Training for life

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August 13, 2011 by Amy B

My alarm went off at 5:30. I could have set it later; I had no intention of getting on the road before about 6:30, having left my headlamp in Detroit and not wanting to get hit on a dark country highway.

Honestly, I didn’t want to run at all. In fact, I was secretly hoping it would be thunderstorming when I woke up so that I could delay the pain.

Unfortunately, my phone confirmed it wasn’t going to rain until the afternoon. Damn technology.

I putzed around for a good hour, reading some blog entries, a few chapters of Mile Markers, twitter, Facebook. I was desperate for motivation. My neck hurt from sleeping on it oddly overnight. I considered just running later or on Sunday morning. But in the end, I knew it wouldn’t work out. So I put the phone down, grabbed my still damp running clothes from the day before (is there anything worse?) and started to get ready.

Note: yes, I try to get multiple wearings out of running gear. I only have one or two pair of shorts I like to run in, and seriously, you’re just going to sweat again. However, on long runs the clothes always make their way down the chute. (end of running confession)

I am pretty limited lately with pre-run food so I went for one of the last Kashi waffles. They don’t make me ill and seem to work okay as run fuel. I never want to go out on a long run on an empty stomach. On race day, I might opt for a bagel or piece of toast.

For the route I decided on three routes I run with a slight distance modification to make it 18 miles. Lately I seem to fare better having mini goals. The idea of hitting the road on a long straightaway that doesn’t seem to end is too daunting. I told myself it would take three hours, even though I had no intention of running 10:00 miles. But telling yourself three hours is easier to digest than 3:18 or 3:36. Gah.

I wasn’t sure where mile markers were but could tell I ran the first loop (also the hilliest with a monster uphill at the end) pretty slowly. Somewhere between 6-10 I felt pretty good so went with it. Again, not sure how fast but also made stops for liquid and hammer gels (ate two all day; I have to eat half every 45 min or I get sick to my stomach) and walked a few times, trying not to walk for stretches longer than two minutes.

I made a deal with myself: if I felt really lousy, I would give myself permission to walk any remaining distance after 3:18. Of course, I got inspired around 3:15 to just suck it up and finish. I’ve been reading a lot of Kristin Armstrong (her blog is called Mile Markers) and thinking about “strength through strain” and training for, well, life. We train for races with a goal in mind: to finish, to PR, to make it to the finish line. We forget sometimes that through that training we are gearing up for all the other challenges in life that come our way: an illness, a dying parent, an unexpected tragedy. I’ve trained for a lot of races without considering that I’m also becoming stronger beyond the finish line. And that is why I want to continue to run to be strong enough to be there for my people when they need me. To be able to face the challenges and obstacles of my life and have the endurance to persevere.

(note: when I input this workout in on my phone, it shows this course as 18.81 miles. Only after logging back in and viewing the route does it switch back to 18.01. I’m truly vexed by this technology.)

I finally stumbled back to my street three and a half hours after taking the first step and hitting start on my wristwatch. Not my best, but that’s okay. Hey, I’m totally fine with logging extra time on my feet if it helps me in my race.

I couldn’t decide between an iced coffee and a smoothie so I made both and shared the latter with Sophie.

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There also was a slightly sad encounter with 2 oz of cream cheese and a bowl of freshly picked Anaheim and jalapeño peppers from our garden. But note: baked not fried! It’s the little details.

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I’ve spent the afternoon lounging with the baby (i.e., falling asleep while trying to get HER to nap) and eating a lot of watermelon.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to reach my goal of a PR this year. If the race were next week, I’d say based on the way I feel: NO. But I always know I can finish the race, even if I’m dragging my crawling lifeless body past the finish line. Here’s hoping I can find my strength and keep pushing through. I’m going to need it over the next four weeks with two 20 milers scheduled (gulp).

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Runner, Eater, Mother, Tweeter

Amy, July 2013

I'm a thirty-something suburbanite turned ruralite living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Wife, mom of two, eater of all things delicious, and a runner. This is where I blather on about running and health. Baby Number Three will be here in November (so yes, I'm a little crazy), and I'm running through my pregnancy for as long as my body's willing and able. There's also more of me at amyupnorth.com. Read more here.

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