Absence of Running

I’ll let you in on a little secret..

I’m not one of those people who just can’t wait to get up at the wee hours before dawn and run.

Most of the time on my runs, I count the miles I have left.

I run to eat.

I eat to run.

I’m not fast.

Running in the desert heat has been a huge struggle for me.

BUT. I can feel a change in my body and mood when I don’t run. I become lazy and start teetering on the brink of depression. I’m anxious. I mentally count every calorie and feel guilty about things I shouldn’t be eating.  I start comparing myself in a negative way with other runners/athletes I follow on Facebook and Instagram.

I took a couple days off because I had an “upper respiratory infection”. I’m not even going to lie; I didn’t mind having a reason not to run. I ran long on Sunday, begrudgingly, and even more so because I had to start earlier than normal. It was okay… not great, not defeating. Just.. a run. So for the past couple days, I slept, a LOT, and didn’t actually miss the getting out to run part that much.

This morning I Skyped with my husband, which is a usual thing on Wednesdays, so I decided to run this afternoon. It was 79*, HUMID (67%), and super sweaty, but it was good. My pace was “slow”, but since I got the run done I really didn’t care.

During a run like I said I’m usually counting down the miles if Nike+ isn’t doing it for me. I’m trying to control my breathing and my stride. I love it when I run early and can see my shadow on walls or my reflection in windows… I look strong, fit, unstoppable. I’m usually the only person running when I’m out and I own it.

When I get home from a run, I’m so glad it’s over. But I love that I have a good reason to take a hot shower, to eat some food and stretch. I don’t know about you, but it feels weird to stretch when I haven’t done anything! If the run is less than 6-7 miles, I feel energized. I feel proud that I can post proof of my run. It feels good that I got through the mental battles of “Should I run or not?” and “This part of El Paso is not pretty at all, and it stinks like dog crap.”

I wish I could be one of those runners

that just can’t wait to get out there,

that gets crazy taper madness (I so look forward to resting more in those weeks before a long race!),

that goes crazy during “zero week” (I enjoy every single minute of it!!),

that has energy to cross-train after running or on rest days….

but in a very strange way, the absence of running does make my heart grow fonder.

 

 

A mild setback

So, I kinda sorta thought I would run the New Mexico Texas Challenge Half or Full.. I think it’s gonna be the half. I ran a couple times this week, but as soon as I stepped off to run yesterday morning, my right knee was hurting. Not a 10 on the infamous “pain scale”, but enough that I couldn’t run on it. I walked back to the house, feeling utterly defeated. It’s like the world heard my proclamation on the interwebz that I WAS GONNA RUN A LOT, MAYBE AN ULTRA, AND ALL ELSE BE DAMNED. But that’s okay, it just means that I need to stretch, maybe slow down, and not run too many miles all at once. Derp.

Of course, this would happen on the same day I get my bee-you-tee-ful new NB Minimus in the mail… srsly. They are gorgggg. (Just kidding, I don’t say gorggg.)

This is unrelated, but I’ve had a revelation about social networking. I’m DONE with following or responding to negativity online. I get enough of that just by being a human on  Planet Earth; why in the world would I subject myself to it of my own accord?? I’m going to be pruning down my newsfeed(s) for sure.

Streaking!

…or, as others would call it, the Runner’s World Holiday Run Streak. I did another run streak in the summer which spanned 38 days from Memorial Day to 4th of July. I was successful in running 36 out of the 38 days, 83 miles in total (average of 2.3 miles per day). This one is 41 days long, beginning on Thanksgiving and going through New Year’s Day.

This means that we have to run on all the holidays, in Illinois and in Fort Worth when we’re there for the World Missions Summit. When I was home in June I ran every day, so there’s no reason why I can’t do the same thing over Christmas.

I have to say, running and I haven’t really been the best of friends recently, but I get up in the mornings to take Missy for a pre-dawn walk so what’s the big deal in putting on my running shoes instead?

