I wasn’t sure how my body and mind would respond to getting back on the running horse -- hey, there’s a thought: half-marathons on horseback -- after a week away. Would my IT band and growly right calf simply say “Nope” and force me to limp home? Would my brain respond to speedwork with a “Nope” and spend the workout reminding me of how much I suck?
Turns out the answer to both of those questions was, mostly, “Nope.”
With one exception, the runs have gone well -- but that exception was a big one. Last Saturday’s long run was so bad I decided during the middle miles I didn’t really even like running. The hardest part was not bursting into tears when I got home. Some of the crying would have been happy tears because I was finally done. Most of the crying would have been because every minute of the 2-plus hours was absolute misery.
True confession: I haven’t been strictly following the 13.FUN race plan. I’ve been shaving a mile or two off of the long runs because I can’t fit them all into my life. Saturday’s long run should have been 14 miles. I planned to do 12 and call it good enough. Had I committed to 14, I’m pretty sure I’d still be out there, balled up on the side of the road, rocking back and forth while whimpering.
My first mistake was planning to do my long run in the afternoon, which was pretty much the only time last weekend I could fit it in without breaking it up into smaller bits. I’m not a great afternoon runner. My biorhythms are such that all I want to do at 2 p.m. is nap or, maybe, have a cup of tea if a nap can’t happen.
Once I’d realized that it had to happen in the afternoon, I hoped it would be a cool one. We finally got our summer weather last week and, sadly, the heat and humidity hadn’t broken by Saturday and my hopes were dashed.
I did plan a little bit ahead, though. I knew I couldn’t carry as much water as I would want on my body and decided to just go to the high school track, where there is a water fountain. I was also having the kind of day where I just wanted to lose myself in my audiobook without having to keep an eye out for cars. And while I know some can’t stand the hamster-wheel-ness of the track, I love it, even for long runs, as long as I have something great to listen to.
(An aside: the audiobook in question is Ben Aaronovitch’s Midnight Riot. If you aren’t a big genre fan, you likely won’t like it. But if you love a great, wry fantasy detective story, it is bliss. Of course, I can think of another audiobook you might like...)
The first mile (of the 12) was rough. I pushed through anyway because the first mile is always rough. The second mile was, too. And the third. I gave up caring by mile four and just put my head down to grind them all out. My goal was to run sub-12 minute miles so that I could hit about 2 hours and 24 minutes for the whole shebang. Instead, I averaged 13+ minute miles and was out there for, conservatively, six years.
When I got home, I glared at all of the humans in the house and took myself to my room for a time-out, during which I stretched. Then I simply practiced my corpse pose underneath the air conditioner until I no longer wanted to sob or scream.
By Monday, though, I was ready to get back on the horse and ran a perfectly fine three miles, as called for in the plan. On Tuesday, I knocked out a tempo run that checked all of the boxes I needed to while I racked up four 10:45ish miles, which is a first for me. I’m doing my best to forget what happened on Saturday so that I can be where my feet are. But, oh, it’s not easy.
Before I forget -- and because it’s speeding up faster than you might think -- I’d love to organize a mini mother runner meet-up for Saturday, Oct. 18 for all of the mamas who are in Syracuse. Party planning, however, is not one of the clubs I have in my bag. So, this week’s question: does anyone know of a downtown venue in the ‘cuse that wouldn’t mind a gaggle of runners in it?
And if you're interested in joining the gaggle, can you please email runmother [at] gmail [dot] com with Syracuse meet-up in the subject line? We'll compile names/emails and keep you posted. Thanks!