homemade cafe au lait.

Dinner: Grilled tilapia, roasted fennel, aztec wild rice pilaf, 1/2 tomato, and my own tart cherry juice-seltzer on the side. I like to drink this mocktail after tough workouts – tart cherries can reduce inflammation and speed muscle recovery. Yayyy.


Also, holy protein, that was a lot of fish.

My overall impression of the meals was very positive! Everything I ate was tasty and fresh, something I didn’t expect from a delivery service. There was a decent amount of vegetables and the selections were mostly seasonal – celeriac, fennel, cabbage coleslaw, etc. My only concern was the lack of dairy and fruit, but I guess since the menu changes daily, they might show up on other days. I also would have liked to see an ingredient list and nutritional stats. But anyway, would I purchase this service for myself? Well, since I am currently unemployed and have the time to cook, not right now. But if I suddenly found myself super busy with work and some expendable income, then perhaps. It’s certainly a lot healthier and tastier than a frozen meals or fast food!

The give-away for the Kate’s stash bars is still open until Monday, but in the meantime, I’ve got another contest! Larabar has been receiving some positive press lately (most notably on an episode of Biggest Loser) and to celebrate they’re going to send a reader 4 Larabars (2 each of peanut butter cookie and cherry pie).

To enter, leave a comment telling me what you’d do if you were unexpectedly given $100. I’ll choose a winner next Wednesday morning (March 14). If I had an extra hundred bucks, I think I’d buy a soda stream so that I could make my own seltzer at home! It would save money and be more environmentally friendly.

  • Maren

    Definitely stock up on healthy protein bars…they are so freaking expensive and wish I wasn’t too lazy to just make them.

  • I like the idea of a faster finish workout, I think you nailed it quite well.  I ran on Thursday during the heat wave and I could definitely feel the heat, even though it was some sloooooow running.  That being said, I looooove being all sweaty.  So good.

    With $100 I’d either buy (more) running clothes or go out to a restaurant I’d like to check out but think is too expensive!

  • Sal

    love larabars! If I happened to get an extra $100, I’d probably put it towards a fun trip – I love to travel and don’t get to do it enough! 

  • I love lara bars! They’re definitely my favorite energy bar variety. Hmm, I have too many things I’d love to do with $100. I would probably splurge on groceries at Whole Foods. I love that place but my college kid bank account definitely doesn’t!

  • natalie

    I think I would try out more restaurants. One of my favorite things about NYC is all the great places and that there is always a new one to try. 🙂

  • Acflint5329

    I would buy new spatula’s and cookie sheets… I’m a baking fool these days ;D
    Maybe some fun sprinkles and cookie cutters… Ha

  • Gaj515

    Hey Megan, I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now and I just wanted to say you are such an inspiration to me. I ran my first half marathon today and was hoping to get 1:45 (~8 min miles) and instead got 1:32! When the last couple of miles felt a little lagging I thought of you and your amazing 20 mile long runs and how short 13 was in comparison. Whenever I didn’t want to go for a run I opened your blog and felt more motivated to achieve my goals. So, thank you so much. Good luck at the NYC half and Boston! You will do great!

  • Anonymous

    what a sweet comment, thank you! and big congrats on your half marathon 🙂

  • Hmm with $100??  The sad thing is a would save it.  I have yet to have a paycheck this year.  I might buy a new crisp botton down-shirt.  Maybe I would go to the Seattle Aquarium.  I have yet to go and I’ve been in Seattle for almost 3 years!!!

  • megan

    id probably spend it on a fun night out. well deserved!

  • Allispin

    hmm… well right now I’m saving up for Bonnaroo so $100 extra would probably go into the Bonnaroo fund… however I also DESPERATELY need some new running shoes so that might win out in the end… and then there’s always the good old credit card balance. fun!

  • Stacy

    I would put it towards the money I’m raising for Team in Training. I’m running my first half marathon in May!

  • Stephanie

    I would put it toward a plane ticket somewhere fun! This girl needs a vacation. Badly.

