Sunday, September 4, 2011

In which I run 6 miles for the first time

Adios August, it was quite a big month for me running-wise.

Coming into the month, the furthest I'd ever run was a 5K - 3.1 miles. Leaving August, I'm now up to 6 miles and in good shape to - finally - hit that 10K Columbus Day weekend. Seriously, it feels like it will never get here. That's one mistake I made, leaving myself too much time to train.

Anyway, because of a possible conflict with today, I made Tuesday my long run and struck out for 6 miles. I hadn't run since the previous Thursday thanks to Hurricane Irene, so my legs were in great shape. It was mid-50s, sunny and cool. Perfect running weather.

The run passed relatively quickly and when I stopped, there it was on my watch - 6 miles. My quads were a little stiff, but other than that, no sore knees. Pretty great.

Weekly running roundup:

  • Had a 4-mile Tempo run at the track Thursday that quickly disintegrated into a 4-mile-Just-Get-Through-It run. About 1.5 miles in I got hit with some serious abdominal cramps. Not sure why, as I didn't go or eat anything different before my run or even the day before, but regardless, they meant business.

    I stopped worrying about pace and just gutted it out. To make matters worse, not only was I suffering below the equator, I was also super sore upstairs. The previous day's bootcamp circuit was upper-body heavy and left me sore in the shoulders, triceps and lats. How sore? Like, I got a hug from my husband and let out an "Ah!" It was not the "Ah!" he was looking for.

  • Today was another 4-miler. Summer may be slipping away but the mugginess definitely was holding on and holding out this morning. It was strange, it was hot and muggy, but the moment the breeze kicked in I felt cold.

    One thing about losing a lot of weight: My body temperature is all sorts of screwed up. I am cold, often, even when it's August and 80+ degrees. I've taken to keeping a hoodie in the car for the times I go into the grocery store, where it tends to be Ice Station Zebra. I used to love Ice Station Zebra as I was always hot. Now, it's the opposite.

    Last week I was walking into the grocery store and a woman stopped me: "Thank God you have a sweatshirt on! I thought I was the only person crazy enough to be cold today." For the record, she looked to be in great shape. Score.

  • This morning I was sitting in my favorite spot in the living room, drinking a Diet Coke and reading the Sunday paper. I looked at the time: Time to get dressed and run. Most run mornings, this is the hardest part: Getting up and getting out. Trying to psych myself up I thought, "It's only 4 miles..."

    Later, on said run, I was doing my usual Thinking About Anything But Running routine and it hit me. I actually, honestly thought, "It's only 4 miles." A month ago, 4 miles was relatively formidable. And now, it's just another run.

    See, these are the moments I live for in this process. Sure, progress on the scale is great. But it's the little, everyday things like wearing smaller clothes or discovering your collarbone that get you. They sneak up on you and surprise you. They make you stop and think: It really is happening. You really have changed. You really did it. It's not in your mind. It is concrete and real and true.

  • Oh, and I ascended Little Bitch Hill in stride this morning, without even trying. When I run around my neighborhood there is a small, but steep, hill that is always within the first 2 minutes of my run. That particular stretch of road is not officially known as Little Bitch Hill - that's my own invention - although wouldn't that be cool if it was? ("Hey, how do I get to the elementary school?" "Oh, go straight up Little Bitch Hill, bear left and it's a half-mile on your left.")

    Regardless, I usually shift into a hill-running tactics when I hit it, but this morning, not thinking, I just ran it. I got to the top, in stride, surprisingly not winded and realized what I had done. If I had a flag I would have planted it.

    So now that the calendar has moved to September it's my last full month of 10K training. My training plan calls for lots of miles this month, an uptick in running days from 3 to 4 and, gulp, two 8-milers. If I'm training for a 10K, why am I running 8 milers? I have no idea. But this piece of paper has not steered me wrong yet, so I soldier on.
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