Last Sunday I ran my LONGEST distance ever – 18 miles!!! I know 18 miles is par for the course for marathoners, but 1) I’m not training for a marathon, and 2) my previous longest distance was a half marathon + a little for not running the tangents perfectly. I did the 18-Mile Tune Up that NYRR hosts for runners in marathon training. It’s a timed event, but it’s not a race.
We drove in early in the morning with a couple other people who live in our building. We had fun idling chitchatting and reminiscing old races. As usual there was a really long line going into a parking garage because there’s only one guy working. We made it to the start line with just enough time to get to our corrals.
Mary Wittenberg, President and CEO of NYRR, asked for a show of hands for those running Chicago, NYC, and Philly Marathon. She also asked if anyone was running just for the heck of it. Ben and I were the only ones in our respective corrals who raised our hands at the last question. A woman stared at me in disbelief. I shrugged and answered her tacit question, “I needed a long run.”
Eighteen miles in Central Park is three loops of the big loop. I’ve ran this loop several times in the past for other races and training races, so it’s a path I know well. This is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I find comfort in knowing what to expect. A curse because I know it’s going to be one long morning.
My only strategy for surviving 18 miles was to take this easy and slow. I thought I might be able to do 9 min pace, but in the end that was too much. I ended up with 9:31 pace, which is fine. As I ran, I stayed relaxed and ran at whatever pace felt comfortable, which mostly ranged from 9:00 to 9:35. I didn’t have my Garmin with me, so I downloaded RunKeeper quickly and reactivated my old account. I wanted the mile splits for my own benefit to see how I held up.
There’s a mental challenge to a truly long run. When I finished the first lap, a boisterous male runner yelled, “Just TWO MORE LAPS!!!!” I heard several groans around me and other runners muttering, “Don’t remind me.” Each time I passed by a major landmark in the park, I thought, “Two more times” the first time around, “One more time,” for the second pass, and “Last time” for the final lap.
I started easy and slow for the first mile. Then I eased into a faster pace for the next 13 miles (except for Mile 9 where I took a bathroom break). Starting from Mile 14, I slowed down, but I slogged along until I crossed the finish line. Ben waited at the finished line for me. Poor guy, he was so tired that he actually nodded off and woke up when I shouted hi as I ran past him.
I did it. I ran 18 miles. It was an interesting precursor to future marathon training.
Total time: 2:51:14
On the cute puppy front, Bandit is the light and love of our lives. We have no idea how we lived for so long without having a dog to love. Her separation anxiety has massively improved. We’re slowly making gains with house training.I’m glad that we have hardwood floors and not carpets.
She’s grown quite a bit. She’s now able to climb up stairs (going down is still a bit scary for her). She loves to run and jump. Bandit’s impressed us with her parkour skills in climbing out of her exercise pen. If we hadn’t seen it, we wouldn’t have believed it.
Bandit loves cuddles and snuggling up next to us as she naps. She’s so ridiculously cute when she sleeps. I have a hard time working from home because I can stare besottedly at her for hours as she sleeps.
Another thing that changes about your life when you get a puppy, is just how many people stop to talk to you about the puppy. Bandit basks under all the attention. Even with all the extra work, we love having Bandit in our lives.