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Sunday night I was trying my hardest to impress Michelle with tales from my 17 mile training run.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t buying any of it.  As much as she tries to care and get excited along with me, I can tell that she’d rather talk about grass growing.

One thing she did say was “So, a 10-mile run must be nothing to you now.”

Before I started training for a marathon, I thought the same thing.  I assumed that among the benefits of marathon training are:

  • the ability to run a 5K in < 21:00
  • the ability to run 10 miles as if it were 1 mile
  • weight loss without really traying

The reality is:

  •  I’m not that much faster than I was before.  I’m more consistent, but overall not much faster.
  • 10 miles doesn’t seem as long as it once did, but it’s still tough
  • I haven’t lost a pound through the past 8 weeks of training.  I think I’ve actually gained weight.

This morning, I thought more about what Michelle said and came up with my very own 5 stages of every run.  No matter the length of my run, these are the five major mental and physical stages that I seem to hit.  Some of them can occur more than once.  Sometimes they last for 10 seconds, other times 20 minutes.  No matter what, I know that each run, no matter the length, will have these stages:

  1. God damn this hurts:  feet hurt, knees hurt, hips are tight. Generally this happens when I’m starting a run and when I’m nearing the end
  2. Thinking deep thoughts: I’m still aware of my legs moving, but my brain is mostly focused on other things - it could be a problem @ work, the toast for Ted’s wedding .. any variety of things.  This is the part of the run I enjoy the most.
  3. I hate running:  I think this @ least once every run.  I lose my form.  Each step is an effort and I just want to be done.
  4. How in the hell did I get here?  Generally, occurs after Thinking Deep Thoughts.  Myy brain just shuts down.  It doesn’t last long, and I wish it would happen more often.  During this stage I’m not aware of my legs moving. 
  5. Look @ the pretty flowers:  the part of the run where everything is just working and I’m aware of it.   I get to run by some beautiful scenery. My brain isn’t thinking about work.  No problems exist.  I’m just running and enjoying my surroundings.  Close to “How in the hell did I get here?”  but in this one, I know what’s going on. 

Mentally, today was tremendous.  Keith and I ran for nearly 2 and a half hours and with a little more water, I felt like another 3-4 miles would have been possible w/out too much effort.This morning definitely gave me the confidence that I’ve been lacking during this training.  Apparently the hours spent on the Service Rd, the track and in Hyannisport is starting to pay off.

I was about 20 minutes early this morning so I spent that time warming up around the parking lot.  By the time Keith arrived my legs were loose and my breathing was relaxed.

Our plan for the day was a the 5-mile JK loop, followed by miles on the track, ending w/ another 5-mile JK loop.

We ran the first loop nice and easy – finishing in about 44:00.  At the track we did 2 miles @ 8:25 pace, stopped for water, and then did another 3 miles in 8:20 pace.  The running felt effortless, but I was in desperate need of a change of scenery.

After a little more water, we were back on the road running the JK loop in the opposite direction.  As usual, Keith was @ least 10-20 seconds ahead of me, and as usual I reminded myself to run the pace that was comfortable.  We finished in about 44:00 – nearly the same time as our first 5 miles.

Some things that I noticed while on the run:

  • after 15 miles, my left hip started yelling @ me
  • right around the same time, my left knee and shin decided that it wanted to talk to me, too
  • my right shoulder got tight
  • watered-down gatorade makes me happy

The knee and hip issues were easily resolved by sliding over to the other side of the street and spending some time running on the grass.   The shoulder tightness is a little bit different.  I need to start doing some more upper body work to strengthen that shoulder.  Looks like I’ll have to dig out the dumbells tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow – it’s a day off from running!!!

At least that’s how it seemed as I was slogging through a 2-hour Saturday morning run.

