Feed on

Since May, I’ve been wondering where my running is headed. I’ve now decided that it’s heading to the Louisville Sports Commission half marathon on November 12. Depending on the day or hour, my feelings about this range from “Heck yeah!” to “What have I done?”

What Have I Done?

Last week, because of Simon’s illness, my Monday run didn’t happen until Tuesday. Then, when I joined the group on Wednesday, I felt terrible, ran slowly, and finished in a pretty bedraggled state. At this point, I figured 5-6 miles was my outer limit. That’s when a friendly guy in the group approached me. Kishor is a front-of-the-packer who runs full marathons at 8.25 minutes per mile. (Side note, what can you expect from someone whose name translates as “colt”?) While I complained about not being able to do back-to-back runs, Kishor fixed me with a suspicious gaze and asked, “How much water have you had today.”

Sigh. The answer was a mug of tea and a glass of water–20 ounces if I was lucky.

“No, no, no,” he adjured. “That won’t do. No wonder you had a bad run. You need to drink all day. See this bottle (20 oz. at least). I drink four of these a day. You need to drink a lot. Just take the bathroom breaks off your time if you are worried about that, and maybe get some electrolytes, too.”

Heck Yeah!

So Saturday I drank what felt like gallons, and first thing Sunday I popped an electrolyte tablet in my water bottle and headed off to do 7 miles. Easy peasy. Because I ran Sunday instead of Saturday, that meant Monday’s humid group run was another back-to-back affair. I guzzled all day. I made more trips to the bathroom than any time since pregnancy. I popped another electrolyte tablet in my bottle before heading out, and I finished about two seconds under 50 minutes for 5 miles, my best time ever.

So I signed up for half-marathon training, which begins July 9. And I’m trying to coax my brother Steve, a seasoned runner and marathoner (half and full) of 18 years, to run with me as my coach. I’m sure the prospect of posting his worst time ever is not thrilling, but I’m appealing to filial devotion.

But even if he ends up sitting it out, I realize I have other options. Runners, it turns out, are a marvelously supportive group. I was so intimidated by the regular Fleet Feet group when I began. I took one look at their ultra-lean and fit bodies and assumed I was looking at the in-crowd in high school all over again. But I could not have been more wrong!

From Tony, Liz, and Lori, who slowed down last week to help me finish my bad run; to Teresa who ran with me and helped me speed up two weeks ago;  to Jason and the others who saw me Monday night, realized I was going faster, and all stopped to cheer me on, these are uniformly nice people. Almost creepily so.

What Have I Done?

And it’s a good thing, too. Because the night before I signed up for half-marathon training, I made the mistake of watching a video of a car driving the route. It was sped up and still took over 6 minutes! It kept going, and going, and going, and by the time it was over I was feeling defeated. I mentioned this at the shop Monday, and at least three people chimed in immediately to say that the same thing had happened to them. “Never watch the videos” was the advice I heard from three quarters. But the most helpful response came from another head-of-the-pack runner whose name I can’t remember.

“It’s a mind game. Don’t watch those videos; they will destroy your confidence. Trust your training. And trust yourself. I saw you out there today—you were pushing it hard. I only started 18 months ago myself. I weighed 240, and the fastest I could go was a 13-minute mile. Now I’m the front of the pack, I’m down 55 pounds, and I made $800 selling my old clothes. You’ll be up there with me in no time. I can tell.”

Did I mention how encouraging these folks are? I wonder how many other opportunities I’ve passed up because I’m stuck in a perpetual high school state of mind?

2 Responses to “In for a Penny, In for a Pound”

  1. bethnbobinnc says:

    You can do it, Jessica! If this fat butt could do a triathalon last year with only my own wierd training routine, you can do this with no problem. And, by the way, I see that your hydration habits have not changed….. ;)

  2. Amanda says:

    I second Beth. Go for it! You can do it! I just told someone last weekend that a friend had started running and I expected her to sign up for a half marathon soon, lol.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.