So last Thursday, as I headed to see Wait Wait Don't Tell Me live at Red Rocks, I had a nagging feeling I was forgetting something. Tickets? Got 'em. My friend Jo? Yep, she's there. My disappointment that I didn't get to run with Peter Sagal? Carrying that too.
Turns out, I forgot to load the first 13.FUN episode of Martini Fridays. Duh. I emailed Adrienne after the mistake was brought to my attention to tell her that she didn't need to do one for today, but like the true BAMR she is, she wrote two posts. Lucky us: we get a double shot today. Thanks, Adrienne!
I’m certain that you all have been on the edges of your proverbial seats and unable to focus on anything other than which 13.FUN training plan I picked. Or, perhaps you found something much better to do, like sort through all of your running tops and arranging them by tendency to stink.
Given my demonstrated tendency to reach just a little bit further than I think I can grasp —for proof, see the series of blog posts about the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, which was twice as long as my longest long run—it should be no surprise that I signed up for the “race” option. I’d like to say that this choice was due to deep thought and careful planing on my part. But if I said that, I’d be lying. Mostly, I decided to trust my gut, which said, “eh. what the hell.”
But I’m also a known bet-hedger. Not only did I sign up for the Strava “race” group, I joined the Strava “run” group as well, as someone in the comments on my last post suggested. If the whole thing goes pear shaped, I can always bail on plan A and happily embrace plan B. I am nothing if not flexible. Well, mentally flexible; physically is another issue.
Because of a trip to the U.K. I’ll be taking in August -- yes, I’m very excited but still need to write the dang paper for the conference -- I decided to start the program one week earlier than I needed to for the October 19 Empire State Half Marathon . While I’m certain I’ll run while abroad, I’m equally certain that they won’t be long, quality runs. (And if you know of any great running trails/clubs in London or Cambridge, holler.)
I can report that Week 1 went well enough that I haven’t yet started to doubt my “race” decision. The trickiest bit came on day 2, when I had to figure out what a tempo run is. According to page 213 of our hymnal, tempo pace is 75-85 percent of you max effort. My max effort in an interval is about 8:30 minute miles, which I can only maintain for 90 seconds before feeling like my lungs might just burst out of my chest, Alien style. My tempo pace should be between 10:30 and 11, if I’m doing the math right, which is never a given.
For the middle mile of a three mile run, I kept to a 10:45 pace. It was easier than I’d thought it would be but wasn’t actually easy-easy. That pace is a challenge; not like a “I’m going to die” challenge, just a “hard to maintain if I stop paying attention” challenge. I’m actually looking forward to the next tempo run. This might also be a sign that I’ve lost my mind.
My Saturday long run—6 miles—was without any doubt the worst run I’ve hard in quite some time. The awfulness struck out of the blue. I can pretty comfortably run six miles and expected this one to be more of the same. The running fates laughed.
My first mistake was planning to run after lunch, which is not my preferred time to run. I had a bagel at 11 or so, thinking that a big hit of carbs would a) be easily digested by 1:30 and b) fuel for the run. While that might work for others, that big bolus of bread weighed me down and kept feeling like it might come back up.
But I could have worked with that if it weren’t so flipping humid here right now. While the air temp was hovering around the high 70s, the air was so wet you could chew it. A sensible runner would have waited until dusk. I can see that now.
Short version of the epic terribleness of that six miles is that I got it done. And I know that even bad runs teache you important lessons. The lesson I take from that one is to not be a complete dipwad who runs in the middle of a muggy June afternoon.
In other news, the mystery of my favorite socks has been solved. They are Mizuno Women’s Musha Sock (style number 490152). I wound up emailing the company, as, again, someone suggested in the comments on my last post (and which I never would have thought to do if left to my own devices). The good news is that I can name what I love. The bad news—and you might have anticipated this—is that they no longer make them.
