Writing and running in Austin, TX.
Yes, I know, it’s been forever since I updated. Contrary to popular belief, I have not in fact stopped running. I just took a temporary break from blogging about running. The truth of the matter is that life got in the way. I blame the marathon.
See, the problem with training for a marathon is that you start to get motivated. There’s something about breaking down a huge task (running 26 miles) into smaller, more reasonable ones (run 4 miles today, add a mile or two onto my long run this week) that makes the “huge” task suddenly seem a lot more doable. And if I can run a marathon, what else can I do? Maybe I can take that on-line class I’ve been contemplating. Maybe I can volunteer at the Domestic Violence Hotline as well as the Spay/Neuter clinic. Maybe I can start making the bed in the morning. Or, maybe I can do ALL of that and still be a semi-responsible friend/girlfriend/person.
Yes, I have a bit too much on my plate right now. But I’m also happy! For the first time in a while, I’ve given myself permission to focus on me, and I have the marathon to thank for that. After all, if you try to run a marathon without taking the time to focus on you and your training, you are going to pay for it – either in pain and injuries or a lost entry fee.
All right, now the explanation is behind us and we can move on to business. How has the running been going? Knock on wood, I’ve gotten up to a 17-mile long run with NO knee problems. (Wheee! Yahoo! Yippee! Whoooo Hoooo…!!!)
There was the 15-miler that was the worst best run of my life. It started down at Town Lake pre-dawn, where ten steps in to the warm-up a bird, umm…shat…in my hair. I re-traced those ten steps back to a water fountain, had a make-shift shower, and was on my way. This was back when we still had 100+ degree temperatures, so the pre-dawn cool felt positively divine. Unfortunately, that temperature also felt divine to most of Austin’s urban gnat population. I think I swallowed 3 or 4. And of course the temperature did climb over the course of the 3 hours I was out there, making a repeat of the water fountain shower sound very appealing. Yet despite all my encounters with nature, I finished this run feeling absolutely euphoric. It was a categorically awful experience, but for whatever reason, I felt great.
That lasted for about 4 hours.
Immediately after that run, I had a hair appointment. Now I know my male readership may not understand this, but for us ladies, hair appointments are not minor affairs. Especially if they include highlights. I essentially ran for 3 hours and then spent 3 hours sitting in a chair.
Of course I’d read about the importance of keeping moving after a long run, but I never really knew what happened if you don’t do that. If you must know, all the fluid in your body collects in the lower half. My knees swelled to the size of small grapefruits, and I could barely walk without bursting into tears. Even more problematic, once I sat down, it was incredibly difficult to stand up again. At one low point I thought I might be permanently stuck in the restroom of a small Thai restaurant. It took about two days for the swelling to go down completely. Moral of the story: Do not schedule haircuts on long run days.
There was also the 17-miler where it rained. The entire time. Again, this was somewhat of a blessing, as it held the temperatures around 75 for the entirety of the run. The only real low point was when I knocked my water bottle off my belt and into a storm drain and then had to lie face down in the street to retrieve it. You might think that’s gross, but they charge $15 dollars for the water bottles that clip into those fancy belts, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to let my cold hard cash wash away! (I opted for my dignity instead.)
I’m honestly not sure if my knee ended up hurting on that run. By the last couple miles, my entire lower body was alternating between states of extreme pain and total numbness from pounding the pavement. These are the runs that really test your determination. Get over 15 miles and yes, running hurts.
There was one other fun aspect of that run. You see it was raining. For four hours. And I was wearing cotton shorts.
In the rain.
For four hours…
(I’ll assume you can see where this is going, but if you’re confused, imagine rubbing a wet piece of cotton against your inner thigh for four hours and then getting in a shower with soap and hot water.)
And on that note, I’ll sign off. Hopefully this post has been long enough to make up for some of my previous neglect. If not, I’ll try to write more after this weekend, when I tackle a half marathon and try to get a real estimate of my race pace. Stay tuned…(but not too closely)