I always love the first cool runs of fall. After months of long, slow, sweaty trudges through the summer heat and humidity, the first few runs after a cool front feel so FAST!!!
So I hit the trails this morning with the idea of doing three loops around the bayou. I started out with a bit of asthma trouble because I was late taking my meds this morning. It wasn't a huge problem, more like just a nuisance. I kept waiting for the meds to kick in and help bring up the fluid in my lungs, but that didn't happen until almost four miles into the run. Oh well. It wasn't like it was a full-blown attack or anything. I was off by maybe 5% of my lung capacity, not even enough to notice before I started running. And since I've lived with this all my life, I just patiently waited and eventually I felt better. When I was a kid I used to sometimes panic, which always made it worse.
On my first loop I saw some bunnies and later on, Jack Russell Terrier Guy, who I hadn't seen in a long time. He's got the cutest little dogs, one with chocolate-colored patches, one with caramel-colored patches. They always run just ahead of him, nosing in the bushes, sniffing for rabbit trails, but the instant JRT Guy calls for them, they run happily back to him and prance around his feet. What good dogs!
At the end of my first loop I was in need of a pit stop. Badly. So I detoured up Memorial to the Shell station, where I found the restroom already in use and had to wait. But it was worth it and even though it was a longer delay than I would've liked, I was soon heading back to the trails. I finished my first loop, with detour, in just over an hour. Excellent!
The second loop went pretty well, too. As I started up the hill near Sabine Street, I noticed there was some new art at the top of the hill. First I saw a bronze doe, head up as if gazing out across the expanse of the bayou and park below. Then I saw the buck, head down as if grazing. Aw, how sweet. What a peaceful little scene! It was only as I crested the hill that I noticed the third sculpture in the piece-- a bronze cougar sneaking up on the grazing buck. WTF? This is not uplifting! It's downright depressing! Okay, okay, I know it's just art, but… well, was the predator really necessary?
Yes, yes, it's just art. I'll shut up about it now.
I finished my second loop and decided to run my third loop in the opposite direction, just for a little variety. By now my old nemesis from a month ago-- ITB pain-- had returned. But this time I was prepared and slipped my new cho-pat strap on. It helped for a bit, but I kept having to stop to readjust the strap and stretch a bit. A cramp in my hip was my real problem and releasing tension in the kneecap wasn't helping much any more by the time I got to Montrose. I walked for a bit, thinking about cutting the course short, but tightened the strap instead and decided to push on, finally having the bright idea to try moving the strap to where it would release the tension on the side of my leg, instead of underneath the kneecap. This helped quite a bit and I finished the run, albeit a bit painfully at the end, in just under three hours.
Less than three hours for 17 miles? Hey, let's think about that a minute.
I was on a narrow, hilly, uneven trail. I had to take a long pit stop at the gas station. I had to rinse and refill my bottles a few times. I had to stop and muck around with the cho-pat strap a few times. I had to stop and walk or stretch several times.
None of that would've happened on the Houston Marathon race course, with the possible exception of the ITB issue. Assuming I can get that resolved soon, I should be able to easily do 18 or 19 miles in three hours under marathon conditions-- flat smooth roads, volunteers handing me my water, Immodium eliminating the need for bathroom breaks. Maybe I could even do 20 in three hours. To make my Boston qualifying time of 3:45, I would have to do another 6.2 in 45 minutes, which would be totally unrealistic. But I haven't really made running a big priority, either. I've done no speedwork, no hill repeats, and I only run 20-25 miles per week. If I could bring my marathon pace down to where I hit the 21 mile mark in 3 hours...
Wow. I'm so close. I had no idea. No idea at all.
Boston. Getting that qualifying time is the brass ring for all of us amateur runners. Up until now it seemed so totally not doable that I figured if I ever got a BQ it would be when I was at an age when people would be shocked that I was still putting one foot in front of the other. They would let me register just for the human interest story: 110 Year Old Woman Hobbles Her Way To Boston Finish Line!
This morning changed all that.
So I'm going to go for it. What the heck, what have I got to lose? Even if I don't quite get my BQ, just having a solid under-4:00 marathon would be huge for me. Enormous. But Boston… why not?
I'll be posting my plan for the next few months soon!
Dream big, friends!
Monday: 4 mile run
Tuesday: Massage and rest day
Wednesday: 4 mile run
Thursday: 30 minute elliptical
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 17 mile run