Monday, May 27, 2013

Peppy and the hills--an exercise in blindness

This morning I gave in to the reality of central Texas in the summer and got out of bed before 4, to be ready to run by 5. This is the coolest time of day, and I have been miserable. I have written more than one email to my coach that sounded downright hopeless. I ended runs in tears from the heat. But every day I went again. Because the reality of running is that runners run. That’s all there is to it. Every day there’s a reason not to if we choose it.

So at 5 a.m., I was out the door, determined to do a sort of long run, which I have not had since Fargo. In some ways, that’s okay because I ran 13.5 miles only 9 days ago. But it wasn’t okay because the reason I hadn’t wasn’t recovery; it was heat. I took off with Peppy the pepper spray (don’t you name your pepper spray?) and my iPhone with my RunKeeper. RunKeeper defaults to keeping your phone on if you don’t turn it off, so I realized this is a great way to have an extra light on me in dark runs—the light illuminates from my waist band. I left the subdivision and turned toward Boonville Road, a busy street near us. I made a big loop, veered into some neighbors and managed 7.21 miles (YAY!) before I was done. It looks like I strained my IT band a bit from last week so I was slower from that and from being cautious since my runs had been so rotten, but today wasn’t about time; it was about endurance.

Now here’s the funny thing that reminds me that running is a mental sport. When you turn south on Boonville, on the 12 feet sidewalks on the side I run on, there is a pretty big slope. The first time I ran it, I was like, UGH! A HILL! So as I turned that way today I thought, “oh, a hill is coming.” Except I couldn’t see it. It was totally dark out. And you know what? I don’t remember the hill. I can’t tell you when I was on it. My RunKeeper informed me I ran over 300 feet of elevation today (quite a bit for this flat area), but I didn’t get worn on the hill or wish it would end.

Because I couldn’t see it.

I know there must be a lesson in that. It certainly proves that hills are harder on the mind than the body—at least small ones.

Since my last post I have signed up for another half marathon—and this one has hills. I chose Fargo partly for it being “fast and flat.” I chose the Kansas City Half on Oct. 19, partly to conquer my hills.

I trained in KC; I learned to run in KC; I overcame adversity in KC. Now I am going back to run a half—and you can’t run a flat course in KC. It’s not a flat city.

It makes me wonder how hard hills really are. I mean, the big ones definitely affect your body more and take strategy, but how come a couple weeks ago this hill on Boonville felt hard and today I didn’t notice it—even with a minor injury?

I’m so sleepy today I can hardly stand it, but it was worth it. My coach sent me to some exercises and I have been embracing/kicking my foam roller and therabands today, as well as hugging walls and making motions like a dog peeing. But whatever works.

My plan is to run every other day at dawn, a sort of longish run (about 10K) so I cam continue to keep my endurance and fitness, but not live in such a state of utter exhaustion. I’ll throw in another run somewhere but not at 5, and some speed work on the gym treadmills—as well as swimming and weights.

Today I went to Ross and tried on a loose size 8 dress and a fitted size 10—and they both fit. That’s why even in this miserable horrific weather with no good running trails, I will be out before dawn Wednesday with Peppy by my side.

Because it works.

The fruits of my labors

Yay for 7 miles!

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