To distance run or not to distance run

I’m currently sitting on my bed, trying to get pumped up for my run. Actually I’m feeling okish in terms of pumped level. Really I’m sitting here to charge my watch a little longer.

I should have run 10 miles last weekend. I did not. I should have run 11 miles yesterday. I did not. I’m running tonight. I hate saying this, but I’m not particularly excited about my race this weekend. The truth is, I’ve discovered, any distance longer than 8 miles? I’m not into it. Not. At. All.  It just takes so much time. And it’s not just the time running. On long run days, you have to think about your long run for almost 48 hours. There’s the day before where you have to watch what you eat and drink. There’s the day of where you have to watch what you eat and drink magnified x10 because now you have to worry about when and how much. Then there’s the getting dressed. I have to put on body glide and make sure I have exactly the right clothes and my shoes are tied correctly and I have a spare breathing strip and water and should I bring long sleeves because the sun is going to go down and I have to pack gels and all this other stuff. Then you run. And that takes forever and the whole time it hurts and the whole time you have to mentally fight yourself to not quit. And then you’re done and your legs are dying and you’re starving. But that doesn’t give you carte blanche to eat whatever you want. Because you have to eat enough so you won’t starve the next day, but not so much that you completely negate all the work she just did. Then you stretch and foam roll and ice and compression sock. And then 5.5 days later you start again. Maybe someday when I’m in better shape and running is easier I’ll find the appeal. But right now my running fitness is less than stellar. And so every step is a battle. And even when I finish my runs all I feel is mentally drained – not energized because I accomplished something. So why do this to myself? I wanted to do this. And I will give it my all on Sunday, I really will. But I don’t think my heart will be in it.

I paused this blog post to go run. Because my watch was charged enough and if I didn’t go then, I really wasn’t going to have much sun. And then look what happened.

Yeah. That’s 10 mile markers right there. 10! And you know what? I didn’t have a single freak out. I didn’t have to stop and give myself a pep talk. Truth be told, some of it was actually kind of fun. And I ran all of the last 0.65 miles. And when I finished, in the middle of Boston Common, I felt like my body was going to explode with happiness. I’m trying to figure out why I didn’t have a problem tonight and had such a miserable time the last two weeks trying for long runs. There’s was the 9 miler that nearly broke me – heart, body, and soul. And the 10 miler that just wasn’t – after two attempts. And there are two things I’ve found for tonight and I think it’s more one than the other. 1) I listened to an old playlist so some of the songs were nice surprises – songs I haven’t heard in a while. But then I ended on a playlist I’ve been using a lot. Which is why I think it has more to do with 2) I made a huge effort to not look at the distance on my watch until the last 2 miles or so. And then it was only because I was hurting and had to keep telling myself “it’s only 2 miles. It’s only 1.5 miles. It’s only 1 mile. It’s 0.65 miles. That’s only 8 more minutes of running max. Just grind it out”. (And I did. Squeeeeeeee) I have to look at my watch frequently to check my time for intervals. Early on if I keep running past the interval, I’ll regret it later. And later if I don’t have the interval, I’ll give up too easy. I think on Sunday I’m going to cover the top half of my watch with lab tape so I can’t keep looking. There are mile markers on the course and I won’t need to know when I hit 13.1 miles. The finish line should clue me in.
After that great of a run I’m feeling optimistic and sort of excited about Sunday now. I still don’t see another distance race any time in the next few months and my dream of running Boston on my birthday will just have to hold tight for another 6 years. But as I was running all through the city tonight I had some really unbelievably fortunate moments. I saw the city skyline from three bridges and one of them revealed the skyline a little at a time until finally the Citgo sign peaked out, I ran along the Charles and “Dirty Water” randomly came up on my playlist, I ran over the Arthur Fielder foot bridge, I ran around the pond in the public garden, rubbed Mama Duck’s head for good luck, ran through the Common, Downtown Crossing, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, Rowes Wharf and along the harbor for two blocks, up past the Old South Meeting House and Fanueil Hall and finally up Beacon Hill (Jennie how in the HELL do you and Sheri do hill repeats up that hill every week???????). All through the second half of the run there was one thing that kept popping in my head and kept me going. Somewhere back in the Public Garden, I was starting to feel the burn. I was at 6 miles. I was more than half way. I only had about another hour of running. But I just wanted to go home. And I had this thought. I am so privileged to be able to walk out my front and run along all these iconic and historic sites. There are a thousand other things I ran by and haven’t even mentioned. And each one makes Boston so distinct. And I love them all.
I guess, what I’m saying is this. Right now, I don’t love distance running. I don’t have the mental space for it. But I do still love running. And I am head over heels in love with running in this city. I want to take you all with my sometime. And show you the views. It’s spectacular. We’ll just keep it to 5 or 6 miles.
For now I’m going to sit on my bed with two ice bags, a heating pad, compression socks, and that glorious, glorious Nuun and then pass out shortly, I’m sure.
Hearts and double freakin’ digits!
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An Open Letter to Everything, from My 9 Mile Run

To 9 miles: I just made you mine. What whaaaaaat?

