Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lessons from the NYC Marathon & Food

What I Learned from Running 26.2 Miles in New York: 

Staying calm at the beginning of the race will get you to that finish line
 I was the most relaxed I've ever been at the start of this race.  I tried to look at it as a long training run.  Not until the halfway point did I really come to turns that I was running a marathon.  

I need to train on hills
The Queensboro Bridge absolutely kicked my a@#. I felt like the incline lasted a lot longer than a half mile.  Am I alone on this one? I thought it was closer to a mile and a half.

According to my training cycle, 4:24 is probably pretty accurate to what I should have run for the marathon and I should not be disappointed
Most of my long runs averaged 9:45-9:50 pace with stopping to buy water, etc.  During a marathon, there is no stopping so the fact that I averaged just over 10 minute pace for a full 26.2 miles seems pretty accurate.  If I run another marathon, I will try to train my body to run at a faster pace so I can break the 4:20 barrier.

I need to train my body to continue on pace at Mile 15-20
Mile 15-20 have been my downfall during long runs and marathons. For the first half of my marathon, I ran 9:38 pace.  For the second half of my marathon, I averaged 10:31 pace.  I need to really work on the second half of my marathons.

Don't believe the hype that you will "bonk" or "hit a wall" during the last 10K. 
In my two marathons, I felt better in the last 6 then I did in the previous 6. Maybe because after 20+, you know you are going to finish.  Or maybe its a personal thing.  For me, Miles 15-20 are harder than 20-26.2.

Breaking the race into 10-10-10 really does help.
10 miles, 10 miles and a 10K.  In my next training program, I want to really focus on the middle 10.  That seems to be my downfall.

Eating provides energy when you are at your low points.
In the latest issue of Runner's World (which I just got Monday, perfect timing!), it talks about how when you feel low during a marathon you should eat and quickly you will feel better.  I wish I listened.  I ate one package of Stinger Chomps for the entire marathon!! Every time my brother suggested I eat something, I felt sick to my stomach. BUT, I did drink water AND gatorade at almost every stop.  I don't train with gatorade that much (only when its really hot) but I love it in Marathons!

Even if you have a small bladder like I do, you will not need to stop during the marathon
I generally pee once an hour during a normal day.  But running 4.5 hours?  No stopping.  You have so much adrenaline, you wont need to!

Your aches and pains SHOULD go away during the marathon... if you let them...
I had pain in my achilles in almost every run from September 1st on.  On November 7th, I felt absolutely no pain in either achilles.  Again, adrenaline keeps you going. I also think the fact that I didn't stop helped a lot. And your attitude helps.  Tell your pains that now is not the time.

You don't need Music in big marathons
I carried my ipod in my side Nike pocket for 26.2 miles and I didn't take it out once.  I had crowd support all 26 miles plus the support of my brother- who needs music?  With music I would have missed people yelling my name and I definitely would have missed my friends and family.  I think I may like running unplugged...

There is probably more lessons that have been circulating in my brain over the last couple days, but I can't remember anymore.  Overall, running the NY marathon was an amazing experience and although deep down I think I SHOULD take a break, a huge part of me wants to run Boston.  I've run every part of the Boston course, I've lived on the course practically my entire life.  I'm not quite ready to make a decision, but lets just say I'm leaning towards one more marathon before starting another HUGE chapter in my life. What can I say, I'm a planner and an organizer.  I can't imagine not having SOMETHING to train for.  But I'll let you know what I decide on in the next month.

One more thing before moving on to FOOD.  These guys have not been my friend this week. 
 My quads have been the worst in my marathon recovery and they are aggitated most on these pesky mean stairs!
Monday night I made Spicy Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Pumpkin Squash Puree and Brussel Sprouts. This was a Lizzy original made with whatever I had left in the fridge from the week before.
 Spicy Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Pumpkin Squash Puree and Brussel Sprouts
1/2 lb Roasted Butternut Squash + 1/2lb of Sugar Pumpkin, Roasted
1/2 cup of Pumpkin Cream Cheese (Trader Joe's, thanks Salad)
1 tablespoon of diced poblanos
1/2 cup of chicken broth to smooth out sauce
Seasonings- Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes
2lbs of pork Tenderloin
1 cup of Orange Juice
Some honey
Seasonings- Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Cup of Chicken Broth
2 cups of Brussel Sprouts, chopped, sauteed in leftover sauce from pork and then roasted
Puree the Squash and Sugar Pumpkin in a food processor with the ingredients listed.  Add more broth to your desired consistency.  Use as base on plate.  Sear the pork tenderloin in a saute pain with cooking spray, orange juice, honey, garlic and seasonings and chicken broth.  Once seared on both sides, transfer to a baking sheet until cooked to 150degrees.  (I like my pork PINK). Add brussel sprouts to saute pan with pork juices.  Saute and then transfer to the baking sheet until browned. Serve over pork.

