Days 52-Long Run (18) and 53-Recovery #recipeforsuccess
After a swim workout; two, back-to-back speed workouts; and a rest day, mile 18 was upon us once again. Is it just me, or are our long runs at this point only 15, 18, and 20 miles? Who thought this up?
Due to the fact that I am a total creature of habit, a fan of regulated schedules/processes, and that I wake up about 90 minutes before I start running, I always set my clothes out the night before. When I wake up the next day, sometimes I’m right and sometimes I’m wrong. Today….I was right!!! It was 54 degrees when we started and I was finally going to be able to wear shorts on a long run, not to mention a short-sleeve shirt. Finally…this is the weather I love to run in. I feel so much freer in the spring/summer than in the winter with all that bulky clothing. Sometimes, when I am running unencumbered by excess clothing I even feel tall—all 5 feet and 1 inch of me!
I have described myself before as being “The Princess and the Pea” of running—I feel everything. Any little thing that is out of place drives me crazy—from the bottom of my socks not being perfectly smooth to my shirt sleeve being twisted under my coat. But most of all…I HATE when my hair is in my face, and this is generally why I look so attractive when I run (read with sarcasm)—because my hair is all pulled back and my very round face looks even rounder. Here was the fashion secret to my hair being completely off my face.
So after our photo shoot, we head out the door on what turned out to be a really great running route! I just have to take a moment to say, once again, that Christy P does such a great job of pulling our routes together. This one had a lot of my favorite elements—urban environment, outskirts of town, country running, and, of course….hills! Now, hills in and of themself are not my favorite, but I respect the hill and what it does for me as a runner. It is great training! And I feel like I am pretty good at running hills. I actually can pass people on a hill and not get passed by them on the way down. This is the one time when I am able to actually monitor my speed and it works for me. I must take a moment to give mad props to the craziest hill I have ever run over. Lovingly referred to as Mt. McKinley, this road in Traverse City connects the east and west sides of the peninsula. According to other bloggers in Michigan, “near the race’s midpoint, on McKinley Street, is a massive hill that doesn’t seem to end. Once you get to the top, it’s even steeper going down the backside.” The trade off? The grand and sweeping views of the bay from the top whether you are heading east or west is so beautiful!
Back to today’s run. For me, a lot of the “love” of running happens after the fact. When I am running a 1:58 400, at that moment, there is no love happening. I am exhausted—both legs and lungs burning. But as soon as I finish, and catch my breath, I “love” that I’ve either met my goal or just been able to run fast. In the moment, there is never a lot of love. And today’s run was no exception. I wasn’t NOT in love during the run, but I was crazy in love afterwards.
Some background….when I ran my first 25K several years ago, I could barely walk the next day. My knees were in such agony and I was afraid that I would never be able to run a half marathon or a marathon. So I started to do the run/walk training—after running a mile, I would walk a minute. I did this during all my training runs and my long-distance races. Eventually I changed it to walking every two miles, but that is still a lot of marathon race walking. When I started running with Christy P in October I stopped walking, and amazingly I started running faster! So on all our long runs I no longer take scheduled/planned walks. I walk on occasion, but I don’t spend up to 9 minutes walking during an 18-mile run, which I used to. And the amazing thing is that I have lived to walk about it (This is supposed to be a play on words-I lived to “walk” about, i.e., I can still walk. My husband didn’t get it, and the fact that I’ve explained it has perhaps made it lose its impact-assuming there was an impact to begin with. I don’t know, I thought it was incredibly cute and witty).
It didn’t really hit me until Saturday, the day after the run, but I couldn’t believe how great I felt!!! My right quad was a little bit sore but all-in-all it was almost if I never ran 18 miles the day before. I LOVED it! This, to me, is the equivalent of the universal question, “What is the meaning of life?” It was as if I have achieved a “zen” moment with my running. Beautiful, and not that far from a religious experience for me. To what do I attribute this success? Well, a lot of things, really—loosing weight, running with confidence, running with someone who supports and encourages me, a more regular stretching routine, and…..ICE!! Well, ice baths to be specific.
I had never taken ice baths until April of 2012 and those were in a very shallow shower. This was going to be my first ice bath in a tub.
This is what it looked like on my face. Don’t my lips actually look purple?
I was sooooooooo cold, well actually it was my feet that were cold, my legs didn’t feel too bad. Although, now that I think about it, perhaps my legs were not feeling that cold only in comparison to how ridiculously cold my feet were.
Oh! The other supercalifragilisticexpialidocious part about the run is that I DIDN’T HAVE ANY CHAFFING!! The Aquaphor worked wonders!!!!! I was so pain-free during the run that I didn’t even realize until after it was over that I was pain-free.
And the beauty about no chaffing pain? After a 15-minute freezing cold ice bath, I get to take a really long hot shower. Don’t worry, I didn’t take any pictures of that event.
So after a chaffing-free, 18-mile run; a good stretch session; and a 15-minute ice bath, the rest of my Friday and Saturday shaped up like this:
- Drank two cans of Mountain Dew and ate two bagels while my friend Amy came over to chat for two hours about life.
- Ate lunch at Mongolian BBQ and chatted about life for a few hours with my friend Jill.
- Loaded up my car at Running Fit with a selection of goodies to take to the two Traverse City Running Fit stores.
- Spent 4 ½ hours in my car driving up to Elk Rapids.
All-in-all, it was a pretty great weekend. It started off with an 18-mile run, followed up with 4 hours of girl talk with two incredible women, and topped off with some wonderful family time. I hope whatever shape your weekend took, it was a recipe for success with equal parts happiness (Again, my husband said, “If something is going to be equal parts, I am thinking it is equal parts happiness and equal parts something else.” I told him that in my mind there are several different kinds of happiness and those were the equal parts for me, i.e., happiness with feeling good after a run, happiness with no chaffing, happiness with being with my family and friends.” I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me? No, it’s got to be him. Right?)
Carry on friends, carry on.