Here’s my race packet:
Seems like winter is here to stay. Yesterday was the last day of a five-day-long rainstorm… nonstop cold, wet, and dreary. Temps hovered just above freezing. I’m digging out my winter clothes from under the beds and in the back of the closets, and far too often I still feel cold.
It’s affected my running more than I’d like. Between the weather and just general life stuff, I haven’t maintained a very good training schedule. I’m still running, but it’s only been once or twice a week most of the time. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back up over 20 miles during that last month or two before my big race.
I made the observation that, when the weather is cold, I seem to unconsciously increase my running pace. I don’t set out to run faster, but during the winter, more often than not I do. Of course, during today’s run, my pace was all over the place – fast, slower, faster. Still overall faster than I would’ve expected though!
This morning I signed up for the Independence Half Marathon…
Given the amount of brainpower I’ve spent thinking about this race in the past few days, I realized that my sign-up was inevitable. Might as well sign up before they raise the fees!
Here I go!
Ran 3.61 miles today. This was as close to a “bad” run as I get. There wasn’t anything bad in particular- it just didn’t feel good. My legs weren’t in the game. I struggled for every step. Better than nothing, I guess…
One unusual perk: around the halfway mark, I saw a deer. I first saw just a flash disappearing over a hill, which left me quite confused. “It” had the ears of a cat, but it was too large and it ran more like a dog. I created the hill and realized just how wrong I was. She eyes me for a moment, then ran into the stand of trees, but I was able to get a photo! (I think- it may just be the light. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.)
Most of the time, I run because I want to run. I run to challenge myself, because it feels good, because I can. Sometimes, though, I run because I need to run.
Tonight was one of those times.
My mind was so overwhelmed with thoughts, thoughts so deep and personal I don’t even dare to share them on this website. Running was the only way I could clear my mind. I ran, and I cried, and I tried to escape my thoughts. More often than not, I struggled to breathe, as my crying led to wheezing and refused to release its grip on my chest.
I ran in the dark, just me and a flashlight and a blinker. That, and the absence of other people on the streets, made it far safer to let the tears fall where they may.
This is my fake pseudo-smile. It’s so easy to fake a smile for the camera. Ever noticed that? It’s easy to smile for the split-second of a shutter. It’s so far from reality.
This is much more honest. This is my ugly-cry, holding-back-tears face.
My problems didn’t go away. I didn’t solve every crisis. But my life is so much more manageable with running.
I went for a run this morning. It wasn’t spectacular, but it happened.
I expected my pace to be slower. After running hard at the end of the week last week, I figured my legs would need time to recover. Unfortunately, that was complicated by a fair amount of sleep deprivation. I didn’t sleep well Saturday night/Sunday morning, which was particularly frustrating because I had a full day planned on Sunday. I only got perhaps 3-4 hours of sleep that night.
I went to bed Sunday night as early as I could, which unfortunately wasn’t very early. I calculated the things I needed to do on Monday morning and set my alarm accordingly. It still wouldn’t be a full nights’ sleep, but I figured that the ~6 or so hours would be enough to get me through today.
In what can only be described as an epic math fail, I woke up, got dressed, set about my day… when I realized that I had miscalculated the time and had awakened ONE HOUR TOO EARLY. Doh!
I still ran. It wasn’t easy, it seemed extra sweaty, and I had to really push myself – but I did it. Good enough for me.
There are days when the sun is shining and the birds are singing. I feel fantastic. When I get out of bed, I have a spring in my step. I can’t wait to run.
This was not one of those days.
I overslept this morning. When I finally woke up, my head felt fuzzy. I got out of bed reluctantly and dressed in my running clothes, mostly because those were the only clothes I laid out last night. I did NOT want to run.
I sat on the couch for nearly an hour, doing some light reading for work and generally procrastinating. I knew I should run – I just didn’t want to.
Last night I talked to my friend Theresa, who was planning to run this morning, and I agreed to run also. It’s a good thing too. If I didn’t know she was running, if I hadn’t agreed to run, I probably wouldn’t have run at all! (As an aside, Theresa needs a nickname. Any suggestions?)
I finally dragged myself out of the house and began running. It wasn’t easy. I wasn’t surprised – the first mile is usually difficult, as I’m finding my rhythm. But I kept running.
I wouldn’t say it got easier, exactly, but it got better. As I found my rhythm, it was hard but it began to feel slightly more comfortable.
At the 2 mile mark, I was chased by an adorable black Lab puppy. Her owner had brought her into the yard, and she (presumably) wanted to go for a run! She was cute, and I didn’t mind the interruption.
After another quarter mile or so, I discovered this penny. It’s not much but it’s a pleasant surprise.
Considering how much I didn’t feel like running, my pace was surprisingly strong. By the last half mile, I was holding a steady 13:30 pace, which is outstanding for me right now.
I’m pleased that I fought through it and made it out there. Accountability helps. I’d like to get back to running 3-4 miles, 3 days per week, and 6-8 miles on Saturdays. It feels good to be closer to that goal.
I didn’t do so well running last week. Life just happened, and the result was only one half-hearted run. Doesn’t feel very impressive, after a couple of good weeks earlier this month.
Last night, a friend challenged me to run today. Actually, I guess, we kind of challenged each other. She’s also getting back into running after a few off weeks, and I suppose we both needed the push.
For my friend, mornings are the time when running best fits into her schedule. In a moment of greater-than-usual insanity, I volunteered to run at the same time she did, in the morning.
I am NOT a morning person. I was the college student who avoided taking classes that started before 9:00. (I nearly graduated without any 8am classes – until a teacher changed the time of a required class to 8am at the last second before my final semester.) Now I’m the self-employed writer who freely admits to doing some of my best work between midnight and 4am. Before today, I have actively avoided morning runs, only making exceptions for races.
I set my alarm but, I will confess, my morning run was not as early as I’d planned. I didn’t leave until 8am. Still, I was getting out and running before noon 🙂 and I’m pleased with that.
The weather was gorgeous – around 60 degrees. That alone was a good incentive for running in the morning! The run itself was hard – not a huge surprise, given how little I’ve run in the past couple of weeks, but still mildly discouraging. I pushed through the first mile, but I never was able to find my rhythm. In fact, with only a half mile left, I gave in to my tired legs and powerwalked for a stretch. Frustrating!
It was done, though, and that’s worth something. Maybe morning runs will also be a tool in my running strategy.
By the way – we’re puppy sitting again. When I got home, Sadie insisted on giving me a thorough cleaning: