I’m kind of a wimpy runner (and sometimes this makes me feel like I am not a real runner). I don’t like cold. I don’t do rain. Don’t even mention snow. When the weather is cold, I take my running inside to the treadmill. To me, the warmth outweighs the monotony. Luckily, Mother Nature decided to get off her butt and make spring happen. Now is the time that I transition from indoors to outdoors!
I have had a few outside runs this winter. We had a really nice day in January where I was even able to wear shorts (and blind everyone with my pale legs), and then there were a couple of training runs with Alexandra to get her ready for St. Malachi. Other than that, I have been on the treadmill, including my long runs up to 16 miles. All of that changed this weekend.
My plan was to run 18 miles on Saturday. Didn’t happen quite like I planned. I wanted to run in Westlake because I really like it there and everything is sidewalked, unlike by my house, but I was worried if something happened that I wouldn’t have anyone to call with Raymond being in class. I opted for running by my house. I carb loaded, hydrated, and rested, but when it came time to run on Saturday, it wasn’t pretty. I set off from my driveway and thought, “This isn’t so bad!” That was until I turned the corner of my street and was smacked in the face by the wind. It hit me so hard that my eyes were watering. I kept going and knew that the wind had to let up at some point. Not quite sure why, but then my legs started getting really heavy and I started getting dizzy. My ears were hurting from the cooler temperature and wind. I also had to make two bathroom stops. After all of that, I decided to pack it in and try again on Sunday. I was really mad because I only made it 4 miles and had to quit. 4 freakin’ miles and I needed to run 18! I started getting really down on myself but tried to push that out of my mind. I focused on the fact it was going to be even nicer weather on Sunday, and it would be another day’s rest and fueling.
Ahhh, Sunday morning. I felt pretty darn good, much more confident than I did yesterday. Since Raymond was home and planned on running too, we went to Westlake. I was already in a better frame of mind knowing that I was going to be running there. I parked at his old apartment complex because I pretty much know the routes that I need to run to get the necessary distance in. I stretched, put on my running belt, turned the music on, and I was off.
I was pretty pleased with myself when I didn’t get that weird leg tiredness and dizzy feeling, and the first two miles were pretty easy. Then I started running into the wind. My time dropped by almost 40 seconds per mile, and I was starting to get tired. I knew trying to pick up the pace and fight the wind was not the smartest idea, so I just went with it. The next few miles ticked by, and I could feel myself getting more tired. And I had to make my first bathroom break when I was almost at mile 7 (I hate when this happens on a run!). After my stop, I seriously considered calling Raymond to pick me up, but I knew I needed to get this run in. I just kept plodding along. And yes, it definitely looked like plodding.
The weather was a lot hotter than I expected it to be, and I was going through water quickly. My belt has two bottles that hold about 12 oz. when they are filled to the top, and I had to stop to refill them when I was at mile 11.5. I zipped through Heinen’s in Bay Village to fill them up and got some weird looks from people in the store. It was as though they had never seen a runner walking through there. Weird.
Anyway, I started back on my run, and it was gel time. I had been using them every 4 miles, and I was badly in need of some energy now. I felt like I was running on fumes. I choked it down, almost gagging in the process. I normally like the peanut butter gels, but they weren’t working for me today. I drank a lot of my water trying to get the taste out of my mouth. I planned to not do any more unless I absolutely needed them.
I got to about 13.5 miles and needed another bathroom/water refill stop. I made the mistake of stopping at Drug Mart and had to wait forever for someone to take me to the backroom to use the bathroom. While it was a nice little break, it was like starting over from the beginning, which was very difficult for me. The wind was also blowing like crazy, making it hard to get back into a rhythm.
When I made it to mile 15, I was happy and kept telling myself only 3 more to go! I didn’t feel completely depleted of energy, so no more gels for me. I kept on going, drinking water as needed (which was frequently). 16 miles done! Woohoo! I started getting really antsy at this point and knew I only had about 20 minutes to go. Those last two miles were the hardest ones for me, mainly because of the wind. I wondered whether or not I was even moving because it felt like I was getting pushed backwards. I started yelling about it, and I am sure I looked like a crazy woman to the cars driving by on Crocker Road. Then I realized that didn’t do me any good and only wasted energy.
Finally my watched beeped, and I was done! 18 miles in the sun and wind. I was not quite back to my car yet, but I stopped and walked the rest of the way. I had no more energy to run there. I started crying a little bit (like a wuss) when I was done because my body already hurt so badly. It’s obviously not used to running outside yet. And there were tears of accomplishment, too. This run was extremely hard for me, and I wanted to quit more than once. But I didn’t; I kept running.
I didn’t do as well as I had hoped when I set out today, but I guess considering this was my first outdoor long run since…oh…October, it could have been a lot worse. I finished 18.01 miles in 3 hours and 4 minutes (10:16 pace). I am anxious to see if I will improve next weekend when I have 20 miles planned. I also have my fingers crossed that it’s nowhere near as windy.
Before I finish this post, I would like to share some things I (re)learned this run.
- I ALWAYS dress too warmly. Today, I had on a running skirt and a long sleeve running top. I could have gotten away with a technical tee or even a tank top. Note to self – plan outfit and go one level down (ex: if I think I need a long sleeve running top, opt for a t-shirt). I was dripping sweat by mile 2. I think being so warm was one reason I was guzzling so much water.
- I need to find suitable replacement for gels when they aren’t agreeing with me. I’ve tried those energy blocks before, but I hate when they get all sticky on my hands. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
- People that call out to you from their cars are idiots. I am trying to push through a tough run here, and your catcalls do nothing but piss me off. Jerks.
- I have no idea why people who have a long/large driveway find it necessary to park across the sidewalk, especially when no other cars are in their driveway. It’s just rude to people who are trying to run, walk dogs, ride bikes, etc.
- Runners are awesome! I saw so many people when I was out today, and I loved how every single one I passed acknowledged me. I think it’s because we have a shared respect and camaraderie.
- I am stronger than I thought, and I need to stop doubting myself. I CAN do this!
AND for those keeping track, the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is 6 weeks away!!!!!
How did your Sunday (or Saturday) Runday go? Are you training for a big race? If so, which one?