Thursday is my most favorite day… until I get to the Monday of half-marathon week!

NOTE: I started this post as a draft last Thursday. Quite a bit has happened since then, but I’m only slightly modifying the title. This will probably be a very jumbled post, so I’m just going to number my thoughts and go from there.

1) I got my new passport in the mail on Thursday. It’s so shiny and stiff and full of fun color graphics… and so naked inside! I’m now itching to use it and dreaming of places to take it, if only my budget would allow me… I did get the old one back in the mail over the weekend, so at least I can console myself by gazing fondly at my Russian visas and fun stamps from St Maarten and Barbados.

2) I originally had “psyched for the 10k” a bit further down, but I’m moving it up here because the next few thoughts actually were related to one another in my first draft. The 10k I speak of is the Monument Avenue 10k (http://www.sportsbackers.org/events/ukrops-monument-avenue-10k) – simply, the most fun race I’ve ever run from start to finish. It’s seriously a 6.2-mile party for which seemingly the entire city shuts down and just has an awesome time. This year’s iteration was a bit different for me, as I used it for half of my 12-mile long run for the week (that ended up being 12.6 miles because I apparently can’t map runs accurately haha oops). I was meeting up with friends who were starting in a later wave, and since we’re all Hash House Harriers, I knew that a) there would be beer involved in these 6.2 miles and b) we’d be taking it at a pretty easy pace. So I left about an hour and a half before our wave started, and set off for 6.4 miles on my own.

It started drizzling about 0.5 miles into this run, and my first thought was “oh come ON, not AGAIN”, especially since I was wearing a white t-shirt (we dressed up as contestants on The Price is Right, which involved white cotton shirts. That do not do anything to repel water. Nope. Not a thing.). But, happily, it didn’t get much stronger than a drizzle, and I was able to stop and wipe off my glasses enough to still be able to see – and not be terribly wet otherwise. So, that worked out okay.

But the other thing about the rain… as soon as it started, I realized I’d forgotten to do one crucial thing before leaving the house. Two guesses? Go to the bathroom. Oh crap, I thought, and then immediately thought, No, NO crap, and decided that the only thing to do was suck it up and run all the way to the race and deal with it there. Happily – perhaps presciently – I’d told my friends that we should meet at a bunch of porta-potties right before the start, so I knew that there was a metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel. But when you’ve got all that water that you drank when you woke up churning in your bladder, well, it’s not exactly pleasant… though I confess, it did compel me to add some extra oomph to my step. I can say that I pretty well killed those 6.4 miles, and arrived earlier than I thought I would, which gave me exactly enough time to use the porta-potty, grab a snack, and get in line to start the race with my friends.

The rain had stopped by the time we started, so it was nice and dry and cool, if a little humid. We cruised along at a very nice pace, and my legs felt great. I’m not sure I’d actually drink two beers in the middle of a race in which I actually care about the result – they made me feel full, and burpy, and a little heavy in the legs for the first few hundred yards after the consumption thereof – but I’m still glad I did it, because it was fun. And it was fun and relaxing to just hang out with runnerfolks and gawk at all the costumes and get free high-fives from people and smile and smile and smile. It was doubly fun to be able to take up on the challenge the guy who ranged up next to us at the 6-mile mark and joke, “Okay, now let’s sprint to the end!”, and have enough left in the tank to actually sprint those last 0.2 miles without dying.

And then there were bananas (hello potassium) and free dinner rolls (oh yes carbs please – because clearly the beer didn’t count haha) and water at the finish, all of which I scarfed down in approximately 45 seconds. My saint of a boyfriend (who supplied the beer in the first place) met me with a car to return me home and a Clif bar, and then we went out to my favorite diner to get brunch and a beer. This diner makes a dish called Trailer Park Pancakes, which is peanut-butter-and-banana stuffed pancakes with a side of apples and bacon. I washed it down with a Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ and was eminently satisfied (the waitress said “I’m amazed you ate the whole thing”, and I just smiled, thinking, yeah, I ran 12.6 miles, I earned those puppies!). And only a little sore; my hips were feeling the burn, but everything else was all-systems-go.

Anyway. Wow. So, that was the 10k. So much fun, and a race I’m so happy to run every year from now on.

3) The entire reason I started this post in the first place was that I’ve been thinking in recent weeks how much I love my Thursday post-gym shower. I think about really random things when I’m in the shower – I once had a huge dissertation revelation in a shower – and lately it’s increasingly been time when I get to reflect on the week and look forward to a rest day before my Saturday long run. It’s like, ahhhh, I just did three days of good running and lifting weights and now I get to relax on Friday and get myself ready for my long run on Saturday. I realized in the middle of last week’s Thursday shower that that was the last one I was going to be doing for a while, if (ack!) ever again this semester, and it kind of scared me. See, this week I’m moving my runs back a day because the training program I’m on assumes that my half is on a Sunday, which it’s not; it’s on a Saturday, so I’m moving my Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday runs back to Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday and taking off Thursday and Friday for two full rest days. Which means no gym on Thursday, and no post-gym shower on Thursday. Instead, I’m going to have a much-awaited sushi lunch at my favorite sushi place in town with one of my most favorite people, but it’s going to feel weird. It’s especially going to feel weird going home and showering before I go to bed very very early to get enough sleep, because I’m fairly certain I will hardly sleep on Friday night due to sheer excitement. I think I might actually go crazy from two rest days, but I know I need them and that they are good for me, so I will take them as they come. Still, it’s bittersweet to think that all of this is soon coming to an end (not least because it means I can’t really eat as much as I want anymore, because training has been a wonderful excuse for me to eat everything in sight and not gain a single pound. Heh.) Which brings me to…

