Imaginary Friends

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I have a bunch of friends, and they are great.

They are supportive, cheerful and optimistic. They like my posts about my SLRs. They leave comments of encouragement and they think I’m speedy! And yet, I’ve met none of these people.

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The Day I Beat Mother Nature

IMG_1681.JPGLast week I was in major fight with Mother Nature.

Monday signaled the beginning of September, the unofficial start of fall. Time for sweaters, pumpkin lattes and apple cider doughnuts. Yet Mother Nature did not get the memo. Or she was ignoring it.

Monday of last week was Labor Day. With the day off, I figured I could wake up alarm-free and set out for my training’s scheduled seven miles. That didn’t happen; I blame the weather. By the time I woke up by 8:00 AM, it was already over 75 degrees outside. Add in the humidity, and it made it easy for me to decide to stay in bed.

Unfortunately, by skipping Monday that meant I had to make up for it the other days of the week. Tuesday had the group scheduled to run hills, but as I stepped outside to catch the bus, the wind picked up and all I could think of was Winnie Pooh saying, “Tut-tut, it looks like rain.” Sure enough, a half hour after I turned around to go home it poured. Decision justified.

But while I managed to avoid the rain, I couldn’t avoid a run that kept me from looking like I ran my miles in the shower. This week’s humidity was unbearable, even at the early hours of the morning when I needed to run before work. When it’s still dark outside and the humidity has the feel-like temps hovering near 80 degrees, the miles feel endless. This was especially the case on Saturday.

Saturday had 16 miles on the schedule, and I will admit that I had plenty of anxiety going into the run. The finish of the 16-mile SLR would mean achieving a new PDR, but it was not without its challenges. When my alarm went off in the morning, already the temperature hovered at 75 degrees, and the sun had not even risen yet. Fortunately, our route along Beach Drive in D.C. and Maryland provided plenty of shade cover. However, that didn’t keep the sweat from dripping.

IMG_1688.PNGSaturday’s run was by far the most physically and mentally challenging run I have ever done. While refilling our water bottles a shortly after our 10-mile mark, my running mates and I noticed that our clothes were literally soaked to our skin. Drenched, and we still had six miles to go. Our bodies’ way of keeping us cool, the sweat would have felt like it was weighing us down, but it was actually what allowed us to keep going. As the salt escaped through our pores, staying hydrated and focused became the run’s mission. It was grueling and just as mentally fatiguing as it was physical.

Nevertheless, we made it back, just shy of two and half hours after we started. The 16 miles were the farthest I ever ran straight, a new personal distance record; adding on my warmup, and I finished Saturday with 17.52 miles under my belt. All I wanted afterwards was a huge bagel slathered in cream cheese. And a nap.

While I hunger pangs existed, thirst dominated. Throughout the day, my body kept reminding me how drained it had gotten from the morning and how it needed hydration, and lots of it.

Despite Mother Nature’s extension of summer for a little longer, I didn’t allow it to let it interfere with my training. In the end, it’s these types of runs that make you stronger, and all the more ready for that all important race in just seven weeks. My countdown has started.

What’s My Number?

(No, not that number)

IMG_1657.JPGThere are some numbers you simply do not ask people. Like their weight or their SAT score (or LSAT score).

But in the running community, it’s all about the numbers. How miles did you run on the weekend long run? How many times did you lap around the track? How many hill repeats did you complete? What is your marathon pace/goal/personal record? 

For me, this is my week summarized in numbers:

  • 3 miles on the treadmill
  • 5 1200 meter repeats on the track
  • 5.5 miles completed with a friend
  • 16.75 miles accumulated on Saturday

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I May be Crazy

In, “You May be Right,” Billy Joel sings:

But I made it home alive
So you said that only proves that I’m insane
You may be right
I may be crazy

This verse adequately summarizes my Tuesdays. That I make it home alive after a full day of work, followed by an hour teaching spin at Georgetown and then an hour-long track workout just proves that I’m insane. Anyone who calls me crazy would be right. Continue reading

Forgetting Everything But Not to Breathe

IMG_0547For Christmas one year, I received a pair of DVDs, one for yoga and one for pilates. After convincing my sister to do one of the workouts with me, she practically broke out laughing mid-stretch when the instructor said “Don’t forget to breathe.”

“How can you possibly forget to breathe?” she asked. At the time, I thought the same thing. But then, I wasn’t a practicing yogi.

These days sometimes I just want to lie down. In a room with a bunch of strangers. And listen to their breaths, and my own. Those days call for yoga.

These days have become more frequent.

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In a Running State of Mind

Last week I had a fantastic SLR. This week was a very different experience.

Noticeably this week has been rather quiet on the blog front, which signals a packed schedule that had me arriving home too tired, or otherwise, to sit behind a computer for another hour to blog. Though it leads to a day without a post, it reflects my twenty-something life of leaving work to head to a happy hour with friends and recount the experiences and gossip of the past few days.

This week was no exception. Wednesday through Friday all included post-work activities that lingered for hours into the evening. Unlike last Friday when I climbed into bed around 9 PM, I awoke this past Saturday with far fewer hours of sleep clocked. Feeling particularly hungry in the morning, I downed a protein bar at 630 before rushing off to Fleet Feet for a 10-miler.
IMG_1508The week’s SLR was a challenging out and back course from the store, up Mass Ave, then up Wisconsin Ave until just passing the Maryland border. The key term of the course was “up.” During the five miles out, the elevation gradually increased, essentially making the first half of the run an extended hill climb. Despite having run up and down hills earlier in the week, Saturday was tough; add in the high humidity and I was feeling the struggle as early as the second mile. Continue reading