Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Best Run

I was going to post about this run on Tuesday. I wanted to share the incredible run that left me feeling reinvigorated, that reminded me about why I love to run. 

After the attacks on Boston, I felt like I couldn't post about sunny skies and fresh legs. I just felt too heartbroken to talk about something that seemed as trivial as a good run. 

But as we ran in a group of runners wearing race shirts Tuesday morning, commemorating and honoring those affected by the Boston tragedy, Beth sweetly turned to me and said, "you know, Jen, you can still be happy about your great run." She's right. Reflecting on it, I want to share with you my amazing run from Monday. The one that caused me to tweet, "Holy shit. I think I just had the best run of my life." 

Part of the reason Boston hit so hard yesterday was that it felt like an attack on running since the Boston Marathon is such an institution in the running community. It's something many aspire to, and even if we don't aspire to Boston in particular, we can at least understand those who wake up at crazy hours to train for it, because chances are, we do that, too. 

So I'm going to tell you about the run that reignited my love of running.

I was not looking forward to a long run. I'd postponed it from the weekend because I was so busy and Monday's weather looked so nice, but a part of me just wanted to call it a wash and not do it. 

Every run I've done over the past 6 weeks has had one or more of the following: fatigue, sickness, aches, lead legs, and occasionally even random pain. Imagining 11 plodding miles on slow legs seemed horrible, but I have the NJ Half coming up and I am determined to race it, so I knew I needed to get in a long run.

Still, since I'll be long running again on Sunday, I decided to only run 8 miles in order to be conservative in terms of miles run this week.

I ran a warm-up mile at a 9:33 pace from the law school to my apartment after a short meeting, stretched and chugged some UCAN powder in the form of a shake, then ditched my hoodie and headed out.

Monday was a gorgeous day. It was sunny and warm but breezy -- perfect spring weather, somewhere in the low 60s but hitting the high 50s with the wind. I wore a tank top and shorts for the first time this year!

As I ran down 95th Street towards Riverside Park, I saw my pace was fast, but knew I was running downhill so attributed it to that. My second mile clocked in at 8:49, which felt easy, but I expected my body to naturally fall into my typical easy pace of 9:30-9:45 once I hit Riverside Park.

Instead, I saw that I was having no trouble keeping a speedy pace up, and clocked miles three and four at 9:03 and 9:02. I was honestly a bit confused and kept wondering if my Garmin had lost satellite. How else could I be going that quickly and feeling great?

After running to 50th St, I decided to turn around and head north rather than run along the industrial West Side Highway path that isn't so pretty. I headed past the 96th St entrance and north along the path, hitting an 8:56 and 8:57 pace for miles 5 and 6.

It was incredible how strong I felt and how effortless the pace seemed. I finished my run, now deemed a "long tempo," with 8:39 and 8:37 paces for miles 7 and 8, respectively, and an average pace overall of 8:56. While the last mile felt tough, I didn't feel exhausted and knew I could have kept going, despite having run the fastest 8 miles of my life.

I was so happy as I jogged a half mile cool down back to my apartment. Everything came together to make this run amazing -- the weather was perfect and my body felt strong. It reminded me how wonderful you feel after a great run. How invigorated, even if your body is tired.

I am officially excited for the NJ Half-Marathon. I am going to keep up with the yoga, since I think the two yoga classes, massage, and physical therapy exercises last week really helped me feel great. And I'm going to continue fueling with UCAN.

What was the last great run you had? Have you ever lost faith in running?


  1. Effortless and amazing runs like that are the reason I love to run. Sure, they don't happen a lot, but when they do, it's absolutely magical. It's so rewarding to see your training pay off and feel a difference when clocking faster splits. I see a half-marathon PR in your future! :)

  2. Isn't it the best feeling ever after things haven't been going great in for a while that they just click? Insert confidence.
    That is exactly how I felt after my 20 miles on Sunday. From not feeling capable to feeling like I've got it for the NJ Marathon.
    Officially can't wait.

  3. That's just the best feeling ever. Yay!!! So glad you shared :) I can't wait to get back out there and just RUN. Happy you felt so great!