A 100-Mile Stranger

Yesterday I ran with a man and I never got his name.IMG_1341

In a series of fateful events, I pushed back my Saturday long run to Sunday morning. Needing the motivation to run the full 9 miles, I ran to Fleet Feet to join the Sunday morning fun run to make up for my laziness from the previous day.

When I arrived at the store, already warmed up and prepared for more miles, I met several of the Saturday morning runners who had also made the same decision to skip the previous day’s run in favor of the next day. The decision seemed to be in our favor: sunny skies, little breeze and temperatures around 40 degrees. Rarely perfect winter running conditions.  Continue reading

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A Modern (Running) Family

The hardest part these days of running is not the actual exercise. It’s the getting out of bed to do it.

After telling myself that this winter’s training would be different from my last and vowing to stick to my scheduled SLRs, I spent a morning nestled under my covers. Even before the morning came I had already turned off my alarm and decided that I was going to use my Sunday for my long run and bypass the typical Saturday routine. I expected much of my fellow crew runners to do the same in postponing their runs, but when I reunited with the group last week, I heard from those who ran 7-8 miles in temperatures struggling to break out of the teens. Several ran with frozen GPS watches that failed to track their brave feat on that icy, bitter morning.
IMG_1660 Continue reading

An Active Recovery

I took a break. Specifically, a recovery./home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/443/19181280/files/2014/12/img_1936.jpg

Two months ago I ran my first marathon. Since then I have run fewer times than the fingers on my hands. And I’m perfectly OK with that.

I love running, but after more than four months of intense training and early alarms, I looked forward to setting my own workout schedule with variety and flexibility. No longer was I contained to a four-day a week running schedule that left me sore and fatigued on my off days; post-marathon, I could do whatever I wanted. Hours of spinning and Body Pump and yoga have elevated my heart rate, strengthened my muscles and increased my flexibility.

So I chose not to run. Partly due to a nagging strain in my upper thigh, I committed myself to a full recovery. Some coaches and running experts recommend allowing the body days of recovery equal to the number of miles run in a hard race. For me that meant waiting 27 days before I ran my usual route to Fleet Feet and down to the Lincoln and Washington Memorials to accumulate my first post-marathon miles. Even with the chill and breeze and an excessive number of layers, the run was just what I needed. No pressure to run fast or keep pace; just a run because I wanted it. Continue reading

The Last Alarm

On Saturday morning my alarm rang for the last time at 6:25 A.M.

Since the end of the June, my alarm has gone off at the same time each Saturday morning. Only a few hours after most people my age go to bed after wild and crazy Friday nights, I woke up to do my own wild and crazy things.

At the beginning, it didn’t seem so crazy. Eight miles, ten miles; it didn’t sound so bad, Then it progressively got harder and harder. As the weeks passed, the temperatures also climbed with the mileage, By mid-August, SLR totals ranged in the middle teens. Waking up to run 14, 15 and 16 miles all before many of my friends even woke up became a common feat.

But even as the temperatures started to decline, the miles did not to do the same. So, like weeks past, I laced up my sneakers and headed to Fleet Feet for 16, 18 and 20-mile runs. But even with those runs successfully completed, this past weekend’s SLR might have been the hardest. Continue reading

18351.

In the classic novel Les Miserables, Jean Valjean, the story’s protagonist, is also known as 24601. His identification during internment, the number is a reminder throughout the novel of the pain and suffering the character experienced as punishment for his crime of stealing a loaf of bread.

I now also have my own self-identifying number, albeit one with a more positive association: 18351. It doesn’t have the same roll off the tongue sound that makes it perfect for a few musical notes, but it is the number that sums up everything I have been working towards for the past four months.

In less than two weeks, I will wear a bib reading 18351 and join nearly 30,000 others as we weave our way through Virginia and D.C. for 26.2 miles. As the day gets closer and closer, the anticipation is titanic.

Fellow runners in my training group ran the Chicago Marathon yesterday and while I could not have felt more inspired by all their posts and results, I also felt slightly jealous that I still have to wait until it’s my turn.

I just want it to be here already! Continue reading

Up, Down, Repeat

On Tuesday I was told to stop smiling. So naturally I couldn’t help but grin bigger.

I was running up and down hills and yet there was a smile on my face. As someone often told to do opposite, to look happy and just smile (something no one should ever tell a woman), that I was being told, albeit jokingly, to stop looking like I was enjoying one of my toughest workouts summarizes how much I do love running.

After leaving work Tuesday afternoon, I jetted off to Georgetown to teach an hour-long spin class at the university’s gym. As the warm-up to the evening’s hill workout, I jumped, climbed and peddled through the class with an enthusiastic bunch, including one woman who called me a “4′ 11″ Mighty Mouse”  that has been attending my classes to be whipped into shape for her beach wedding next month. Post-class, I was off again, this time to Fleet Feet for an hour literally spent running up and down one of the city’s most infamous hills: Calvert. Continue reading

Dancing in the Rain

First rule of running: sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t want you to do it.

Second rule of running: if you disobey Mother Nature, prepare to suffer the consequences.

IMG_1468As part of my marathon training program yesterday evening had the day set  for hills. The program, set by my new local running group based out of Fleet Feet Sports in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, includes two weekly workouts with all the trainees: the Saturday long run and alternating Tuesday workouts on the track or out on the hills. With my first week of track behind me, I was fully prepared to run repeats on the grueling Calvert Hill (i.e. basically a monster in hill form that I came to loathe through my training for the  D.C. Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon). That was until Mother Nature decided to intervene.

Continue reading