I have been SERIOUSLY slacking on updating the blog this week. There’s been a lot to tell, but none of it has seemed very thrilling on a day-by-day basis. I had 17 miles on the schedule for this week, and I completed them all…didn’t miss any runs at all. Since my first two weeks were missing a day each due to travel and being abroad, this was the first week I had to do back-to-back days, which was definitely a new challenge…especially since I’m also back to work now, too. But I did it.
Wednesday afternoon I decided I had to take back the Brooks. I called around to a couple other running stores in the area to find out what their return policies were, and all of them claimed they would take back slightly used running shoes, even if only for store credit. So I called a few other branches of Potomac River Running Store, where I bought the Brooks, and explained to one of the managers what my problem was, and what the likelihood was of being able to get another pair of shoes. She told me they do their best to work with people, on a case-by-case basis, to make the situation right. Heartened by that, and limited by an afternoon where it was 2:45pm, I had an appointment at 5pm, and had to run 4 miles after that, I dashed home to get the shoes, drove all the way back and then some to the running store, and walked in with the box and the receipt.
They were beautiful. The girl who helped me didn’t give me any flak at all about their “official policy” on returns, and helped me find the ones that were right for me. We couldn’t identify the Sauconys I had tried on last week when I bought the Brooks, but I tried a few other pairs and finally found one that felt so natural on my feet, so like the ones I’d been using, that it occurred to me that THAT’S what you look for in a shoe. They were perfect. Nothing unusual I would tell myself I’d get used to, nothing I suspected was some fancy running-shoe padding that would help me in the long run, even if it felt funny now…nope, these were perfect already. And thirty bucks cheaper than the Brooks. I even got a refund…they didn’t even tell me the difference would be store credit (which I could’ve found a way to spend, I’m sure).
And now all is well in Christine the Runner Girl World. It’s Saturday evening, and since I bought them Wednesday evening, I’ve put 14 miles on the new Sauconys. They feel just like I think they should. They don’t run FOR me…which is a disheartening fact…but I haven’t had to think about them ONCE during a run.
Wednesday was the 4-miler…up and down 234 in what was still 80-degree heat, and muggy…by the time I finished, I was in the dark, and 234 is not as lit as I thought it was. I managed to run the whole thing and not walk at all, but it was tough in that heat. Felt really slow, but finished it with a pace of 11:05…44:31 total.
Thursday was another 3…which was tough only because, like I said, it was the very next day after a run. I was very concerned about my calves being tight…which is pretty much a constant state at this point…but my only real struggle was the heat. Not even any muscle cramps or whatnot these two days. I followed an old walking route my mom and I used to do through the neighborhood streets within a mile or so of my house…this meant a lot of weaving back and forth and LOTS of hills. I’d planned it so the big ones would come early, and there’d be only one uphill in the last half-mile or so…I confess I slowed to a walk for a minute, but ran the rest. I’ve got to stop walking in the “short” runs, no matter what…and I know it’s purely psychological.
This morning was the crowning achievement so far. SEVEN MILES. 1:18:31. Two 2-minute walks, one 3-minute walk, and I still managed to pull out a pace of 11:10. I must be getting faster. I felt really slow at first, especially since all of Mile 2 was an uphill, but I must have been close to a 10-minute pace for quite a bit of it in order to finish with the average I ended up with. It was a beautiful morning for it, too…I didn’t hit the road till about 9:15, and I could tell I’d waited too long, because there was some heat, and a lot of the route was in full sun…but nevertheless, it was far cooler than it’s been for a good long while, and I can’t complain at all…the lower temperatures and absence of humidity really helped quite a bit.
Despite the fact that Runkeeper won’t calculate the elevation on this route for some unknown reason, it was still really gratifying to see it pop up a message – AND send me an email – to say that I’d hit a new Personal Record (PR) for distance in a single day AND for distance in a single week. 17. Very…very proud.
So…three weeks down, thirteen to go, and I’m still in the hunt. I thought a lot today about how, if I hadn’t told pretty much everyone I know that I’m going to run a marathon, I would almost certainly be quietly slinking out of this by now. Seven miles is nothing to sneeze at, especially if you’re a brand-new runner. I can’t see tackling something like this – even just this training run – if I didn’t feel the accountability to follow through with what I’d told people I was going to do. This is HARD. This takes a LOT of time! In my first four-day-a-week training week…I mean, I’m never more than 48 hours away from my next run…and I spent THREE HOURS AND EIGHT MINUTES this week RUNNING! And that doesn’t count planning the route, getting dressed for it, warm ups, cool downs, stretches, and general recovery time afterwards. And next week, my mid-run goes from 4 to 5, and my long run goes from 7 to 8…and it only starts ratcheting up from there!
This is HARD!
But I’m in. Week 4 begins on Monday morning. 3 Monday…5 Tues/Wed (whichever I can fit it in, with school starting Tuesday)…another 3 Thursday…and 8 Saturday. 19 total. Ready.