Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bad runs remind us to truly appreciate good runs

It seemed like an absurd idea, much better suited for the crazy ass runner in my family, not a diva runner like myself.  I wasn't one bit interested in the plan my husband, aforementioned, crazy-ass runner, was trying to sell me.  We had spent the last half hour talking, well, me talking, actually complaining while he indulged my belly aching.  Triathlon season was over.  I decided that I prefer cycling and swimming over running.  Trail running, of course is another story.  I love it, but happen to be training for a road race.  Not any road race, mind you, but the Mother of All Relay's, "Hood to Coast", a 197 mile long relay from Mt. Hood to Seaside.  I, along with eleven other runners each have three legs ranging in distance from four to eight miles that we run over the course of approximately 24 hours.  I have a team that's relying on me.  I don't think they want me running, my default speed of nine to ten minute miles. 

HTC is a mere nine weeks away and I will be on vacation and/or working in the east coast for four of those training weeks.  Over the next couple weeks, I need to get in some quality training because who knows what I'll be able to do while on vacation.  It's time to cut back on my swimming and biking to make room for road running.  Half marathon training is recommended for this event.  Last time around I was marathon ready and it still took a toll on me.  I am worried this year.  The longest run I've had in a year is only eleven miles.  Training time is long overdue for this gal. 

Steve, my husband, suggested that I run seven miles to the pool, then get in my swim.  Seven miles all by my lonesome, on the pavement, in the afternoon, in the heat wasn't exactly my idea of a good time.  Coach Husband has yet to steer me wrong, so I decided to go for it.  I packed up my swim stuff and slipped out the door.  Here's my stream of consciousness during this run.  Haven't you wondered what people think about during their runs?  My mind is a a pinball machine, pinging from thought to thought.  This afternoon it went something like this:

1st mile: Wow, this doesn't feel so good. My legs are so tired. They feel every lift, every vibration that results from impact on the pavement.  This sucks.  Breathing... What a chore!  I can't catch my breath.  I didn't take an allergy pill.  It's peak grass pollen season in the grass pollen capital of the world.  Glance at Garmin. No wonder! I'm running 9:08 min/mi!  Holy shit, that's way too fast! Slow down. Okay, slower isn't feeling better. Damn, it's hot. Why the fuck did I wear this shirt? No wonder why I never wear it.  It comes up to my throat and chokes me. My Nathan hydration pack which holds my swim suit, goggles and swim cap, has never felt hot on my back before.  What's up with that? Okay, voices, shut the fuck up, okay?! I'm running here! The first mile always sucks ass.  Get over it.  You are running.  Remember when you would have given your left nut (if you had one) to run last year when you were injured.  Pace: 10:07

Mile 2:  Beep goes the Garmin indicating that I made it through the first mile.  OMG, I have 6 more miles to go.  What the hell was I thinking?!  Why does Steve punish me so?  This still sucks.  Just keep running, running, running... sang my inner Dorie.  This is exactly why I run roads so rarely.  Not only do I rarely do it, but when I rarely do, I always take a friend with me.  Friends don't let other friends run pavement alone.  Laura?! Where are you?  I miss you.  I need you.  Why didn't I bring my iPod?  This is the perfect moment to have Eminem angrily rapping in my ears.  10:36 pace

If you had one shot, or one opportunity
to seize everything you wanted, one moment
Would you capture it?
Or just let it slip? Yo.

or maybe a little...

I'm about to lose my mind.
You've been gone for so long. I'm running out of time.
I need a doctor. Call me a doctor.
I need a doctor, doctor to bring me back to life.

Angry music!  I needed angry music to help me slog away the miles.  Hood to Coast?!  What was I thinking?!  I better get an alternate because there's no way in hell I can run that race.  I would have to run five to eight miles THREE times within a 24 hour time span.  Last time, I thought it was great fun, but now it seems like a terrible thing to do. 

