Because a concrete goal seems to boost motivation, Todd and I signed up for the Staten Island Half Marathon in October of this year. To prepare, we’ve slowly been increasing our mileage, and now I can run five to seven miles at a decent (11- to 12-minute mile) pace without getting too exhausted. Each week we’re trying to dedicate time to at least one long run, and yesterday we tackled our farthest—and hardest—distance yet: nine miles. And because I try to eat mindfully, I wanted to make sure I gave my body the proper fuel that it needed, before and after the run.
When Todd and I visited the glorious food shop Eataly a few weeks ago, we bought a pancake mix made with tibetan purple barley, an heirloom grain. To me, these pancakes taste richer, deeper, more like the earth. (Or maybe I just love their purplish hue.) A couple of hours before our run, we ate pancakes topped with fresh white peaches and pure maple syrup. A glass of milk washed it all down nicely.
With temperatures in the 90s, the day promised to be sunny and humid. We tried to head out early to beat the heat, but by 10 a.m. the air already felt thick and we broke out into a sweat within five minutes of jogging. Good thing we brought water with us to stay hydrated!
The first few miles were on hilly bike paths. I made it to the five-mile mark, then I stopped to stretch for a minute or two. We decided to explore a new nature trail nearby, and the dirt underfoot gave my muscles a little bit of a break from pounding on the pavement. After about a mile, we returned to the streets, vowing to revisit the trail in the future to venture along the more overgrown paths. We made our way back to the parkway by my house, a tried and true path that I have run more times than I can count.
By mile eight, I felt pretty tired, but I wanted to push through and make it farther than I had before. Although my pace slowed considerably in the last mile, and every other minute I looked at my Garmin to see whether I’d hit nine miles yet, I made it to my goal! Then I walked about another half-mile home.
When we got back, my stomach felt a little uncomfortable and I wasn’t too hungry, so I didn’t want anything heavy even though I did want to refuel. I made sure to stretch and drink some cold water, then I decided to make a smoothie. In a blender, I combined two white peaches, cut into small pieces with the skin left on; one frozen banana; a cup of frozen blueberries; and a cup of ice. The end result tasted bright but tart, and the ice and frozen banana gave it a nice slushy consistency. Todd and I took our smoothies to go because we needed to do some food shopping at Fairway!
I was starving by the time we got back from food shopping, so I had a piece of chocolate to hold me over while making dinner. We fried up (then baked) some beef and veal meatballs and simmered Dave’s Gourmet butternut squash sauce to toss on top of some rotini. With a side of cheesy garlic bread, the early dinner gave us energy and kept us full throughout the rest of the evening—though I couldn’t resist one or two snacks while catching up on TV shows later on.