Well, I didn’t really get mugged, but it was awfully warm and muggy outside for my runs this week. And my wallet did kind of get mugged because I just dished out a lot of money for some new running shoes.
After being so sore from Sunday’s 10.5 miler I had to take an extra rest day on Tuesday. I ran in the morning on Wednesday when it was still fairly cool (75 degrees) and slightly overcast but, man, was it humid. On Thursday I thought I’d mix things up and run in the evening. It was just as gross. I guess I forgot that I live in north Texas.
One thing that did make the runs extra special fun is that I got to wear a brand new pair of shoes. They’re the same brand I’ve worn for the past two years (Nike Free), but are an older version (3.0). I was ecstatic when I found them on sale online.
I had just about given up on finding any of the old versions, and was starting to get desperate since I definitely do not like the new Free Run. Too much arch, too thick of a sole, and wider than the previous versions, especially in the toe box.
I hate changes like that, when someone feels the need to change something that doesn’t need to be fixed. I have a narrow foot and have always struggled with finding shoes that fit right, especially in the heel. The Frees fit me perfectly. Also, I love how they are seamless. And so light.
So I did some online research and discovered that Nike does still offer the 5.0 version, but only in the ID version. Which means you get to customize them, choosing your colors and laces, and even having your name or logo printed on the tongue. Of course you pay for it, and what once used to be an expensive $90 for a pair of cheaply made minimal shoes now costs $130 for the same product.
At first I resorted to digging out an old pair from two years ago that probably have more than 600 miles on them and had been relegated to the back of my closet. Then I found the older version online. Extra bonus: they accepted my running group’s 15% discount.
And I did celebrate my birthday two weeks ago, so I felt justified in making a small purchase.
I channeled Imelda Marcos (though I’m pretty sure Nike’s weren’t her style) and bought four pairs. Then a few days later I saw the pink version was on sale for even cheaper, so I ordered four more pairs.
I just bought EIGHT PAIRS of running shoes!
Okay, so I may have some latent hoarding tendencies. I admit that I don’t like running out of something, like shampoo, or soap, or running shoes (apparently). I always have a backup. And I’m very organized. I was a teacher!
Anyway, it’s not hoarding, it’s stocking up for the running shoe apocalypse. It’s gonna happen.
This is proof positive that I need help. But at least I’ll always have running shoes that fit.
I’m not sure how many years I can stretch out these last eight pairs of Nike Free 3.0’s, and how I’ll cope when that final pair bites the asphalt, but I’ve got awhile before I have to deal with it.
Saturday we ran our first 20 mile long run in anticipation of the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa. It was warm and humid, and I was still ridiculously sore from a full day of gardening two days prior. I was sore in places not usually challenged by running, and I knew it would only get worse the farther I got into the run.
M woke up when I did at 4:30AM and commented on all the fire trucks and sirens he heard all night. I didn’t know what he was talking about, but then remembered it was the Texas/OU game. I heard the low rumble of bass from a passing car outside our house and later noticed there was much more traffic as I drove to meet my friends.
Usually we have the streets of Dallas to ourselves on these early Saturday morning runs. And when you run 20 miles, you cover a lot of city streets.
It was warm and humid when we started at 5:30AM, 73 degrees and 76% humidity, but thankfully there was a brisk breeze to keep us cool. It was also overcast, which is always welcome on a Texas long run, regardless of the season.
There were six of us who started, and the usually quiet streets were already awake with Texas/OU fans. Some we could tell hadn’t made it to bed from last night’s downtown debauchery; others were either en route to the game itself or a bar where they could snag a seat to watch the game on HD.
We ran one of our favorite routes, which takes us downtown past the public library, city hall, the Old Red Courthouse, the JFK Memorial, and Dealey Plaza, which is the exact location where JFK was assassinated from the 6th floor of the School Book Depository. We stopped to look at the two X’s that are permanently marked on the road to show where he was killed, and to look at the window where Lee Harvey Oswald stood that day and changed history.
