This is me, before the start of marathon training season back about 3 months ago, talking to Kathy, the training coordinator for my running “club”:
“Kathy, I think I’m going to sign up to run with the group again this year. But I am not going to show up for the speed test because I’m busy that day so just put me with one of the 9 to 10 minute per mile ½ marathon groups. I don’t think I want to bother with the marathon this year since I’m still recovering from the injury I suffered last year on that 19 mile training run…”
This is me, again talking to the training coordinator, on the day I finally showed up and ran with the group for the first time this season, about 2 ½ months ago…
“Kathy, that group you put me with was too slow! I want to run with a faster group. I know you said that “you can never run too slow on a long run” but that was painfully slow. I could walk faster than that and, In fact! I want to run the marathon now after all, so put me in a faster group and make sure it’s one that’s training for a marathon.”
This is me after running with the faster marathon group:
Pant, pant, pant… “Don’t you guys want to slow down some? We still have a long way to go…”
This is me, talking to the coordinator AGAIN, about 1 month ago after one of the runs with the faster group in which I spent the entire run mentally cursing everyone for running too fast:
“Kathy, next week I think I want to try running with a slightly slower group. My calves have been cramping and my knee is hurting again so I’ve decided to give a slower a group a try, like you’ve been suggesting. I know it won’t make any difference in how my legs are feeling but just to humor you, I’ll try it.”
This is me, reporting back to Kathy after running with the slower group:
“Kathy, guess what?! My calves didn’t cramp and my knee didn’t hurt after that run. I don’t really think it had anything to do with the slower pace. It could be the fried chicken I had for dinner last night or possibly these new shorts, but just in case, I’ll stick with this group for the next couple of weeks, anyway…”
Note that I had to balance my plate of crow carefully so I wouldn’t drop it and be left with nothing to eat (because in case you didn’t know, you have to eat something to refuel immediately after a long run).
This is me after last Saturday’s run:
Ouch! What is wrong with my calf? It’s never hurt in THAT spot before. This is somewhat troubling… Ouch! There goes my knee again. What is up with me?! Ouch! My foot hurts too…
This is me last Monday, less than a week ago, after looking at the schedule for the run we were supposed to do today:
FIFTEEN MILES?! I don’t feel like running 15 miles. It’s too hot out! My calf’s been hurting! My knee is hurting again. And my foot is hurting! What’s up with my stupid body anyway? Why am I doing this to myself? I am totally stressing out over this marathon. Maybe I won’t even bother to go running on Saturday. I have no motivation left for this anymore. Aha! And look at that, I won’t even be in town when the group runs 17 miles. Well, I am NOT making up a 17 mile run by myself. No way, no how! I know…. I’ll drop back to the ½ marathon training group! I only signed up for the marathon because I got all cocky last year and then I got hurt. I don’t even want to do it this year…
This is me at 4:07 a.m. this morning, a mere 8 minutes before my alarm was set to go off:
Wha? Why am I awake? I mean, I am AWAKE! I was thinking of skipping today’s run if I was tired when the alarm went off, but I’m awake. No way will I be able to fall back to sleep now. I guess I’ll get dressed and at least show up. Maybe I’ll turn around and go home after saying good morning to everyone and telling them I’m quitting.
This is Kathy, the training coordinator at 6:00 a.m. this morning as she panics because the ½ marathon group leaders aren’t there to lead their group.
“Okay, you, you, and you will start with Belle’s marathon group but TURN AROUND at mile marker 6 and come back here. This parking lot is a ½ mile from the start, so if you run to 6 and turn around that will give you 11 miles today. Don’t keep running with the marathon group or you’ll do 15 miles and you could injure yourselves! Oh…”. Sigh…Sigh… Wring hands together…. “Make sure you turn around. At the 6 mile mark, okay? Does anyone have a watch? Do you know where you need to go? Make sure you turn around…”
Me again, because Kathy is panicking and because I don’t want to run 15 miles anyway but I don’t really want to come out and admit that I’m stepping back down again because crow tastes pretty terrible:
“Kathy, I’ll turn around with the ½ marathoners and bring them back here! You know, out of the goodness of my heart and all…”
This is Kathy:
“Oh, great! That would be great! You’ve done this before. You’re familiar with the route. That would be wonderful! Thank you! Okay, Belle will turn around with you guys so make sure you turn around at mile marker 6 and follow Belle.”
Important note: The trail is flat and straight with woods on one side and a stream on the other side. There are NO turns offs, no way to get confused and head off onto some errant path. The ½ marathoners have run this trail many times, only not as far as mile 6. Maybe, however, as far as mile 5 ½. But apparently Kathy thinks they can’t find their way
out of a paper bag back to the parking lot.
This is me this evening, after a couple of cans of Diet Coke, two Advils, and a long afternoon nap:
Whew! That was great! I ran 11 miles, and I feel fine! I don’t have to suffer through excruciating long runs in this heat for the rest of the summer. I can still walk without limping! My foot doesn’t hurt. My calves didn’t cramp. My knee doesn’t hurt… I wonder if I could have made it through 15 miles…