 I love love loved this dish!  The puree was sweet and spicy, the pork was perfectly cooked (to me- I know some people like their pork cooked more) and who doesn't love brussel sprouts.  Okay, obviously I couldn't always say that, but I love brussel sprouts now!
 Tuesday night I wanted to make the Cheese Steak Egg Rolls I saw on Kelly's Pink-Apron blog.  I pretty much followed her exact recipe, adding in red onions and slaw mix to the stir fry and using sea salt instead of truffle salt.  Her pictures are gorgeous.  Mine are not, but it was delicious. I actually used to work with Kelly so it was fun to find her blog.  She also used a Robin Miller recipe and when I first started cooking, Robin Miller was one of my favorite Food Network Chefs because she utilized my favorite- the prep-ahead method.
First, saute the veggies with olive oil and salt and pepper.
 Also cook your steak on a grill pan for 5 minutes on each side.  Then arrange your provolone cheese on your egg roll, add the meat and the veggies.
 Fold them as best as you can and then bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Then enjoy!
 I served these over a salad. Yummmmm!
 Last night I made Turkey Tacos.  I don't remember the last time I ate meat three days in a row.  My husband must be happy! My mom used to have taco nights all the time.  I actually was craving them and they are quick and easy to put together.  I used leftover veggie filling from the egg rolls, plus ground turkey as the base.  I added tons of cumin and chili powder plus salt and pepper.  Cooked that for about ten-15 minutes.  Chopped up a red onion, avocado and tomatoes, added Taco Blend Cheese, Store bought Salsa and Taco Shells and dinner was on the table in under a half hour. 
 I'm eating this for lunch today too, only as a Taco Salad.  Can't wait for that!

On another note, I'm hosting Thanksgiving for the 3rd year in a row.  Check here for last years recap.  It's time for me to start planning my menu.  

Anyone has some inspiring recipes you want to share with me?


  1. All that food looks amazing! I want you to cook for me :)

    I'm sorry your quads still hurt. Running a marathon sounds like so much torture. I'm amazed at anyone who does it.

  2. These are great! Stairs are still my enemy today as well :)

    I'm hosting Thanksgiving too! Just for my sister and I though. We usually stick to the traditional stuff - stuffing, turkey, sweet potatoes, vegetables...I definitely want to mix it up this year. Time to do some research!

  3. Hill training helps a lot...with speed and endurance and making your way up the hills in the later miles.
    Great idea to reflect on the things you did that helped you during the race and the things that maybe you could have done differently.
    I don't know how you only ate once during the race -- my body would have stopped working!

  4. "Don't believe the hype that you will "bonk" or "hit a wall" during the last 10K." -- I hope this rings true for me on my marathon. I just hit the wall during my last long run.

    "Your aches and pains SHOULD go away during the marathon... if you let them..." - and this one too! Hoping the adrenaline will really help.

    Thanks for your insights. Really dont know what to expect.

  5. Lizzy congrats!!!! You are so awesome and inspiring. Hope to see you again soon.

    Oh and that pork tenderloin looks so yummy!

  6. I love your lessons learned! I have the weakest bladder in the world and it always amazes me that I can get through long runs or races w/o needing to use the bathroom.

    I can't wait to see what your next plans are! Do National :)

  7. I am already excited to run another marathon after learning so much during the first one. Those 26.2 miles give us a lot to think about!

    When I train again, I will leave my watch running when I stop for water or fuel or something. I think that would've given me a much more accurate picture of my time.

    I ran the most killer hills today. I had been avoiding them, but you are so right. Running hills will really help. I hope to try the route again once I forget how tough it was! hah

  8. I'm almost at taper before my first marathon and I can totally see myself being like you... 15-20 being the hard part. I'm the same way in halves... miles 8-11 are the longest miles ever... once I hit 11, I'm there and I can push it in no matter what. I just pray that I've trained enough to have that in me at the marathon.

    And those steak egg rolls look positively divine... you might have missed your calling as a chef!!!

  9. Thanks for the tips! I'm absorbing as much as I can to prepare for my potential marathon!

  10. Hello! I just found your blog and loved your recap and lessons learned from the NYC marathon! I am training for my first marathon (1 month away!) so this was very helpful and encouraging. Thank you! I would LOVE to run the NYC marathon some day.

  11. You spicy sweet pork dish sounds so good! I have to tell you I compiled a whole bunch of recipes from your blog for my csa veggies! Any suggestion for a ton of cucumbers? I have em coming out my ears!

  12. Thank you for these! I just registered for NY for next year so these are great to know!