Good Monday morning friends! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty spectacular. From a productive day of work at the farm on Friday to a really fun “surprise” birthday party that night… complete with a MOON BOUNCE… then romance all day Saturday and dinner with friends Sunday night… Yes. My fortieth birthday weekend was just great. Throw into that delicious mix a heaping dose of sunshine and my longest run to date, and I feel deeply satisfied. Sore, tight, and exhausted, but so satisfied.
Yesterday afternoon my new friend Carrie, who is an old friend of my dear friend Marci, and who also went to high school with Handsome, invited me to join her for a long run, twice around Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City. I have needed a really good stretch out run, something deeply challenging, for a while. With unpredictable late winter weather and even more unpredictable life circumstances this past month, I was beginning to fall behind on my mileage for marathon training and had started to wonder whether it was even possible to be ready in time for the late April race date.
Well, yesterday’s run answered so many questions for me.
Carrie and I struck out early Sunday afternoon, and after about three hours and forty minutes we clocked 18.75 miles. (Yes, I am slow. I had to walk a few times, too.) My running buddy, who smelled fresh and shampoo-y the entire time, had to hold back to let me keep up with her and had tons of energy to spare. She rounded out her miles to about twenty after I had stopped at my Jeep, stretched against its steel push guard, then curled up in a fetal position on the sidewalk. She is amazing. I could write all day about that how she inspired me. Anyway, here are some things I learned on my long run yesterday:
- Yes, a full marathon is totally within my grasp. I have about six and a half weeks left to prepare, and I feel super confident after yesterday. I’m ready to fork out the mulah to be part of OKC Run to Remember.
- But from now on I will ramp up to those long runs a bit more slowly. Because 18.75 miles is exponentially more challenging than 8 or 9 miles, which before yesterday was the most I had run since the Half last April. Yikes, you guys, it didn’t seem like that much of a difference in my brain, but it is. Carrie pointed out with measured concern in her voice that it was an increase of 100% in one day. Maybe not my smartest move.
- I need new shoes. My super cute white-and-turquoise Brooks which have carried me so faithfully around a zillion west pasture laps… Well… They are breaking down quickly. Also, running on concrete and asphalt is a far cry from running on sand and grassy hills, so that’s even more reason for new shoes before the Marathon. Ouch. More mulah forking over to do. Yay for birthday money!
- Starburst candies make me sick to my stomach but those little sports beans are so good. I plan to stock up. The tiny dose of electrolytes made a noticeable difference when I was ready to quit. Which, by the way, is a pretty hilarious concept when you are running twice around a lake. There is no quitting unless a helicopter comes to rescue you. Which would be really embarrassing. Thank you for sharing your sports beans, Carrie!
- I am a music runner for sure. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Carrie and getting to know her as we jogged, but my brain is so geared toward zoning out with music that without it I was acutely aware of every single step I took, not to mention my microphone-loud breathing, and I think that made the mental journey much longer.
- Apparently I care about my speed more than I have wanted to admit, but at this point in the game I am just going to focus on finishing my first Full. Maybe in the future I’ll work on speed. (LOL Yeah, right. Maybe I’ll give up Diet Coke and chips and salsa, too.)
- Running isn’t always fun, and it’s okay to be emotional. Until yesterday, running was lots of fun. Now it is mostly fun. I had at least three moments when I was questioning my motives. I had to articulate them to myself all over again just to keep going. Then, between miles thirteen and sixteen, I started having bizarre mood swings which ranged from minor irritability to full-blown ticked off. I do not know who I was angry at. On top of the Lake Hefner dam is a rock retaining wall where several people were sitting, just gazing at the water below them. I felt like pushing them off, over the edge, just real fast and mean. Why aren’t you running?? I wanted to scream. That’s terrible! I’m sure they’re all nice people and didn’t deserve that. In fact, everyone on the trail was so nice, especially Carrie. Then the last two miles I was on the verge of tears the entire time. Suppressing those tears probably required as much energy as moving my legs. So next time I will probably just allow them to flow and give all my energy to moving forward and not pushing random people off of rock ledge retaining walls. (For the record, it was a violence-free day. Everybody please calm down.)
- Recovery snacks should be light and controlled. I was famished after running that far and especially after passing the row of luscious lake front restaurants serving pasta, steaks, and other amazing, fragrant foods. After stretching for a while and collapsing in a fetal position on the sidewalk, I crawled pathetically up the passenger door of my Jeep to excavate the snacks I had brought: a banana, a tiny can of pineapple juice, and more water. That is where I should have stopped. But instead I ate my emergency food, a single piece of wheat bread smeared with a little peanut butter. Then I sat there for a while, cooling down, and when I felt steady enough to operate the stick shift tank, pulled away from the lake and stopped at a convenience store for a Diet Coke and salty almonds. MISTAKE. I felt super queasy right away. This over-snacking totally ruined that light, buoyant feeling of having depleted myself so well, but at least I had the bodily fuel to drive forty-five minutes to the farm. Anyway, lesson learned. Eat slowly and eat light after those long runs. And maybe plan for someone else to drive you home. As with everything else in this discipline, pace pace pace.
I think that’s about it. I could really talk about this experience and this goal all day long, a fact to which Handsome will eagerly attest. But I know you have things to do and so do I. Thanks for stopping in at the Lazy W! If you see me running around Lake Hefner soon, send for a helicopter.
Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body.