Since last Monday, I have on five occasions made a mental note to update my blog. Each time, I have been unable to find the time to do it and as a result, we end up with a "super entry". Chronologically, I want to recap my struggle to take a day off from running, my rare run on a treadmill, a hilly race, a visit from my parents & Auntie Ann and a bloody post-workout fall. I will attempt to tell them in short story fashion for the sake of brevity.
Chapter 1: Days Off
I struggle with the concept of rest. I am aware my body needs it. Even my mind tells me I’m tired and to take it easy, but the obsessive compulsive in me fights back. I found myself in this situation last Wednesday. I had come off three straight weeks of 80 miles and had a race coming up. I hadn’t taken a day off from running in 30+ days. It was time. These situations always unfold the same way. Leading up to the planned day off, I bragged about it and built it up in my head. “I’m going to sleep in and eat a big breakfast,” I’d say to myself. “I’m going to go straight home and eat a big dinner, maybe watch some TV.” Then, Wednesday arrives. All day, I think about how great it would be to go for a run. Even though my ankle is feeling a little sore from a tweak on a hill workout the previous day, I consider doing just an easy five or six. Ultimately, scheduling saves me. I’ve already missed the morning run, and I don’t enjoy running in the evening heat. I compromise and do one hour of lifting instead.
Chapter 2: Dreadmill
Thursday morning was not a planned day off. I had 12 miles on my calendar, 6.2 of which would be a preview of Saturday’s race course. I woke up at 5:05am, roughly 36 seconds before the deluge. It was already lightning and the thunder was getting closer. Then, it started pouring. I don’t mind running in the rain. Heck, in this weather I love it. But, I do mind running in the lightning. I am constantly looking around to see if I am the tallest object in the immediate area. If I am, I freak out. Before I even had a chance to think about my options, I got a text from Lauren telling me to be careful and channeling my mom. I decided to drive to the Y, hoping that by the time I got there, the storm would have passed. I sat in the car for about 10 minutes before I realized that was not going to happen and if I wanted to get a treadmill, I'd better get inside quick. To make what was coming a little easier, I told myself I'd do 7 miles on the treadmill, then run again in the afternoon. Let me quickly explain why I only run on treadmills about twice a year. I fell off one in college. Not off one, on to one. It threw me off. Thankfully, into a pile of wrestling mats, but while it softened the blow to my body, it did not prevent the scars on my dignity. I got on the only available death machine and remembered my headphones were in the car. This was going to suck. Thank God for closed captioning. As the miles passed, I read the news on WBTV and took in my surroundings. When I got to four miles, I thought "Ok, I can do eight." When I got to eight, I told myself that if I could do 10.5, I could call it a day when it was over. So, that is what I did, thus completing what is unofficially the second longest treadmill run of my life.
Chapter 3: Drumlins
Technically, a drumlin is a smoothly rounded hill. For the purposes of this blog and for the sake of alliteration, it is just a hill. Saturday's 10K course was all drumlins, and what seemed to be very few valleys. I will be out of the country for Greekfest, so I decided to sign up for a rare 10K and see what kind of shape I was in. I explained my training in Chapter 1, so I knew I wasn't going to be fresh, but I didn't think a sub-34 was outside the realm of possibility. Despite ice baths, sticking and more stretching than usual (which is to say, I stretched), I woke up with still heavy legs. From the get-go, the race felt like an effort. Aaron paced me through the first two miles (5:14, 5:30), and Chris was with me through three miles. We went through mile three at 16:17, and after that I was hanging on. Chris and Aaron had dropped back and I struggled to keep my head in it. A runner from UNC Charlotte was a good bit ahead, and Allejandro was a good bit behind. I saw Billy Shue somewhere around mile 4.5 and thought about asking him to jump in to keep me company and keep me from slowing down so much, but for some reason I decided not to. I know he would of, because Billy would give you the shirt off his back. I didn't get the splits on the final 2.2, but they felt like a disaster. I ended up finishing second. My watch said 34:27, the gun time was 34:29. The chip time never registered. It's a one second PR, but I have run four 10Ks in my life. The first one was when I was getting back into shape and was somewhere in the 37s. The rest are 34:50, 34:30, 34:29. I think I am in a 10K rut.
Chapter 4: Dad & Mom
Mom and Dad and Auntie Ann all arrived the Friday night before the race. I love when they come down because I don't see nearly enough of them. My challenge is always finding new things to show them. I know they don't need to be entertained, but I like to entertain. Dad came to the race and met a lot of very important people. We spent Saturday afternoon at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which is pretty cool. It's one of those places I might not have made it to if I didn't have someone to take. We had to drag Auntie Ann out kicking and screaming. She wanted to go back through. Not really. There is a pretty cool NASCAR simulator in there. I crashed five times. After my 18 mile long run and church on Sunday, we payed homage to father dollar by hitting retail hot spots Concord Mills and Ikea. Note on Concord Mills. Their PR people get really upset when you call it a mall. I always thought that was kind of petty, but had never been there. Now, I have. It's a mall. We did lots of good Charlotte eateries. Cabo, Zada Janes, Yoforia and then Zio last night with Mary Brooks. I won't go in to detail, but if you ever meet Mary Brooks, you'll know why spending an evening with her was the highlight of my family's trip.
Chapter 5: Dumb Falls
I chose running as my sport because I am not coordinated. Throw a ball at me, and I will drop it. Give me a jump rope and I'll trip over it. Running is like walking, but faster. It's instinct. How can anyone screw that up? I'm here to tell you how. I hammered my way through a pretty challenging track workout this morning. Through the entire thing, near 5:00 mile pace, I managed to stay upright. However, with a half-mile left in the leisurely cool down, I was chatting with Jordan as we approached three trash bags on the left hand side of the sidewalk. I saw the trash bags, made note of the trash bags and yet somehow still managed to catch my foot on one and go tumbling into the concrete. You've fallen before, so you know how it feels. Everything happens in slow motion and defying physics, you manage to cut up spots all over your body. I have a cut on my ankle, my knee, my elbow, my side and my back. The latter three require dressing and Lauren has to do it because I can't do it myself. I thought taking that initial shower would be the most painful part. Well, it hurt, but when Lauren put hydrogen peroxide on for the first time, I thought I was going to go through the roof. For those of you keeping track at home, this makes my second bloody fall since Memorial Day. How many of those were on rooty, technical trails? None. Both on sidewalks.
Apologies for the epic, and if you made it this far, I suggest a good book.