  • I’m spend it on new running tops that I don’t have room to store in my apartment, like usual!

  • Sweet workout! I’m totally with you, I love the long, grueling efforts that let you keep a steady, (semi) manageable pace. It’s also really cool to be able to look back at past workouts to compare improvements and see how you felt. My legs certainly weren’t fresh either, heyyy marathon mileage. Hope you had a good long run this weekend & I can’t wait to cheer for you in the half!

    If I had an extra $100, I’d treat myself to a nice mani/pedi, get a fancy Chop’t salad with all the fixins, and buy a nice bottle of wine to enjoy. Yeah, classy.

  • Courtney

    If I were to win $100 unexpectedly, I would go on a target mini shopping spree!

  • Christy Jen

    If I were to win $100, I would save it and it’ll probably go to my groceries!

  • Jennifer

    I would buy groceries and a new running top!

  • Alisha from Georgia

    hey Megan! I’d go through Road Runner’s Sport and buy something in the catalog that I would never normally buy due to its price such as a cute running jacket, compression gear, or skirt! It would be a total splurge type thing! Hope you are doing well!

    Guess what-after I got back from NY in February I found out that I am expecting a baby in September. I could really use those Lara bars (hint, hint! 🙂 ) Have a good week!

    Alisha from Georgia

  • Anonymous

    Congrats! That’s so exciting 🙂

  • Ellen

    I’m running the NYC Half! (My first one, ack!) This post pumped me up for it 🙂

    If I had an extra $100, I’d probably give it to my sister. She needs it more than I do right now. Gosh darn, this city is expensive! ha.

  • Emily B.

    If I got $100, I’d buy a plane ticket to visit my best friend!

  • oh, tha monies. what would i do? i’d buy some idiotic food-related products like fancy cheeses and a fabulous red and go to town. then i’d go to bed. so sexy.

  • Emily Y.

    Shoes! Either heels or new Sauconys! 

  • Sana

    probably would use it on getting my best friend, a single mom, a massage! She’s so exhausted and would love one.

  • Amanda

    Get a new (and unfortunately very expensive) Nike sports bra and use the rest to make dinner for my friends!

  • Catherine

    If I was given $100… I’d probably go out somewhere fun with my friends / boyfriend to eat 🙂  Somewhere that I wouldn’t normally go and splurge a bit.


    I would finally buy a food processor!!

  • Meg

    I’d save it, since I’m soon to be an unemployed person with a master’s degree. wompwomp

  • Anonymous

    What I want to do with magical $100: Put most of it toward these adorable polka-dot Nine West pumps that I have absolutely no reason to buy and wear them to dinner at Pukk, where I would spend the remainder on tasty fake duck.

    What I would actually do with magical $100: Pay off student loans 🙁

  • Hollitosway

    Fill up the car with gas and get new shoes!

  • Robin

    If I got $100 bucks, I would go to Whole Foods instead of the crappy grocery store near my apartment. Yay NYC. Also, congrats on the new job!!!

  • I’m impressed with your splits! I’m training hard for a half marathon here in St. Pete, FL. My last  half marathon (February) time was 1:39. 43. I am trying to get down to roughly the pace you are at (just under 7 minutes). ANY tips? It’s tough for me right now to break that 7 min pace for more than 5 miles. I’ve been running now for about 2 years. Help!  LOVE your website!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Jennie – I wish I had the absolute answer to a fast half marathon, but I’m still figuring that out myself! I think that long tempo runs with a portion at goal race pace can help. For example, run 6-8 miles with the first half at marathon pace and the second half at half marathon pace. Good luck!

  • Thanks! I made a game time decision to do a half mara this Sunday, and did almost the same time (1:39.04). I am always eager to start right back at running hard again, but like you said, recovery is so incredibly important. And also, I think you are definitely right about running quality miles versus quantity. The tempo runs/sprint workouts are more important than I realized. My family/friends think I’m nuts and don’t understand why I care about all of this. I run by myself and have internet running friends, so thank you again for your blog.

  • runnerskitchen

    nice job! that sub-1:40 mark is not easy.

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