Wednesday, March 27, 2013

PRs, Long Runs, and Miles of Runner's Highs

I started this blog when I went back to running, but I didn't keep it up. I thought I should write when I hit 5 miles. Then it was 6. At 7 I was really thinking I was behind in recording the nuances. 8 came and went, then 9.5, which I did a week ago, setting my new all-time running record. In between I ran two races and had negative splits in the first one and PRed in my second. I meant to write.

Today I hit 10 miles. Double digits. Broke my record. I look in the mirror after these long runs and just say, "you are amazing." No arrogance. I'm not doing anything all that notable to most runners, but that this body can run 10 miles is amazing. My body is amazing. It's still got too much weight on it. And my back hurts after 8 miles. And I don't run fast. But I run. Every step. I don't walk. I am a runner. I really am. I'm committed and dedicated and love it. And it's changed everything.

My schedule is driven by my runs. I won't change a run for social time. My run is the most important thing I "do" each day. It's not the most important thing in life and it's not the most crucial part of everything, but of all available outside time, my run gets priority. I got to work with running tights on underneath so I can do a SuperGirl act in the car and stop at a new trail wherever I am in the city.

I run in wind, rain, snow, sleet, and soon in heat. I run because I am a runner. Runners run.

I said a couple entries ago how I never "got over" running. It always felt like the one that got away. I got it back. I am happiest when I am running. I was before and I am now. So much is unsettled, and so many changes have come. I am at the tail end of a year that brought many things it shouldn't have (as well as some good ones). But I found running. I got it back, and that makes it worthwhile.

In less than 4 months, I have exceeded where I was in those prior years of running. It takes dedication but it doesn't take athletic ability or skill. It's easy but it's hard. It feels amazing but it hurts. It's something I have always paralleled spiritually and to life. The lessons I learn on the road, whether in a short 40 minute run of a 2 hour run, those lessons are reality.

I'll leave you with a promise to update more and some random thoughts from my ten-miler today:

1) It's easier to do long runs in new places. Today I knew many places I might try would be filled with snow, so I was relegated to Indian Creek, which is a great place to run, but too familiar. Psychologically, it was much harder than physically because I always knew how far away I was and it "felt" far.

2) I know some people walk/run but I don't because for me, running is easy when it's the repeated action of the knees going up and down. As soon as I stop that action, it becomes hard to start again. It's almost reflexive in nature.

3) Singulair is amazing. Although I stopped hacking with albuterol, I wasn't getting deep enough breaths. I told my doctor I wanted Singulair and he gave me a prescription. I have ZERO trouble breathing now--which means I should pick up the speed, but on a long run, I am going for distance. I am just so GRATEFUL for medicine even though the ideal is to be totally off of it. I think when I am back in a humid climate that will also help. Mostly I need to strengthen my core more (and it's pretty strong) because my back hurts by mile 8 or so.

4) My favorite playlist only lasts me 7 miles. I really, really need new songs.

5) Pink Magic are my favorite shoes ever (even than that old pair of orange and white Reebok DMX that I never got over them not making again). The new Asics Gel Nimbus shoes are ugly and so I will wear Pink Magic and their siblings all year.

6) I LOVE running up that little hill that leads off the trail and on to Mission Blvd. with all the traffic. Running across that bridge to get to the park across the street feels like conquering the world or something.

7) Running on snow is so much better than in melted snow when you can't run around it--and spent the last two miles of the run with sopping wet feet.

8) The worst part of a long run is having to fuel during it. There are no easy answers. Energy gels, Powerade, sport beans, all of it is gross while running but absolutely necessary. Same with water. I need to start planting it because I hate carrying it but fuel belts are worse.

9) An hour after I got home I had a residual runner's high and started crying because I was so amazed at how far I've come.

10) If you hate your body, start running. I don't mean to lose weight, though if you eat well you probably will. When you do things like PR a 5K or run 8, 9, 10 miles and you were the fat kid or the unathletic one, you come home and look in the mirror and see everything in a new light. My body is amazing. What's to hate? I just ran 10 miles. Throw out the therapy and inner healing, and go live. A few runs has done more for my self image than anything else could have.

I am a runner. I am amazing because I beat myself every day, even when all the other runners pass me on the trail.


  1. Number two. Yes!

    Number eight. I don't. You can make it without it. I've never stopped for water or gu, gel, etc during a race, and I always finish fine. You can, too! Farther than a half, you'll need something, but for 13.1, it's do-able.

  2. I have to fuel. I never STOP to do it but after 6 miles I feel it. Remember, I am also dieting (so to speak). My daily caloric total is much less probably. I am a huge believer in listening to my body--and I have to fuel. I can go about 8 without it but I need water bad. But also I do this every day so the toll on my body is a lot more too. Generally the rule of thumb is after 10K you should fuel. The last run I needed something at 5, the run before 7. When my body says fuel, I do. And I absolutely have to for my best performance. Maybe if I ran less it wouldn't affect me so much. I think number two is a key to success. Too many people walk so much and I actually think it's counter-intuitive to the body. But again, I believe in listening to your body so I guess if you have to, you should. Of course, for beginners, you should walk/run until you build lung capacity.