Ahhh just as September is winding down, Oklahoma is finally tiptoeing sideways toward fall. Slowly. Cautiously, so as to not scare it off. The mornings are as often cool as they are warm, and a little bit at a time the humidity is abating. Running this past month has been a hot and sweaty endeavor, so this slight relaxation is welcome. Not that I’m not really complaining about hot running conditions; we all know that pushing through it makes us stronger. Plus, sure… Who doesn’t want weird runner tan lines, right? Bring it.
Okay a little September recap then below a few lessons that this month has reinforced for me:
8/29-9/4: My guy being home from the Commish all week for his birthday and then the long weekend for Labor Day meant a little less running than planned and plenty of great meals, cuddling marathons, you name it. I enjoyed every speck and somehow wrapped up that week with 32 miles I barely remember running. Oh hey, does time traveling to the eighties count as cardio? Okay cool.
9/5-9/11: This was the week following a pretty decadent and restful staycation, and I remember feeling refreshed to run off some of that indulgence. It was also the week Jocelyn turned 21 and we first heard the hard news about Chunk, so my emotions were all over the place. Running was my great regulator throughout this 33 mile week. Very grateful for the way this daily ritual helps me physically and emotionally. Sweat it out, man.
9/12-9/18: This was the week I stayed extra busy with deep housework and fun changes inside the house, which most days curtailed early morning running. So I really felt the heat of summer getting outside in the afternoon! ha It’s also the week my long run was split between 9 miles at CCT then 7 at home, and I wasn’t at all sure I could finish. There’s something tricky about re-mustering that energy, you know? But when it was over I was elated. Do you ever split your workout like that? Either by choice or necessity? Total mileage this week: 34.
9/19-9/25: This past week was really great. Monday through Wednesday I ran hard several times, rested like a pro on Thursday evening, fed myself really well, then knocked out 18 miles alone early Friday. I bother to say “alone” because it’s good feeling to do this without organized water stops, crowd support, etc. I felt lots of inner motivation bubbling up and carrying me through, and we all know how that is just as important as the physical ability to run. It’s just plain satisfying. Total mileage this week: Exactly 40. Plus lots of abs and yoga.
Lessons Worth Remembering:
Eat! Eat good, nutritious foods, especially on the day before and the morning of a long run. My favorite fuel foods lately are plain, sticky white rice, baked sweet potatoes, wild rice-quinoa combo, whole wheat toast with peanut butter, and oatmeal. Lots of eggs, fish, meats, fruits and veggies after running.
Ice bath and Stretch! I got home from that 18-miler and plunged myself into our pool (slightly green now and already icy cold!), and just sat there until I was numb. Then every time I sat or stood still the rest of that day I made a point to do leg and hip stretches. Handsome did give me a quick and agonizing calf and hamstring rub Saturday night, so he wants credit for me not being sore. But I’m here to tell you it was the ice bath and stretching. : ) If he wants to keep trying to get better that would be ok. ha Truly though… this was the first time I felt zero pain and zero soreness after a challenging week like that. Not even in my hips. Feels pretty great, so ice baths with stretching are now a ritual.
Positive Thoughts Only! I think that speaks for itself. Let’s add to this the reminder to smile. Physically choose to smile when you start to feel weak or tired or bored or whatever emotion/sensation might tempt you to stop running. Smile with you whole face. Shake your head a few times, wiggle your arms, switch your music, etc. Stay above-board and pull yourself off of that slippery slope of negativity. (Does this apply to all parts of life? Yes.)
Practice Gratitude: On a couple of long runs in September I had to quit early for safety reasons, and I was beyond annoyed. Cranky for sure. So after those days, for every single mile I was able to finish I actively gave thanks in order to feel happy with what had already been accomplished. Like, if I have to stop at the next lap, I am so thankful to have finished this many miles today! Or, if I go ahead and run just one more, at least that will be one more I don’t regret losing later! It’s crazy how effective this mental strategy can be. Bonus points? Every single time I did this I finished the prescribed miles with abundant energy to spare. MAGIC. (Does this also apply to all parts of life? Again, yes.)
Looking Forward to October:
As I type this on Sunday evening I am quite sick. I worked out this morning (sprints on the treadmill then strength), showered, and ate some good breakfast. Felt fine. Then around midday I hit some kind of brick wall. I ran a fever out of nowhere, ached all over, crushing headache, and it felt like my eyeballs were about to pop out of my skull. So it’s anyone’s guess whether I will wake up feeling awesome or terrible. I’m hoping for healthy because this week has 44 miles on the plan and lots and lots of good outdoor work every day. The weather changes invite so much good beekeeping and gardening progress. Stay tuned for news about a possible honey extraction!
The cooler, drier weather should make October running such a refreshing pleasure. We are about to cash in on all that summertime suffering, friends, maybe even see faster paces. We will also be enjoying the gradual color change week after week, something I love dearly. Three cheers for Oklahoma trails.
Thanks for reading, and happy early autumn to you!!
Smile & Run the Mile You’re In