20 Miles Powered by Tagliatelle Al Ragu

One  of my favorite Italian dishes is Tagliatelle Al Ragu. I enjoy it with a glass of wine and lots of bread (with butter thank you). But I’ll get to that later.

The week started off ok, I ran 18 miles that Sunday, a few miles on Monday as a recovery run. I made plans to run 10 miles with my former running crew (ugh sucked in again). But, the universe had other plans. All week, I had a craving for pasta, which I don’t usually eat, except for that monthly pilgrimage to my favorite Italian restaurant to indulge in a big plate of tagliatelle al ragu.

I opted to try a new place and a new dish to test a few things before race day. It didn’t go well. The pasta tasted funny and I ended up throwing it out. The little I did eat, didn’t sit well with me and I was awaken 2 hours before my run to upchucking and trying everything to settle my stomach.

I really wanted to do the 10 mile run and wanted to load up on some cheap carbs because I knew I was going to push myself with this running crew. Instead, I spent the entire week recovering from mild food poisoning. I was forced to take 2 days off from running and when I returned, I suffered through 6 miles in major discomfort.

This is no time to add anything new to my routine folks, and I broke that rule and paid a small price for it. The other complication was the rain, lots of it nonstop. It seem to come down exactly at the time I left to go for a run. Oh well, I focused on strength training for most of the week.

On Friday, I was finally feeling better, a little weak, but the stomach was giving me the “all clear” and the rain had ruined my plan to go for a run.Yep, it started to pour as I stepped out the door. So, I went to my favorite restaurant instead.

I had a glass of wine (ah wine, I missed ya), lots of bread with butter (ah butter, I’ve missed ya) and big plate of tagliatelle al ragu. I figured that this week was a wash and the following day I’d take it easy and run maybe 6 or 9. I’d just go with how I feel, especially after the glass of wine, I didn’t think I’d make it very far the following day.

Well, it was a slow start that Saturday. An overcast sky, chilly air and heavy legs. I start the run. I started it slowly. 2 miles into it and I’m running at tempo. Mile 3, I make a deal with myself, I’ll slow down at mile 4. Mile 4, I’m still feeling good and decide to push it to Columbus Circle in NYC. That’s about 4 miles at an average 8:40 pace. I stop to chug some Gatorade, and decide to go for it. I needed to do another long run and I could do it now or wait another day. So I carried on, running some of the marathon route in reverse. Columbus to 5th ave, to 60th St to the Queensborough Bridge.

The Queensborough Bridge is at mile 16. I’ve memorized this fact, because I tend to hit a rough patch around mile 15-16 and the thought of crossing that bridge, which is mostly on an incline while experiencing a rough patch scares me. If you ever watch YouTube videos of the marathon you will see people give up on that bridge. It is a bit of a fake out, you pass two bodies of water and If you don’t know that, you’ll think that you are almost to Manhattan after clearing the first body of water, only to realize that you have quite a ways to go. There’s that pesky Roosevelt Island in the middle which can do a number on your brain. Did I mention the incline? It is long and unforgiving and it is at mile 16. It is just you, the bridge, and other runners, trying to make it through after the rush of the crowds from the previous 16 miles aren’t there to give you a boost, after you have given out high fives and wasting energy smiling and maybe dancing along the route, because people are so darn friendly, you face the bridge, alone.

Although I hear, getting off of the bridge is the loudest part of the course as people cheer for you as you turn on to First Ave.That will keep me going, go for the cheers, they are right around the corner, just push trough!

So I try to run it when I have a few miles on my legs to simulate race day. I think I crossed the bridge with 7 miles on my legs. It was ok, but my reverse route is easier! I continue to follow the course in reverse into Brooklyn. Another pit stop for coconut water, on I go. Mile 12, 13,14 AND mile 15, I hit civilization and my legs are signing a joyful noise or maybe it was more like throwing a tantrum. I can’t stop, too many eyes and I have to look refreshed, this is New York and someone always has something to say. Turns out I was spotted by someone I know, who described exactly what I was doing-see, can’t relax!

So powered by my pasta dinner and that one glass of white wine, I run/jog/walk on to get to 20 miles. Now it is out of the way, yeah! I felt like I could finish the marathon that day.

The following day, I meet the running crew, we hit the trails for a recovery run. Nice easy pace, then I decided I didn’t have enough and announced that I was going for another loop. The plan was to run another 3 miles at a leisurely pace. Not so, I got roped into running with a man who won his age category (60+) in the one mile race. So I ran with him for 3 miles at a robust pace, all the while cursing life and wishing it was over. He did give me some tips on the hills which I will use going forward. But it was more work than I wanted to do after running 20 miles and 4 miles of trails in 24 hours.

But I’ll say I feel good so far. My right knee is a little tight but nothing too out of the ordinary.

So as the title of this blog indicates, I’m off to another part of the world. I hope to stick to my running schedule. The twist is that I will be running some of my 45+ miles on the beach. Running on the beach has its benefits, it supposedly helps to strengthen your legs. I saw somewhere that it takes almost twice as much energy to run on the beach than on hard surfaces. Plus it helps to strengthen the calves, which should help me with the hills on the course.

The best part will be to take a dip in the ocean after all of that work!


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