Dry Martini: The Well is Dry

Like I said a few weeks ago, I knew my late April through early June was going to be a crazy busy time, full of stuff that I wanted to do. It started with Seneca 7, which rolled into the Pittsburgh half, which morphed into the retreat in Ogden (and my complicated trip home), which sashayed into an evening at the Freihofer’s Expo in Albany and my 25th college reunion in PA this past weekend. This coming weekend will be the last four miles of my marathon spring when SUNY Oneonta hosts its Reunion Weekend, which I’ll be working.

Given that I spent the the winter training for this busy season, I thought I’d have the stamina. But I’ve hit the mile 22 wall, y’all. My heinie is dragging.

Speaking of heinies, there were free massages by the Barefoot Space at the Freihofer Expo. If you ever have the opportunity to have someone walk on your arse, do so.

Before my giddy-up got up and went on without me, I did something I’ve never done before: I ran a timed mile. It seemed like a great idea when I floated it. I’ve been feeling faster lately, what with a six-minute PR at PGH, and the running has been loose and easy.

One of my pet hypothesises is that there are two types of runners: those who like to go long and those who like to go fast (that’s what she said). I am a runner who’d much rather lope along forever than run really quickly for more than 15 seconds. Speedwork is always on Wednesday, so I spent Tuesday dreading that timed mile — even though I was the one who’d asked Coach Christine to put it on the schedule in the first place. How much is this going to suck, I wondered. Will my legs finally just fall off?

My kids spent the drive to Pennsylvania in various states of unconscious. Would that I could have, too.

This kind of inner dialog is exactly the way to make sure the run will suck. You get more of what you focus on when you’re dealing with behavior. Focus on how annoying your teen can be and that’s all you’ll ever notice. Fix your mind on how frequently your co-worker sniffles and that’s all you’ll ever pay attention to. And obsesses about how much it hurts to run very fast and that’s all your brain will care about.

Just for the record, I’m not a big power of positive thinking gal. Norman Vincent Peale can get stuffed, imo. Still, our brains can easily get stuck in ruts that color our perception of reality. If nothing else, I know that going into anything thinking it will be terrible almost guarantees that it will be.

However, I still dread Wednesdays because I find it hard to follow my own advice.

While I’ve enjoyed all that I’ve done this spring, one of the best parts was returning with this guy to the place where we met 25 years ago.

The warm-up mile was great, so was the cool-down mile, even though I thought I might barf. That mile in the middle? The one where I took off at a speed I could not maintain, had to slow up in the middle bit because I thought I might die, and freaked out because everything hurt by the last 400 meters? It was hard.

It was also slower than I’d hoped. I was pretty sure that I could bust out a 10:15 or faster, which for me is like greased lightning. What I managed was a 10:28, zippy but a little disappointing because I’ve been feeling so good. The constant travel, followed by the constant catching-up from the constant travel, couldn’t have helped, nor could my less-than-positive mental game. Still. It really sucked the wind out of my running sails.

My flaccid canvas stuck with me into the weekend, where my training plan called for seven miles either before I left for bucolic Meadville, PA, or while I was there. I opted to do them on Saturday morning, even though I know how hilly that town is. My alma mater must have a track, I reasoned, even though I have no memory from 25 years prior to draw from. In my four years at Allegheny, I never once set foot in the sports complex, which is where the track and football field were rumored to be. I was a theater major and spent most of my time in the dark.

There is a track, I discovered. It is guarded by a locked, 10-foot high fence that I couldn’t figure out how to scale without impaling myself. So I took to the trails and roads around the campus for five miles, then to the (open) indoor track when the bugs and humidity outside got on my last nerve. I was a wrung-out sponge by the time I was done. And that desiccated state has hung on.

I do love a good and muddy trail run every now and again.

I’m certain once I get back to a solid routine of sleeping in my own bed for reasonable amounts of time and eating food that didn’t come from a buffet steam tray, my sponge will rehydrate. Which also reminds me that I really need to up my NUUN and dial back on the coffee. I just need to get through my college-of-employment’s reunion weekend, most of which I’ll spend driving a golf cart around campus and talking until I run out of words. Come Monday, I can refocus on the basics — just in time for Voldesun to make his return.

Do you like to go long? Or fast?

14 responses to “Dry Martini: The Well is Dry

  1. In general I would say long, but I enjoy speedwork. Haven’t done a measured mile in quite a while…might have to add that to my training 😉

  2. OMG….I live in Meaville….Next time your in town let me know and we can run the Ernst trail…5 miles one way..pretty flat and paved….I was also at the Pittsburgh race this year…Did my first full marathon.

  3. Long. When I first started running about nine years ago, everything felt fast and I made quick gains in the speed department. And I was in my 30s. But now that I’m more established and love running for the mental health benefits and I’ve also slowed down A TON, I like to go long. I saw a post recently on IG that said ‘forward is a pace’ and that resonated with me. Forward is important. Speed isn’t (at least to me).

  4. I’m so impressed by your schedule and guts to do a timed mile. I’ve consented to joining a group this summer and I know the dreaded timed mile is waiting for me in July. Good luck at the reunion and getting back into a routine.

  5. I am not a fast gal. I get nervous when I breath heavy and hard… I much rather run with friends long and slower, so we can talk and share all what is going on…. 🙂

  6. Awww, the shining memory that stands out–may that help carry you through! Marathon spring here of oldest graduating college, mom and dad’s 50th, getting a puppy, the worst spring the turf industry has seen in decades, and some more crazy shite has landed me in the tank a bit as well. I have four weeks until my first sprint tri–NEW TERRITORY FOR ME–and I am flagging. Praying I get some mojo back and a rhythm going again. As for the timed mile, you are brave to try….I am a coward and have not done one in about four years–well before I became a jumble of injuries. I know for a fact my self esteem would take a hit it doesn’t need right now. Good for you that you did it! Best wishes for the weeks ahead and thanks for reminding me that I am not alone in this marathon that is life.

  7. I love the way you write–it’s just like talking, also lively, fun, and intelligent. Enjoyed it very much.

  8. So – a local masters run club hosts a Mile Night race every year and I have participated the last few years. Its a welcome break to think about trying to shave a second or two off versus adding kms to long runs, etc. This year I haven’t wrangled my schedule well enough to make workouts happen consistently and I have been considering bailing on the event. But you’ve convinced me otherwise. What the heck – I’m giving it a go once again!

  9. In college, I actually would go to the gym…but then I’d smoke a cigarette on the way back from my workout.
    I am 100% a long run gal, but I have picked out a fall half marathon and plan to follow the TLAM Crush it half marathon plan, which requires tempo and interval runs along with the long runs. Let’s see if I can actually do them this time.

  10. 10:28 is still a rockstar time! I’m so impressed that you forced speedwork. I avoid it like the plague. I like a good sprint at the end of a run (maybe 100 yds) but holding on for a full mile is amazing.

  11. Kuddos to you for doing a hard thing in the midst of a crazy time. But maybe that is the best way to do hard things…I would kill to run a 10 minute mile at anytime. This is why I heart rate…I get to run close to my normal pace. 🙂 Thanks for sharing (and for using the word heinie…makes me giggle…)

  12. I didn’t try the barefoot massage last weekend, although I was kind of intrigued. I’ve never done a timed mile — seems like an oxymoron since you’re running a mile before it!

    I’m not sure which I prefer, actually, although I’m not fast & I bet we could run together (except I run/walk & can’t seem to convince anyone else to do it!). I kind of talk about that subject in tomorrow’s blog, oddly enough.

    Enjoy your reunion.

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