“Be Careful What You Wish For!” This is all I could think of on several of my runs this past week. Even after twenty five years of running, somehow Mother Nature keeps figuring out ways to put me on my knees, kick me in my shins, and spit in my face (sometimes literally). This seemed to be the theme, if I had to choose one, for the last couple weeks of my half marathon training recap.
First World Problems in Punta Cana
Last week, my husband and I and some old friends of ours, took a much desired get away vacation to Punta Cana. The past three months of winter have been just plain brutal here in Iowa. To say I had been anticipating the trip, like a kid on Christmas morning waiting for everyone to wake up and open presents, is an understatement.
On Monday and Tuesday just prior to leaving, I decided to knock out my mile repeats workout for the week and then a recovery run. It was still plenty abrasive here in terms of weather, and all I kept dreaming about to get me thru those couple of days workouts, was the warmer weather just ahead of me in less than 24 hours. Good riddance Iowa (for 6 days)…Peace Out!!
The first run I did in Punta Cana I did with my husband. I love when we get to run together! I was in heaven away from Iowa, running in 70-80 degree weather with my best bud. We found a safe and secluded place to run on one side of the resort where we were staying at, which would later be the same half mile stretch of road that I would log my week’s long run on.
We only ran 4 easy miles that day and even finished out the last couple in the resort gym with our non-runner friends, who chose to elliptical. The realization of the temperature differences effect on me, must’ve been blind sided that day by the easy pace we were running, the gabbing and chatting we were doing, and the plans we were making for relaxation, sun and sand. Now, here’s where warm weather running bliss turned into warm weather running ragged.
Two days later I would do my long run of 9 miles. I’ll admit that up to that point, I may have allegedly not made the best food or hydration choices. In addition to fueling myself with toxic sludge and pool-side nachos, we had laid around like lizards in the sun for three days already. Safe to assume that, my body was not as prepped and ready for running an hour and some odd minutes in 80 degree heat.
The nine mile long run that day was not exactly how I had envisioned it would be. I did 18 laps of a half mile loop, carried water the entire way, and still found myself having to mentally talk thru the last three to four miles. My point in sharing my first world problems with running in 80 degree heat in the Dominican, is to humbly reiterate how Mother Nature seems to be my best teacher of mental grit.
Shaking My Head
Re-entry after a vacation can always be a little bit of a reality kick in the butt. But for the most part, I was feeling rejuvenated and ready for a return butt kicking and productive return to coming home.
I did several easy daily runs, a hilly five miler, and a six mile tempo run with three miles in the middle at goal half marathon pace. I’m always a little apprehensive on “speed” days when it’s cold or windy. While it was slightly uncomfortable trying to hit 7:10-7:23 pace coming back into the wind, I got her done.
However, today’s long run again had me shaking my head and almost laughing out loud at my naivety. Mocking echoes of “Be careful what you wish for!” still on repeat in my brain when my running partner and I tried to beat the 25 mph wind gusts today.
We intentionally chose a six mile out and back route (that I would repeat) that included approximately a mile and half of tree coverage to give ourselves a break from the blustery conditions.
“Just Keep Swimming’!”
Ever seen the movie Finding Nemo? Can we all agree that Dori’s singing mantra of “Just Keep Swimming!” seems to keep finding itself in runner’s form on posters sidelining races, and under meme pictures of runners grimacing with effort. Well, I guess that was kinda me this morning between fighting wind and snow covered trail. Mother Nature wins again!!
Finding the Silver Lining
Every time that Mother Nature puts me back in my place a little bit, I have to just laugh (at myself). These are the days that I’ll look back on someday and relish. Wallowing usually only lasts for a short period before I’m able to “tsk-tsk!” myself and put my ego back in check.
After I get over my five minutes of entitled and bratty self loathing, I begin thinking about the positives from the run or week. I’m happy to say that I was able to capture an incredible sunrise on my Tempo run day (pic below), run with my hubby and best buddy while enjoying island life, and even have the opportunity to get away and recharge. Life is good and I’m grateful!!