Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

Around this time back in the late 90’s, I was reading A Tale of Two Cities for the first time and, as it turns out, brutally flunking my first comprehension quiz. I freaked out (obviously, I was doomed to fail out of my freshman year because of one quiz) and proceeded to read the rest of the book out loud to myself to make sure I heard and processed each and every word. I did a respectable job the rest of the year and, as it turns out, graduated high school and later, college. Dodged a bullet, I tell you.

Anyhow, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times on my long runs this week. I’ve been trying to ease back into a regular and strenuous workout schedule with mediocre results. I went running three times last week: a nice easy four to kick things off and then two 8-milers to mark the weekend. They couldn’t have been more different.

Friday night’s run was spectacular. I spent the entire afternoon whining about it and hoping I’d get a text from my friend Kaitlyn to cancel, but in the end, thank God we went running. It was really, really wonderful.

If you’re following my literary theme here, [Damn you, Dickens] you probably already guessed my Sunday run was a flop. But I’ll save that for later.

Friday! Wonderful! We left from the Back Bay around 5:45 PM, headed down Comm. Ave. to the Public Gardens, through the Gardens and then the Common, heading down to Government Center. It’s been tough for Kaitlyn and I to connect recently, so there was more than enough to catch up on and we were through two miles in no time at all.

In Government Center they were setting up for this weekend’s Boston Calling music festival and doing a sound check or something on one of the stages, blasting AWOLNATION’s Sail (thank you, Shazam app), which has a great heavy beat to make you feel kind of inspired to run faster. We headed over past the Museum of Science and worked our way back down the river path on the Cambridge side of the river to the BU bridge back to Boston.

The views were terrible.

Crap weather, too, right?

Kaitlyn told me it had been years since she ran eight miles and it had been since the marathon in May for me, so it was a nice little pre-fall accomplishment for both of us. Running is so much more fun with good company.

A great run with a good friend Friday night meant that my Sunday morning run was already at a disadvantage, since I’d be flying solo. I set out for 8.5 miles on my usual loop, except I haven’t run it since May and it’s super hilly. First things first, I downloaded the song from Friday night got me pumped up as insurance.

Honestly, the first five miles were lovely. I used the MapMyRun app instead of my Garmin (since it wasn’t charged) and it allowed me to get a sense of my splits and my distance without being glued to the screen and obsessing with each step. In hindsight, the first five were also mostly flat or downhill, which meant I also had to come back up. When I’m in the swing of things, running these hills is a really vital part of my training… they’re part of the routine, not a special workout, so I get really strong on them. It was a rude awakening to return to.

Does anyone else feel like hills looks way worse in person then when you try to capture them on the iPhone? What a bummer.

My splits for the first five were 8:36, 9:13, 9:05, 9:06, and 9:31. At that point, I was sort of over it, but I was also three and a half miles from home, which left me with few options other than running. I told myself that it didn’t matter how fast or slowly I moved and after seeing Jeff Galloway kick butt using the run walk method, I figured as long as I was moving, I was doing something worthwhile.

Mile six was 10:36 and mile seven was 10:37, and I brought it home with a 9:38.

Ironically, I finished the run in the exact same time it took Kaitlyn and I on Friday, which means two things: first, it’s okay to feel crappy, as long as you keep going and two, running friends are the best friends. Oh, and hydrate before going on a long run, too.

This week I’ll be trying really hard to stay motivated and hit the road because no matter what, if I keep doing it, it will get easier.

It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. How’s that sound, Dickens?