Before we talk about running, we need to talk about you. I would like to take a moment to say thank YOU. Thank you Ana-Maria, thank you MCM Mama, thank you Laminator, Mark, Dadcat, Susan, PDXGuy, Levi and everyone else for your kind words and moral support. Not even a wheelbarrow of conversation hearts could adequately express how much your comments mean to me. It’s been a difficult series of setbacks but I hope that I’m stronger for them. Thank you for being here and for reading along. Thank you, Thank you. Will you all be my Valentines?
On the subject of Valentine’s Day, did you see that New Balance running commercial that came out last year? It was part of a genius campaign about the Love/Hate relationship we all have with running. One commercial is a story of a guy who breaks up with running and then sees running everwhere. Well, here.
That is EXACTLY how I felt these past months. It seemed like everywhere I went, there they were – Runners. All sorts of runners. Fast runners, pudgy runners, old runners, runners with limps. Runners I’d never notice before, runners staring hard at the ground, runners who were visibly angry at the galaxy because the galaxy was clearly responsible for making them run. They were everywhere, those runners! And often, when I’d pass one in the car or on my bike, I’d whip my head around to watch them, or stare at them really. And whatever their pace, whatever their fitness level, I’d be overcome with a very brilliant green shade of envy. It was unpleasant. I was my own New Balance Commercial.
I’m pleased to report that Running and I, after much flirtation and foreplay, are back together again. My foot felt fine this entire week and it even said this morning how great it is have running back in its life. Thank you, Foot. I really appreciate your efforts to make my relationship with Running a healthy one. And yes, Foot, I will treat you to a new pair of running socks.
My re-kindled relationship with running makes this Valentines Day very special. I’m not into Valentines Day in general, you know. I don’t like the fuss; I don’t like the generalized, Hallmarked expressions of affections; and while I love flowers and chocolate, it all rings fake to me. So I decided to make the VDay fabulous with a fabulous long run. Here is how it went down:
The morning started out ominously. I was totally out of coffee beans. Actually I’ve been totally out of coffee for a couple of weeks now (note to self: buy coffee). Even though I think of myself as a low maintenance girl, I can’t run with out at least a cup of coffee, if not two. I stumbled/scrambled to the French bakery down the street, resisted the delicate croissants, macaroons, and frothy lattes and ordered a double Americano instead. Back at the apartment I breakfasted on half a pear and some toasted pumpkin seeds. Coffee consumed, I tied my running shoes, hugged my mom who is visiting me for the week, and took off
The first few miles felt “meh”. The Laminator wrote last week: “Don’t evaluate your progress as what you could have done a year or two years ago, just be happy with how far you’ve come along now.” It’s good advice but oh-so difficult to follow. The first miles felt slow and they were slow! I tried to corral the self-criticism. “Don’t worry, Heather. Just build your base. Speed and strength take time.” Despite the private pep talk, I was concerned how I could make this 15 miles seems do-able when my run already felt mediocre.
At mile two I decided to turn my 15 mile V-Day run in a romantic house call. What if, I thought, I ran across the river to knock on the door of The Special Someone I’ve Been Seeing. (SSIBS). The SSIBS is not a runner, but he is is a cyclist (hey, no one is perfect) Most importantly though he gets it and he gets me (woot!). I could use the moral support and he’d get a kiss from a stinky runner with bad hat hair. What a great deal for him! I was about a half mile from his place, lost in running thoughts, when a car pulled up beside me and rolled down the window. “Hey!” said the SSIBS “I saw you running down the street. Happy Sunday!”
Awww! Already my run was feeling a bit perkier. I ran to Laurelhurst Park – an old city park with big trees and great people/runner watching. I completed a few laps on the exterior path and was happy to have something pretty to look at. I passed by The SSIBS’ apartment for a pitstop and a glass of water afterward. “Are you OK?” he asked, “You’re sweating! A lot!” I took that as a good sign and continued my run.
I was half way through my run and still felt good. Better actually than at the start. I ran back toward the river and dodged about a zillion cyclists who were out on The Worst Day of Year Ride (a traditional Portland-y bike ride event). Around Mile 11 I spotted a runner guy ahead of me moving at a strong clip. Could I catch him? (Apparently it only takes a week of solid running before my competitive side re-surfaces.) I picked up the pace and it didn’t take long before I breezed by Mr. Runner. Phil, my Garmin 405, beeped and alerted me that I had the last mile in 7:45. WHOAH! 7:45min/mile pace. I’ll take it! I had half a mind to run back to Mr. Runner and give him a high-five or something. But that would be weird, right? Instead I finished up my run, sweaty, smelly and totally in love with running.
Run: 15 miles
Average Pace: 8:30 min/mile
-Passing Mr. Runner
– Feeling stronger at the end of the run than I was at the beginning
– Sweaty kisses for The SSIBS
– Stomach cramps following the run
– Bad hat hair