My longtime readers have probably figured this out already, but when it comes to running, I’m a bit of a Type A creature of habit.
Okay, that may be an understatement. Let’s review:
I run at two times of day: at 5:30am (for weekday short runs) and around 9am (for weekend long runs).
For my weekday morning runs, I have to have a cup of coffee before I go. Have to.
For my weekend long runs, I must have toast (my new fave is Trader Joe’s quinoa bread) with almond butter and sometimes sliced banana. And coffee. I have to eat this a good hour before I head out.
For long runs over 7 miles, I have to bring water diluted with Gatorade G2 Fruit Punch.
It’s funny, I got a few emails after the whole Women’s Running Blogger on the Run piece asking how I run at 5am, don’t I hate it, aren’t I hungry, etc. Of course, I don’t love it, but since I work full-time, it’s the best way for me to squeeze it in, since I want to soak up as much time as I can with my kiddos when we get home around 6pm. And by the time they’re asleep, I go into “mom mode” — you know, making lunches, getting backpacks ready, packing snacks, etc. And when I’m done with that, I’m pretty exhausted. So I’ve never really been able to get into evening runs, and I think my body has acclimated to running at dawn.
However, the stars were not aligned for me this week. Per my half marathon training schedule , I needed to do 3.5 or 4 miles of intervals on Tuesday morning, which meant getting up bright and early. I set my alarm for 5am – a little later than usual, but I didn’t have any daycare drop-offs to worry about, since poor Mimi had a fever and was staying home with Dr.G.
I got dressed, made my cup of coffee and flipped open my laptop to start going through some blog emails and other things I had been putting off. I only intended to do this for five minutes, but before I knew it, nearly 30 minutes had gone by. Eeek! I prefer to do intervals at the gym, so I grabbed my stuff and booked it there, knowing even if I ran at superhuman speed, it was going to be tough to get in my mileage before I needed to shower and get ready for work.
I ran into the gym, hopped on a treadmill and doh! No phone. Which means no music.
I’m sorry, I cannot run on a treadmill (or really run at all) without my music, so I went home. Fail.
Since I wasn’t going to be able to run on Wednesday, and I had lunch plans, I was left with one choice: running at night, after Dr. G. went out on his run when I got home got work, since he had “claimed” that time the day before. And at that point, it meant after dinner.
We had a yummy dinner of quinoa cakes (please check out this recipe if you haven’t already; it’s amazing) on a bed of spinach, and a half hour later, I put on my same running clothes from the morning and went to the gym.
I made it 5 minutes into my run before the cramps started. Holy cow.
That first mile was seriously one of the toughest I’ve ever run, no joke. If I wasn’t nearly doubling over with cramps, I was trying not to throw up. I hopped off onto the side of the treadmill more times than I care to admit that first mile.
It was humbling.
Mile 2 got a little easier and I knew at that point my plan of running intervals was completely unrealistic. I’d be lucky if I could get 3 miles in, while remaining in one piece. So I just decided to run. As I felt better, I bumped up my speed and was actually able to make it to 4 miles in a decent time with minimal hopping-off rests for the last 3 miles.
But it got me thinking: What the heck went wrong? Did I run too close to having eaten dinner? Is my body so accustomed to running in the morning, when I don’t have a day’s worth of meals and snacks in my tummy? Was it all in my head? Or was it simply just a bad run?
Maybe a little bit of everything.
Dr. G. teases me for my “running rigidity” but what can I say? I stick with what works. And if that means I’m a creature of habit, so be it. In the meantime, you can trust that you probably won’t be seeing me at the gym again after the sun sets anytime soon.
Also, I had to share this photo from the Falmouth Road Race … which kind of got photobombed by a random race volunteer or spectator. Bummer!!! It’s a rarity in the running world to have a semi-decent race pic. Oh well, at least she’s smiling.
Are you a running creature of habit? And have you ever been photobombed in a race (or any) pic?