February 16, 2008 at 2:23 pm
I need to start running with electromagnets strapped to my legs. Then when my MP3 player’s battery dies after 37 minutes, with 23 minutes of running left, I can power it myself. I’ll have lightning thighs instead of thunder thighs!
Today my half-marathon training group ran for 60 minutes. I have only run for that long once before. It was a Sunday in September. I ran 5 miles and I developed Achilles tendonitis shortly thereafter because I had increased my mileage too rapidly. Sixty minutes. The cast of Law and Order can investigate a crime, arrest a perp, and send him to jail in that time with an extra 16 minutes left dedicated to selling you erectile dysfunction pills. It’s a long time. It’s a long run. Looking at it coming up on the calendar freaked me out a little.
The only thing that freaked me out more was seeing my 10K run coming up in two weeks. Since my 5K and 10K were a month apart, I figured I had 4 weeks between them to prepare, but it’s actually only 3 weeks. I prefer to think of it as a 10K and not a 6.2 mile race because I’m American and we have no real concept of how far a kilometer is. Six point two miles, however, is scary. I know that’s a long run.
I ate a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast to fuel me and then I grabbed two Reese’s peanut butter cups from the bag I bought half-price after Valentine’s Day. I finally got down to my pre-Christmas weight this week and I decided to celebrate with chocolate. So now I get to do it all over again! While I’m all about healthy eating and fitness most of the time, I still like to eat recreationally the other part of the time. Last night I wanted chocolate, so I got myself some. After I finished two pieces, I decided to have two more. And then another three. And then some more until I’d eaten half the bag, at which point I thought, “Holy crap, I’m going to have to run for an hour while I’m digesting half a bag of peanut butter cups. Is there anyone stupider than me in a 5-mile radius? Probably only the pea-brained squirrels who will inevitably feed on my potential peanut butter puke, right?”
Luckily I did not vomit. I did have an urge to check my watch after the first minute, which is never a good sign. I forced myself to wait until I’d listened to 4 songs before checking the time. Dido started singing, “If you’re cold, I’ll keep you warm” in my headphones, the lying bitch. It was about 20 degrees out and I didn’t see her British ass on the Happy Fun and Fitness Trail holding an electric blanket for me. I got into a good pace and ended up running with about four people. We all had headphones on, so we didn’t chat. We went south on the trail. After about 10-15 minutes it gets less pretty and adopts a more urban, don’t-run-here-at-night atmosphere. As I got close to the thirty-minute turnaround point, I noticed a parking lot and a brick building behind a chain link fence on the left. “Hmmm, that looks really familiar,” I thought. “Have I been here before? Holy crap! That’s the roller derby!” I was running past the state fairgrounds where I attended the roller derby with my brother last weekend. We’d joked that I could run home on the trail if the car stalled. And now here I was, actually running to the roller derby and back (to the running store). It only took an hour. I wonder how long it would take on roller skates?
The run back was harder, as expected, particularly because my music player died right as my techno tunes were about to kick in and help me kick it up a notch. I ran past a pay phone that had a sign reading “Long Distance” on it. Well, no shit, AT&T. I didn’t need your big sign to figure that one out. I didn’t really need the big, red stop signs at every intersection urging me to stop either. Where are the “Keep going!” signs when you need them? I almost stopped to walk, but I kept running, only stopping for a short water break on the way back.
When I got home, I looked up the distance I’d run on Gmap Pedometer. I was aiming for a 12:00 per mile pace. This is called an “easy” pace because it’s 2:00 per mile slower than my goal for race day. It’s not actually “easy” to do. I ran for an hour, so I was expecting the distance to be 5 miles. In reality? 5.85 miles. Whoops! I was running about 10:15 per mile. While that speaks well of my athletic prowess and my body’s ability to run while digesting milk chocolate and peanut butter, it also means my concept of a 12:00 per mile pace needs some work. I’ve been running mostly on treadmills, which regulate pace for me. I need to get a better grasp of how fast I’m running or else I could run too fast on race day and wear myself out early.
Thank goodness for Internet-based mileage tools! I’m a lot less scared of my 10K knowing that I ran 5.85 miles today. I can throw another third of a mile on top of that and survive. Later on I went to the grocery store. As I was carrying heavy bags of two-liter sodas and boxes of yogurt up the stairs fairly easily, I remembered how hard it was for me to carry groceries into my old first-floor apartment when I was morbidly obese. The only steps I had to take then were the two up the front stoop, but I would be breathing heavily after carrying all my purchases inside. And now, I can run 5.85 miles in the morning and carry four loads of groceries to the second floor in the afternoon without collapsing. I only ran a whole mile continuously for the first time about two years ago. The human body is amazing. I’ve come a long way, and not just the 5.85 miles I travelled this morning.