Saturday, December 29, 2012

Two Crummy Runs and a Redemption

If you've been following along lately, you'll know that training has been going well for the Naples Half Marathon on Martin Luther King Day weekend, and I was starting to feel really optimistic about the race.  [My awesome Uncle John even shot me an e-mail suggesting I might be able to race it in under 2 hours, although unfortunately I think that might still be out of reach for this race].  But if you've been following along more than just lately, you might also know that I vote for cold in terms of favorite temperature to run in.  So I guess it shouldn't have come as a shock that running in Florida wouldn't be as swell as my last two long runs were in NYC's cool December weather, but somehow it still was.

How could you complain about spending Christmas here, right?

After having run a quick 10 miles the weekend of the 15th I was feeling jazzed about getting my next long run on.  Fortunately, it wasn't too hot when I headed out, but my stomach decided to be particularly trot-tastic, and so I had to stop not once, but twice during my run - around miles 3 and 5.  After that my stomach felt so gross that I decided to make it to 6 and call it a day.  Not quite the run I was hopping for coming off the good momentum from my previous runs, so a few days later I decided that I'd try for a long run again - it wasn't like 6 was so far that I couldn't try for a longer run 3 days after.

The second time around, however, I wasn't so smart about getting up and out the door quickly to avoid the heat.  Leaving the house close to noon was certainly not the way to go in Florida heat.  I ran directly in the sun and after about 5 minutes knew that it would be a total fiasco.  By mile 3 I felt dead and knew I wasn't going to make it back home from my out & back.  By 3.25 I lamely quit and started walking, although I was able to intersperse a few half mile jaunts on the way back.  Luckily, the Naples Half starts at 7:00 AM and hopefully it will be in the 50s-60s like I heard it was last year.

Perhaps I should have waited for sunset once I missed my shot at early morning cool tempts...
On the plus side, we did play tennis and get in a nice bike ride, so despite the crummy runs, I guess I got some good cross training.  After all, bad run or not, Naples is pretty majestic.

Want in on paradise?  It's not too late to sign up for the Naples Half.
Flash forward a few days after Christmas and the boyfriend and I flew from my parents house in sunny Naples to his parents house in snowy Detroit suburbs - quite a 180 training-condition-wise.  I must admit that I was not prepared for the fresh layer of snow and temperatures in the 20s [it's a bit hard to back 1 suitcase for both of those destinations].  Fortunately, his mom generously offered me some ski socks, fleece, hat and gloves and before I knew it I was armed to face the elements and try to get this race training back on  track.  Once I knew I'd be warm, I was actually pretty excited to get out there in the snow and run, run, run. Maybe it's the former ice skater in me?

Working out in the cold?  Old hat.
The part of the run I was more nervous about was being in an area I didn't know, which translated into not know where any bathrooms were.  Uhoh.  My stomach has been giving me so much trouble over the break that I almost didn't even go for the run, but four Petpo tablets later I was off and exploring my boyfriend's idyllic hometown.  Fortunately, around mile 4 I stumbled across a middle school that was miraculous unlocked and was able to take care of my tummy troubles and continue on!

The snowfall in Michigan was fresh and continued throughout my run, which made many of the sidewalks and streets slippery, but I actually think that helped my run.  In a way, it provided a nice distraction.  Instead of thinking "I have how many more miles to go?" or "I'm tired" I was thinking "Does that look stable?  Is my footing okay?  Careful, careful, careful - don't slip!" and the next thing I knew I was nearly at my lofty goal of 10 miles.  Even more surprising still, was that despite the tricky surface my average pace throughout the snow, hills and 10 miles came to 10:21 - far better than I had expected and actually pretty decent for me even in normal conditions.

A liiiittle different than the terrain & temp from my run 2 days earlier....
I'm a little frustrated that even with the Pepto I still had to make that stop at mile 4, but am overall really happy that this run went so well.  I feel back on track and my confidence is rebuilt after my shaky Florida week.  Watch out, Naples Half, I'm coming for you!


  1. eh I hate that, pit stops are something I totally dread but sometimes you just have to go. Always bad runs in our lives but good ones do follow!

  2. Good for you to sticking to your goal. When I was running, one run was enough for me, I rarely made it out a second time in the same day. I do like running in the 50's and 60's, I get wimpy if it's too cold.