The month of August and running have been like oil and water – they just don’t mix. We have barely run. Normally we run every other day. With the hotter, more humid days in August we switched it up and started giving ourselves a 2-day break between runs. Then, things got real and the weather was insufferable and running took a backseat to sitting in the air conditioning. What did people do before that was invented?… We just haven’t been running much.
We ran on Tuesday even though it was still hot, because the new running shirts we ordered were still sitting there all shiny and new, begging to be worn. I suppose it should be no big surprise that the run went reasonably well. We were rested and yes the shirts were comfy. As we’ve been running once or twice max per week the last couple weeks, I didn’t expect our next run to be so soon, however. Yesterday, the temperature was a little cooler, the humidity a little less intense. So, we ran.
It’s really been a while since we’ve run with only a day apart. As we walked to the park, the wind really picked up. Strong gusts blew trees and I was just smiling away. I immediately had high hopes for this run.
We started off a little quick, but I got us back to a reasonable pace after a couple of minutes. My hubby is like a bull coming out of the gate if I let him set the pace, especially at the beginning.The wind was blowing and I was in heaven. Seven or eight minutes into the run, I suppose after my Hubs started getting into the groove, he turned to me and said, “Let’s do 19.” This means let’s increase our 3 running intervals to 19 minutes, up from the 18 minutes we’ve been doing.
Normally, we talk about adjusting the intervals prior to a run. After all, it’s a big decision. And I don’t mean that sarcastically. While it means just 3 extra minutes of running, it sort of changes the run fundamentally. My brain and my legs get used to an interval and can’t be fooled when we run longer. I was a little surprised by my hubby’s eagerness, and a little taken aback by the mere suggestion. I’m the kind of woman who likes to mentally prepare for things. My husband doesn’t really understand what that means, but mental preparation is one of the things that keeps me sane and gets me ready for a challenge – like running 3 extra minutes with no notice. But, this is the good (and bad) part of having a running buddy; they push you, motivate you, and challenge you. I love it (in hindsight) and hate it (in the moment).
We were 2 of just a handful of runners out last night and I think the strong wind even scared off some of the walkers and people with children. It is always nice not to have to weave left and right around out of control children. Although there was one kid, and I don’t mean to offend people with kids, who couldn’t have been more than 5 years old who chased us on his little bike continuously ringing his bell for a solid couple of minutes. Neither of us realized it was a child because he was behind us and we are listening to our running music and then we hear the ringing, ringing, ringing – incessantly. We are used to pulling right so a biker can pass so we kept going right and no bike was coming. We got really annoyed. To the point that we turned around yelled at the kid, whose parents were way behind us leisurely walking. Minus this one hiccup, we got to run in much less crowded sidewalk conditions – underrated but important.
The first 2 intervals were good even though the wind died by the end of the second. 19 minutes wasn’t so different from 18 minutes. The third interval is always a challenge on the first day of a new interval. I find myself checking the time more, which I’d like to stop doing eventually. This was definitely true last night. What is surprising is that, when I check the time and there are 7 minutes left I don’t automatically think, “I can’t do this” or “Oh my God, I’m going to die.” Instead, I find myself thinking “Just 7 minutes? I can do that.” For some reason I turn into a Positive Polly in lieu of a Debbie Downer, which is a much more familiar role for me. I run through all the reasons why we start running.
The other thing that keeps me going when I am feeling depleted is that I try to do math. I’m not great at math. I haven’t done it since high school calculus. I have been setting the stopwatch on my phone and when it hit 19 minutes last night we walked. Then at 22 minutes we started walking again. Now, here is where, for me, the math gets tricky. In my head I will calculate and re-calculate the minute when I can stop. It’s not that hard, but me and math while running – forget it! I think I did math for a solid 5 minutes. And then re-doing it to be sure that I stop at 41 minutes. Then after walking 4 minutes, I did it all over again to be sure we stopped at 1 hour and 4 minutes. It is probably the greatest distraction I’ve found. So, if you need to keep your mind busy while running, my recommendation is math. Still, I’d like the time to become less of an issue in the future.
When, during your run, do you start checking the time?