4) GUYS THIS IS REALLY IT. I am running a half-marathon THIS SATURDAY. Last year when I ran the Monument Avenue 10k, I remember thinking to myself, Okay, now just finish this and do it one more time, and you’ll have almost done a half-marathon. And then I laughed at myself, because I thought there was no way that would ever be possible. I used to be jealous of the people who ran the annual ten-miler in our town because I thought there was no way I’d ever run ten miles in one go. And now, look at me – ten miles is something I look forward to, and a half-marathon is something I’m not only completely ready for but also completely ready to be awesome at.

And now this training process is coming to an end, and while I totally can’t wait to do this thing already, I’m also quite sad that it’s going to be done. I’m prepared to feel a bit of a letdown after the high wears off, because I’m the sort of person who sets a goal and then works towards it and, upon achieving it, feels like aaaaand now what? – I need something else to do, some other way to spend my time, some other awesome thing to work towards. [The practical side of me is saying that based on the success of this effort, I should strongly consider translating my dissertation writing into marathon-training terms, but – who knew? – writing is a little less fun than running. But don’t tell my advisor that. :)] I am already planning my next half-marathon in that I know it will happen sometime this summer, probably a bit before I start training for the full marathon in mid-July; I just have to figure out which one and where, is all. I’ll need to travel, I think, since there isn’t much around my town that isn’t too early (mid-May) or too late (end of August). But, the very thought of planning that – and planning to do a higher level of training so I can be even more awesome next time – has kept the post-half doldrums at bay. For now.

5) Somewhat pursuant to that, I will be taking a full week off from any exercise other than walking or going up stairs after the half, since I’ve found that a re-set works wonders for my body (I did one around the holidays and had no trouble peeling off a ten-miler my first week back). This is timed well because I’ll be out of town for half of the week after attending a wedding, and I’ll be distracted with fun things in a somewhat-new city for a few days to keep my mind off the “I should be running right now aaaaahhhh!” crazies. When I get back, I’m looking into doing yoga as a new form of cross-training, because I feel like it would be greatly beneficial to both my mind and body – and, I’ve never really done it before, and now seems like the perfect time to try it out.

The only problem with that is that there are so many types of yoga that my head is spinning just trying to sort through who does what and with what implements. I’m pretty sure that I don’t want hot yoga, since I’m already a super-sweater; I think I want instruction in poses that I can replicate on my own at home, rather than maybe doing it with a group. Does anyone have any ideas on which type of yoga I’m looking for? Vinyasa? Ashtanga? (I might just be throwing words out there to make it look like I know what I’m talking about, even though I really don’t. So I’ll stop now. :))

6) I was thinking about Trailer Park Pancakes and about what I want my post-half meal to be. I’m still sort of stuck on it, though all finishers are getting chocolate milk which is awesome – the local farmer’s market starts on Saturday, pretty much right next to the finish line, and this one bakery makes THE most amazing donuts that will go quite well with that chocolate milk. But then I think about lunch and I get stuck: a giant cheeseburger and a beer from my favorite bar? Some barbecue from my favorite joint? Wait, hang on – is there any real reason I can’t do both?!

I kid, I kid. Anyway, today I knocked out an “easy” 3-miler at just above race-pace, which I wasn’t even trying for, and which was mostly in a headwind, which made me feel really good. I only had one rest day between the 12.6 miles and this run, so I guess I was just really ready to go. Which is HELLO kind of what my body has been saying to me all along! Minus the intermittent stomach pains that are irksome but generally not causing me any distress, which is doubly (or am I up to triply or quadruply?) awesome.

Guuuhhh AND I knocked a bunch of stuff off my to-do list (including scheduling a manicure AND pedicure for myself as a post-half treat, and also to not scare people off at the wedding when I wear dressy sandals and expose my poor beaten-up runner’s feet) AND I have leftover pizza from last Friday’s surprise lunch in the fridge at home.

Not bad for a Monday indeed. Especially the Monday of half-marathon week. 😀

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2 Responses to Thursday is my most favorite day… until I get to the Monday of half-marathon week!

  1. Alex says:

    “I realized in the middle of last week’s Thursday shower that that was the last one I was going to be doing for a while, if (ack!) ever again this semester, and it kind of scared me.”

    What, shower? *snicker*

    Have fun in your marathon. I was toying with the idea of running with my dog, just sort of around the park in the neighborhood, and then I remember how shot to hell my knees are and decided that perhaps it wasn’t the best idea. Perhaps I can stick to power-walking… which of course makes one look completely ridiculous, lol.

    • kmt4n says:

      Oh sweet Jeebus, I totally didn’t even read it like that. Bwaaahahaha – well crap, I already broke that twice. Guess I’d better stop now, though I’m not sure anyone would really appreciate it.

      Power-walking is totally acceptable mostly because of its ridiculousness. I think you should wear a banana costume (because why not?) and go for it.

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