Thoughts on long runs, eyesight, fatigue

In  no particular order.

It’s funny that Saturday’s post about the magnificence of my body has been followed by several days of disaster. Who could have seen THAT coming, huh? To recap:

Sunday’s run
Distance: .8 miles
Effort:

Yes. This would be the result of staying overnight at my parents’ house, waking up and discovering I had only one contact lens but trying to run anyway. El-oh-els. My contact prescription is for -2.25, whatever that means, so I’m certainly nearsighted but it’s not crippling. I thought I could hack it. Less than half a mile into what I planned on being a 12 miler, I squintingly conceded that this was not going to happen. In the end, it was fine. I trotted home, went for a little walk with my mom, hit up the farmer’s market and had brunch. Later in the day I walked to my YMCA and swam 12oo meters, my longest swim in a very long time.

Monday’s run
Distance: 12 miles
Effort: About what you’d expect for running 12 miles

This was an example of why we do our long runs on weekends, ya hear? I got up at the ass crack of dawn and started running. By ass crack, I mean 6:15 a.m., which is insanely early by reporter standards. I ran 8 miles and met up with my friend H., who is injured, ran three with her, and ran one mile home. It was a good, solid run, and I was totally wrecked the rest of the day. Fortunately, I had to work! It’s good to keep this in mind. I am usually good up to 10 miles or so, but any longer (or much harder) and it is very difficult for me to be a productive worker bee. I did write two stories, though, one of which forced me to take notes from a paddleboat, so it’s all good.

Today, I’m tired. Very tired. In fact, I blog this from the couch at home, where I came after realizing that I could not work at all. I am hoping for a good night’s rest and a nice run tomorrow. It’s been sunny and not hot, and I ought to take advantage of it.

I celebrate myself.

Distance: 7.2 miles
Effort: Fair to medium
Of note: Ran this in 56:55. I know, stats!

Our bodies are so funny. I have been trying desperately to get enough sleep and eat well all week, and have had middling runs at best. It’s been annoying. Even more annoying, friends, is how today I prepared for my seven-miler by:

-Drinking all night
-Going to bed at 3:45
-Getting up at 9 a.m.
-Only drinking an iced coffee before I ran, in the hot sun, at 11 a.m.

And how was the run? Freakin’ fantastic. After a slow first two miles or so, I just naturally opened up and cruised. What was likely  helpful was doing it on this marked path near my parents’ houe (where I am crashing briefly today) that has mile markers every tenth of a mile. It’s like a Garmin, without the weird tan lines.

Anyway, I bring up the v. poor preparation to run not to brag, but rather to marvel. Our bodies are pretty fantastic things that we don’t understand very well, it seems. And while I can say with some certainty that continuing to get no sleep, drink too much, poorly hydrate and run in the heat will not help me to my goals, it’s nice to know that my corporeal self will roll its eyes, sigh and give me a pass once in a while. Thanks, dude.

Carblog

And…I’m back. Bless you, mobile broadband, for allowing me to flip open my work laptop and write about running from the comfort of my parents’ Honda that I have stolen while they are on vacation in Colorado.

A brief recap of the past week’s runs:

Saturday I ran 7 miles in Central Park, where I should never be allowed to run. You know that competitive sense of having to beat the person in front of you? It’s great during a race, benign when you are on a country road, and REALLY BAD when you run one of the most trafficked parts of the world…on a national holiday.

Sunday I ran about 11 miles in bucolic Morris County. It was a nice run. At one point, as I ran down a gentle slope near a farm, I thought, “I am so LUCKY! I love running!” Less than five minutes later I hit the uphill, and decided I hated my life.

Monday I did strength training, which is boring.

Tuesday I ran 8 hilly miles. Apparently there is only one route I can run in my neighborhood that is not laden with hills. Lame.

Wednesday I aquajogged, and did strength training, and it’s a marvel I didn’t pass out from the boredom.

Thursday I ran 8 miles with a 3-mile tempo in the middle. The tempo section was the same as a 5K route that went on tonight. There is a fat hill in the middle that sucked the life out of me.

Which brings us to the present. I feel okay about the past week’s training…again, being without training partners is a pain in the ass. If I had more accountability, I likely would have done track on Tuesday, which would have kept me on the straight and narrow for a race I’m planning on later this month. So, really, no doubt I dodged the blog. Never again (she swore).

Pre-fourth-five

Distance: 5 ish
Effort: Minimal
Extras: I’ve been doing lunges after I run and am now REALLY sore in the quad region. So I skipped out on those today.

There’s something about getting home at 2:30 a.m. and running seven hours later that just doesn’t work for me. I’m such a morning person by design, that even when I borderline get enough sleep, going to bed late just screws up my day. But…you’re only 25 once. And you only get your 2009 4th of July three-day weekend once. So, in conclusion, I don’t terribly mind a humid, kinda crappy run once in a while.

