How Now Brown Cow?

We headed to Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate my favorite boy’s eighth birthday on Tuesday.  With us came piles of food.  Piles and piles.  I’m pleased to report that I managed to make smart choices.  After the race on Monday I weighed myself to find that I was holding a lot of water.  A lot.  Seven pounds of it.  So coming on vacation with a bunch of weird food was not exciting to me.  I packed a lot of veggies- and I’m glad I did!  The whole time I was at the water park I was sloughing water and going pee like crazy, so hopefully that 199 weigh in was temporary.  While the kids did the MagiQuest, I followed them around and got steps.  I turned on my tracker just for fun to see what kind of times and mileage I got and I have to say it wasn’t so bad!  I walked all over the hotel, explored many floors, found all the secrets and got some steps.  Then I sat in the lobby and journaled to my heart’s delight until it was time to slay the dragon and head home- and back to my reality that includes a 13 hour workday today.  Fun fun. It was a lovely, mid-week, unexpected and much-needed vacation!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Hot Chocolate 15K and how it went for me.  I’m simply astounded at the progress I’ve made.  To think that four years ago running, walking or really moving intentionally was hard is very strange to me now.  My identity is so closely tied to being a runner, to being healthy, to being active that I can’t even imagine living like that again.  To think that I finished running nine miles and just kind of casually walked to my car after and drove home is so odd.  That I pulled up to the Space Needle at the end and instead of feeling like I’d been through a battle I felt like I just went for a run…

It has me thinking a lot about distance and what running needs to be for me.  How do I look at being a runner now that I have the acumen of experience and knowledge.  Now that my muscles can pump and endure for nine or more miles, what’s next?  Now that my lungs can process the air and pull the oxygen into my bloodstream without making me feel like they’re on fire, how do I push myself?  For so long it just seemed like baby steps- run for 30 seconds: CELEBRATE!  Run one mile: CELEBRATE!  Run a 5k: CELEBRATE!  And on and on and on.  I keep push-push-pushing myself one step further, one mile further, one more minute and I’m not sure that’s where I need to focus now.  I really like the distance of a 15K.  Three miles is a fun run, six miles is a solid workout and nine miles is my new push point.  It’s a good distance to make myself feel like I accomplished something to be proud of while also balancing out the time issue.

{I needed to share a picture of my awesome new swimsuit- I’m Ariel!}

I think that hardest part about being a distance runner is the amount of time it takes to run all of those miles.  I’m not a fast runner- as you know, I get excited when any of my splits/miles are under 10:30.  If they’re under ten minutes I go crazy,  so running nine miles is, at a minimum, about 100 minutes.  That’s a long time to wait for Mama on a Saturday and you can bet your sweet tooth that I hear about it at length from my family.  Longer distances will need to be saved for when my kids are teenagers and don’t care what I’m doing on the weekend.  

  {This was my ‘back to the grind’ face that I shared with my mom on the way to work while stopped at a stopligt this morning- a loooong day ahead does wonders for the commute happiness.  Within 15 minutes of the student’s arrival the power went out.  It was an epic day.  😳}

What does that mean for my half marathons coming up this fall?  Well, I’m still planning on doing them.  I do the math and realize that I’ve been running nine miles about once a week since the end of January/early February.  I actually know I haven’t been terribly consistent at that, but rather than go look at data and pick at myself, I like to rest in my well of confidence that I do this now.  If I believe I can then I can- that’s what has worked for me so far, why give that thought cycle up?  Anyhow, it’s only four more miles.  Once nine is under my belt, I feel like adding a few more miles over the summer won’t be too hard and by the time the Blerch and River Run roll around I should be feeling prepared for that just as I was prepared for the Hot Chocolate run.  Then I’ll repeat the same running season as this year, I think.  Taper it back down to nine or less miles during the school year the up it when I have time in the summer.  It will be nice if this plan all works out…  😉

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