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What the Doctor Ordered

Posted Apr 14 2013 4:32pm
First of all, thank you all so much for your comments and emails on my last post. I promise that even if I don't reply, I do read everything you guys send me (often more than once!) and truly appreciate it. One of the best things about being part of the running blogger community, is how supportive we all are of each other. So, thank you!

On that note, I promise this will be a much less depressing post than my last one. To be honest, I rewrote that post so many times, I didn't realize how depressing it sounded until Mike told me and everyone started texting me and asking if I was alright. Last weekend was rough. Very rough, actually. But thankfully a very good week followed it and I don't think I will be hitting bottom again. 95% of the time I'm a pretty optimistic person. As Elle Woods would say, "exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy." Truth, but you can still get yourself down sometimes.

Anyway, here are a few reasons my week turned out better
1. The weather

Enough said

2. A good set of weekday runs

All of my Tuesday-Thursday runs were fantastic this week. I ended up doing two our four of them on the treadmill (it was actually too hot out at lunchtime at 85 degrees), but finally caved and bought a Spotify Premium membership, so I jammed to that the whole time.

3. Embracing Flexibility

This weekend was another busy weekend with lots of things on my to-do list. I wanted to attempt a 20 miler, continue researching my paper, write 10 pages of said paper, and get some other homework done as well. Leading up to this weekend I felt okay, but on Thursday I was up all night dealing with work stress and it melted into Friday when I started to freak out about getting everything done this weekend.  I was actually sick to my stomach over it on Friday morning and barely got down my breakfast (nothing usually keeps me from my oatmeal). Eventually I made an executive decision to hold off on one of my assignments and leave it for next week. Sure, it would have been great to have done it this weekend, but with a Monday deadline for my paper, that was the priority. After the decision I felt much less stressed and went into Friday night feeling super.

4. My Long Run

Which brings us to Saturday morning. This weekend I decided to do my long run on Saturday. Really, that's how it should always be. I always wake up stressed out on Sunday because I feel like I have a million things to do. Running for three hours on top of it, is just a recipe for disaster (see last weekend). I knew if I wanted to run and do everything else, that I had to run early. I can't be stressed about running instead of doing homework if I would have been sleeping anyway, right? I set my alarm for 5 am Saturday, snoozed it until 5:30, and was out the door by 6.

Right from the start, it was a great run. The sun was coming up. The roads were empty. The cherry blossoms had bloomed and their was a gentle dew all over the river grass. A thick fog enveloped the river, but here and there I could make out the crew teams rowing through it.

This was my first 20 miler in five months (JFK was almost exactly 5 months ago). After such a long hiatus, 20 miles definitely felt a little scary. My past experience has shown me that the first 20 miler of any training cycle is always rough, so I hadn't really been looking forward to this run. Even though I mapped it out, I didn't really pay attention to the mile markers.

Good morning Philadelphia!
Even though I love being close to the trails where we live now, I really miss living downtown. A nice run through the empty 7 am streets was just what I needed.

Since I didn't know the mile markers I just assumed I was going at about a 10 minute pace, which was totally fine. I like to run long and slow for these kinds of distances in training. Even though the run started great, I was feeling fatigued after an hour and a half already. When I got back to the river to head home I checked my watch to try and figure out how fast I had been going. I knew at that point that I was about 6 miles from home and was kind of shocked to see a 2:12, instead of a 2:20 on my watch. Since there is no sense in wasting a speedier-than-I-thought run, I decided to try and kick it into gear the rest of the way home. I put on some tunes, passed a bunch of people, and made it back to my front door 3 hours and 2 minutes after I left. Not the 3:20 I was expecting. I actually remapped my whole run to see if I had run less than I thought, but I didn't. Turns out I ran the first 14 miles in a 9:15 average and the last 6 in an 8:31 average. Negative splits for the win!

After peeling through all my running data, I figured out that not only was this my fastest 20 mile training run, but my fastest by a whole 9 minutes. I've run a fair share of 20 milers (I think 7 alone in JFK training), but they always ended up in the 9:30s or slower. This run was a HUGE confidence booster, especially since a) it was my first in 5 months and b) I didn't really feel like I was trying that hard. I really don't have any plans to PR at the Delaware Marathon in May, but at least now I feel better about trying to run reasonably well.

5) A visit from my favorite person

After such a great morning I had no doubts that day would be fantastic, especially since my Mom was coming up from DC for an afternoon visit. I know I'm almost 27 years old and an adult, but I still feel like a little girl who needs her mommy sometimes. We hung out for a few hours, shopped, ate, and all my stress just melted away. A mommy-daughter day was exactly what I needed.

Plus amazing goat cheese salad from our dinner

So yes, it was a better week. My to-do list certainly won't be any shorter in the coming weeks, but I feel like I got some of my mojo back, and that makes a whole lot of difference. 
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