Sorry for the lack of updates of late. The fact is, not having a job is kind of a downer. You see, I want (or at least envision) my blog being informational with a bit of humor. Perhaps some levity in lieu of poignancy? Anyway, I haven’t been in the mood to be terribly funny. I do, however, have a tremendous amount of faith in myself (perhaps an unreasonable amount?) and am sure something will turn up here soon enough. The running, however, has really helped keep me centered and has given me something to which I look forward.
I am nearing the end of my fifth week of marathon training. While I have been ‘training’ for months, this particular program is five-weeks old. Last week, I racked up 30 miles, which is the most I’ve had in one week since I was a sophomore in high school. Coincidentally, I am also back to my high school weight, tipping the scales at 154 lbs, which according to my height, is on the upper end of the BMI scale for ‘normal.’ I’m 10 pounds away from technically being ‘overweight.’ I think BMI is rubbish because it doesn’t take body type into consideration, but I digress.
This Saturday, I will meet members of my running group at 5:45 am and begin, in earnest, a slow 18-mile run. This will most likely leave me lethargic for the rest of the day, as the last four weeks of long runs (12, 14, 16.5 and 16) have. I’m not sure if it’s the distance, the early morning start or a combination of the two, but what I do know is that by 9:30 in the morning, I will have burned nearly 2,500 calories, allowing me to eat pretty much as a damn-well please for the day. I’m still not sure it’s worth it, but justification is a powerful thing and deserves reverence.
So, this is the part of the show where I ramble about the long runs, as that’s today’s selected topic. For the most part, I feel like I do many things well; sleeping is not among them. To prepare for these long runs, I try to go to bed super-early (around 10 for me). The thrashing usually begins at about 2. Last week I was awake from 2-4, then the alarm when off at 5. I ate a proper breakfast of steel-cut oats (with yogurt, blueberries, honey and cinnamon) that I made overnight in the slow cooker (slow-cooker is the masculine way to say ‘crock-pot’…it should however be noted that it’s unclear if owning either can ever really be masculine).
So, on any given Saturday, I drive to whatever location is decided on for the week by the running group leader, a truly incredible woman; a wealth of knowledge and experience, she’s gracious and committed. I run a couple of quick miles, probably three, before the bulk of the group gets there at 6:15. These first three are creaky miles, as my body threatens mutiny not only for the hell I will put it through over the next several hours, but also because it’s just too damn early. The group gets there, and I settle into the pack, sometimes in the middle, sometimes up front, and we gallivant all over little Gainesville. I have lived here for a total of eight years and these people have shown me incredible things I never would have known existed in this town, from renowned Tobacco Road, to the trails at Ring Park to Gainesville’s steepest hills near Westside Park.
Many in the group are training for a marathon – I’m not sure any are doing the same one but all have a focus. I usually settle into a pace in the low 8’s with another runner. She’s doing the Jacksonville Bank Marathon two weeks after I do Memphis and absolutely kicks my butt up and down the streets. I don’t know if I would have been able to hang on last week if I hadn’t attached myself to her shoulder for the last four or five miles.
People keep asking how my foot is doing. It still hurts; it’s a low-grade, constant pain. Rarely is it much worse during the course of any specific day. If I were to use the standard pain assessment scale our medical professionals use, I would say it’s anywhere from a 1 to a 4. So, when I wake up, it hurts the most – typically a 4. I stretch it out then it settles into its number for the day – usually a 2. It doesn’t really get in the way of my running; it’s just kind of annoying. I wear these soft inserts that help, but I want to try to get out of them because they retain sweat. By the end of my long runs, my socks and shoes are soaking wet, weighing everything down. My toes have the albino raisin look about them, frequently chewed to hell and often sporting two or three blisters. Regardless, it’s manageable. I look forward to the few weeks after the marathon where I will largely be off my feet and hope it will heal then as I decide what kind of a runner I want to be if I grow up. More marathons? Triathlons, perhaps? Focus in on a sub-17 minute 5K? We shall see.
Anyhow, that’s all I’ve got for now. I will try to be more diligent about it. If you feel so inclined, please feel free to suggest topics. Oh, and by the way, happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!