Monday, February 20, 2012

In The Long Run: Internal Monologues (Say What?)

These long runs are getting more and more like therapy.  Sadly, since I run solo, I'm both patient and therapist and full disclosure: I don't think I'm giving myself unbiased advice. Also, my hourly rate is absurd.

Sunday's session: 2 hours/10 minutes. 

Midlife Rambler and I exchange ideas each week on possible topics, but until we've each had our long run, we really can't pick what we're going to write about. The internal monologue has been an idea since our first collaborative post and this week, it seemed like it could work. Because my long run was on Sunday, instead of Saturday, and because Midlife Rambler's run was on Friday, instead of Saturday, we couldn't really agree on a topic until about 6 on Sunday evening.

$65 for 7 pair of panties? Meh.
We did know, however, that this image would have to appear in the post. Why? Because we are Blog Whores*.  Ass gets clicks. 

I thought about the "rundies" a lot. And although I know Midlife Rambler was really bummed that rundies wasn't making a suitable boxer for men, I can't be sure that he didn't order them anyway. 

Generally, these are funny. I don't know what an 'easy 6' is: i'd probably swap that one out for 'hill repeats' or 'negative splits'.  For Thursday night Run Club, I'd insist on a 'chase mo' pair.

But my biggest beef with the bikinis is that I'd never know what I was doing unless I was pantless and could Linda Blair my head the full 360 to see what my ass wanted me to do.  And were that the case, "run, tracy! run!" might be a good idea, too. Coach would probably suggest a "tracy! arms!"** pair.

2 hours and 10 minutes was way more time than I needed to contemplate panties. After last week's devastating treadmill / track run, I had to focus. I had to redeem myself. I had to stay running for 130 consecutive minutes.

In my previous life as a Media Whore (I was a public relations consultant for about 8 years), I learned quickly that 'the story' was always about people. Many of my clients were architects or real estate brokers/developers or contractors: they designed or financed or built buildings.  But we weren't just pitching a building to a reporter: we would highlight or create the 'people' part of the story to the reporter: that's what would make them want to cover the project. 

Because of this, I think about people -- and their stories -- a lot. 

In no particular order, on Sunday's run, I thought of:

Husband: We got in an argument the previous night and I left the bedroom to sleep on the couch. That annoying summabitch followed me to the living room and sat on the chair for 20 minutes trying to convince me to take the bed so that I got a good night's rest for Sunday's run.  Even when I kind of hate him, I have to hate him a little more for being so nice. The bottom line is that Husband and I need to have more time without the kids and without phones and computers that connect us to the rest of the world.

Coach: It's impossible to not think of her. I know she doesn't actually do this (she's an emotionally solid woman), but I worry that when I miss a workout, she goes into the nearest closet and cries. She's a good 60 miles away from me on any given weekend, but she is 100% always with me on those runs. Today, I remembered that one long run we did together when she found 2 quarters on the street. She talked and talked and talked ... and I struggled to keep up with her and just couldn't figure out how she had the stamina to chat and run and find loose change and not even seem to realize that she was hustling. I am quite grateful she's gotten me to this point in my running. Three years ago, I couldn't even imagine running the Shamrock Shuffle (it's a 5-mile run / beer fest. 40 gillion Chicagoans run it each year).

Gram: I thought about Gram a lot during the run. I haven't called her in awhile, and I need to. I knew that if I called her this week and told her I ran for 12 miles (that's what I ended up with) she'd say, "Oh, honey! If Pap were here, he'd never believe it. You could hardly walk a straight line, let alone run, when you were a little girl. We didn't think you'd ever turn into a runner!"

In her 86-year old heart, that actually is a compliment. I just have to rearrange it in my mind to make it so. I'm going to try to call her today -- my hips and knees and groin are in enough pain that we could have a great conversation about getting old and how difficult getting around can be.  Also, I'm having interesting poops now that I'm countering the Prilosec with L-Glutamine supplements: 86-year old women really like talking about the daily (if they're lucky!) BM.

My Midwest Training Buddies: It's hard to run the route I'm running and not think about my athletic friends: we've biked this course before at the crack of dark*** during the summer, and the park I ran through before turning back is where we'd do our crack of dark swims. I think by next week, I'll make it to Plaza del Lago, where one morning during a group ride,  I managed to take my phone out of my bike jersey pocket and snap a photo of a deer that was galloping (do deer gallop?) through the middle of the street. The group had dropped me by then, and since I was dicking around with the deer, I wasn't able to catch them, but hey! Deer!  I was definitely the winner that morning.

