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Week Eight: A "Real" Runner

April 21, 2017

Week Eight: A "Real" Runner

I remember the first time I felt like a “real” runner.

It wasn't running a certain distance or time, getting a piece of fancy equipment or my first real training injury. It didn't come from a finish line, medal, or chafe mark. I wasn't even sweaty when it happened. It came when a friend told me they wanted to start running and asked for my help.

Not that I was qualified to be giving advice - all I'd done was reluctantly resort to the indoor track when all the ellipticals were taken at the gym one day, and it kind of steamrolled from there. Eventually I started running even when machines were free, and then I ventured outside to the sidewalks and parks, and after a while I traded in my untied Nike Shox (no joke) for a pair of shoes I had ordered from the "Running" section of an Eastbay catalog (also no joke - ball sports habits die hard). I didn't realize it was happening, but somewhere along there I guess I became a runner.

It's not like I needed that person's or anyone's permission to call myself that, it just hadn't occurred to me to consider myself one. That's a pretty great part about running, though. You don't need any stuff or accolades or titles to be a runner - You just need to run. If you run, you're a runner, whether you like it or not.

My crowning run-influence achievement though came a couple years later when my mom stopped begging me to quit "ruining my knees" with "all that running" and told me she was signing up for her first 5k.

... and then her first half.

... and then her first full marathon.

And now we're both a month out from running the Cleveland Marathon, where we both first experienced the 26.2 mile distance. (Her in 2015, me in 2010.) Even though we likely* won't run the race together, that's a pretty freaking special thing to share. Way more than I ever expected getting stonewalled off the ellipticals would give to me.

*I offered but she said someone needs to make sure there's a beer ready for her when she finishes.

(Now I've just got to make sure she doesn't beat me...)

Before we get into this week's workout, a quick update on last weekend’s long run/workout hybrid because I actually got something kind of helpful out of it, despite holding strong to my stance that slow long runs are the equivalent of Chinese water boarding and are my least favorite part of training.

Makes you really want to go out for a run right now, I’m sure.

Having that second section at race pace definitely expedited the process to empty-tankness, but when the dead leg struggle shuffle set in it felt almost… welcomed?... Like it was there intentionally and not because of lack of fitness or poor pacing. I just reminded myself that the end was purposefully made extra hard, and that made it easier to deal with. (Mentally, not physically, obviously.)

Anywho, I survived and got 18 good miles in the bank. Onto this week’s workout!

Week Eight:


12x1k @ MGP, 1:30 rest

Fleshman calls it: Ks for Dayz

Sarah calls it: “Is this Relient K?”

Threat of puking: 2 - of - 5 

After warm up and cool down this ended up being another 10 mile Wednesday, which is oddly starting to feel pretty normal. Man I remember when 10 miles a week felt like an accomplishment...

Instead of a blow-by-blow of the workout (it was pretty uneventful, honestly) I jotted down some of the things I thought of during the intervals.

What I Thought About During Kilometer Repeats

by Sarah Conklin

  • Literally every single part of my body
  • Am I going too fast/slow?
  • What the weather might be on race day/What I'm going to wear
  • Trying (unsuccessfully) to calculate k to mile pace
  • Damnit I was just getting into a rhythm! I don't think I've ever wished for longer intervals...
  • Is this Relient K?
  • Good god what is that dead decaying corpse smell
  • Dinner
  • Why did dead animal make me think about food?
  • Every. single. part. of. my. body.
  • The race/crossing the finish line
  • What beer they're going to have at the finish
  • If there's a Cavs game, will we try to get tickets?
  • Only this, right now

Lauren's talked about training your mind to only allow yourself to focus on one prescribed thing during a part of a race or run. For instance during a 5k the first mile is feeling smooth and controlled, the second is breathing, the third is pushing and fighting. I figured I could work on my mental game a bit since it's presently pretty close to non-existent, and managed this weekend to focus solely on one thing (squirrels) for a section of trail between a gate and a bench that felt like an eternity but was probably about 100 yards...

Wednesday I gave it another shot, and managed to focus almost the entire last rep on essentially nothing, repeating "only this, right now" over and over to myself. Head up, unresponsive to people or things along the trail, eyes unfocused and maybe slightly crossed, staring at gravel nothingness for 1000 meters, my brain karate chopping any outside thought as soon as it popped up. Hi-yah!

Predictably, both because apparently I like blowing the gasket off the last rep of any workout and I guess because that's what happens when you don't pay attention, that K ended up being over :30 faster than all the others.

Don't tell Lauren though - she'll make me start running my MGP workouts a lot harder...

- Sarah