The fall means many things for me, football, leaves falling, dealing with colder weather and a reintroduction to running. How is it that during the skin baring summer months, the season of bare shoulders and short skirts, I don’t workout? Maybe its that I don’t have a need to rev up my internal temperature until there is a chill in the air. Or, I’m freaked out by the fast approaching 6-mile race I have to run on Thanksgiving.
4 years ago Monkers and I started a tradition—to run in the Turkey Trot, a 10K race that takes place on Thanksgiving Day. I love this tradition! Every year, I spend the night at her house and we get up early to head downtown. We meet up with about 12,000 other people wait anxiously. The energy and excitement is palpable. Everyone’s breath is visible as the people cram together, jogging in place to keep their bodies warmed up. When the gunshot does finally crack through the crisp air, it’s still a good four minutes before those of us in the 10 min. mile group cross the starting line. The first mile is adrenaline packed—tying not to get run over or trip on the ankles of the person in front of you. By the middle of the race, I’m usually fading. This is when I start thinking about all the turkey dinner I’m going to wolf down later that day without guilt. What other motivation do you need?
After I cross the finish line, the endorphins overflow. If the thought of food doesn’t get me through the race, the runners high at the end will. After sifting through the crowds, searching each other out, we head to the bar for a celebratory drink with the 12,000 other finishers. You may be sweaty and gross, but so is everyone else at the bar at 10:30 AM on Thanksgiving.
So here I am, November 10th, I’m in a familiar “oh shit” spot. I’ve gotten back into running over the past month, but I’m still not comfortable with my pace or endurance.
I’m realizing how close the race is and how little I’ve actually exercised in the past 6… no 9 months.
Each weekend, I’m increasing my distance, while working on short runs during the week. This past weekend was four miles. I donned my typical outerwear and headed to the trail to run. My typical outdoor running gear is made up of several layers of clothing, my ipod, cell phone for safety and my keys. All of this and only ONE tiny pocket in the wrist of my long-sleeved shirt. My ipod is at home in an armband that is quickly loosing elasticity. My cell phone and keys were battling for the small pocket. Only one would fit and my cell phone was just about the perfect size. What about my keys? I thought about leaving the phone behind and putting the keys in the pocket. But no, have I learned nothing from Stephanie? Instead, I looped the key ring around my thumb and carried them in my fist. “It’ll work like a weight,” I thought, “burning more calories.”
Off I go.
Wait… Did I mention it was 70 degrees and sunny this weekend? I was wearing multiple layers, the outermost being a long sleeve shirt. This shirt was the ONLY thing that had a pocket in it. Another rationalization “I’ll burn more calories if I sweat more”. Well two miles in, I was dying. It was SO HOT and because there aren’t any leaves for shade, the sunlight created a strobe affect, blinking through skinny tree trunks as I ran past.
Around halfway, I decided to stop, strip off the offending top layer, and tie it around my waist. I was immediately cooler, but then my phone in the sleeve pocket, acted like a weight, pulling the shirt and consequently my pants down, all while thwacking me in the leg with each stride.
And so I ran the remaining two miles with each sleeve in either hand to keep my pants up and stop the thwacking. My keys were still in my right hand and my armband threatening to fall of my left arm. Obviously, I am not accustom to running in warm weather.
Here’s to being better prepared for five miles!