rest is more (18 miler)
I’ve written a decent amount about the idea of rest. The importance of unplugging. The power of doing nothing in order to be more creative and productive once you finally start moving again. I think I write a lot about this because I hardly practice what I preach.
But, I’m trying.
“You may have to confront boredom at first. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.”
This came from a guest post on Zen Habits, rightfully titled: How To Slow Down Now (Please Read Slowly). Since returning from HTC, I came down from a wonderful high and found myself not sleeping too well, stressing about certain stuff, and freaking out that my legs were not cooperating when I’d get up and try to go for a run. So I had to change something. I slowed down. A lot.
And like the quote above, it did get worse before it got better. I spent a weekend mainly in my apartment, catching up on small things, reading, and sitting around. I was bored, but fought through it, telling myself over and over again that I needed the rest. And even though I wanted to get some quality miles back under my belt, I spent my mornings jogging to the track, and skipped the speed workouts for dynamic stretching and yoga poses before jogging back home and starting my day.
And lo’ n behold, things got better. I knew I needed to get at least one long run in before my marathon, so half/randomly picked this past Thursday to go for 16-18 miles, depending on how I was feeling. I was super nervous all day, anxious I wouldn’t feel strong, or that I wouldn’t be able to even run the distance.
I recruited Jocelyn to run at least part of the way with me. She took me on a route I’ve never been: down the West Side highway from Chelsea Piers, through Battery Park, and up the East River. That’s around nine miles. From there, I’d turn around and run back. We spent the first half of the run catching up on life and “enjoying” the stubborn humidity that’s failing to leave nyc. At the turn around point, she left me all by my lonesome, and I started back the way we came.
Miles 9-15 were incredible. They were meditative. I fell into a rhythm,and felt like I was flying. With a smile on my face (I probably weirded out so many people) I remembered why distance running was so alluring, how you have to break through a barrier to enter this sort of “no-mans land” that’s both physical and emotional. So yeah..whatever..it was awesome.
I still haven’t quite figured out the whole “fuel while you run thing,” so took three super-sweaty dollars out of my sports bra and bought a Powerade from an outside vendor. (I know, I know….and my apologizes to the man who took my money.) I managed to down maaaybe a third of the blue-sugar water before ditching the bottle (I poured the rest out and recycled, #ecorunner!) and ran past the Staten Island Ferry to continue my journey north.
By mile 15 the inevitable “my legs are tired and sore and my feet hurt and let’s please stop” came over me, so I did my best to just accept what I was feeling: Nothing was going to change it, and no matter what I was going to run 18 miles. I prematurely left the west-side highway (it’s one long stretch of road, and can be daunting) and had to zig-zag through Thirsty Thursday crowds headed to bars in the West Village. This kind of sucked, but made the avenues seem shorter as I meandered my way from 11th avenue to 6th, West 4th street to 22nd. And two hours and thirty-seven minutes later, I was done.
With hindsight, I can safely say resting and running lightly the week prior helped a TON. No hamstring pain, no foot pain, and no heavy, cranky legs that wanted to turn around after 4 miles.
And with that, I hope all that “resting” will continue to help, because I think I’m going for another long run this week before it’s taper-time. Who’s coming? ( :