I think I’ve finally figured out what is keeping me from all of my running goals: it’s my job.
See — in case you haven’t figured it out yet, given my long-winded posts about just not feeling the running love lately, I’ve been in a tiny slump lately. Not the sort where I consider taking up another sport — friends have long tried to get me into roller derby but I just don’t like pain enough — but a small slump where I look at my times and wonder why I seem to be getting slower rather than faster. With all of the speed work and long runs that Coach Christine has prescribed, I should be a mighty and fearsome (and mighty fearsome) running machine by now. And, yet, I am most demonstrably not.
I’ve been thinking about all of the things you think about when in a small slump, many of which one of my favorite running bloggers touched on this week. Maybe I need to hydrate more? Maybe beet juice? Maybe I should eat more kale? Or less? Maybe I’m over-training? Or under training? Maybe I have some exotic disease that has no other symptoms other than not hitting paces? Maybe it’s just summer that’s bringing me down? Maybe? Maybe? Maybe?
While all of those things probably play in, I discovered the true culprit on Tuesday. I was already taking the afternoon off for a doctor’s appointment, that yearly one that every woman loves, and decided to take the morning as well. I’ve been cleaning out my son’s room for the last week — yes, it has taken that long because I can only handle an hour in there before I’m overcome with both dust and ennui — and thought I’d put in my hour in the salt mines rather than head to the office. Before that, of course, I’d work in the eight intervals of 2 minutes at 9:30 with 2 minutes of recovery that were on the schedule.
Since I didn’t have to scramble through my morning routine of run, eat fast, shower faster, and get to work, I lingered over my bowl of cereal and cup of coffee. I took the time to deal with email. Plus I got to spend as much time as needed to “drop the kids off at the pool.” By the time I hit the track, it was 9:30, which is more than 3 hours later than I usually get there.
While I’d been apprehensive about the workout — eight intervals just seems like a lot of intervals, right? — once I got started, it went really, really well. I mean, it wasn’t easy but by interval #8, I still felt like I had some juice left. Having said that, I’m not sure I could have squeezed out an interval #9 without being chased by one of our local bears. Regardless, it was a pretty amazing hour at the track and one that left me feeling like a true BAMR.
Which leads me to conclude one of two things: either a) my ideal time for a run is mid-morning, which means I need to be independently wealthy so that I can quit my job or b) I need to start getting up at 3 a.m. so that I can eat and poop a full three hours before I lace up my shoes, which, frankly, is never, ever going to happen.
Which means I need to continue working around the parts of my life that I can’t change. Does anyone have any suggestions for improving my morning routine, including, maybe, one that lets me shove some easily digested (but non-banana) food in my face before my run? Or, even better, one that leads me to becoming filthy rich without having to do something gross or morally repellent?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a couple of other running related items, even though I can’t think of a seamless way to work them into this post. That amazing interval run starved a few of my writing-related brain cells. So:
I let Coach know that I’d be busy most of last Sunday and needed a run short enough to fit into the time I had. She scheduled an 8-miler with a 5 minute strong finish. It was nice to only run 8 miles. If you’d asked me if I would ever describe any run with the qualifier “only” a few years ago, I’d know you were nuts. Still, it was only 8 miles, which I started before the sun came up.
Why was my Sunday busy? Oh, you know, I was just giving the sermon at my church. I do this once a year or so, generally when more qualified people aren’t available. This one was called “The Last Mile” and can be read right here.
Don’t feel too bad if you missed it, even though we did save you a seat, a slice of post-service cake, and talked about how much we would have liked to have seen you. At Zooma Cape Cod in September I'll be speaking on Friday evening about embracing your inner wicked fierce runner and/or singing show tunes if I run out of material. Two other BAMRs and I will be woman-ing the AMR table at the Expo. Come on over, paw our merch, and say hi.
First, however, I have to get through the 13-miler on Saturday (with the last two at race pace!). Fingers crossed for cool weather, a quickly digested breakfast, and cooperative bowels.