I’m always happy to hit the halfway point in a long run, but at 10 miles my legs already felt like they usually do at mile 24 of a marathon. They were really, really sore, almost to the point where I felt like I was limping. I probably won’t be able to walk tomorrow, I thought, and trudged on.
An on and on and on. Through downtown, over the trolley tracks and cobblestones of McKinney Ave, along Turtle Creek and the opulence of Highland Park, and up the Katy Trail. Keep moving.
I finally fell apart around mile 17. My legs cried uncle and I had to walk. Normally this would feel like a defeat so close to the finish, and I would come in with my head hanging low, but I knew better than to push it. 20 milers are notorious for causing injuries, and starting on sore muscles was only asking for trouble. Hari, who is not even training for a marathon, needed to back off as well, and we walked it in together. After more than 4 hours of running, my feet were aching.
No matter how much it hurt, though, I was loving it.
Two weeks ago I had a fantastic 18 mile long run. The weather was cool and I felt strong and smooth. On the drive home, I had the thought that I’ve had many times after a long run: I wish I had the energy to keep going. As in, keep running all day, for the rest of the day.
When I’m not training for a marathon, the thought of a 20 mile long run causes me to shudder in wonder and revulsion. I forget that it’s simply a matter of building up the mileage, week by week, run by run, until it’s not only possible, but attainable. I forget how much I enjoy it.
There’s something about the long run that keeps me coming back. Part of it is the challenge of pushing myself physically and mentally beyond my previous limits. Part of it is being outdoors when most of the city still sleeps, when the only thing that matters is making it to the next water stop. But mostly, it’s the fellowship of running mile after mile with a group of people I’ve grown to love, people who know exactly what I’m made of, who’ve seen me when even my worst was the best I could give.
It’s difficult to explain. Something happens when you’re having a good long run. Something clicks in your brain. Body and mind come together and everything flows.
No matter how tired you are, life funnels down to only one thought: keep moving. That’s all you have to do, keep moving. It’s stunningly beautiful in its simplicity. There’s nothing else that needs to be done, nothing that needs to be worried about, nothing other than this one thing that you love: RUNNING.
9/17/11 – 16 MILES
Saturday’s long run was a humid mess of moistness. The temperature started out at 73 degrees, but with the humidity at 78% it didn’t seem all that cool. The worst was the way the air felt so thick. I could tell what a difference it made after our weeks of humidity in the teens.
Bill surprised Heather and me with an autographed copy of a new running book by Adam Goucher (aka Mr. Kara Goucher) and Tim Catalano called Running the Edge. We squealed like little girls and couldn’t wait to get home and read it. I seriously considered ditching the long run so I could start reading the book.
Before I could think twice, we were off, headed towards our usual route down to the lake. The mornings are definitely darker now, and I thought about remembering to wear light colored clothing from now on. We ran along the lake for a couple of miles, then headed up out of Lakewood. Heather, who battled a cold all week and was running under the influence of Sudafed, said we were running too fast for the start, and she was right. We paid the price the last few miles. They were torture.
After Lakewood, it was a new route through familiar neighborhoods: M Streets, Katy Trail, and Highland Park (where the police were obligingly parked and watching us from their black SUV to make sure we stayed on their sidewalks). We continued around the country club, through University Park, through SMU campus, past the Katy Trail for water, then back up the dreaded hill at Longview, then Anita, to Fuzzy’s.
The humidity was brutal and the route felt like we were always running uphill, but it was nevertheless nice to run a new route. I was so glad to be done. Why aren’t these long runs getting any easier?????
Heather, Bill, and I all decided that next week we are going to start off much slower and then pick up the speed as we go along. We’ve been saying this from the beginning . . .
Afterwards, over tacos and beer, Chris pulled out his boxes and we all purchased and tried on our new WRRC (White Rock Running Co-op)/RUN FREE tech shirts. It will be way cool to wear them in the future. The club is slowly growing, and that’s a good thing.
*** Just now looking at the weather stats for Saturday, I noticed the humidity level actually went up from 78% to 85% by the end of our run. One more reason, perhaps, why the run was so difficult . . .