On Thursday we’re doing the El Paso YMCA Turkey Trot downtown, with the parade to follow afterward. I think I should sign up for another 5K shortly after the run streak is over; I PR’d the last day of the summer running streak with a 5K time of 27:08. Can I do it again? We’ll see… Who knows, maybe this will motivate me enough to sign up for the El Paso Half Marathon…

Work Out Wednesday and Adjusting Goals

I had a great workout today. My body was thanking me as my fat cells were crying for dear life. We’re down to one car right now (maybe even semi-permanently) but it’s not all bad. I reluctantly had the day off today, but Aaron worked a half day. So, I took him to work and then headed over to the gym for a 1:30 workout. I haven’t had one that long since I did my 8.6-mile run a couple weeks ago. At least, I think it was a couple weeks…

I started by running/walking on the treadmill. I go to the cardiologist on Friday. My internist said no runs over 2 miles… heh. Whoops. I say, Screw that! I probably should heed his advice. BUT. But. I have a half marathon that’s paid for coming up in two weeks. Even if I don’t race it, at the very least I can run it… ANYWAY. I got this little idea in my head that I’d run 6 miles on the treadmill. I got 2.5 miles in and saw that there was a spin class about to go down. So I hopped off that thing and into the spin room.

With Computer Keiser M3 Indoor Cycle Stationary Indoor Trainer Exercise Bike
We get to ride on these.

It was an amazing workout. I sweat like I pig but I didn’t care. It was worth it. If the display is in miles, I “rode” 17-18. WOW. About five people left during the class and you can tell the instructor looked amused and confused. But I stayed the course and rode my little heart out.

I’ve been pondering taking a break from really long distances (14+ miles). I guess my heart thing kind of made me start thinking about it. I weighed myself at the gym, which is usually a more accurate scale, and it said 165. That’s definitely at the TOP of my personal “acceptable” range. I weighed in on the same kind of scale at 152 back in January. That means a weight gain of 13 pounds. Now, it’s no where near what I used to weigh, but it’s still an increase and I can tell some of my clothes, specifically pants, fit tighter.

I think one of the culprits is the mental part of long distance running. I have a hard time balancing my nutrition when running 14, 18, 20 miles. I think, Oh, I just burned 2500 calories on a run so now I can eat whatever I want. Ehhh. Not so much.

After the half in January, I want to focus on more short-distance races, like an 8K (4.97 mi) or 15K (9.3 mi). I love those distances; just enough to challenge me but also training for them doesn’t take soooo many long runs. I also want to have time to focus more on weight  lifting. Yes, real weights, not the machines. I just have to take the plunge into the male-macho-dominated weight room.

Since I’ll be taking Aaron to work, on Tuesday and Thursday when I work in the afternoons I can go to the gym straight away after dropping him off. I’ll be able to get a good workout in, and maybe even do a group fitness class if the schedules coincide.

So…. barring what the doc says on Friday, Aaron and I are planning an 11-miler for the weekend. Uphill. Both ways. In a blizzard. Haha, kidding about the last two parts, but maybe uphill. Snow? Heck no. It’s gonna be in the 60’s!

McKelligon Canyon, I will again make you bow to me.

Week 1: Half Marathon Training

So, even though I haven’t really felt  like running this week, I have been doing it. A little.

Monday: Off.. camping in Carlsbad!

Tuesday: 2 mi around the neighborhood

Wednesday: 7.55 miles on the bike at the gym

Thursday: a horrendous 3.5 mi run on the ‘mill… had to stop multiple times, and our gym doesn’t have large fans and so I just sweat without it evaporating. Yuck. And at 6:30 in the morning I’m one of the only civilians in the midst of sweaty soldiers.

Friday and Saturday: off

Sunday: 4.22 mi around the neighborhood with Aaron.. found a nicer part of this side of town to run in. Not that our block is gross or anything… we’re just on the border of an industrial part of town.

Total: 9.79 miles of running; 7.55 miles of cycling

That’s 10 more miles of running per week than what I was doing.

Slowly but surely I’ll get there!