To the 15 mile an hour wind behind me that was so gusty it was curling around making me think the first half of my run was into the wind when it was in fact the second half that was straight into a headwind: You’re a horrible, horrible bitch

To September 16th: It’s still summer. 60F and a sunset before 7 is just not cool, Robert Frost. Ok. Technically it’s cool. But I still don’t like it.

To the 3 high school/college freshman who passed me: If there is no one else on the path and you pass so close to me that I feel a breeze and get a solid, slap-in-the-face whiff of your BO, you’re too close

To the guy who passed me, running in jeans: #RunningFoul!!!! That’s just not nice. I already feel so slow

To the makers of Body Glide, Kashi frozen meals, Pro Compression socks, Gu, and ice: I don’t know why you invented the products you did, but I love you. A lot

Not Pictured: The advil I took, the hot shower that thawed me out, and the foam roller my most awesome roommate loaned me. j/k I just realized the foam roller is in the picture. But I’m too sore to get up and move it. And I already finished dinner.

To Kingston Trio: Why couldn’t Charlie’s wife just pass him a nickel??? Or why couldn’t he sell the sandwich? In this same vein, if you’re riding through a dessert on a horse with no name, why don’t you name the horse? It’s not as if there’s anything else going on. (It’s the same vein because my uncle introduced me to the Kingston Trio recording of Charlie and the MTA and he has also pointed out that the dude should name the horse)

To the views of Boston running under the BU bridge and along the Esplanade: Please don’t ever ever change. You were especially fantastic while listening my Boston playlist, tonight.

To WPI: Thank you for being so awesome that you attracted both my best friend and me.

I think 15 seconds passed between when I sent this and she answered. I mean. Is she not a genius?

To the Red Sox: Why do you have the night off? I’m sitting here, barely moving on the couch and I have runners brain and can’t concentrate on a plot or you know, moving pictures on TV.

To the universe: Thanks for hiding my key in the grass when it fell out of my pocket while I did my pre-run stretch so I could find it when I finished and found out my key wasn’t in my pocket.

To my running group on facebook and pseudo IRL coach, Jennie: Thanks for helping me get over my pre-run freak-out.

Hearts and bags of ice!

Long run wall? What long run wall?

I broke through the distance run wall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I skipped past 6 miles and just went out for 7 miles. A week ago. And then proceeded almost immediately to Minneapolis, MN. I was hoping to blog from the road but the business trip exploded and then I came home and almost immediately moved to Boston.
I followed up that awesome feeling accomplishment with some runseeing (running to sight see). I went to visit the ballpark where the Twins play

 and visited the cherry and spoon sculpture.

I got back to the corner where my hotel was and I was on cloud 9. I actually got up and ran a workout around a strange city. I saw sights I wouldn’t have if I had stayed in my comfy bed (so tempting). I prioritized running during a hectic trip. And I added another state to the list of states I’ve run in! (MA, CT, NH, KS, TN, FL, and MN!) I looked up to my hotel room and thought about how much I’ve wanted be someone who was committed to a running plan, stayed committed to a running plan. And suddenly, my half marathon in 30ish days doesn’t seen so crazy or scary.
Pretty cool hotel. Minneapolis, you’re pretty good looking

Long run Sunday was my first official morning waking up in my new apartment. I stayed over last week, but I slept on the pull out couch and was only there a few hours so it doesn’t count. Most of my day was spoken for volunteering for Alpha Gam and I knew I’d be tired after, so I made myself get up and run. And you know what? 8 miles done. Bam. I ran over to the next town and back. Crazy pants. Also. I saw the greatest most awesomest view of Boston running under the BU bridge. The running path turns into a dock like thing that juts out of the water and when you come around the bridge support you’re smacked with the most iconic view of the Boston skyline. I could see all the skyscrapers, the esplanade, the state house, the Zakim bridge, the longfellow bridge. I think I could have lit up Fenway park with the smile that exploded across my face. Over the last few years I’ve really come to love this city. And now I live here. And I ran to that view from my front (well, back) door. I didn’t take any pictures. I didn’t want to stop my run. And I think that’s a view that I want to keep a little special. If you want to see it, come run Boston. I’ll take you!

Hearts and successful long runs!

