It started as the desire to complete just one 10K to say I did it. A few weeks into my training, a relationship came to an end and I lost my job. Those training runs quickly became my best friends as I sorted through the losses and uncertainty. Now, more than 4 years, training for 5 half marathons, and one knee surgery later, the challenges I have taken on in running have helped me understand that I can take on, and conquer, whatever lies in my path ahead.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Accidental Mileage

Saturday, August 11

Just before 7 a.m. I strapped bandaids over the 4 blisters on my heels and toes resulting from a work shoes meets running from the subway incident, pulled on my shiny new Gel Kayano 13's (Asics) and headed out for 6 easy miles. The plan was to meet a friend doing 18. She started with her first 8 at 6 a.m., and I was to meet her for the middle miles.

The sun was just up, already nearly 80 degrees already (Day 4 of triple digits, day 3 of record breaking temps). There were people like my friend already drenched from an hour's running.

My friend is a machine, so even though she was going to do an easy pace for her, I knew that would push me a little. I arrived in time to do a mile warm up before meeting her. The plan was to head down a flat neighborhood road with bike lanes that ends in a flat park trail by the river. From the parking lot to the far end of the park trail and back is 8 miles. (don't think I quite realized this).

So, Mile 1 an easy out and back warm up mile at 10 min. My friend shows up, and we take off. Our pace ranged between 9:15-9:35 for most of the time we ran together. Miles 2-4.5 were down the bike lanes, with me doing some chatting and occasionally attempting to help her back off to my easy pace closer to 10. But she'd drift back to a faster pace and I would follow along without thinking. Mile 4.5 we reach the riverside trail - much softer. By this time of the morning, there's not only a constant flow of runners and bikers but a literal line of cars loaded with bikes, running gear, kayaks, and dogs trying to get to the park. Mile 4.5- 6.5 were through the park (with thankfully a couple of water fountains). Remember I only prepared for 6 total miles, but have now committed to the 8 mile out and back with my warm up mile thrown in. No water with me, no sport beans.

Passed my super runner boss at mile 6 - he saw me and said a pleasant hello. Brilliant career move, I tell you. Back to the paved road and my friend decided to do 1 more mile looping back on the riverside trail, so we part ways. And my pace immediately dropped back to my own long run pace. In fact I was soooo hot that I wasn't sure I'd make it. I ran 1.5, then walked for 2 minutes so I could run the final stretch of the run. As I started back up, a man caught up to me and startd chatting. He asks how I'm doing and I say "great." He says "I'm dying". So I fess up that I'm dying too on mile 9 of my 6 mile run. It's mile 20 for him. So he says he'll just run with me for this last part. He's training for Toronto. It's his 2nd running career. He did Chicago last year. He qualified for Boston. Me, I was just trying to breathe because he was back at that faster pace. I politely offered that I didn't want to hold him back, but no he'd hang back and finish with me.

I'm sore and tired. But it was really good to be pushed on my pace. The extra miles won't hurt (I hope).

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Weather Report

Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2007

oppressive (adj) Definition: hot

Synonyms: airless, close, heavy, humid, muggy, overpowering, steam bath, steamy, sticky, stifling, stuffy, suffocating, sultry, sweat box, torrid

Yep that about sums it up. Call me a baby if you must, but this week of stifling (or suffocating or overpowering or torrid) heat combined with air quality that's worse than bad has been more than I could handle. Just walking home from the dog park this evening had me struggling to catch my breath.

Last night I asked a fellow dog park frequenter how he was doing. He replied, "I'm doing my best to think of anything else to talk about besides how bad the weather is." Several long seconds of silence, shuffling feet, racking our brains followed. Then he said, "So how are you running in this?"

Singing the praises of the treadmill, that's how. Sure my super-running boss is going out on a shady trail tonight, but I got my tempo run done inside, catching up on #756 on ESPN and the SC primary plans on CNN. I started out with the best of intentions: early start to work, early exit to get on the trail before the worst of the heat, then work from home the balance of the day. Instead, a record was set for the highest low temperature, I had a flat tire (nixing the early start, and the heat index was over 100 by 11 a.m. Now I'm looking forward to Sat. a.m. when, even if it's 85 at 6 a.m., I'll be out pounding some pavement.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Trudging Along

Heat, extreme ozone levels, extreme smog levels, too many things going both weekend mornings to do a longish run - of course I stayed firmly planted inside. In spite of the lethargy, I did manage to do 3 miles outside on Sat. at a faster pace. Then I logged 3 more easy miles on the treadmill Sunday.

Looking forward to being back on the race training schedule.