Hello, and happy Wednesday! Man, I have no idea how I dragged myself out of bed to run this winter because I am really loving the light coming through my window before 6 AM. It no longer feels like an epic display of willpower to turn off my alarm and get up, and when I spied my headlamp hanging from my closet door this morning I did not feel anything remotely like nostalgia. I mean, I know we do what we have to do sometimes, but this is by far my favorite running season. The temps have been slowly climbing this week, but I didn’t mind an excuse to linger on my front porch for a few minutes to sweat. Though, I do feel like the sweat trail I leave through the house is a badge of honor. My husband, however, might disagree.
This month has felt a little anticlimactic. Maybe the colder than usual weather has left me unprepared for a true beginning of summer, or maybe it’s just that summer is my favorite season and I want to be ready to soak up as much of it as a I can. Fortunately this is the first week that I’m officially back at training in full force, so it does feel like a beginning, and what better way to kick off the summer than to be out romping in the early morning light? (Rhetorical question: there is none!) I love leaving my house at 6 AM with the sun already poking its head out too. It’s a wonderful, freeing feeling.
Finally…it’s Friday. What can I tell you about my week? Lately I have been enjoying the really, really simple moments of my day; a perfect cup of coffee, listening to music while walking the dogs, finally feeling the sun after a week of rainy grey skies. I have been feeling oddly excited this week. Things are coming together for me at work, but more importantly my running plans for the next few months are taking shape. I think it’s also partly seasonal. I love these early spring to summer months when you can start to enjoy the sun and stop worrying about weather or not you’ll be warm enough when you step outside, and stop thinking about socks as a part of your daily attire. Sometimes it’s even tempting to want to go barefoot, except that I usually have this thought about 3 seconds before looking down and spying a broken beer bottle in the grass. (Just one of the many perks of living in a college town.)
When the temperatures do a nosedive in mid-May, what else is there to do but dig out your electric blanket and curl up with coffee/tea, dogs, and books? (Okay, there may have been some TV in there too.) While I do appreciate a cool, but not finger-numbingly cold run, I’m also ready to dig out my shorts and tank tops, which is to say that I was less enthused to pull out my fleece this weekend. After my cool morning runs, I gave into the craving to hibernate.
This week has been amazingly quiet and lazy, in all the ways a post-race week should be. I slept in, I propped my feet up. I ate, I watched TV. I am feeling well-rested in a way I haven’t in quite awhile. I ended up taking four full days off running, finally deciding to go for an easy five mile shake out yesterday morning. Nothing fancy, just me and my music with the first hints of sunlight. No real soreness, no weird aches or pains. I was a little sluggish, but mostly because I had all too quickly to that whole sleeping in thing.
After I wrote yesterday’s race recap, I thought it would be interesting to take a peak at all the data I’ve gleaned from my trusty watch over the course of the past few months.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…or maybe in the world of racing, it’s the other way around. We have the bad race, we doubt ourselves, our training our abilities, and then we find the silver lining and register for something else.
Given this introduction, you can deduce that my race this past weekend did not go as well as I had hoped. I’m not completely surprised; I felt like I was going into this one a little more blind than I would have liked, and I wasn’t feeling very confident in the speed work I had done, or rather the speed work I hadn’t done when I was addressing the issue with my foot. I’m not sure if this was the reason I didn’t race as well as I thought I could/would, and honestly there were too many other variables surrounding race morning to know for sure. It could have simply been that the racing stars didn’t align for me, there were enough small snafus that my body couldn’t do what I wanted it to do.
The picture above says it all; it’s been a long winter, which is when this whole training mess started and I gleefully snapped this picture of my ice-covered water bottle (Valentine’s Day, to be exact). Not every race that rolls around when I feel like I’m ready for it, and it’s not so much that I’m overly confident in my fitness right now, it’s more like this:
Race week, you sneaky little devil. I don’t know about you, but it’s impossible to avoid the ritualization and superstition that comes with the final few days leading up to a race, the overwhelming need to replicate this week exactly as it was before a good race. Case in point: this morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and found myself wondering if I was in a bad mood the week before I ran my last PR. I concluded that this was a definite possibility and have, more optimistically, moved on with my day. (I don’t want to be in too good a mood in case it’s the bitchiness that makes me run fast. Someone please explain this rationale to my husband.)