Tuesday morning I missed my training run.
Just rolled over and slept right through it.
All day I beat myself up.
“It’s only week two and you’re already skipping runs?”
I kept staring at the 20 week training calendar I’ve created in Google Docs and wishing I could make the little square aqua green indicating I’d done my 3 mile easy run for the day.
So I enlisted help.
When I got home from work my husband was ready to run. We packed up the dog and headed down to the OKC river trails to do a quick 3 miles out and back from the boat houses to Walker Ave.
It wasn’t too hot. The run seemed to fly by and when we were walking back to our car we passed a joyous group of runners who were having a pot luck.
Beer was forced into our hands, cookies, watermelon and an amazing upside-down German chocolate cake. We met fellow runners, talked about training, sports, dogs and Oklahoma City. We sat and watched the evening rowing teams come in off the river.
Turns out this informal club meets every Tuesday night under the bridge between the two boat houses for a group run and a potluck after work. We were encouraged to come back. Not a hard sell. It actually fits perfectly into my spring training schedule that I’ve just begun to get ready for the half marathon in Tulsa in November.
It was perhaps the most fortuitous missed workout ever!
Next time I’ll know to bring snacks to share and that I can sleep in on Tuesdays without a twinge of guilt.
For more information about the group check out: http://riversportokc.org/run-cycle/novice
My return to running started out with unbridled joy. I enjoyed my first few outings so much I couldn’t handle it. But after struggling with the heat and trying to get myself back in gear, I’m falling flat. My times are slow. I’m tired. My body aches. It’s horrible!
So I’ve asked some friends and I have a game plan. This weekend I’m going to trade my four-mile run for just a run. No distance. No set time. I’m just going to run until I feel like turning around. I hope this will help me rediscover the joy of running.
- BE CONSISTENT. Simply doing all your runs provides positive feedback. It proves you can make a plan and stick to it, says Pete Rea, head coach of the elite training group Zap Fitness in North Carolina.
- ADD A DAY. The extra volume that comes with a fourth or fifth day of running can make you feel like your training has reached a new level.
- DO WORKOUTS YOU ENJOY. If speedwork makes you feel powerful, but your program calls for a tempo run, go ahead and substitute mile repeats at slightly faster than tempo pace every few weeks.
- BE FLEXIBLE. “Remember that confidence isn’t just one workout, but many,” says coach Andrew Kastor. You might take heart in high volume one week, and three solid workouts another week.
So this is awkward.
After months of training, I’ve achieved my goal. I ran a half marathon, and I made it the whole way without walking. Even though it took me 68 hours, I finished!
So now what?
I know I’m not ready for a full marathon, and I really want to train for another half marathon. But I’m not really sure how. I asked my de facto running coach, Megan Rolland, and she suggested a couple of 5ks or 10ks – then hop back on the training bandwagon. I like it.
Her next race will be the 2011 Blaze, a run through the Oklahoma City Adventure District that benefits Limbs for Life. I’m going along, too. After running 13.1 miles, a 5k should be a piece of cake, right? Hopefully. Unless my body is still sorry and angry at making it run 13.1 miles through the cold rain May 1.
*The minister who led the prayer to close out the morning service at the Oklahoma City National Memorial ended by making reference to God reigns. And then the Heavens opened up with a downpour. I’m not sure how to explain the hail.
*It was a good idea to stick a jacket and my running tights into my gear check bag. It was even smarter to retrieve them before the race started.
*It’s really difficult to change into clothes in a port-a-potty without, um, soiling any clothing. Said change involves not letting anything touch the floor, including sock feet. Picture it — or not.
*Be very careful when using the port-a-potty while wearing one of the fuel belts that holds water bottles. If a bottle escapes, it’s gone forever and rightfully so.
*Not sure how to describe how I felt when I reached the end of the stretch heading south on Classen Ave. only to have turn back north. Seems kind of mean, even though I’d studied the map and knew what was coming. Backtracking in the last three miles is mentally tough!
*Bless the volunteers and spectators who came out despite the dreary conditions. Special shout out to my husband, kids and mother-in-law whose cheering at mile 8 was a much-needed boost.
You can’t run the OKC Memorial Marathon without feeling some sense of both sadness and hope for what the run represents. The total quiet during the 168 seconds of silence preceding the race was nothing short of moving. The race itself is a time of reflection, which for me started on the drive downtown. Driving south on Interstate 235, I passed a sign that marks a section of the highway named for Zach Taylor, the father of a friend and former colleague and also a man who was always willing to help a young reporter out. His death had nothing to do with the bombing. But I’m sure his daughters would agree that like the bombing victims, he left this world far too soon, leaving them to mark some really special moments I suspect they dreamed of sharing with their dad without him by their sides. Still, hope is ever present. This city, its people and especially those who lost friends and family that April day showed uncommon strength and fortitude not to let a terrorist act become a stubborn stain but rather a celebration and a remembrance of their lives and a reminder that good will triumph over evil.
