i purposefully didn’t plan anything crazy this weekend because i knew what my priorities were:

1. run 11 miles on Saturday morning (and hopefully live to tell about it)
2. go check out Hillsong NYC (finally!!) on Sunday morning.

more about the 2nd one in another post…this one is all about running, since i’ve been finally able to do a lot more of it (post 2-month injury) lately.

so at 7:30am on Saturday, i was out the door and trying not to psych myself out over my long run in Central Park.

the expected rain thankfully held off, and i actually made it not 11, but 13 miles around various loops in the Park! i really couldn’t believe it when i Google mapped it later. that’s two miles further than i’ve ever run at one time before, and even though i might not be the world’s fastest runner, i’m ridiculously thrilled to have made it that far without any major catastrophes or sudden epiphanies to take up Zumba instead.

as i’ve become more “serious” about my running lately, i’ve stumbled across some must-haves that help make my long runs much more bearable. since so many of my friends have asked how i can possibly run 10+ miles (and trust me, i ask myself that, too — i can hardly believe it, since i never pushed myself past 6-7 miles before this past month!), i figured i’d share a few favorite things this runner swears by.

1. a foam roller.

yes, mine’s pink, but yours doesn’t have to be. pick your favorite color, position your calves or hips across it, and roll. it should hurt, in the best “i hate this but it feels so good” way possible. i swear, it’s done wonders for my IT bands and more recently, my ever-sore calves. just a little rolling after a run goes a long way.

2. bananas.

truthfully, i’ve always been more of an apple girl when grabbing a piece of fruit on the go, but i’ve found that bananas are a fabulous food to eat pre-run. they don’t give me stomach problems, and they leave me sufficiently (but not uncomfortably) full. i know every runner has his/her personal preferred pre-run fuel source, and these do it for me. they have a lot of potassium, which boosts your energy and endurance, and they’re higher in (good) carbohydrates than a lot of other fruits, so they’re a runner’s ally. i swear by these lil babies.

3. gel shots.

i just recently began using these for my 10+ mile runs, and they really do make a difference. i prefer the strawberry (and no, not because they’re pink), and i happen to think it’s a big portion — i rarely feel like i want to stomach the whole thing at once, so i usually split it up at two different intervals during my run (this is for a half marathon training only). i much prefer them to the chews, because who wants to have to chew something when they can just shoot this down? these are great sugar + caffeine shots to give you a much-needed boost during a lengthy run.

4. body glide. if i ever venture out for another long run without lubing myself up with this gift from the gods, somebody please shoot me. after my first bad chafing experience (beneath my arms, where they hit up against the side of my sports bra/tank top…try eleven miles of that and imagine how red and painful they were), i sprinted so quickly to The Running Company to buy this stuff that i might have been mistaken for an Olympic relay team member. it’s non-greasy, non-sticky, non-smelly, non-messy, and hypoallergenic. it’s like a miracle with a pink top to boot. i can’t praise this product enough. it’s right up there with water for me as a running essential.

5. prayer.

(if i had my blog to live over…)

this one would be the most important, though. seriously. God knows he needs to help me if i’m going to keep running, so i make sure i’m keeping him right in the middle of it. i pray for no sudden death by running, no anxiety over under performing and letting myself down, no physical injury, no pain or discomfort whatsoever, no potholes to fall into or bicyclists trampling me, no negative thoughts to discourage me from ever lacing up a pair of sneakers again. i pray that i’ll enjoy every second of it and remember why i run in the first place.

this list isn’t exclusive, but just a little glimpse into my life as a runner… with a lot of Pandora thrown in to smooth it all out. i’m stuck on the Passion Pit, Phoenix or Two Door Cinema Club stations for my long runs these days. i need a little shimmy-sound to put some pep in my step.

happy running, running friends!