Mile 3:  Beep, blessed beep tells me that I am getting somewhere, albeit slowly.  No one out here is hating their life more than I right now.  I entertained the thought of asking a bike rider for a ride on his/her handle bars to the nearest bus stop where I would, tail between my legs, ride mass transit back to my home.  I had been mistaken.  I do not like running alone on the pavement.  I did once upon a time in my marathoning hay day, but those days are gone.  I am now a multi-sport trail runner who prefers exercising in the company of  her fellow momma jocks.

Oh, speaking of momma runners, here is someone who may be hating their life more than I am hating mine!  She is wearing all black on this hot day and pushing a jogging stroller.  Yes, she might be worse off than me.  YES!  She wins!  Double jogging stroller with twins!  If she can do it so can I!  I thought back to those days of having twinfants, crying in stereo, sleeping 90 minutes to two hours at a stretch, blistered nipples from tandem nursing... Yes, perhaps this running isn't quite so bad.  I could do this.  It was feeling better.  10:34 pace

Mile 4:  I think I'm finally starting to loosen up! Sure took the ole bod long enough. Sheesh, is it ever hot!  Thank the goddess that I have water and Margarita Shot Blocs.  Did I eat breakfast this morning?  A drinking fountain!  Hat off, head in water.  There that feels better.  I must look like hell.  Beet red face.  Hair of a crazy woman.  Trying to smile, not grimace as I pass walkers and cyclers on the path.  Finally, I make it to my turn.  Was I ever glad to be off that blasted path that seemed to go forever.  I could do this.  Time to run through downtown Eugene.  Reminded me of the many times I had run this High Street stretch with my running partner, and the Run Momma Run group.  Back when temps were cool and conversation plentiful.  Those were the days... I miss them.  I will never complain about an early alarm clock wake up call or driving across town to run with those lovely people who somehow make the miles feel effortless.  10:34 pace

Mile 5:  For the first time, I believe that I can indeed run all the way to the pool.  Will Steve's distance expectations be accurate?  It's got to be more than 7 miles to the pool from our house.  He'll get an earful from me if it's longer!  This isn't so bad.  Maybe I could do HTC after all.  Race adrenaline takes over, right?  No, this isn't so bad, but I'd rather be on the trails.  Oh, there's Spencer's Butte!  Hello trails!  That's where I want to be.  Maybe I'll skip the swim and run there.  10:14 pace

Mile 6:  I'm cooking now!  I am now on the section of the path that I rode and feel in love with my road bike, Princess.  Yes, I'm not interested in road running.  This is proof.  If I had my druthers I'd hang up my running shoes and take up cycling.  A century sounds delightful.  I am much better suited to triathlons than road running.  Will I never run another marathon?  Am I just out of road running shape?  Will I be rich? Will I be pretty? Here's what she said to me... Que sera sera sera. Whatever will be, will be, the future's not ours to see, que sera, sera.  I'm nearly there.  It looks like it's not quite a full seven miles away.  I love my husband!  I better still have the energy to swim after all this!  10:01 pace

Final .16 of a mile: De pool! De pool! What was the name of that little guy from Fantasy Island?  Tito? Tikko?  I can see the pool! I'm almost there! My suffering will soon end.  Tattoo! That was his name.  Glance at Garmin.  That's right.  I'm running sub 10 minute miles. In your face!  I'm gonna sprint to the finish.  Topped out at 9:16 pace. That's right, bitches. 9:16.  Now for my reward.  A swim!

If I could survive a mentally tough run like that, surely I could stick it out through three legs of a relay with my husband, running partner and friends.  It was going to be a good time and the largest running party of the year.  How lucky am I to be in on the excitement?!


  1. Love your random thoughts! You sound a bit like me when it comes to running roads, ugh! If I'm going to do more than 3-4 on roads I must have a partner. Give me a good rough trail any day over the roads! I am also doing a relay this year, Blue Ridge Relay in NC. I don't know why I thought it would be a good idea. I'm starting to think I was out of my mind when I signed up.

  2. This is hilarious, and very much like my inner running dialogue! Hope the swim at the end was all you needed it to be :)