After my last post, my mom said “I feel sad for you” … which made me feel sad for making my mom feel sad … so I’d like to clarify.
Training is filled with many ups and downs. The reason marathon training plans only go up to about 32 km, or so I’ve read, because of cumulative fatigue. You are training your body to run when tired and under stress and those 32 km long runs are supposed to be simulating the LAST 32 km of the marathon – not the first – because your body hasn’t fully recovered from your weekday runs. After an intense few months of training, you enter the “taper” period which is when you decrease your mileage the last couple weeks before a race. This finally gives you the change to fully recover so you feel refreshed, energized, and stronger than ever on the big day.
That being said, I finally went back to hot yoga last week in the hopes that it would help my IT band and my back (which often gets quite sore sitting all day at my desk job and commuting on transit). I did a kettlebell class, a hot yoga class, and then went for my scheduled 6 km run on a treadmill. I INSTANTLY felt better and could feel a good soreness (the kind you feel after a hard workout without over doing it) in all my back muscles that apparently I hadn’t been using lately.
I was particularly focused on the instructors Bikram monologue because I hadn’t been in so long and needed to follow along closely. Each instructor adds their little twists and personality into their dialogue and this instructor said something that stuck in my mind.
“Everyone has to do their own triangles in this crazy world.”
I liked that – I’m not sure exactly why – maybe the strange combination of geometric shapes and existentialism? In actuality, he was referring to not relying on gravity to help you with triangle pose.
On Friday evening, two of my friends and I drove down to Seattle for a shopping weekend. I was hesitant to go on the trip because I had my first 32 km long run that weekend and I didn’t think I would be able to do it by myself. I told myself that I would just do as much as I could and that I shouldn’t stress about it – there will be more long runs!
The weather was beautiful on Saturday morning when I left the hotel and headed towards the waterfront. I didn’t map out a specific route, but I knew there was a path along the water. Within a couple blocks I passed a dead rat which didn’t seem like a very good omen.
I headed north for a while and ended up chatting to a lady running at a similar pace. She wasn’t from Seattle but was familiar with the area and gave me some directions. She asked me how far I was runnning and I said I am aiming for “32” and that I am training for a marathon. She paused for a second and said “That’s really far … that’s like an ultra.” I realized my error and blurted out “kilometres!” and explained that I forgot I was in the states.
She told me that she was a running coach and that her husband, who was somewhere up ahead and wearing a bright green shirt, was training for the Boston Marathon. They had both been at the previous Boston Marathon and had resolved to return after last year’s tragic events.
I carried on a little at a slightly faster pace and found myself surrounded by industrial port area. It seems like a strange place for a pedestrian/bike path and definitely lacked in scenery. It led back to the ocean where there were a couple marinas to the right and a park to the left. Not sure where to go, I followed an otter which was scurrying along the road to the marinas. It crawled under a fence and disappeared. I hit a dead end and circled back the way I came through the port area and back along the waterfront into the downtown core.
Having been to a couple baseball games before, I figured I would head south to the stadiums. I passed lots of tourist attractions: the ferris wheel, many souvenir shops and seafood restaurants, and the aquarium. I had to detour inland a couple blocks due to construction and found my way past the football stadium and around Safeco Field. It looked like they were doing some spring cleaning in anticipation of the upcoming season.
After looping around the baseball stadium, I ran north along Occidental Ave, through the park, and back to the waterfront. I went up to the port area again and back down to Bell Street where I went east back to my hotel.
I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to my training schedule and deep down I realized that I was going to stick it out for the whole 32 km although I wasn’t ready to admit it to myself until about two-thirds of the way into the run. It wasn’t even as bad as I thought it would be and it was nice change of scenery to run in a new place! In fact, I felt great for 90% of the run. It was only during the last 5 or so kilometres that I was getting stiff and sore and tired.
When I got back to the hotel my friends were already back from their Nordstrom Rack outing and were reading to head to Southgate Mall so I hopped in the shower and got ready to leave. We were all starving and decided to go to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch where we ate some of the largest burgers (mine was a veggie burger, of course) that we had ever eaten and stuffed our faces full of french fries.
The next day, we hit up the Nike outlet on our drive home where I felt like a kid in a candy shop. They had some pretty decent sales and I picked up a pair of Nike free flyknit shoes for $60, which is about a third of Sportchek’s regular price (they didn’t have the black ones in my size so I had to get pink and grey). I also got a running hat, a couple pairs of fancy running socks, and a pair of shorts. We stopped at the Lululemon outlet as well but unfortunately it was a disappointment.