A few months ago I was having a conversation with colleagues about training for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and Half Marathon.
We discussed mileage, injuries, hydration and the other mundane details that consume the lives of runners.
Then a colleague came up and thanked me for running THIS race.
It took be aback.
I knew the Memorial Marathon was run in commemoration of those who were killed 16 years ago in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building.
But until that moment, I don’t think I understood what it really meant.
So I asked someone who knows to explain it to me.
“It’s an emotion that you can’t really explain. It puts a lump in your throat that these people are running,” said Ron Fields, who lost his wife Carrol June “Chip” Fields in the bombing. “It’s overwhelming honestly. It’s a trigger. It brings up all your emotions and memories.”
Chip Fields was an office assistant with the Drug Enforcement Administration in the Murrah Building. She was 48 when she died. She was a mother to Ronnie Fields.
Ron Fields said his grandson, Max, wants to go downtown for the Memorial race on May 1st.
“You just need to be there one time,” Fields said. “There’s really not any sorrow. It’s all joy. It’s people accomplishing and doing something out of the kindness of their heart.”
I still don’t think I’ll ever understand – not really. I wasn’t here on that tragic day. I was young.
But maybe running 13.1 miles with Chip Fields’ name on my bib and truly thinking about every name that I pass by flapping in the wind on a flag will help me get closer.
I know one thing for certain: I’m going to start the race in tears.
No, this isn’t a sappy Bob Seger ballad. This is Oklahoma running at its finest. Running against the wind – sometimes 30 mph wind as fellow blogger Christy Watson pointed out – is tough, really tough.
I also was hurting today after 10 miles of wind and hills at Mitch Park, which raises the question, what will I do on race day if it’s that windy?
I have a goal for how fast I’d like to finish the half marathon, but if it’s windy, I have serious doubts if I’ll be able to achieve that. Do I start out slow and pace myself, so I can finish or do I try and keep on pace and just see if I can push through the wind?
Cara Rogers-Nance is president of the Land Runners, the group that organized the Mitch Park run last weekend, and she advised treating the wind like any other variable in a race.
“If it was really windy, I would probably not stress,” she said. “It could be wind, it could be temperature, it could be the way you feel that morning, so you really just have to look at how you feel that morning.”
But like anything, Rogers-Nance said, practicing under the conditions will help prepare you just in case a wind storm is brewing on May 1st.
I’ve decided to stop stressing about the possibility of wind on race day, but I’m also going to stop avoiding my runs on windy days.
So I got up way before daylight Sunday morning to hit the trail at Mitch Park with the Landrunners. Actually, I hit the trail before the group because I’m a bit slow and I needed to finish in time for church. Now I’ve run 12 miles before. And I’ve run the hilly trails at Mitch before. But I’ve never run 12 miles of those hills, with 30mph winds to boot. So I’m sore today. My calves. My knees. My quads. My IT band. They all are a bit stiff and sore. Still, it’s the good kind of sore – the kind that tells you worked hard and lived to tell about it. I didn’t stretch enough after the run, and I intended to do a short run this morning to try to stretch out my muscles. But instead, I was tending to a sick kiddo. He has it much worse than sore muscles.
At times I revel in cold weather running.
The sense of defeating the elements is empowering.
Refusing to let something as piddly as snow flurries and a negative wind chill stand between me and the five miles I’ve written down on my calendar, gives me a sense of accomplishment beyond what pounding the pavement usually provides.
But the past two weeks of continuous cloud cover and borderline freezing temperatures have had the opposite effect.
I blame my miserableness on the unseasonably warm days in March that reminded me of the joys of summer running. You know – the little things – like not having to wear three layers of heavy clothing or not being afraid that if you get a side cramp and have to walk home you might freeze to death.
Last week I was so done with cold weather running that I ran once. One time in six days. And my long run? Forget about it. I put in five slow miles with my body protesting the entire run.
This week I pulled myself together and toughed it out, but I still wasn’t happy.
But today!? I have been looking forward to my run all day! I can’t wait to get home, throw on my running shoes and head out on a three mile adventure in my neighborhood.
I’m going to revel in my 10 mile weekend run with the sun beating on my shoulders and burning my cheeks, and the heft of a water bottle on my hip to stave off impending dehydration …. wait a second …
When is it going to be winter again?
Note: Obviously my favorite times to run are fall and spring but Oklahoma skips by those seasons so briefly there’s no need to address them.
- Megan Rolland