Stats: 16 miles @ 9:40 pace
8/16/11 – 6 MILES
Got up at 4AM for yesterday’s run. I looked for an excuse to bail on my friends. Got up anyway and let the dogs out. Not happy. It was muggy and hot.
Met Bill, Bryan, Shannon, Heather W, and Steph at the dog park at 5AM. Shannon said her car showed 88 degrees. I was extremely grumpy.
The run was uneventful but slightly out of my comfort zone, a true tempo run for this time of year when I struggle to keep my pace in the heat. There was no breeze and everyone was very quiet. Talking about our misery just makes it worse.
On the positive side, saw a beautiful sunrise when I walked the dogs at 6:30AM.
Stats: 6 miles @ 9:34 pace – 88 degrees at 5AM; 2 mile walk with the dogs
8/27/11 – 4.23 MILES
Set the alarm for 6AM to get up and run 4 miles on my own. Hit the snooze twice then gave up.
I just didn’t feel like getting up to run in the heat.
Woke up two hours later feeling guilty, knowing I would have to run in the evening when it was even warmer.
The heat is definitely getting to me. Today I schlepped around the house not feeling like doing anything. To say I’m tired of the summer is a gross understatement. The hardest part is that there is no break. The heat is grinding me down, day after day, unrelentingly. I truly feel as if I could go insane from this heat.
Talked Michael into running with me in the dark. It was still hot.
Stats: 4.23 miles @ 9:23 pace – 99 degrees at 8:15PM
8/6/11 – 12 MILES
What can I say that I haven’t already said all summer long? It’s hot. Really hot.
It was very humid when we met at 6am at Fuzzy’s. Bill had stomach issues and decided not to run, but Heather V. was there for her longest run since February and her first run with the group since her marriage. I heard Jose also had stomach issues and Genevieve turned around somewhere after 3 miles and went home. I had to use my inhaler before the run, as did Teel. The point here is that the extreme heat, coupled with no wind, is creating a lot of pollution and pollen, and it’s making us all sick.
We mostly stuck to running at the lake, which was great because of the water fountains. There was one small section when the sun came up and it was less humid, and there was a nice, cool breeze blowing off the lake.
I used the new small Nathan water bottle with a hand strap that I bought yesterday. I debated long and hard if I wanted to run 12 miles holding water in my hand, especially when we were running at the lake where the water is plentiful, but it wasn’t too bad. I kept the bottle mostly empty at the lake and filled it up before we ran back into the hills. I think I’ll use if for shorter runs in the future and strap on the hated fuel belt for the longer runs.
We ran 7 mi around the lake, and the sun started to get very hot and intense. The last 3 miles were the toughest for everyone in my group. It was all uphill back to Fuzzy’s, and we had the pleasure of running up three of our old friends, Tokalon, Sperry, and Anita.
For some reason my heat addled brain didn’t realize when we turned onto Hillside we were only about a quarter of a mile from Fuzzy’s. Turning the corner and seeing the finish right there, when I was expecting to have to run another three quarters of a mile, was the sweetest finish in a long time.
All in all a good run, but it was hot. Again.
Today’s Favorite Quote: “It’s only 12 miles. I can do anything for 12 miles.” – Teel, when I asked her how she could hold her huge bottle of water for 12 miles
Stats: Run – 12 miles @ 9:39 pace – 89 degrees
When I first started running it was all I could do to make it through one mile. It was tough, but like most new endeavors, I threw myself into running with fervor and enthusiasm. I quickly built up to two miles, but it took me awhile to figure out pacing. Finally, the day came when I could run three miles and not feel like I was going to die.
That doesn’t mean it felt good. Six years later, the first three miles are still tough.
It took me a long time to figure this out. The midweek three and four milers always seemed so much tougher than my Saturday long runs. I quickly knew I was a true long distance runner because I always enjoyed my long runs more than my shorter midweek runs. Once I got past the first three miles I was good to go. I remember many six mile runs at the lake when I thought I would have to walk back to the car at the turn-around, only to get a second wind around mile five and feel like I could run the whole lake.
