Downs, ups, and pretzels
This past week has been fairly tough, as you may have surmised from my sudden lack of enthusiasm for blogging. Even though grief is one of the ongoing topics for this blog, sometimes it becomes so overwhelming that I cannot look it in the face and call it by its name. So I’ve been hiding out and nursing my wounds.
I’ve felt incredibly fatigued, vaguely ill, and extremely anxious. While I usually look forward to running three times a week (generally Wednesday afternoon, Friday afternoon, and Sunday morning), this week running has been out of the question. I finally got on my treadmill around 7:30 PM last night and did 2.5 miles, which improved my mood but was too late in the day and left me too energized to sleep well. I got a double-whammy of insomnia and nightmares. However, even with too little sleep, I was ready this morning to go out for my last big run before the Victoria race, which is now only a week away.
My plan for this morning was to run 6.6 miles (just over half of a half marathon). I had three specific goals for today’s run: (1) maintain a steady pace that I hope will be a sustainable pace for the full 13.1 miles, (2) test-drive my new running shoes, and (3) practice eating while running. I did pretty well on goal (1), completing five of my six full miles within ten seconds of my overall goal pace. The first mile was 30 seconds too fast and the final uphill 6/10ths was just a tad slow.
The jury is still out on goal (2). My new shoes are Asics 2160s (this year’s model), whereas my prior two pairs have been 2150s. These shoes seem to be a little wider, which caused a bit more wobbling and hence a few complaints from my knees. It may be that all I need to do is adjust the lacing (tighter here and looser there), and I’m going to try that on my final, short planned run this coming Friday. I’m hoping those adjustments do the trick, as brand new running shoes do make one feel invincible when they are just right. But if I can’t make them just right, then I’ll do the race in my old shoes, which are still serviceable with just 285 miles on them.
Goal (3) was a smashing success. Running coaches say you are supposed to start eating something after the first hour. Serious runners (which I most certainly am not) seem to prefer this stuff called gel (GU is a popular brand name). GU is a ghastly-sweet thick syrup that comes in a packet like fast-food ketchup. You are supposed to tear open the packet, suck the gel, and then chase it with water. I find it nearly impossible to open the packet even while standing still, and wretchedly disgusting to consume. My digestive system tends to be a little touchy when I run, so I’ve really been pondering this issue of what to eat (hunger was a real problem during the last few miles of my June race). I finally decided to try mini-pretzels, and they were wonderful! High in carbohydrates, low in fat, and just salty enough to encourage me to keep sipping water. I put a handful in my pocket, ate about one per mile after my second mile, and they tasted great and went down well. Henceforth, pretzels will be an essential component of my running equipment.
Tonight I’m tired, but in a much better mood. Those endorphins really do help me both physically and mentally. I just need to learn when enough is enough.
But I will be giving myself a break from running for the next few days. I’m going on a shorter trip this time but it involves air travel so I’ll get to experience the mandatory x-ray scanner and/or pat-down for the first time. It’s a business-related event, but in a city known for late nights and fun, so I’m trying to figure out how I’ll do this and also get the extra sleep and food that I’ll need to be fully ready for the race.
It’s good to feel well enough again to even have the energy to write, but tonight I still need to pack and then try to get a decent night’s sleep, so I’d better sign off for now.