While I did my best to chalk up my difficulty during Easter Sunday’s 8 miler to improper fueling and mental turmoil, I still had a few seeds of doubt in my mind about my training going forward.
Tuesday’s rough 5 mile run didn’t do much to dispel my doubts. I work late on Tuesday nights, and I carry a lot of my work stress to the gym. Burning off the stress is very cathartic in the end, but doing so makes for some tough workouts!
My Wednesday work schedule is pretty hectic, so Wednesday usually turns into my rest day. I’ve tried to finagle in time for a workout on Wednesday multiple times throughout my training cycle, and I’ve never had much success getting in anything substantial, so I’ve changed up my schedule and made Wednesday my rest day. Thank God for a wife who is cool with Friday night workouts!
Rain showers on Thursday kept me inside when I had hoped to be running outside. I decided to flip-flop my run and cross-training days, and Sheila and I busted out our yoga mats and threw in one of Bethenny Frankel’s yoga DVDs. For anyone who wants to get into yoga but is a bit intimidated, I highly recommend her DVDs. They’re user-friendly, she’s funny, and the moves and poses address all of the big areas for runners.
Sheila and I hit the gym on Friday night and I had a bigtime bounce-back run! The yoga stretched out my entire body and I felt great during my 5 miler. This great run gave me a lot of confidence heading into the weekend.
With only a few long runs left before race day, I decided to run on the actual half marathon course itself for my weekly Sunday long run. When I learned that the Indians weren’t in town, I decided to start downtown at the starting line and run through a large portion of the course. I decided that skipping the Tremont portion of the course wouldn’t be the end of the world given that I spent much of the past 2 years running in this neighborhood, and I decided to run the course to the intersection of West 74th and Detroit and then head back to my car in downtown Cleveland on Detroit.
I made sure to fuel and hydrate well, and by the time I got to the starting line location, I was definitely eager to run! Unfortunately, the biting wind that is often present in downtown Cleveland was eager to blow, and I was pretty cold for the first 2 miles. While this was a bit frustrating, I kept telling myself that the same thing could easily happen on race day and that it’s better to learn how to work through it now rather than on the day on which it really counts. Hopefully race day morning won’t be too cold, but if it is, I would strongly encourage you to bring a pair of gloves that you won’t mind throwing away once you get out of downtown Cleveland.
Running in some new locations brought back some good memories.
When I ran past Cleveland-Marshall College of Law on East 18th, I thought about my three great yet difficult years during law school. While I learned a lot, my health and wellness were in shambles and my outward physical appearance reflected my low self-esteem at the time. As I ran, I recalled a day on which I sat in a meeting and heard folks talk about the Run for Justice 5K\5 Miler. At the time, I thought that running a race like that was something that I could never, ever do, and thinking about how I’ve run more than 5 times that distance in a race made me feel pretty empowered.
My energy level and spirits remained strong as I left downtown and headed west on Lorain. Passing St. Ignatius High School brought back more memories. My feelings about my time at Ignatius are similar to those I have about law school. For a long time, I had a lot of pain associated with my high school years. Aside from the physical benefits, running has helped boost my self-esteem and self-confidence, and I wasn’t able to make peace with the past until I ran by St. Ignatius during last year’s half marathon. Running past it this year put a smile on my face!
Everything kept going well as I headed north on West 44th towards Franklin. Last year, this part of the race dragged for me, but for some reason running in the other direction gave me an entirely new outlook. As I ran, I saw two friends of ours (and their cute dog!) whom I last saw during the Christmas season at a brunch that they hosted that was one of the top three brunches that I’ve ever attended in my lifetime. They were on the other side of the street, and I waved hello but kept on going. Is this rude? I hope not.
Generally speaking, once I start running, I don’t make an unplanned stop unless I get bitten by a dog or wipe out on the snow and buttdial my boss at his house at 9:30PM on a Saturday evening. (Both of those are true stories.) I do my absolute best to simulate race day on my training runs, and stopping and talking for a few minutes completely throws off my rhythm. Fortunately, most of my friends whom I see on the street understand this and are cool with it if I shout out a few pleasantries as I run past. I hope these people understand, and if you’re reading this and am wondering why I didn’t stop, now you know!
The distance on Franklin flew by, and before I knew it I was heading back towards downtown on Detroit. I was still feeling great. This week, I had fueled during my run with some Powerbar Performance Energy Blends that I had purchased on clearance from Big Lots, and the stuff went down very easily and was delicious. I felt it kicking in as I ran towards downtown. Seeing the skyline get closer and closer as time went on was fun! I’ve shared this video a thousand times, but I honestly do feel like Gandalf when I head towards downtown Cleveland.
I ran over the Detroit-Superior Bridge for the first time in my life and snapped a picture for memory’s sake.
Once I got downtown, I ran to the finish line area by the Cuyahoga County Courthouse and then ran back to the Warehouse District, where I finished around West 9th Street. I was thrilled when I saw my time and yelled out, “I’m back!” to nobody in particular.
As I walked back to the car, Britney Spears’ “Work *****” came on in my iPod mix. The song essentially says that you have to work for whatever great things you want in life, and the lyrics “You want a hot body \ You better work *****” reminded me that even though I had rebounded from last week’s disappointment with a strong 9 mile run, I can’t rest on my laurels or think that my half marathon PR is locked up. If I want that PR, I’ve gotta keep working each and every day for it. There’s plenty of time to rest after May 18th!
Do you stop and talk when you see someone you know while you’re running, or do you catch up with them later?
How’s your training going?