Saturday, February 12, 2011

(Almost) Everything That Can Go Wrong Does Go Wrong...and I Survive!

OK, atheist friends, I've proven it. There is a God!!

Now, I'm a believer anyway, but I weren't, today's run would have converted me. Not because it was great, but because it was about the most horrible run I've had since starting this half-marathon training.

Why would a horrible run convince me of the existence of a benevolent Creator and Guardian? Here's my list of reasons:

1) (and this is a big number one) No cars or runners went by when I was squatting in a ditch by a bare and spiney bush at mile 11.6 of today's 14-mile run. I had toilet paper with me, I got my urgent business done, I got my pants pulled back into place...and though the cramping continued until the bitter end, I finished the run in time to make it to an actual toilet for round two (and even waved and smiled at two other runners and a couple walking their dog on the way; I don't think they suspected a thing).

2) I survived the chinook winds. Yes, the winds returned, just in time for today's afternoon jaunt. On the drive out, I watched numerous flags stretched like compass needles in the western blast buffeting us from the mountains. I ran into this headwind/sidewind for a good portion of this run. I was sorely tempted to skip the backroads and use the pass to Flatiron Athletic Club that Christine gave me for my birthday. But I didn't. I stuck it out. It was divinely-inspired determination that prevented 14 wind-free but excruciatingly dull miles on the treadmill.

3) I had purchased new shoes this week, trading in my Asics for a shiny new pair of New Balance 940s. In all the years I've been running I've never gotten wed to a particular brand of shoe. The salesguy at Boulder Running Company told me this is actually a good thing. I also told him about my foot issue, and he fitted me with a neuroma pad. I thought it was going to drive me crazy, but it helped--my right foot feels much better after this run than it has for a long time after a long run. I'm hoping the doc on Monday agrees that what I have is a neuroma, which would be much easier to deal with than something like a stress fracture.

4) In addition to surviving the wind, the foot and the intestinal problems, I also survived the muddy road, the puddles left by melting snow and the sun, which for the first time since the fall felt hot. I hate heat. But I made it.

5) I didn't run sub-9s in these conditions, but my inconsistent pace in the end averaged out to 9:04/mile. That's still good enough for a sub-2-hour half marathon (and according to the program all I had to do was hit 9:13). Which makes me happy, because it's quite possible today's conditions will be race-day springtime-in-Boulder conditions.

6) The nausea I felt after this run left me about 2 hours later (and after consuming lots of water and one difficult cup of hot chocolate). I had enough energy to bathe my monkey children, read them two Curious George stories and get them into bed. In a way, just getting this run done with Dan out of town was an accomplishment.

So in sum: it wasn't pretty, but I've been pretty lucky that most of them to this point have been pretty. I was probably due for a real challenge. That which does not kill us makes us stronger. After today's run, and a good night's sleep, I will definitely feel badass. And ready for a Sunday's rest.


  1. It's slugging through these awful runs that remind us how magical a good run can be (and provides the best anecdotes)!

  2. wow, awesome...except for the toilet biz. How are the shoes? Are you an overpronator? I am having knee issues, wondering if it's my shoes, the treadmill, the cross training workouts, or my age creeping up on me. Shoes seem to be the easiest fix right now.

  3. Very true, Kathy! Looking forward to this weekend!

  4. Hey Penny! Just saw your comment--it went to spam for some reason--won't let that happen again. I am a mild overpronator, and I'm sort of duck-footed. But that awesome due at BRC told me most people are both and that trying to change the way you naturally run could lead to problems--and since I'm lazy about things like that anyway I'm happy not to worry about it beyond shoes. I wouldn't think the treadmill would be particularly bad for the knees (concrete is surely worse....)

  5. Update: dragged my kids to BRC and was fitted with a pair of mizunos, and took a slow run yesterday and my knees felt (and feel) much better. Hope the trend continues. May never subject BRC to two largely unattended kids again.