This was the weekend of two girls running, me and my Brynnie. When all the training from the last several days, weeks, months, and years culminated into something golden. That’s what running is: a very personal affair.
When the 5 a.m. morning runs are worth it. Because often, at 4:30 a.m., they definitely don’t feel worth it. The is a “wishful thinking” sunrise. These days, we start in the dark and end in the dark, running only by the light of the headlamp. When I asked Brynne to join me she said, “NO WAY.”
I’m particularly grateful as Me and the Training Table were best friends a month ago: We spent quality time together, with our amazing friend and athletic trainer, Kelly. She got my IT band back to cooperating. I was made to roll on the foam roller, stretch, strengthen, ice, and stem. Geez, am I getting older? Stem is when you get hooked up and shocked with electrodes. It feels like little needles poking at you. Electric currents stimulate the muscles around your injury and interrupt the pain signals, reducing inflammation and swelling. At one point last month I was in so much pain I could not run at all, and could only walk with a limp, eating ibuprofen for lunch. Oh, those were the dog days of September.
The upside of being sick or injured is the humility, and the reminder that we are lucky to have such miraculous bodies that know how to heal. It’s magic. I remember one afternoon when I I could finally run across the soccer field, I wanted to sing-song like Buddy the Elf, I love my legs and I don’t care who knows it!
This amazing book helped Kelly diagnose me…it’s fabulous and would make a great Christmas gift 🙂
Being injured is hard. I’m so impatient. I worry I’m losing all the training. Would I ever run again? Could I go on living if I couldn’t run? Drama queen. Meanwhile, Brynne was doing her thing, training every day with her cross-country team. She’s only in 6th grade, but lucky to be coached by fabulous coaches who live and breathe running and correct training principles. The improvement made in mere weeks leaves me in awe. It once again solidifies everything I know about achieving anything: it’s ALL about the training.
Brynne suffered some setbacks too. Sometimes she had pain in her hamstrings, knees, and gluts (gotta stretch the butt!) We both focused on eating well, drinking more water, smoothies for breakfast, protein at every meal, and getting sleep.
When you run a half-marathon, the long run is the most important run of the week. Ideally, you run at least a couple of 10 or 12-milers. I was lucky to get two ten-milers in with my running buddy the last two weekends before the race. The first 10-miler I was limping afterward. The second time, after a lot of glut stretching, I was feeling good.
Now, could I run a race at a faster pace with more mileage than I had trained for? Could I pull out a personal win?
Well, I sure was going to try! October 24th was our day. My race was at Cape Cod, at 7:30 a.m. Luckily, Brynne’s state meet was on the way home, in the afternoon. I could finish my run and find my way to my girl in New Hampshire. All the stars would align, right?
While we were driving, my Cope, OUT AT SEA, called…her only phone call of the whole trip! What a treat. She’s well. She’s happy. The hurricanes and whales are cooperating. Man, I can’t wait to see her.
I drove to the Cape with my friend, Robin, who likes to run half-marathons on her birthday. How awesome is that? We arrived in Falmouth on Friday night and were greeted by the sweetest hosts ever: Leonard & Patty! Patty made us a delicious mac ‘n cheese and apple cobbler before we were tucked into our matching twin beds at 9pm that overlooked the water. The 1890 house (with lovely wallpaper!) was dreamy and made me want to stay and write a novel. But first I had to run.
It was an early start, chilly and overcast – perfect running weather. The course was flat and curved out by the water, with friendly crowds and many water stops. My goal was to run a 1:45 which meant steady 8 min/miles. Sub 8s would be a home run. I glanced at my watch only a couple of times, wanting to run by feel. The lasts three miles are always the toughest, but just as I began the last mile one of my favorite childhood songs came on: Xanadu. I felt the same happiness and sense of possibility I did when I was rollerskating in the dark basement when I was 10 :).
I could hear Brynne’s voice in my head, too, when just weeks earlier, we were running a 5k together and in the middle of mile 2, arguably the hardest mile, she said, “I’M SO GLAD I HAVE LEGS!”
Yes, this was that feeling – I’M SO GLAD I HAVE LEGS! I came through the finish line with a 1:44 and thanked God once again that I had legs that could run.
I love to watch a finisher’s face. The pain and joy is always apparent. Let me tell you something else, ladies. I could not have run a 1:44 time in my teen years or my 20s because I had not paid the training price. I remember when a 5k felt like a killer. I remember when I had to walk during 8-milers and ten miles seemed totally impossible. Talent and health was there, but not the time and training. I really love watching a woman realize her potential late in life – because it’s never too late!
We arrived to see these girls at the start line, just beginning their warm-ups. Aren’t they glorious? And then the gun fired! Anxiety turned to exhilaration. Love these girls and their determination. Brynne is #80. “I look so desperate,” she said. Yeah, sometimes that’s how it feels. She ran a 2-miler and it was hard but she finished strong. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort. Two Girls Running. And Paigey there to cheer us on! Soon, I suspect she’ll be running girl #3. We headed home on a cold Saturday evening, exhausted, relieved, glad the day was done. And started talking about the next one…