Including the delays on the way here (1:45, thank you disgusting NYC weather)…
…and the sandwiches at the Flying Saucer, where we stopped for a late-night dinner after finally, finally getting to Houston. Rebekah and I both had Southern Star Bombshell Blondes, a tasty, drinkable blonde ale. Second only to running, tasting local beers is my favorite way to explore any new city, and Southern Star didn’t disappoint. Also, the irony of two brunette Jewish girls drinking Bombshell Blondes was not lost on me. Because my sense of humor is bizarre. But I digress.
Our suite at the Embassy Suites downtown is also bigger than any Embassy Suites I’ve ever stayed in.
After a great night’s sleep and a quick stop at the complimentary breakfast for oatmeal and half a blueberry mini bagel, I set out to navigate my way to Buffalo Bayou Park for my 9-mile run.
Long runs in a new city are both scary and exciting — I hate not knowing exactly where I’m going and worrying that I haven’t planned my mileage correctly, will get lost, or will end up in a sketchorama neighborhood. But at the same time, it’s fun to try a new route and explore a new city by running a long distance through it. However, I learned a few valuable lessons on this run. The first being that you should always check if there’s a race in the city you’re visiting. Because there might be a 10K running right past your hotel, blocking your ability to get to the park you’re trying to find. And you could have just done the stupid 10K, for all the hassle it took to get around it.
And that 10K might be in honor of the RODEO THAT STARTS THIS WEEK (not really an issue I have on my NYC runs), which means there will also be a massive parade blocking more streets and clogging sidewalks, leading you to have to walk to the park to make sure you can even get there.
But once I found Buffalo Bayou Park, I had a great, solid run. I had to pause a few times to make sure I was staying on the path and didn’t judge my mileage so well, leading to some random times when I had to double back to make sure I could get to 9 miles, but I felt good, finishing 9 miles in 1:27:07 (9:40/mi pace).
My long runs this training cycle haven’t felt so great, but this one felt perfect. Miles 6-7 were a little rough, but then my Gu (keep your Chocolate Outrage, people who swear by it because it is NOT THE SAME AS FROSTING — I infinitely prefer the Tri-Berry) kicked in and I felt fine the rest of the way. I really needed a strong long run for my mental confidence heading into this half-marathon…who knew I’d have to fly a thousand miles to Texas to find it?
I forced myself to drop my pace about :15/mile vs. last week (when I had to make a few watch-stopping stops to Gu/stretch/breathe), and it made a world of difference. This might seem like an obvious conclusion, but I feel like all runners have issues forcing ourselves to slow down. I need to remember that if I force my body to run 9:40s when it wants to run 9:25s, I will still have energy left for the last two miles and not feel the need to stop (unless it’s a quick pause to make sure I’m not lost). Or collapse/die.
And then, the best part of any long run…refueling!
And then I lazed around the hotel all afternoon to get my energy back for tonight’s wedding festivities (and regretting not buying two packages of cookies. This mistake will be avenged later in the form of wedding cake, I promise). I never cease to be entertained by the days where I start the day covered in sweat, with no makeup and wearing sneakers/spandex…and finish it in four-inch heels and a cocktail dress, with straight hair and full makeup. Oh, the power of transformation.