I might have gnashed my teeth and wailed a smidge when I opened the email. While the rep suggested some models that are close, I know in my heart of hearts that they just won’t be the same. It’s like suggesting that some guy who is about the same size and shape as my beloved spouse will work out fine because he’s “close enough.”
I’m trolling ebay, mind, but am aware that my heart (and my soles) will have to move on.
Last week, which was my second week of the 13.FUN race plan, my husband and I packed up the kids and the dog and decamped for a friend’s place in southern New Jersey. The cats were left to their own devices for a few days. I’m not even sure they woke up long enough to notice we’d left.
The only runs on the docket were a 3.5 miler with the middle 1.5 at tempo and a 7 mile long run. No problem, I thought as I packed two sets of running tops, shorts, socks, and bras. Miraculously, I also remembered to pack Herr Garmin, his charger cord, and a salted caramel Gu.
For the most part, the tempo run went just fine. I picked a loose route through our friends’ neighborhood that dumped me at a cemetery, where I could pick up the pace without worrying about traffic.
(An aside: you might have noticed that I have a fondness for running in cemeteries. They are usually pretty quiet, which I love, and generally lack fast moving cars. I don’t think the permanent residents mind—some might even enjoy the spectacle of me wheezing past their final destinations—but I will turn around if there is an active graveside service going on. Mourning does not need a sweaty audience.)
What I didn’t fully comprehend until the second half of my first mile of that tempo run is how much more humid that part of New Jersey is compared to central New York. There was sweat dripping off of my earlobes. I don’t know how southern runners manage propelling themselves through cream of chicken soup but I doff my wet visor to you.
I wanted something a little more scenic for the long run and started to scour ye olde internets. Parvin State Park looked promising and I planned to go there on Friday. Thursday was for resting and a trip to the Ocean City Boardwalk, where I ate many inadvisable (but really tasty) things, like crab balls, which the 12-year old boy in me and my dining companions snickered over for longer than is seemly.
Friday morning the Hub and I abandoned our children, scooped up the dog, and drove to the park. He took HRH Lucy for a good long walk while I set out on a seven mile loop that I’d carefully plotted on the trail map the night before.
The first six miles went well enough. Crab balls, as it turns out, are not the best fuel for a long run but I felt relatively energetic. It was early enough in the day that the humidity was only about 90 percent—again, I don’t know how you do it—and the trails were still laced with the previous evening’s cobwebs, which I helpfully cleared with my body for any runners coming after me. I only squealed when I ran through the first one. This is a great leap in maturity.
Around mile six, something started to feel wrong. Not physically, mind. I was appropriately tired and thirsty for that point in the run. It was more an emotional unease, like there was something I had failed to notice. I stopped an broke out my phone and found the trail map. Then I swore a little bit.
Near as I can figure, the red, orange and yellow blazes on the trails had all faded to more or less the same yellowredorange-y color after who knows how many years in the sun. Let this be yet another lesson in how the map and the territory are almost never the same.
I hemmed. I hawed. I did my best to nail down exactly where I was and gave up. Eventually, all of the warm colored paths led to the green path, which was where I need to be. I just kept running for another mile and hoped for the best.
When Herr Garmin beeped to tell me I’d made it to seven miles, I turned it off and started to walk. I was out of water and over the whole “running through the woods” thing. I was, however, finally on the path I needed, even if I wasn’t sure if I was heading clockwise or counter-clockwise. I just kept walking until there was enough of a clearing to see the swimming area on the other side of the lake and could find my bearings.
Reader, if it hadn’t been for my phone and its ability to pull information out of the sky and put me in contact with my husband, I probably would have panicked more than a bit as I walked an extra mile or so to get back to where I’d started. We forget, sometimes, how wonderful it is to live in the future.
I was so, so, so happy to finally see the spouse and the dog walking towards me. As near miraculous as my iPhone is, it can’t offer me a bottle of water, turn the car AC to super max, and drive me home. Yet, anyway.
This week’s question, which I ask simply to feel like less of a weirdo: do you run in cemeteries? Why or why not?