The entire week was fail-succeed-fail-succeed. With one aunt coming home from rehab with a brain-tumor induced diagnosis of dementia and another dying of a broken heart (a-fib), the run was way overshadowed by family drama. I only ran one foundation run on Tuesday, which now, come to think of it, I can’t even remember if I mentioned before. If I didn’t, it was a short 6.43 on the tread of dread. If I did, sorry for repeating myself. It really wasn’t all that big of a deal.
Probably the best run was yesterday’s fantastic fail. It has been on my to-do list all week to run 12 on Sunday. Up until Sunday morning I was thinking every mile would be with New Guinea. More snow was in the forecast and Saturday night’s accumulation was still hanging around. I’m okay with running on a treadmill. Really. But, then the sun came out and so did my need to be out in the thick of it. After all, it was a balmy 43 degrees.
Here’s what I forgot about running outside – so much more prep before I can actually run! In addition to in-my-left-hand iPod I needed to carry my phone for a GPS tracker. I have a ginormous phone and it doesn’t fit in any cute back pocket or shallow jacket pocket. It’s also way too big for me to carry in my right hand. Once I got that issue resolved I encountered hangup #2: lip balm and sunscreen are a must for outdoor running- something I don’t deal with running on the tread. Then there’s the issue of mapping a route. That took some time, too. I felt incredibly pokey when I realized it took me an extra 30 minutes just to get out the door. Here’s something else I forgot about running outside – no matter how carefully I plan a route I cannot stick to it. I meticulously planned a 6.1 mile loop that I intended to run twice. No such luck. I got out the door and promptly went a totally different way. To map my run it would look something like a sunburst. I ran down and back a lot of side streets along the way so that by the time I ran the loop the first time I had covered 10 miles.
Here’s something else I forgot about running outside – I run faster out of doors. No matter how carefully I stick to stride I’m always pushing it. My first mile is a hill (imagine that) and by the top of it I was feeling like I needed an inhaler. Frustrating to not be able to breathe but I can’t slow down.
Here’s something else I forgot about running outside – I am a snot factory. I produce the kind of snot you typically see when someone is sobbing uncontrollably. I don’t know if it’s the wind or if I’m allergic to sunshine or what but my nose turns into a faucet when I run. Confessional: I have never mastered the art of blowing snot so yes, I use my sleeve. Both sleeves when it’s really bad. Like yesterday. I’m sure my face was crusted with salt and snot by the time I was finished. Gross, but honest.
Here’s something else I forgot about running outside – the outside world. I live in a neighborhood where people yell things at runners. People chuck things at runners. People honk or aim their vehicles at runners. People let their dogs chase you. And speaking of dogs – German Shepards behind tall walls try to scale their confines to get at you. Tiny rat-like dogs hurtle themselves snarling against chain link fences just to get a taste of your ankles. The roads are thick with sand; the sidewalks are thick with snow. Trash, dogsh!t and deep puddles are in everywhere between. I ran through it all. People, dogs and roadside obstacles. But, by the end of 10.36 miles I had had enough. I had lost all track of time and distance and didn’t care. So, after an hour and 40 minutes I went home. 10.36 miles total.
Here’s why yesterday was a fantastic fail. I signed up for the Toronto half marathon (which takes place on May 3rd). That means I have five weeks to train for 13.1 miles successfully. Success to me means three things: come race day I run every inch of the course and I do not walk a single step; I run every inch powerfully and without gasping for breath; and lastly and most importantly – I run without injury. I really want to run Toronto like I ran St. Pat’s – strong (only without the giggling high fives and laughing fist pumps).