This Damn Long Run Wall

I’ve been away for a while. I can’t break the 6 mile mark and when you keep slamming your giant gourd of a head into the same wall over and over and over you don’t really want to taco ’bout it. (2 things. 1. It took three tries to spell gourd 2. If you don’t know the taco reference google “husband illustrates drunk wife’s joke” and find the video about the corn chips. You’ll thank me)

Back to running. Tonight I ran 50 minutes. And by ran I mean I ran 5 minutes, walked 1-2 minutes, rinsed and repeated. It was a gorgeous night, a little hot in the blasting sun, but the Charles was buzzing. Pretty soon it’s going be filled with thousands of college freshman who think their God’s gift to the city of Boston. For tonight I enjoyed it with all the other locals.

A funny thing happened. I run with a breathe right strip. It looks funny but I’ve always said it helps despite the looks and side eyes from friends and family. Tonight I didn’t have a strip but thought “what the heck. Maybe it is all in my head” and ran anyways. Turns out I was right all along, I need the strip. When I breathe hard all that air flowing quickly through my tiny sinus passages vacuums my nose shut. I’m not kidding. It would have been hilarious if I wasn’t gasping for breath.

On top of that I learned something else tonight. Don’t dress for and run in late summer weather and then go into a Whole Foods produce section without a winter coat. You’ll freeze your arms right off. And then I’ll spill wine on you. Because you can’t lift your own glass. Because you have no arms. And we’re drinking wine. And we’re getting drunker. And let’s face it. Helping a person drink out of a wine glass sober would be hard, never mind drunk. Oh. Wait! Crazy straw. Problem solved. Feel free to enter cold places after a hot run. And be the girl drinking red wine from a crazy straw. Sounds kind of genius, doesn’t it. I might actually do it with my arms still attached. No more stains! I realize I’ve strayed quite a bit here. But I’m rocking my first runner’s high in two weeks and it’s nice. I’m also going to crash in 30 minutes and I’ve not finished dinner yet.

This week I’ve got another day of cross training, another 50 minute run, two rest days, and then it’s time to tackle the long run again. I’m nervous, but it’s gotta happen some time. I got close last week (5.5 out of 6 miles, though the last 2 were mostly walking). I just have to keep pushing ahead and hope that wall is turned to dust. Off to devour dinner, shower, and pass out. Yay sleep!

Hearts and this delicious panini from WF I’m eating for dinner because – um 50 minutes of running. In 78 degree hot sun. After gyming it at 6:30 this morning before work. Alone. Because I was stood up. (Still love you JP)

5 miles. What whaaaaat.

Fact: My half marathon is in 54 days.
Fact: I was sidelined waiting for my back to heal for 5 weeks
Fact: I’ve been not eating well and have been a little willy nilly with my training plan
Fact: My best friend got married this past weekend and and I had a bunch of other things to take care of last week and didn’t sleep enough. Instead of running I chose sleep a couple of times last week.
Fact: Tonight I ran 5 miles.

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3rtyerfHZ1qir45xo1_500.gif

Sorry. Can’t help it. I love Ben Wyatt and I love that .gif!

The final tally was 5 miles. In 1 hour 13 minutes 24 seconds. I ran 6 bridges over the Charles. I ran into 1 co-worker. And I was attacked by 4 mosquitoes. This is the furthest I’ve run since March of 2012 when I ran a St. Patrick’s day race. And to be honest, it doesn’t really feel like I ran 5 miles. It feels like I ran 2.5.

In my rush to leave this morning I forgot to grab my Garmin. Before the run I bought myself a hand held water bottle. It’s still hot out in the evenings and I’ve been told by a coach that it’s better to run without holding anything. It had a pocket for my phone and car key. For my run I threw my phone in the pocket and started my plain old digital watch’s stop watch. I ran 4 minute intervals with 1 minute walking in between. Maybe it was just a really nice night for a run. Maybe the paths along the Charles are just that intoxicating. Or maybe for most of the run I was just running: no pressure for pace. I knew that it would take about an hour and 15 minutes to run 5 miles and so that’s what I asked of myself. And instead of seeing what little distance I covered every time I checked the time, I just ran what I could; what my body could handle.

Do I care that I’m still walking way more than I want to? Nope
Am I freaking out about adding a whole additional mile in just five days? A little
Am I going to be a little sore in the morning? Probably (though 45 minutes on the bike at 6:30 should shake that right out)
Does it feel awesome-sauce to look at my RunKeeper map and see 5 (five!!!) mile markers? Hell yes.

It’s the little things.

Hearts and Michelle Obama thumbs up! (PS Did you hear she’s coming out with a rap album to help get kids to get up and move?? I can’t decide if it’s awesome or will out shine Barack Obama’s dad jeans in the embarassing national parent category)

http://s3-ec.buzzfed.com/static/enhanced/webdr03/2013/2/28/11/anigif_enhanced-buzz-15196-1362070613-0.gif

Back Watch 2013 Continues

When we left off on Friday my back was trying to decide if it hurt or not.