The run? It was fine. 2.6 out, 2.6 back, and I didn’t get heckled. I can’t say the same for my experience at the 24-hour store last night when I got off the train. How is it that I can not understand anything the cashier is saying to me, but still know I’m being mocked? Anyway, it’s interesting, because I don’t often run less than six or seven miles – not because those distances are bad, just because I try to keep my running days to four or five days a week, and on those days I try to beef up my mileage a little. Today, for my lethargic five, I rather enjoyed knowing that the run would be over sooner rather than later.

I had plans to swim this afternoon, but I’m swapping them for a nap. I think it’s a solid choice.

Shoe fetish

I rarely expound on this topic, but today’s question at Take it and Run Thursday challenges us to pick a subject that causes “fireworks” among runners. So far, I’ve met few people with my perspective, but I stand by it, darnit. Ready?

I don’t think running shoes really matter.

Yeah, yeah, you shouldn’t run in high heels, and you probably shouldn’t do a marathon in Converse All Stars, but besides that? I think any decent running shoe will do you well.

I’ve read all about the wet test to see your foot type, and how you can get molds made and so on. Maybe there’s merit to it. Maybe it only matters if you have arches like K2 or a club foot. I tend to think people are really overly fussy about their shoes, and if they have running injuries, they ought to blame them on their knees, their hips or themselves.

I, personally, run in the Asics Gel-Cumulus with Spenco insoles. It’s a neutral shoe. I’ve had injuries with it and without it, and I’ve stuck with them because they’re comfortable and relatively inexpensive. I believe the quality of shoes is important – they shouldn’t fall apart after a month. But neutral, motion control, support? Y’all, cavemen ran down saber tooth tigers and shite in their bare feet. Let’s give our bodies some credit. In the meantime, I’m going to wear the shoes that make me feel like a rock star. Because feeling fast, in my unsolicited opinion, is really half the battle.

Certain death averted; I am jealous of Mark Bittman

Distance: 7.5 ish miles
Effort: Medium-hard. Note to self – Next run will be easy.
Extras: Before run, there was significant procrastination. After, even more.

I woke up today tired, sore, and not wanting to run. This is odd, because it wasn’t raining, it wasn’t 90 degrees, and I hadn’t planned any track. But, still, I messed around for more than an hour before lugging myself out the door, straight into rush hour traffic.

Which brings me to this story on an initiative by a nearby community of a police decoy standing in crosswalks, waiting for the inevitable slew of drivers not to yield to him. The cops hiding nearby subsequently issue tickets. Yesterday, the report says, 70 tickets were handed out.

A reader emailed us yesterday in outrage that police would ambush him in such a way. How dare police enforce the law! And during a recession.

My response then, and more so today, was – can you do that in my town too? I was certainly almost nailed by no fewer than four drivers today, most of them women, most of them making right-hand turns, most of them just terribly sorry that they nearly ran me over. It’s a hard world out there, y’all. And this is the suburbs.

Anyway, the better part of the run was the running part. I took off at a brisk pace and headed to a .75-mile long hill, which I pretty much hammered. Then I turned around and went home. Right now, I’m headed to the YMCA for some strength. I’m working under the assumption that lifting might help avert injuries.

boom boom segue

Back to the awesome Well blog. Today, Tara Parker-Pope posts a video with Mark Bittman (“The Minimalist” and author of my favorite cookbook), Mark Bittman’s daughter, Kate and Deena Kastor. Yeah. That Deena Kastor. The premise of the video is kind of silly: go for a run at a pace that feels like sleeping for Deena and feels like death for Mark, hit up a grocery store and cook a meal.  But the end result is pretty charming and looks delicious: peppers, eggplant and farro. Once again, I decided I love Deena Kastor and want to grow up to be her. The reality, I admit, may be a little slower.

Coming clean

I didn’t run the race Sunday because I was hungover.

Oops!

It’s actually funny (or karma) that I was just a week or so ago reading a post by the No Meat Athlete entitled, “Too many drinks to run 13 miles.” At the time, my thought was, “Aw, just suck it up!”

If I had blogged yesterday, I might have written, “Too many drinks to run 3 miles.” Sue me. I’m a lightweight.

Also, my knees were giving me a little trouble all weekend long, so it seemed fitting to my body and splitting headache to nix the race and aquajog instead, and then pass out on the couch.

Today, however, dawned sunny (!!!!!) and warm, so I hammered out a nice little run:

Distance: 8.8 miles
Effort: Medium. I took off my shirt at one point so I had to look hardcore and  run faster.
Extras: Lunges, hip exercises and stretching to Thursday’s “Daily Show” on Hulu.

I rarely run on Mondays, seeing as Sunday is my long run day and I do think I benefit from the recovery, but it does set a nice tone for the week. So, in conclusion…

I’m glad I got shitfaced Saturday and didn’t run Sunday.
I’m glad the weather gods decided to give us sun today.
I’m REALLY glad I’m not this guy’s kid.