Ups and Downs of Running

As Bryan realized in this past weekend’s run, I can go through some major emotional swings on my runs.  While Bryan, on the other hand, zones out and stabilizes throughout the run.  Just like the ups and downs I can experience in one long run, I also have experienced these ups and downs throughout the process of our training.  The past 10 weeks of training have been mostly positive but with a few snags along the way.chart-arrows-up-down

But first I would like to say that I am EXTREMELY proud of Bryan and I that we have not missed one day of scheduled runs on our schedule.  And I think we have only missed two cross training days with viable excuses; coming home from Chicago and the day of Valerie’s baby shower day.  Other than that we have been regimented and reliable for every other day.  That is saying a lot for both Bryan and I and definitely not something I think either of us would have said had we not been in this together.

Additionally, I am very thankful that in the past 10 weeks we haven’t really fallen sick, gotten injured, been rained on, or any other sabotaging event has happened to us.  That is truly amazing and I really am appreciative about that.

Okay, so training has been a learning experience for us both.  Here are some of the things that we have learned:

  • Stretching is so important.  We have become diligent stretchers post-run.
  • Your body’s recovery process has a difficult time catching up in the middle of training regime.
  • We might be constantly hungry throughout the day and feeling ravished before a meal but then we have a hard time finishing large meals at times.
  • There is no amount of water that would make me hydrated I believe.  We have both swapped some of our water we drink on run days for electrolyte-water (I bought a huge box of Nuun tablets and Bryan mixes his Powerade mix in his).  I still find that I can’t keep up.
  • My body knows when running days are and I swear wakes up mad at me with an upset stomach that persists as long as it takes me to get out the door.
  • Salty snacks are often craved.  This has been true for me for awhile now but it’s now starting to catch up with Bryan too.  Our body just generally craves salt more often.
  • I now way under-dress for our runs.  Mom was right that you need to dress 20 degrees colder than the weather truly is.  Being super hot and sweaty for a 1+ hour-long run is miserable.
  • Eventually your body and its recovery process does catch up and you stop feeling sore or super tired.
  • We can way more easily tackle hills, be it running or walking (or biking!).
  • You get wimpy looking arms but I swear I feel like my calf muscles might bust through my skin sometimes
  • Your weight actually increases, or at least mine has, thanks to more muscle, more glycogen stores and thus more water retention.
  • Looking at the race course, which I find myself doing more and more lately, is truly nerve-wrecking.

Bryan and I are both running faster than we did at the beginning and obviously capable of doing lengthy runs with way less impact or stress on our body.  Before training my longest run had been 7 miles.  Each week I am running a further distance than I ever have before…which makes me nervous every time.  My speed improved a lot in the middle of training too and held at about 9:05-9:10 a mile.  I was very happy about that when I actually realized the speed I was running.  And the 9:10 pace is spot on with my goal of breaking two hours for the half marathon.  However, the past two weeks my pace has slowed slightly and some of the runs have felt like more of a struggle but my watch says that my average heart rate is also going down.  I think that I need to take a reality check and realize that the 9:13 or 9:15 paces that I am running are literally only seconds slower than what I was doing and my heart rate is going down.  Seconds are nothing to worry about and I am still confident that I will make my goal when race day comes.  And even if I don’t, I used to think just completing the half marathon was a goal in of itself so I shouldn’t forget that.

But its been fun and I can’t believe in two weeks the training will be over.  Well, kind of.  Bryan is already signed up for another in mid-September and there is a good chance that I sign up too, but I’m not doing that until I get through my first.

And it will also be good to free up a little bit more time with everything that is still going on.  This week, even being a short three-day work week for us, included an industry-sponsored happy hour for me, marital counseling, mani-pedi (because I had to have one, running doesn’t do wonders for your feet!), a late dinner at Eastlake Bar and Grill after counseling, and volunteering at FareStart for another nearly sold-out night featuring Wild Ginger Restaurant and an awesome Thai meal.  Bryan is also slammed with work and getting a new intern.Manipediride

Training:  6 Mile Run, 10.5 Mile Bike Ride (Plus 3.5 Miles to Work), 5 Mile Run

And this morning we are flying to Austin for the ten year reunion of Bryan’s Texas 4000 bike ride to spend some time with his friends, meet most of them for the very first time, ride a 50-mile bike ride (what?), enjoy some BBQ and hopefully just chill out.


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