As Friday went on, my back was giving me a little more ‘tude than I would have liked. I was a little worried. Maybe I just shouldn’t run until the pain is completely 100% gone. But if I do that I’ll go crazy. I posted on Friday with a wait and see attitude. I had a bachelorette weekend for my very best friend on Sat/Sun so Friday night I did some errands and made sangria and sandwiches for Saturday’s festivities. At the end my back was saying it was done for the day. I gave in and lay down on a heating pad and was quickly asleep.

I can’t believe this, but I forgot to take a photo of the sangria #takesphotosofeverythingfail
To get it into the pool area of the hotel, I made it in the 2 gallon Hawaiian punch bottle lefter over from making party punch at the bridal shower the weekend before. It was odd to Punchy (seriously, that’s the Hawaiian Punch mascot’s name) riding a wave of red wine and lemon wedges.

Riding down to CT, partying it up all night wearing the cutest and teeniest pink glitter cowboy hats (which solicited some odddddddd comments and got glitter on EVERYTHING), and then riding back to MA my back was feeling pretty good. I should have run yesterday but I was tired, it was hot and humid, and I promised myself I would get up and run before work. (ha!) That turned into running at lunch because I have a birthday party (happy birthday Jennie!!) after work until I realized that doesn’t start until 7:30 and I can probably roll up to that quite smelly/sweaty. 85-95% of the crew that will be gathering are runners. They get it. I much prefer running after work. I’m still moving hella slow and walking a lot more than I want to, so trying to cram in anything more than 1.5 miles I’d feel a little guilty for how long of a “lunch” break I was taking.

My back is a little stiff, but it’s really just discomfort, not pain. My long run from the weekend is supposed to be 4 miles. I’ve mapped out a 3.37 mile route. I’m confident I’ll change that to 3.5. I’ve run too many times with OCD runner Jennie and you can’t stop unless it’s an even time/distance. It’s going to be 79 degrees. With 75% humidity. I’m going to want to cry. But, but! I’ll be running. And it won’t be the damn treadmill (or worse: elliptical!). Plus, what’s a better reward than pizza and birthday cake?

Send cool thoughts my way!

Hearts and happy birthday wishes to my IRL-psuedo-running coach, cheer leader, and all around excellent friend!

UPDATE:
Eff yeah, I did 3.5 miles. They were slow. There was more walking than I wanted. And I thought I was going to be struck by lightening. But they are in the bank!

Let’s Celebrate my Return to Mileage Tracking

I have two running entries in my training spreadsheet. TWO!!!! I ran twice this week. And it was glorious.
And birds sang.

And mice danced

And cowboys swaggered.

And basically my life was a Disney movie.

An aside: To produce the above images, I googled “birds chirp”. And this popped up.

http://www.hungryharps.com/2011/08/big-pb-chocolate-chip-cookies-birds-eye.html

Um what? All google searches should lead to cookies. Then I thought about it. And looked. I googled birds CHIP. #fail I blame the early morning.

I mean, yes. I was gasping for breath a little and my back still hurts a smidge. But I had to know what was going to happen. I noticed that I felt better on days after I was active than than not. So I went for it. I ran on Wednesday and yesterday my back didn’t hurt more or less than it did the day before. I ran this morning and it’s little twingy. I’ll monitor it and wait and see. If it does flare up then I’ll go back to the elliptical. This is how I feel about that plan

This morning’s run was at 6:45. Yes, that’s a 6. I hate morning. I work in an office with a boss that doesn’t mind if I don’t show up until 9:15 or 9:30. I’m luck, I know. And I take full advantage and usually get up between 7:45-8:15 (haha, yeah right. I get up at 8:30). Today I was up at 6:05. The run was pretty decent and then I hit the showers. Except it’s mostly been a month since I last ran, I didn’t keep up with the elliptical like I should have, and did I mention it was pre 9 am? It’s possible I forgot how to take a sports bra off. And was maybe stuck outside a shower half in and half out. I almost had to ask a stranger. And then I remember I could put an arm through the arm hole and then pull it off. And then I felt a moment of shame that I forgot how to undress myself.

My problem with an early morning run: I’m thirsty and hungry all. damn. day. Thirsty I can take care. The hunger? That’s going to be a bigger challenge.

Sunday is 10 weeks to race day. Today I ran 2.56 miles at 3:1 intervals. I was supposed to run 35 minutes. I ran walked 40. I’ve come to accept the fact that I’ll be walking more of my half than I wanted to. But sticking with the training plan and not having any gaps, this weekend is only 4 miles. I stopped at 2.56 this morning because I hit 40 minutes, I was bored on the dreadmill, and I didn’t want to come busting out of the gate two days into my return to running. Looks like with hard word, some determination, and some awesome friends/cheerleaders this half is still going to be mine to conquer!

Hearts and running love