Race, Running Rut, Redemption

Since my last post, I’ve run a whopping three times. I forget why I skipped my runs on that first Sunday and Tuesday. It was probably stress and exhaustion. I don’t feel 100% yet from my bronchitis that started a few days before the marathon. I still have a cough and feel extra tired all the time, but I’m starting to think that’s stress rather than illness or allergies. Work is…not great. I won’t elaborate but I’m not really that happy and I don’t feel like I (or others) am being treated well or compensated correctly. So, that’s really making me pretty miserable for 45+ hours a week.

When I get home, I’m exhausted. Mentally and physically. So I’ve been slacking on running. I know, I know – I should get up early and run before work. I just wanted Chip to settle in before I started doing that. It sounds easy but it means walking him like an hour earlier than normal, then leaving him alone right afterward. If my brother is still home sleeping, Chip’s 5am barking is going to be pretty obnoxious. So, I haven’t quite figured that out yet. It will work on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, but I like to run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

So anyway, that Wednesday run. It was hot. So hot. 84 degrees and humid hot. I brought water with me but all that did was give me stomach cramps. I was less than half a mile into my run and saw a bad accident. A bicyclist was hit by a car. I didn’t see the accident but saw the cyclist on a stretcher and it looked bad. I made it about another 3/4 of a mile until I had to stop and walk. I was pooped. Hot. Sweaty. Miserable. I walked probably 5 more times in my 3.2 miles, averaging a miserable (for me, lately) 10:44 pace but stopping my watch when I walked so it was probably more like a 15:00 pace. I got home and took a cold bath but felt sick for the rest of the night.

I didn’t run again the rest of the week. It remained hot and I had no interest in doing that to myself again just yet. On Saturday, I went out and had a few cocktails but no food, so when I woke up at 5am on Sunday, I knew I was in trouble. I chugged Gatorade and water and took Advil and went back to sleep for a few hours, but I got to the Harpoon 5-Miler feeling not-so-great.

20170521_112042However, I ran my best race ever! Technically my 9:33 pace was slower than my Super Sunday 5K 9:29 pace back in February 2016, but that was only 3.1 miles and at just 4 seconds slower but 2 miles farther, I’m going to call this a brand new PR. Jess and I ran together for about the first 3.5 miles. We were cruising but feeling good, but it felt hot. I was drenched. At the last water stop, she told me she was going to walk and to go on without her. It felt like Boston Marathon Mile 10 all over again, but no judgment 🙂

I picked up some speed for the next half-mile and upon seeing myself at Mile 4 with just under 40 minutes on my watch, I wanted to take off. So I did! I ended up running the next 0.95 mile in 7:52! But because it was not a full mile, my watch doesn’t count it as any sort of record. But I know it was and that’s all that matters. I ended up with an overall 47:44 time. Many beers were drunk and very little food was consumed, so I got home around 4pm totally wasted. I walked Chip and then we went to bed, waking up around 8pm with a solid hangover. But it was a fun weekend and a great race, so all worth it in the end.

20170521_111334

Except I didn’t run again for 10 days. I slacked off all week again, blaming work stress. I brought all my running gear to Vermont, planning to enjoy some free time and take in some scenery at Smugglers Notch Resort for my friend MacKenzie’s wedding, but Cathleen and I indulged Friday night and then ended up soaking up the sunny, warm weather on our little condo’s back deck all day leading up to the wedding. I regret it now, but at the time I was happy as a clam. I planned to run Sunday when I got home or even Monday, Memorial Day, but ended up being a couch potato with Chip for 2 days instead.

After work on Tuesday, I made up my mind. I came right home, changed into running gear, then walked him. We played a little and then I left him barking his head off while I went to go run (note to self: he NEVER barks when I leave him with a Kong filled with treats and “sealed” with peanut butter).

20170530_192106I didn’t have a goal pace or distance. I just ran how I felt. I took a route I’ve only taken once before, and it was in the middle of winter on icy roads, so I wasn’t able to cruise down the hill the way I was able to last night. Man, was I fast! I ran an 8:22 mile thanks to that downhill! According to my Garmin – since it cheated me out of 5/10 of a mile during the Harpoon 5-Miler – congratulated me for my fastest mile ever. I ended up running 3 miles, with the last half-mile really killing me. I felt like throwing up, much the same as I usually feel during the last half-mile of a 5K because I’m racing.

Today, I met Katie from the DFMC team at the Harvard track for a speed workout. After a 1-mile warmup, she ran Fartleks and I ran 400s. We ended up finishing around the same time but she is much speedier so she covered more distance than me. I planned to do 6-7 400s but after so much time off, and no speedwork in weeks, I could only manage 4:

  • Lap 1 – 2:38 (8:15 pace)
  • Lap 2 – 1:57 (7:28 pace)
  • Lap 3 – 2:06 (7:54 pace)
  • Lap 4 – 2:04 (7:44 pace)

Not bad, but slower than I’ve been. And less consistent, too. I didn’t feel good at all during the workout. I worked from home today and thus was pretty sedentary and didn’t snack or hydrate much, though I ate really healthy and had some watermelon and a Gu right before I left, but definitely not enough water. It’s amazing how much not fueling/hydrating throughout the day affects me on a run. It has so much less of an effect on me when I run in the morning (case in point: running my best race while hungover) – whether it’s first thing with just a Gu in my stomach or a tad later in the morning when I have peanut butter on an English muffin and a cup of coffee.

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