After last nights think-fest about running motivation I decided to go back to my old favorite place to do my long runs. Almost every Saturday for each of my marathon training sessions, I would wake up early and drive to Seward Park to run along Lake Washington Blvd. It's relatively flat and filled with other runners. The views of Mt Rainier and sometimes Mt Baker are breathtaking if the skies are clear, the lake on in the middle of a downpour can be equally lovely. It's here that I'm often torn thinking I should become one of those runners who carries their phone with them so I can document the scenery, but my need for free hands always wins out.
This morning was chilly, about 41 with some wind off the water on the return route, but no rain. I went out 4ish miles and turned around.
On the way back I heard some strides behind me and moved off to the side as a man gazelle glided past. I was feeling okay so I decided to pick it up and use him for some inspiration. Then after a while I heard the dreaded second set of strides behind me. There was one more. They were training together chatting as one passed the other, easily throwing down sub 7 minute miles exerting zero effort. This was their easy run and according to my HR monitor, this was not my easy run. I saw the human rubber bands high five two other guys, less gazelle like but still, who were now headed my way. I tried to steel myself for some stoic nods or just general ignores from them as I continued my huff up a tiny incline. But alas, they grinned huge as they approached and asked if I was going to let those guys get away from me. I told them I was trying and reached out for my own high five which I received in solid form.
I love other runners. Sometimes I think they don't all love me back the way I love them, but I kind of don't care. I love the ones that I think I hate at first because they are so fast and look so natural at this sport and then there's me plodding behind, beet-faced and salty with a half gu stuck to my hands. I love the ones that are in groups, chatting with their BFFs who let me hover too close while I think about how much I miss my girlfriends. I really love the old ladies I saw today who are my true heroes, leading me by example to keep at it, to lace up even when I think I'm too slow or achey to get out the door or that I'm too old (ha!) to even think about getting a PR again.
It was a good run today because my knee didn't hurt and instead my quad was tight in a place I recognize. It's a spot that yes, I could definitely be better at taking care of and stretching and massaging, but is familiar and workable. I know how to run with that and I know how to make that better. It was a good run today because my miles got faster as I got closer to the end. It was a good run today because it was a hard 8.75 miles in a way that made me want to work to make it feel easy again.
I'm hoping to get out tomorrow morning for a little recovery run so I'm not too stiff and then really pick a race. I bet I'll talk about this "race" for way too long before actually signing up, but I think putting it out in the universe is a good start. I even planned my run fuel and post-race drink today to help get me back into training mode. I slurped on half a Hammer gel after mile 4 and then tossed because I didn't have any water and my hands were too sticky. It was the first Hammer I've tried and it was pretty good! Next time I just need agua.
I also packed a Nuun tablet for refreshment after I was done. Good thing too since I was pretty thirsty at about mile 3. Isn't the rule if you're thirsty then it's probably already too late? Whoops. I was happy to have it when I was done at least. Thanks Stridebox for all of this!
After the run we hustled to Safeway because we were out of the essentials. Can you tell a runner lives in my house? Toilet paper and bananas.
Overall it was a great morning. It's still not even raining yet which is kind of a miracle so to celebrate I think I might take a nap. Exciting stuff. Happy Running!