Around Richmond in 80 days

– well, sort of. I mean, I’ll be running around Richmond in 80 days, which is what stands between me and the marathon. It seems like only yesterday that I posted about there being 119 days left… where did the time go?

It’s still a daunting thought, these 26.2 miles of mine in November. I think that’s because I’ve not been entirely happy with my running lately, but in thinking about why I wasn’t happy, I realized a few things:

1) One reason was the bonking on my 12-mile run I spoke of in my last post. Totally preventable, and I have a 14-mile run this weekend wherein bonking will not occur because I know how to make it not happen now.

2) Another reason is the humidity. I still run at 5am when it’s still 98% humidity outside. Granted, this week it’s been a blessed 65 degrees with that, but it’s still really hard to breathe and move even at that temperature with that much moisture in the air. I’ve been really, really slow on my easy runs at 5am, and have not been terribly pleased about that, but I have a suspicion that once I switch schedules next week to doing my easy runs at 10am when the humidity is lower, I will have better results. (can you tell I cannot wait for October mornings?)

I will miss my 5am gym crew, though. There’s a group of middle-aged men who lift with me whom I’ve sort of gotten to know – as much as one can through gym banter – and as odd as this sounds, I’ll miss their weird little routines and gossiping and workout quirks (one guy gets on the stationary bike and breathes so hard I feel like he’s going to hyperventilate until he starts yelling at himself to keep himself going. It used to be distracting, but now it’s just funny. And no, he’s never actually hyperventilated!)

3) Last time I trained for a race, my knees were giving me issues. This time, it’s all tendons and muscles, no joints; angry tendon isn’t being too angry, and seems to be responding well to lots of ice and rest and even some compression. But my HAMSTRINGS, Jesus, you’d think I’d never stretched them a day in my life, which is not true. But, see, this is fixable, because I make the classic mistake of not working out my legs when I lift – my excuse was always “I need core and upper body strength, not work that will make my legs even more sore for running tomorrow”. This is patently not true; strengthening the hammies and the glutes does wonders for preventing injury and helping you run stronger, so really, I should be doing that as I increase my mileage further. It occurred to me only yesterday (HELLO WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF THINKING PEOPLE) that I could easily work in some leg work on the days before my rest days, so starting tomorrow I am going to work in some squats and see where that takes me. I’ll do the same on Sunday when I cross-train, which might look funny when I take a break from fantasy football drafting to pop out  a set or two, but I figure no one will be watching anyway. Right? Right. (Unless I now have a peeping-Tom stalker or something, in which case, God help him. Or her.)

Anyway, all of this was a really roundabout way of saying that I was feeling crappy about my running until something lovely happened this morning. I had a 7-mile pace run, which I was dreading, because a) I hate pace runs because b) they mean running on the treadmill since I am crapola at pacing myself outside because I get distracted by shiny pretty nature or by passing traffic, and c) a 7-mile pace run? Are you kidding? I don’t want to run that fast for that long. Ugh! But, one does not get anywhere in marathon training by slacking off on the program, so on to the treadmill I hopped, compromising with myself: I’ll run the first 1.5 miles at just-below-pace, then 5 miles on pace, then the last 1.5 miles at just-above-pace. Since the treadmill I was on has a time limit of 60 minutes, that meant that I would have to restart it at the 5.5-mile mark, when I was getting ready to bump up to the above-pace running.

About twenty minutes into my run, a woman who I had seen doing situps and/or stretches in another corner of the gym came over to the treadmills and hopped on the one two away from me. She walked for a bit, and started running when I was at thirty minutes. I’m not sure if she was matching my pace or not – nor did I much care, because I’m never racing anyone but myself – but she kept with me for about 35 minutes, when I had to restart my own treadmill and keep going. By the time she stopped, I was at the above-pace part and finding it more difficult to breathe, etc. etc. – I had hit that 4-mile mini-runner’s-high earlier in the run and had been feeling really good, until mile 6 when I started wondering what on earth Hal Higdon was thinking telling me to run 7 of these miles at this pace – and I had also completely sweated through my shirt (ew) and had gone through about 20 paper towels’ worth of sweat and was feeling a little gross and self-conscious about that. She walked some more, and then got my attention: I sort of flicked an ear in her direction, because I was curious as to what on earth she was going to say to me. I was expecting something like you’ve got the TV when I leave, right?  since the last person out is supposed to turn it off.

But no. What she said was this, more or less paraphrased: “I wasn’t even going to get on the treadmill but I saw you running and decided to go. And I said I was going to run as long as you but I can’t go that far- and you were REALLY running for most of that! Thank you for being here to keep me going.” And of course because my brain was running-mush at that point I couldn’t think of anything else but “hey, I have a half-mile left OH thank you! Haha, I have to run in here because I’m doing a pace run blablabla…” and I’m sure I babbled on about something or other while trying to catch my breath but it didn’t occur to me until later that she went out of her way to say something really awesome to me, and I’m not sure I expressed my thanks adequately, because that really did pick me up for the short rest of my run and, really, the rest of this day. So, even though she’ll never read this, thank you, random awesome gym lady, and keep running. I know it’s a cliche, but it gets easier, I promise.

So that was the awesome thing. I kicked that 7-mile-pace-run’s ass, and have once again shown myself that I am capable of doing what I set out to do, and that I need to do better at squishing the whiny part of me that tells me I can’t.


In health-stuff news, I had a bunch of blood tests and urine tests done on Monday to try and maybe figure out why I’m so hungry and thirsty and peeing all the time, and everything came back normal, which is good I guess, but I still wonder if there’s anything sinister behind all that. It occurs to me that it could just be the very simple fact that I’m now running nearly 30 miles per week – a number that will only increase – when I topped out at about 20-22 miles per week in the spring and early summer, and that my body just needs more water and more food and to get rid of waste materials more often with an increased intake in both. But I feel like that’s just too easy. 🙂

Speaking of which, sort of, this came across my Twitter feed earlier and I love it, because it’s so me right now: “Sore ankles, blisters on every inch of my feet, creaky knees, insatiable hunger & always tired; marathon training- no regrets” – from the wonderful Alyssa over at My blisters have blisters, I want to eat everything all the time, parts of me I didn’t even know could be sore are sore, I fall asleep in the shower somethimes, but – BUT – I am loving every second of this ride. Even when the running feels crappy, deep down, I still love it.

Must be nuts. 😀


2 Responses to Around Richmond in 80 days

  1. Lol you’re not nuts, you’ve just caught the bug! 😀 Here’s a neat little pic that sums it up nicely

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