I must have seen 300 runners out and about around the Mall and on a bike path leading to Reagan National Airport.  I think the majority of them were with a group called .  Some of them were following a Galloway-type method.  I overheard a lot of countdowns (5 – 4 – 3 – 2 -1) and walk breaks.  The bunch that I saw wearing red were by far the happiest.  They seemed to be the ones taking the walk breaks and they were all happy – too happy to be runners, if you ask me. 

Is that what the Galloway Method does for you?  It makes you smile and happy to be out there?  What’s the point of that when you’re running?  I’ve gotten very used to grimacing, frowning and appearing generally pained while running.  I’d hate to have to change my image.  Michelle and the kids expect me to look pissed off when I run.

Today is a much-anticipated day off.  I ran the past 5 days straight, two with Keith who regularly pulls me out of my box.  Last Saturday was 14 miles through Washington, DC (more on that later).

My legs are tired and on our second loop through Hyannisport yesterday, I felt a twinge in my right knee.  It feels fine today, but I have a feeling that was my body telling me to slow down just a little bit – there’s still 8 more weeks of training.

So long Loop Beach – see you Tuesday.  We’re off to Washington, DC for a wedding.  I already have a 4 out for some Saturday morning repeats.

This morning marked my third trip to the Service Rd for a training run.

Keith and I met @ 4:45am for a 90-minute run. That’s right – 4:45am. It was dark. I was tired. If Keith wasn’t such a badass I would have been a little scared. Seriously, I should start carrying pepper spray when I run. I’m like a little girl out there by myself – looking over my shoulder, looking in the woods, making sure no bad people are coming after me. God, when did I become such a pansy?

From Keith’s house, we ran 45:38 out to Story Lane – right after Exit 4. After a short water break, we ripped through the return trip in 41:30. Each mile on the way back was quicker than the previous. My last three miles were covered in 8:25, 8:10, and 8:00.

Keith was @ least 10 seconds faster than me. When I was running 8:10, he was running 7:50. He’s gotten so fast over the past six months. I don’t know if Keith is 55 yet, but the Boston qualifying time for 55-59 is 3:45 – if he stays healthy, he’d be able to beat that. Even if he’s under 55, the qualifying time of 3:35 is definitely something he could handle.

Some other highpoints from the run:

  1. Rick joined us on his bike for the last couple of miles. He’s in physical therapy and will be able to start running again on 8/31. Rick – if you’re reading this – run New York next year. Take some more time off.
  2. the hills are getting a lot easier. I’m thinking about making the Service Rd a weekly, or @ least once every two weeks run

This mornings running route

Jim Rhoades is faaa—aaassst.  He (and company, presumably) already has the pictures from Sunday’s Falmouth Road Race posted to his site. Road Race – The Image Gallery

One of the photographers caught me near the finish line.  I’ve seen better pictures of me – no idea why my tongue is sticking out like that, and I’d probably adjust my shorts next time …

Johnny Kelly finish - 2005

Seriously – look @ that form! DAMN! With that #62, I could almost pass for an elite.

So, the plan was to run 90 minutes this morning.

20 minutes down Old Post, I stopped to tie one of my shoes – that’s when the hunger pangs started, and that’s when my mind took over and convinced me that I had no business running 90 minutes.

I was able to successfully convince myself that:

  • I didn’t drink enough water yesterday
  • I didn’t eat enough food this morning
  • a 10-mile run after a race isn’t the best thing in the world to do

I’m such a friggin wuss.  The first 20 minutes of the run were great. They were slow, but I wasn’t planning to run faster than 9:00 pace.  One loose shoe lace threw me completely off my rthymn and had me heading for home.

I did suck it up a little bit and ran 6.5 miles.

The first run after a race is always anti-climactic for me.  Monday was a day off, and I’m scheduled to run a 10-miler this morning. 

Mentally, I don’t feel into it.  I know that this feeling will pass in a couple days (maybe even a couple of miles), but it’s always tough jumping back into training after a race – especially one as emotionally draining as Falmouth.