Just call me the run-killer. (Or the ab-killer, by tomorrow.)

*ahem* Allow me to brag on myself for a minute. I’ll wait for y’all to go scurrying away…

OK then. A couple of folks I’ve known for a long time are in New Orleans for a mixology conference, which loosely translated means that they’re spending this week eating and drinking and drinking and drinking and maybe eating some more and then Tweeting the whole darn mess. I’ve loved reading their tweets because they paint delightfully vivid pictures of their conference experiences, but the thing I’ve loved most is that more often than not they’re posting their “good night” tweets as I’m waking up to run. (Granted, they’re one time zone behind me right now, but still.) It makes me laugh because I’ve long since lost any ability to stay up past 1am unless I’ve had an ungodly amount of caffeine that day, and I admire these guys for their capacity to eat and drink and drink and drink and drink and eat and tweet for what seems like 18-20 hours per day. Not gonna lie, I’m a little jealous, too, since I wish I still had that capacity myself (oh, to be 19 again, which these guys are not- there’s the rub! :)).

Anyway, where I’m going with this is that lately I’ve been getting up at 3am to do my 5am runs, but today, due to a doctor’s appointment right after work that could take either ten minutes or two hours (the last time I saw her-  and this is my GI doctor, so it’s not like I’m going to walk out and find someone else – I was waiting over an hour in the examining room for her to see me; it was good that I’d brought a book that day), I decided that it would be best for me to just get my Wednesday run done before going to work at 7am. Today was a 5-mile pace run, which I was planning to do indoors anyway, so I was a bit miffed that it was actually nice and a bit chilly out when I left the house. But, that meant getting up at 2:30am in order to run at 4:30, because (yes, this is boring) it takes me about an hour to warm up, run the 5, and cool down, and then I always need at least 30 minutes for ab work and stretching. Which had me ending at 6am, but then I had to go back home from the gym (which is actually at my workplace, which is usually convenient) to shower and grab food. By the time that was said and done, I knew I’d be cutting it close to get back to work by 7, and due to an unforeseen traffic situation, I was a few minutes late – but I made it. Anyway, that’s why I was up at 2:30 this morning, in case you were wondering.

Being up that early and starting a run that early really made me question my sanity. Not that I don’t anyway, usually, but if you’d told me a year ago that I’d be doing just that, I’d have laughed at you. What sort of insane creature has this marathon turned me into? Some might say “obsessed”; I would say “determined”, because even though I haven’t been sleeping as much as I should have, and it would have been perfectly easy just to roll over and hit snooze and skip being awake at that ungodly hour, I got up and got myself ready because that’s just what I do. Now. It doesn’t even enter my mind to skip my run, even if I’m feeling crappy (unless it’s, like, actually crappy where I’m shitting myself or a chest cold or something more flu-like; then I give myself a pass). My lower legs have been ridiculously sore for the past two weeks – my calves especially – and they ache like no one’s business every time I wake up, so I could just as easily say “you know, I hurt, I’m out today”. But once I start running, that goes away.

And today I discovered that once I start running faster, that REALLY goes away. Usually my 5-mile runs go something like this: first 2 miles are slow-ish, I feel awful, but I know that if I slog through to the third mile, I’ll pick up, because it takes me a while to get going. Third mile I perk up and speed up; fourth mile I perk up even more; fifth mile I start to lose it and generally want to die by the time I’m done. This was not so today; I perked up quite nicely after the third, and even more through the fourth, to the point where I felt my form naturally adjust itself and engage my core – something I only noticed because the movement of running felt easy and free, which has never happened to me on a treadmill before. I’d already sped up from a 10:20 mile to a 10:00 mile, so when I hit the fifth mile, I knocked it down to 9:40. It’s hard for me to sustain that pace for very long when I’m tired, but today I was all-cylinders-go, no-looking-back. Half a mile out, I went down to 9:22. This isn’t fast by any means, but I felt like I was flying. And it felt so damn good! I finished the 5 at 50:10, which is a lovely 10:02/mile pace, which is right about where I want to be right now. I finished and thought, Hot damn, I just KILLED that freaking run. And it’s not even 5:30am yet. And then I went to do my ab work, which usually involves planks (ugh, but so necessary) and modified sit-ups and side-twists with a handheld weight. I started out using one of those medicine balls, but switched over to weights when I realized I could do 15lbs without a problem. Lately I’ve been using a 20lb weight, but today for some brain-fogged, runner’s-high reason I grabbed a 25lb weight and didn’t realize it until about two situps in. Well shit, I thought, may as well see if I can handle it anyway, since I’m too lazy to get up and get the 20lb one instead.

As it turns out, I can indeed handle that 25lb weight, though it was a struggle by the end and I am definitely, definitely feeling it now, and know that I will be feeling it even more tomorrow. But for fuck’s sake- why don’t I push myself more? I did twice today, and look at how awesome I did. I need to kick my own ass more often, and get myself out of my brain rut. I can handle more than I think I can. (Bookmarking this post right now for when my 20-mile long run is looming and I want to cry about it!)

So, yes, I’ve been awake for nearly 7 hours and I feel magnificent. I’m excited also because I decided to order some calf compression sleeves, seen here (obviously not on me, but I did order the black ones):

– and they should arrive tomorrow, which is great because it means I can start using them immediately. They’re supposed to help with circulation and soreness issues, which completely unscientifically I’ve decided is what’s going on with my lower legs, because the tree-trunk-feeling I get from not putting my feet up every half hour (and no, I’m not pregnant- there isn’t any swelling, either) is only getting worse, and I’m nearly at my last resort. So, I’m giving these a shot, and hoping that they a) are awesome and b) don’t look too stupid. (Haaahahahaha right.) I’ll post a picture of me wearing them, so you all can have a good laugh at my expense. Or, be jealous at my sartorial badassery.

I’m about to be late for that doctor’s appointment if I don’t leave now, so off I go. Wheee!

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