Fall has always felt like a time for new beginnings. You'd think that distinction would belong to spring, but I think I've spent too much of my life in academia to see it any other way. Part of it probably also comes from being a football fan. (Sorry, but I just can't get excited about baseball or basketball.) To me, summer always feel like a respite, a calm, lazy season in which to recharge and rejuvenate before the electric buzz of September sets in. Once the corduroys hit the shelf, butternut squash shows up at my local farmers' market, and bloggers start humping pumpkins like it's going out of style, suddenly it feels like all kinds of exciting things are afoot.
(I mock because I love. I am kind of a big pumpkin fan myself. ;-D )
There are other new beginnings going on for me, not the least of which is my transition into a new regular-person job. Obviously this comes with a lot of pros, but one of the biggest ones for me is a predictable schedule and not having to work on evenings & weekends. Which has all kinds of benefits.
I also have a new training plan, which for me always feels a little like wiping the slate clean. For whatever reason, I seem to plan my running years in four-month trimesters: January - April, May - August, and September - December. Not intentionally or for any specific reason; it just seems to work out that way. This year it was because I'd signed up for a race at the end of August, and didn't really have the bandwidth to think much beyond that. But the pieces are falling into place. I have a very sassy, very autumnal fall half marathon coming up in October:
And in case you've been living under a rock and haven't seen a bajillion emails / facebook posts / tweets about it, this race just sold out...
So you can probably guess what the deal is with that. :)
I'm not quite ready to call this "Week 1," although I guess technically it kind of is. While I didn't really race Santa Rosa, I still worked pretty hard & ran farther than I had in a month & was pretty sore on Monday and Tuesday, so I've spent this week recovering with mostly short, easy runs.
Grand Total: 24, all easy (er...sort of)
Monday: Rest / hang out with my college roommate, who was in town for a few days.
Tuesday: 4 miles easy. Mostly I figured I'd just start running & see how far I could get before I stopped feeling easy. Which happened after about a mile. My hamstrings and glutes felt sooo tight, and my calves/Achilles were back to that threatening-to-cramp business they were pulling last week. I just kept it nice & slow, though, & figured I'd get to 4 if I could & then call it good.
Wednesday: karate + strength work. Actually felt pretty good, which has been unusual for karate as of late.
some unspecified number of easy miles Without going into unnecessarily melodramatic details, the universe thwarted my plans and I instead ended up driving 50 extra miles & also cooking tailgate snacks until one in the morning. Ah well.
Friday: 4 miles easy. Friday was kind of awesome. I knew I'd be leaving work early to tailgate (GO STANFORD!!) & wouldn't have any running time Friday evening, so I attempted a lunch break run for the first time ever. I knew there were some lovely (paved) trails near & around my new office, so I brought my running clothes & shower things & went exploring. And wow! Gorgeous! Next time I will have to snap some pics to share. In the mean time, please enjoy these shots of the area from the internet:.
Full disclosure, the physical experience of this run totally blew. I felt the way I did in January after taking a month off post-CIM -- completely out of shape and utterly miserable by mile 2. However, I am willing to overlook that & focus on the victory that is figuring out the logistics of a mid-workday run. Between the shower & the beautiful routes, my workplace seems sort of made for runners. Once I'm feeling normal again, I plan to take full advantage of this. :)
Saturday: 6.25 easy. My usual loop to the Panhandle & back. Made it through, but I'm playing fast & loose with the word "easy" here for sure.
13-14 long 10 easy. And by easy, I mean ass-hard. Like really. I'm thinking back over the entirety of my running career and I cannot remember running a tougher ten miles, ever. By mile two I was absolutely miserable and really, really wanted to quit. Also at mile three. And four. And six. And you get the idea. GOD, was it miserable.
Things got a little easier around 7-8ish. Cardiovascularly (is that a word?) I was doing fine & could've made it three more miles no problem, but since my legs had been dead at mile two and every time I stopped at a stoplight or water fountain they felt feverish & throbbing with pain pretty much everywhere below the knee, I decided that the end of my ten-mile loop was probably the smart place to stop. Ugh. For the rest of the night I felt like I'd just run 20 miles.
This is the toughest week of running I've had in a long, long time. I'm clearly still recovering from
basically not running in August "racing" on Sunday, but I'm if nothing else an optimist. I've had sucky weeks before and I'll have them again. I fully expect that I'll be feeling normal again in a couple of weeks.
In the mean time, I am reveling in the energy that comes with a new season, by which I mean both fall (even though it doesn't feel all that different yet here in SF) as well as marathon season. As recently as July, I couldn't even think about running another, but now, eight months removed from the experience, I'm actually pretty excited about number 2. Like, really, REALLY excited. (Here's hoping I can keep that attitude up all the way through November!)
Part of the reason I'm so excited about CIM is because so many other people I know are also running it, and I really enjoyed the feeling of working hard and training for something at the same time as so many other friends & nearby bloggers last year. (I'm kind of sappy that way.)
Post-race brunch in Sac-town. I love these ladies. :)
It was partly because of that that CIM was such a great way to end the year last year, and I expect that this year will be equally epic.
Are you running / volunteering / spectating at CIM this year? Will I see you there?