Saturday, October 17, 2015

My Running Gets Real

I ran 11 miles this morning. I'm not saying that to brag (much), as I realize that people out there run marathons and super-marathons and 11 miles isn't much. I'm saying it as context to explain my thoughts and feelings about running, because 11 miles IS a lot to me, being the longest distance I've run, well, ever.

How's the running going, you ask? Good, good. I'm enjoying my long Saturday runs and I feel strong and healthy. Unless I twist an ankle or really give up and slack for the last 2 weeks before my race (half-marathon, Halloween morning), I should be able to do the full 13.1 miles without killing myself.

This is it. This is my Halloween.

It's weird, being a runner now. I feel that passing the 10-mile mark lets me call myself a runner without hesitation. But it is weird because I used to hate it so much and never went beyond 4 miles on a morning run. I thought 4 miles was a long run, but I was wrong.

I was so, so wrong.

See, after 4 miles, you may hurt and feel sweaty, but you can go back to normal pretty quick. (Results may vary.) It's like playing with a rubber band. You stretch it a little, and nothing much happens. But when you stretch it further, the band either breaks or gets stretched into a new shape, especially with repeated pulls. I'm no doctor, scientist, physical therapist, or any other kind of expert, but I'm pretty sure the same thing happens to the human body and it's weirding me out to go through this stretching.

Again, I'm not an expert, but over the last couple months, as I've been training, I have:

- Been too warm almost all the time. My roommates probably hate me for turning up the air every night, but I can't sleep unless I do. It's like I have a furnace inside my chest.

- Been hungry all the time, especially after the long runs. And it strikes at weird times; I'll have no desire to eat at breakfast time but will want a Las Vegas buffet spread an hour later (after forcing myself to eat a healthy breakfast because I KNEW this would happen).

- Craved bad foods. Every week my mind becomes a civil war between the wise dietitian inside me that knows I need vitamins and minerals, like what is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and yogurt, and without them, it will hurt more to run, and the gluttony monster that just says WANT MEAT WANT BREAD WANT PANCAKES WANT ICE CREAM WANT PIE WANT WAFFLES WANT CHEESY PIZZA WANT POPCORN WANT COOKIES WANT WANT WANT

- Had my clothes turn against me. I don't mean during the day, when I'm cleaned up and living my life. I mean when I'm on my run. My lovely, lovely shoes haven't given me grief, but this morning my shirt had a nice little surprise for me:

Mile 1-8: good shirt, nice shirt, wicking moisture and feeling good!
Mile 8-10: uh, feeling a little uncomfortable where the sleeves' seams are, but nothing I can't handle


- Lastly, started to actually DESIRE going for a run! Not as training, not as workout, not as balance for those times I've given into the WANT monster and eaten pie and ice cream when I shouldn't have, but because I want to go for a run. How did this happen?

Like I said earlier, I'm new to running. I haven't done any really long distances yet. I have heard tell of things to come, like blackened toenails and other undesirable effects of running. I hope I won't have to find out, but if I keep running after the half-marathon (and let's be honest, I probably will), who knows what will happen?

I'll keep you informed about any new developments about the training and how the race goes. If any of my toenails turn black, I promise I'll show you pictures!

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