I've made myself a promise that I wouldn't write about food. I'm into running; I'm not into healthy eating. I have crap eating habits, and I own them. I don't eat yogurt and cereal and salad. I eat out too much and I love chicken fingers and this would go far toward explaining why it is that I haven't been able to lose any weight recently. So I don't talk about my eating habits.
But now I'm going to take that back and tell you about the blood sausage I had Friday night at Bar Boulud. Because, WHOA.
This stuff... oh, dear... this stuff was amazing.
I'm going to kick the pretention up a notch and mention that it brought me back to an amazing parrilla I ate at while in Argentina. (In reality, I was by myself for most of the trip and really, really lonely, and it was cold and rainy the whole time, so I ate at good restaurants to make myself feel better - but that doesn't make for as good of a story, does it?)
Anyway, that's the long version of the story to tell you that Saturday morning I woke up from my food coma late and didn't go running. I rode my bike for a bit instead. Not the same thing, I know, but better than nothing.
Anyway, Sunday. The NYRR does two long training runs each year in the build-up to marathon season. They're basically supported fun runs, with pacers, in Central Park. You choose the distance, up to 20m. It's great that they do this, but they fall very early in the training schedule for most people.
I had made a plan of meeting up with a lovely woman I met through Twitter, of all places. Trouble is, I was a massive, massive grouch Sunday morning. Seriously. I did not want to be up at 6am and I did not want to be running at 7am. Even though we didn't plan to meet up, I found my friend Mike just before the start - good thing, as I stayed with Majo for all of .25m. Yep, a quarter mile in and she peeled off, leaving me in her dust. (She was going strong, and when Mike and I stepped off the course briefly so that he could adjust his Garmin, we were behind. We met up with her again around 8m after she had to stop for a bit.)
I hadn't done anything over 10 in nearly a month, so this was a long run mostly just to see where I was at. I stayed with Mike - I was holding him back a bit, but I bet he's too polite to point that out - until ca. 14m, when he went ahead and I limped it in. I ended up doing 14.84m - yep, the pretzel and Gatorade tables were set up .16 before I would have hit 15m, and I said, "Forget it." (Ahem, actually I said something else that started with an F, and I may have said it aloud.) Back in the pre-Garmin days I would have guiltlessly recorded this one as 15, so I'm not going to lose sleep over that lost .16m.
Let me tell you something: the first time the 7 minute mile pace group laps you, it's kind of cool to see the speedy runners. The third time they do, it's kind of annoying. And once the 8 and 9 minute pace groups catch up, and they all look just like you, that stings a little. Ah, the perils of the quadruple loop course.
At the finish, with a vastly improved mood, I met up with my friends and we sat around, drinking Gatorade, gossipping about marathoning, and dreaming about compression socks and vats of Bengay (the last one may have been just me). It was a total New York, Sex and the City moment with Gatorade instead of cosmos and Nikes instead of Manolos. And loads of wicking fabric. And more body odor. I guess it wasn't very SATC at all, come to think of it.
I have a theory on Bengay. I think it doesn't so much actually soothe your muscles, but instead just causes a tingling sensation and a menthol smell that takes your mind off your fatigue. My theory also holds for HeadOn.
On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"