Now that I’ve been running for almost six years I’ve noticed it takes me even longer to hit my stride. The first three miles are still not pleasant, but it isn’t until after the first six miles that my running starts to feel smooth and effortless. I noticed this the first time when I ran an easy five miles before a 15K race. I was surprised at how great I felt after the first mile of the race (which was really six total miles into the run). I ran fast, too, and placed in my age group that day. It’s happened to me several times since, and I’m always amazed at how fast I can run after already putting in five or six miles before a race.
I know elites and competitive runners tend to do a slow warm-up run before a race, and this is comparable, but I’ve always suspected there was more to it than that. I finally came across what I think is an explanation.
In his book The Marathon Method, Tom Holland writes about getting new runners to the point where running is enjoyable, and isn’t such hard work. He says most people who start running quit when they get up to two or three miles because they never reach that point of ease that I wrote of earlier. He calls this “the ‘cardiovascular turning point,’ or CTP, a physiological state that occurs after running for a certain amount of time during each workout.” Just like I’ve experienced, he says most people reach this point after thirty or forty minutes of running, which generally equates to about three miles. He also says this:
Over time the CTP is pushed back. In other words, after you become accustomed to running long distances, namely two hours or more, your body seems to “need” to go farther and you will experience the CTP at fifty minutes, an hour, or longer. This doesn’t mean that you are in discomfort until that point. It seems that once you have greatly increased your endurance, the human body almost wants to be challenged further and the CTP is pushed back.
This makes perfect sense to me. Even though it is somewhat irritating that I have to run six miles before my running becomes more flowing and effortless, now I know it isn’t merely my head telling me those first three miles or so are hard work. They really are. But after that, when I hit my stride and find that place where I feel like I can run forever, it makes it all worth it.
8/4/11 – 4 MILES
Setting the alarm for 4:45AM to get up and run makes me grumpy. Especially when the reason for getting up at such an unholy hour is to stay out of the heat, knowing that it’s still going to be close to 90 degrees at 5:30AM. And not going to sleep until midnight doesn’t help either.
Complaining about the heat this summer is starting to lose its appeal. This has been going on since the first week of May. I know I need to be strong and resilient, and not think about it, and just run. But really. This. Is. Ridiculous.
Met Bill, Nikki, Dawn, and Giovanni at the Comerica bank on Mockingbird/Abrams at 5:30AM and ran two miles down Alderson and Swiss to Skillman. Along the way we saw a dog running towards us off leash. As it got closer we realized it was a coyote! In the middle of my neighborhood! In the middle of the city! I’ve seen–and heard–them down at the lake several times and have to wonder if they are coming up from the lake to hunt in the neighboring streets at night for small game.
It was another tough run, mostly because of the humidity. It was like trying to breathe through a straw. We powered through. Running up the last block of Swiss felt like running up Flagpole Hill.
Personal realization: I carried my water bottle with the hand strap and have decided I hate the weight. I’ll look dorky and wear a fuel belt in the future.
Got home and walked both dogs 2.5 miles–and Michael slept through it all. But then he went to work–and I didn’t.
Stats: Run – 4 miles @ 9:46 pace, Walk – 2.5 miles
7/23/11 – 10 MILES
We started our second long run of the marathon training season at 6AM. It was 84 degrees with 61% humidity. Even though it was the same distance as last week, Chris changed up the route and ran us more in the neighborhood around the lake and off Greenville Ave. To say it was another tough Texas summer run is an understatement.
I felt horrible at mile 4. We started out at a 9:30 pace, which was 15 sec faster than the pace I wanted to keep, and I was still feeling a little under the weather. I wondered if I would be able to go the entire 10 miles and struggled through the Lakewood hills. However, at mile 6, I felt great–all the way up to the end of the run. I have no idea why I suddenly felt better, but wish this would happen to me sometime in a race, especially around mile 23.
The original route took us a block from our house, so we incorporated a water stop in our driveway. Knowing there would be cold water and Powerade at mile 7 made a HUGE difference for most of us. Michael set up the video equipment and asked the group to describe today’s run.