Happy Monday and first week of spring, runners & readers-
We are cooking right along through March! I am pleased with my training and time management during the past seven days. In last week’s post I shared my goal of remaining intentional with my planning and present within my relationships- while there’s plenty of room for improvement, I certainly made more of an effort in these areas. How was this past week for you? I feel a bit Mr. Rogers-y about posing questions to the virtual world, but I am curious about the experience of my peers- especially those fellow ROOKIES out there. Ow oww!
Mid-week training runs are beginning to pick up in length, and it is going to take some strategic scheduling to get them in. My most recent mid-weekers were spent with friends crushing (slowly creeping to the top of) hills and catching up. After spending a couple weeks running alone, it was nice to add to the experience with some companionship.
I have now reached the point in my training when my long runs will fall into the “distances I have never run before” category. The feeling I experience after a long run is (generally) incredibly invigorating. Being able to check off new lengths after every long run will definitely add an additional sense of accomplishment to the training.
I was home in Wilbraham, MA again this weekend for family-centered things, this time for a wedding shower and bachelorette party for my cousin Christina. Saturday was a long and fun day, pushing my 14 miler to Sunday. After flirting with the idea of scratching the run, I forced down a gel and got my act together.
[On the topic of chemically infused fuel- I have tried Honey Stinger and GU brands so far. I found the Stinger to be pretty rough on my taste buds, and frankly, tasted too much like honey. My bad there.After hearing that I should steer clear of the chocolate and espresso flavored fuel, my first round of purchases included solely fruit flavors- strawberry banana, orange and tri-berry. Orange has been my favorite so far, but I plan to disobey the words of my anti-chocolate friends the next time around. The tri-berry wasn't half bad, but after hearing that raspberry artificial flavoring comes from a beaver's anal glands, I plan to steer clear from all things raspberry. Sure, this may not have been verified by a particularly scientific source, but I think I'll just pass.]
I took off on my 14 mile run feeling sore and impatient. Thursday night marked the first game, and a big victory, for “Social Justice”- our MSW intramural kickball team. Sprinting around the bases after not having moved my body in that manner since September left me feeling pretty achy and stiff, and was something I was still feeling by Sunday (as a first time marathoner, I’ve caught wind that excluding speed workouts from my training regimen is reasonable, and I am just fine with that). The first four miles of this run were tough, and it took a lot of mental energy to distract myself from the doubt that wanted so badly to take over and convince me to stop. Physically, the lower part of my shins and feet took a couple miles to warm up and find comfort in their movement.
Somewhere during mile four, things shifted and I eased into enjoying the run. One reason I appreciate both my hometown and Burlington is the cool sense of community I experience in both locations. On this particular run, I passed a number of familiar homes and places, received five encouraging honks, got a high five from a man walking, and saw my sister Jen driving to work. In addition to this, my dad drove up next to me twice to fill up my water bottle and see if he could tempt me with a ride home.
When I was about 2.5 miles from home, I realized that I needed to go to the bathroom. I could have held it, but figured that it was dark out and I should be able to squat somewhere and let loose. Now, I am no good at relieving myself outdoors. However, with traffic low and darkness upon me, I decided to give it a shot.
Maybe I was on a main road. Maybe I decided that I just couldn’t pull my shorts down and squat. Maybe I tried to pull my built-in underwear to the side and go to the bathroom. But I definitely peed all over myself; this I am sure of. While I was a little cold, this was not an intentional act to warm myself up.
As gross as this probably was and may seem to you, I was just so excited to have gone to the bathroom and almost be done with 14 miles that it didn’t really matter. I grabbed some snow, rubbed it on my legs, and kept on my way. My bottom half flirted with total numbness for the rest of the run, but other than that my body felt great. All part of the training, right?
Fourteen miles through Wilbraham and Hampden left me feeling proud, hungry, and- as you can probably imagine- horribly smelly. Fourteen miles. I recognize that the most grueling distances may be ahead of me, but I am psyched about the miles I have already stomped out, especially after having completed this new distance record for myself.
Goals for the upcoming week- think about pace and work on pushing my body to move a little bit faster, hydrate more consistently, plot out and try a new route, and get all four training runs in.
Here’s to another week of training, runbuddies! Sending along good vibes for an enjoyable seven days.
Respect your bodies,