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Hills and Valleys, Metaphorically Speaking


When you head out for a short run, it’s either a good run or bad run. There isn’t time for anything else. But a long run, say 14 miles, is really a bunch of short runs all smashed together. This means you have plenty of time to have high points and plenty of time to have low points. Hills, the highs, are the parts of a long run that make you think “Yes! I love running! How lucky am I to be out running on this beautiful morning!” Valleys, the lows, are the parts that make you think “I hate running. I hate my life. I hate all of you.” Presented without commercial interruption, the hills and valleys of my long run Sunday:

Hill: 1/2 mile in and the rain stopped!

Valley: 1/2 mile in and here comes the oppressive humidity.

Valley: 3 miles in a there is a sharp pain near my ankle bone. I stop to adjust my laces and see if a rock or twig may have gotten lodged there. Start running again but pain is more acute and shoots up my shin–it actually makes me gasp. Consider turning back.

Hill: As quickly as it came, the pain disappears. Continue onward and disconcertedly think “Weirdsies.”

Valley: About 4 miles in my right hip is starting to feel sore. Concede that it was not a good idea to start pulling out plants and shrubs in my garden 12 hours before a long run.

Hill: Running along Lake Ontario there is a triathlon training group doing an open water swim. Very neat to watch.

Valley: I scope out their make-shift transition area and am very jealous of their very cool multi-sport-athlete gear. Stupid triathletes and their cool stuff that I don’t own.

Hill: 7.5 miles in and time to eat my sliced potato. I am starving.

Valley: Wish I had another potato. I am starving.

Valley: Wish I had water. My logic “It’s raining so I don’t need to carry water” seems very stupid now.

Valley: 90 minutes in, puddles in the street are starting to look delicious. Actually think to myself “If I was sure no one would see me, I would drink from one of those puddles.”

Hill: 4 miles to go! Yay!

Valley: 3 miles to go, my pace slows considerably and I am fixated on water, or my lack thereof.

Hill: 2 miles! Less than 20 minutes! Huzzah!

Valley: OMG, St. Paul Blvd feels like the longest road ever.

Hill: Turn left onto Simpson, only a half mile to go!

Valley: See some guy sitting on his porch with his 2 dogs, reading the paper, and drinking coffee. I want to stab this guy and his casual Sunday morning lifestyle.

Hill: Done! And even with my snail’s pace I got in under 2:20. Guzzle a bottle of water.

Valley: Feel like I am going to puke. Kids find me laying (hiding from them) in the driveway.

Hill: Eat 4 plums, 1/2 buttered roll, and 4 dozen Peanut M&Ms. Drink another bottle of water. Feel slightly better.

Valley: Suffer GI distress for the next 4 hours. No need to elaborate.

Hill: Start planning next week’s 16 miler!

Two big things negatively affected this run–my gardening explosion Saturday evening and not carrying water. I was sitting nicely on the porch reading a book when suddenly I couldn’t stand the asymmetrical circle of rocks around my garden. And perhaps I got carried away because the next thing I knew I had a shovel and one of those giant leaf bags and was covered in dirt. Second, I don’t know why I chose not to bring my handheld. I had it filled and ready to go but because I hate to carry anything, even something unobtrusive as my Nathan Sprint, I left it on the counter reasoning “It’s raining. I will absorb the rain through  my skin and stay hydrated!” What kind of crazy science is that? I truly am my own worst enemy sometimes.

I suspect that this run was slightly longer than 14 miles. When I measured the course out, I drove alongside the trail in my car. However, there are several twists and turns and bends on the actual path that I could not measure out (this is why I need a Garmin, hint hint Brian) and they probably add a tenth or 2 onto the total mileage. However, I am not going to get too crazy over it because if my training runs go a touch long that’s ok–what are the odds that I am going to run the marathon tangents perfectly? I can barely hit the tangents in a 5K. Again–thwarted by science!

Anyway, the 14 miler is in the books and now I need to psych myself up for 16 miles this weekend. I haven’t decided if I am going to do it on Saturday or Sunday. We are going to the lake with Brian’s family so it depends on which day we are leaving, etc. I know for sure I am going to carry water, and depending on the weather maybe I’ll add a splash of Gatorade to it. I definitely felt electrolyte depletement when I finished yesterday and my skin was covered in salt. I just can’t believe that I am going to have to run 26.2 miles! When you originally plan to tack the full marathon it seems so simple–approximately 500,000 people finish marathons each year, and there is no reason I can’t be one of them. Right? Right. But when you are out there putting in the miles, all of a sudden the task ahead seems pretty daunting. To quote Sue quoting me quoting Brian “Blerg.”

Sunday’s Workout:
Ran 14 miles/2:19:43

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 08/08/2011 1:46 PM

    “It’s raining. I will absorb the rain through my skin and stay hydrated!”
    Were you drunk or high when this thought seemed rational? Maybe on your next run you should carry some straws with you so that if/when you see a puddle you don’t have to lick it and possibly look a little classier sucking the water through a straw.
    Great job on the 14-miler. You are motivating me for my own this week!
    (Thanks for the quote-of-a-quote, too :-))

    • Suzanne permalink*
      08/08/2011 2:11 PM

      Yeah, I’m kind of a moron.

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