I think it’s pretty official now that I am a runner.
On Saturday, a couple of major things occurred that exemplify my official status as a runner. Whereas I once thought that the accumulation of miles and having a mild obsession with sneaker shopping was sufficient, this weekend’s experiences taught me that there is so much more to running than long distances and aesthetics.
My alarm went off at 5:45 am on the first morning of the weekend. Even before it forced me out of bed, I knew what I was waking up to as it had kept me up part of the night: rain. When I undid the sheets and layered on my clothes, I could hear the drizzle of the raindrops outside my window. As I left shortly after 6 am, I walked to the bus stop with an umbrella. Out of fear of becoming too wet and too cold prior to the start, that umbrella stayed with me until the official race clock started. But it didn’t really matter staying dry; I was soaked before I saw the first mile marker. Continue reading
As I write this I am sitting in my bed wearing the shirt that I wore when I ran and completed my first half marathon. That was less than two years, and here I am, four half marathons and one full 26.2 miles later, gearing up for my fifth half marathon tomorrow morning.
Only two years and yet the miles I have logged astounds me.
Very rarely do things go according to plans. Like this winter’s training.
At the beginning of the year, I vowed that the coming months of running would be different from my sporadic bouts of running last winter. While I can say I have been pretty good at getting my miles in, they have definitely not been in the way I would have preferred.
For starters, mileage logged on the treadmill far surpasses the miles logged outside. I didn’t think this winter could tops last year, but I proved wrong. Several of our weekday workouts had to be cancelled due to ice and snow, leaving me to do speed and incline indoors. On days when it wasn’t cancelled, temperatures still hovered dangerously low; one of the few runs to go on as scheduled took place in the coldest conditions of (unofficial) Fleet Feet training history. Although I loathe the treadmill, my preference to retain feeling in my feet, fingers and nose convinced me that any evening workouts scheduled for sub-20 degree temperatures would be done indoors with a post-it note dictating my intervals (and subsequent looks from neighboring runners confused by my high speed sprints and constant adjustments to the incline).
Confession: I did not miss Saturday alarms. But alas, all good things must come to an end, and this past-Saturday, my mornings of alarm-free wake ups ended.
Set to jolt me out of bed at 7:25 AM, my alarm buzzed for the first Saturday in more than two months. Despite being set for an hour later than for my summer SLRs, I still scoffed at knowing that I had to uncover the sheets be out the door before 8 AM.
Yet, the alarm signaled a revival and reunion. A revival of my training, my re-commitment to running and my reunion with the Fleet Feet running crew. Decked out in my MCM gear and pumped by a Taylor Swift-dominated playlist, I ran the 1.5 mile route to the running store to launch into the first workout in training for the D.C. Rock N’ Roll half marathon. Continue reading
I took a break. Specifically, a recovery.
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
Later this month my office is having a summer party in which all in attendance must submit facts about themselves in advance to the Chief of Staff. The facts should be things no one would know; secret hobbies, ancestral connections, celebrity interactions. The goal of the submissions is to learn about each other and reward the person who can correctly identify the most facts about their colleagues.
I have not yet submitted my facts, mainly because I’ve had trouble coming up with things that no one doesn’t already know about me, or that I would be willing to admit/share about myself with my coworkers.
Unfortunately, I can’t have any of my facts be about running because it is no secret that I have a passion for it. Since I started working in my current office, I have completed three half marathons, and anyone who pays attention to when I’ve taken days off will notice a pattern in how they typically follow a weekend of racing.
After this morning’s run, I guess I could say I have run an additional half marathon, something no one would know since I’m working from home today. Before most people had settled into their desks at work today, I had completed 13.22 miles. Solo. Continue reading