The Bahai Temple. It's one helluva milestone, yeah?
My PA Running Friends:  I can't help but think of my friends from Pennsylvania anytime I approach what we in the Midwest consider a hill. If they ever come out here and go for a run with me and I show them my 'hill,' they will probably want to push my tired ass into traffic. I had two 'hills' today: A slight incline up Sheridan at Isabella and then on my return trip, running up the hill at the Bahai Temple. 

I tried hard to run those hills with some power. I thought: "I'll do it for Jeff and Wendy and Jenny!"

Then I got home and found out they all ran a 6 mile race today and 4.5 miles of those 6 were hills. Central PA hills.

I'm a pansy.

Midlife Rambler: Since we started the blog, Midlife Rambler is on every run with me. He pisses me off though, because he runs much faster than I do, and I'm tired of chasing him. I'm a whole two WEEKS older than The Rambler -- couldn't he slow down a bit for me? And although I've never seen the whites of his eyes, I do think about him and wonder if he's running in women's bikinis with chocolate pudding on his face while trying to hurdle the occasional moose that crosses his path (when he's outside).  "Oot of my way, you fucking moose!" I imagine him yelling. "I need some bacon, some hockey and some Alanis Morissette. Stat!"****

Many, many others: I replayed conversations I've had with people recently. I examined ... and re examined ... all sorts of situations in my life and questioned if I made the right choices. I thought about work. About blogs. I thought about past races. I couldn't help but think of me and Madison running our first half and not knowing if it would ever end and then pooping in the woods once I decided it actually would not ever end.  I thought about this race. The big one. The 26.2 miles of potential hurt that I have committed to running on May 5th. 

The last 30 minutes of the run, I started to be aware of my left knee. Then my hips. Then my groin. The last 20 minutes of the run, it felt like all of my cartilage had evaporated and my bones were just grinding against each other with every stride. I was certain the friction of bone-on-bone action would start a fire. It really fucking hurt. 

The last 10 minutes of the run, I started to panic. And I had doubts. Big, big doubts. I had to have looked at my watch nothing less than 70 times in those final 10 minutes. I was still moving. But time was standing still.  I was blocks away from my building, but didn't think I'd  live long enough to see it again.

Once the run was over, I managed to make it up three flights of stairs to our condo. I enjoyed (read: I shook it first) an FRS Energy Drink, put my fuel belt and Garmin away and within 30 minutes, was back in the car and driving the route I had just run to have coffee with some fellow triathletes/runners/cyclocross friends, one of whom was in town for the weekend. 

As an aside: I happened to be in a car, returning from Kentucky Spring Training Camp, with these three women last year when President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden was dead. We will always have flooded Kentucky, Sears Tire Repair and a very chilling, surreal and static-y radio announcement from the middle of nowhere on FM radio.

By the end of our coffee, I wasn't as aware of my aching parts. And although the 2 hour/35 minute run scheduled for next weekend seems absolutely impossible to me today, I have renewed hope that I'll be able to do it.

The panties want me to succeed.

"run, tracy! run!"

Click to see what is on The Midlife Rambler's mind and ass when he runs!  

* Credit to Wag The Dad for the term "Blog Whore"

** I do weird shit with my arms when I run.

*** I say "we" loosely. The folks I sometimes train with like to do shit at 4:30 in the morning. I am not, nor will I ever be the 4:30 AM Athlete. I admire them for doing it, but for fuck's sake. That shit be crazy. I'm often just falling asleep at 4 am!

**** This is what Canadians do, right?


  1. Didn't dodge a moose (today) but the fact that you had me pegged as an Alanis fan is astounding.

    And the Rundies? They will be mine...oh yes, they WILL be mine. (In mens boxer brief, of course..)

  2. Your husband is amazing, but he should have known that the surest way to get you into to the bed was to shout (loud enough so that the neighbors could hear) "YOU ARE NOT GETTING TO SLEEP IN THIS BID TONIGHT, MISSY." Sure enough, you'd be in the bed and out like a light. Or so I surmise.

  3. Ah, the Long Run Internal Monologue. I remember it well from when I did my marathon training last year.

    On one long run I was actually giving time to considering whether The Smurfs were blue right from the get-go, or if they might have been a different colour during the development stages. I shit you not.

  4. I am so glad your run went well...the last miles are always the hardest and I constantly check my garmin too! Sounds like you had a great day!