* MARATHON COUNTDOWN: 20 DAYS *
I did it. It was… intense. Let’s just say, I don’t want to run 20 miles every weekend. But I’m glad I did it, and I feel ready to kick some Mardi Gras Marathon butt in less than three weeks!
I am now celebrating the beginning of my taper with Banana Tea Bread, a recipe from The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser. Daniel and I just bought this book using a gift card from the holidays, and we are super excited about it. It covers 150 years of recipes from the Times, so there are crazy recipes from the 1880s and recipes from the 50s and 60s that use way too much corn syrup, as well as the most popular recipes from recent years.
Wow. Over 900 pages of cooking history! I love it. So I started with the Banana Tea Bread, and the only change I made was that I used Earth Balance instead of shortening. I believe that this was a wise swap, and the bread turned out deliciously and loads healthier. I was toying with the idea of adding chocolate chips or walnuts, but I thought I’d just leave it the first time around and see how I liked it.
I liked it. I also like this new dish, which was purchased with aforementioned gift card as well. Beautiful!
I ate this piece smothered in melted peanut butter. You heard me. Melted peanut butter. It was awesome.
And how was the 20 mile run? Well, it was done on a treadmill thanks to the frigid temps in New York City. I tried to have enough music, podcasts, audiobooks, and magazines to keep my mind occupied for 3 hours and 20 minutes, but I (expectedly and inevitably) was bored to the point of torture by the end. I also got the nagging feeling starting around mile 14 that my toenail was prying itself off. (It’s still hanging on, thanks.) But I made it through. These things helped:
- Positive thinking. I kept repeating affirmations in my head, telling myself that I was totally capable of killing 20 miles. This mostly worked.
- Visualization. I pictured myself finishing the run and laying down for a full body stretch. I also pictured myself crossing the finish line at the actual race.
- Dried fruit. This run was fueled by prunes, dried cherries, and coconut water, nature’s gus and gels.
- Smiling. Anytime I am having trouble with a run, I make a concerted effort to paste a huge grin on my face. This is something I got from Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running; he says that you can tell true runners by the peaceful smile on their faces. Not always true, but the act of smiling actually does ease the pain.
- Stretching. During the last six miles, I paused every two miles to stretch my calves. I definitely feel less sore today than I have on previous runs. (I’m also about to indulge in some day-after YOGA.)
- Loved ones. With two miles left to go, I was getting really tired of running and was losing steam. I texted Daniel and asked for some encouraging words, and he came through within 30 seconds. This got me through the final 20 minutes. So much gratitude to him for being 100% supportive.
Am I ready for New Orleans? I think so. Just give me these next 20 days to rest a little, mostly mentally. Then, Mardi Gras, here I come!