So, if you’ve ever trained for a distance race, you’ve done “the long run”. What constitutes “long” is different to different people, but in experience it’s the same. You’re spending a lot of time on your feet, moving.
There are things about the long run that I love: seeing new neighborhoods/routes as I run, settling into a comfortable pace, the feeling of gratitude I get when I realize what my body is capable of, and the feeling of satisfaction I carry around all day when the run is complete. However, there are some things about the long run that suck: the hours of a day that you lose to mileage, the discomfort that comes from being sweaty and moving for way more time than usual, the vague feeling of soreness or exhaustion that I carry around the rest of the day. I guess I’d say that the long run is bittersweet.
Today’s 20 miler was no different. On one hand, I ran through 3 boroughs of New York City, saw some amazing things, and still felt strong after 20 miles. My run took me through Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy with their beautiful brownstones; through Williamsburg where half the balconies had sukkot for the Jewish holiday; through quaint Greenpoint, charming Long Island City and across the Queensboro Brigde; and right past the UN. Then it started to pour.
From miles 11-15 I trudged through various stages of downpour, squishing in my sneakers with clinging shorts. Faced with running across the Manhattan Bridge in a downpour, I gave up and hopped on the train…during rush hour… soaking wet and smelly. Sorry to everyone on that last car on the F train today.
Lucky for me, I joined Planet Fitness recently, so back in Brooklyn a warm, dry, treadmill filled building welcomed me to finish my run. It was magical. I mean, I looked like a wet dog and had to wring my clothes out in the locker room shower before I could get on the treadmill, but I was able to finish my miles unimpeded.
In the end, I know I needed to nail the long run. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it, and I feel like I’m in good shape for the NYC Marathon. There’s no way on God’s green earth that you could convince me to run more than 12 miles if I wasn’t training for something, but as a means to an end, I guess it’s rewarding. And I guess, if the run itself isn’t rewarding enough, there’s always wine and chocolate.