With the United NYC Half a week in the rearview mirror, I’ve turned my attention (and my training) to the Asbury Park Runapalooza Half Marathon in less than 4 weeks. My original plan was NOT to run two half marathons within a month of each other, but here I am. So after attacking the hills of Central Park and still managing to get within 3:13 of my best half marathon time, I’m super psyched to return to the boardwalk of Asbury Park, the scene of my first post-ACL surgery half marathon last spring where I managed to beat my previous time by just a few minutes, and prove to myself that I truly am a runner!
After last Sunday’s race I knew I had to take it easy – those hills were no joke – but I also knew that there would be no lazing around and falling back into the “I raced last week, I deserve a third dessert!” trap I sometimes fall into after a race. So I gave myself a total of 3 days off, with nothing but stretching, foam rolling, and wine.
But by Thursday, the combination of not running and the increasingly nice weather (hello, 45 degrees and sunny at 6pm!) had me pacing the floors like a border collie. So after work I laced up and hit the pavement without looking at my watch the whole time – this was a purely “ease back into running” run, and man did it feel good!!
It didn’t hurt that I wore one of my favorite cold weather tops – and found it a little loose, too! I felt sleek, strong, and capable the entire run. It was one of those runs where the only thing stopping you is the creeping darkness (and the fact that dinner was at home waiting!): the cool air energized me, the sunset was so pretty, and running for fun just felt so great.
After taking it easy once again on Friday & Saturday, I created a revised 4-week plan to get me safely to the Runapalooza finish line, and was relieved to find that I only had 6 miles on tap for the following day. So Sunday I woke bright and early for a cold, windy, brisk 6 miler around town while the rest of my neighbors prepared for the local St. Patrick’s Day parade!
While it was cold and windy as hell, especially by the waterfront, it was still a beautiful morning – and another confidence-boosting run to boot! Perhaps it was my awesome first run back, or maybe it has something to do with all the delicious vitamin D I’m finally getting by moving my runs off the treadmill and onto the pavement once again… whatever it is, I’m loving it!
I kept a nice pace for the first 4 miles until the wind picked up after I headed in the opposite direction, but I still managed to stay around 12 minutes per mile, with hills and wind battling me too!
And to make matters even better, I capped off my Sunday morning with one of my absolute favorite things to do once the spring comes around:
A post-run pedicure!
Granted, the poor nail salon guy had to skip the one funky toenail that’s hanging on for dear life and was confused when I stopped him from scraping off my callouses (I am NOT about to feel the pain of running on un-calloused feet as I build them up all over again!) – but he got a good laugh when I started practically purring as he massaged each little toe and squeezed the ever-loving crap out of my calves! It’s been almost a year since my last professional pedicure, and it showed. But I hereby promise my little piggies: I will not be waiting that long again for my next one!
After my pedi, I poured myself into a big comfy chair at home, watched about 5 episodes of House of Cards, and capped off my first week post-half-marathon and first long run into training cycle #2 with a few glasses of wine curled up on the couch with my husband and cat.
And that’s all, folks!
All in all, I’m pleased with myself this spring. I’ve managed to find a healthy balance of training and relaxing, I’m feeling stronger than almost any previous training cycle, each run leaves me feeling more confident than the last, and I’ve still got another great race to look forward to in a few weeks! Some days I feel the strain of hard training, but for the most part, it’s the other way around: I feel like I’m hardly training!
How about you? Are you training hard or hardly training? Is your schedule wearing you down yet or have you found a proper balance? When was your last pedicure? Let me hear it in the comments!