Good news, people. My twenty-miler 2 Saturdays ago went great! This past week’s 20 miler? Not so much. Here is the recap.
The first 20-miler: I met Meghan, Martha and Adam at 6:30am at 54th and the Monon. Just because we were all present, on time and in running clothes did not mean we were motivated. In fact all four of us got out of our cars complaining. Meghan was a little hungover. Adam said “There are at least 300 places I’d rather be than here” and I talked excessively about how I wanted a normal person’s Saturday where you get up at 8 am, run 4 miles, do some crossfit and then empty the dishwasher. I did NOT want to be running 20 miles. But with Martha as our cheerleader, we started running. We decided to go north as it was pitch black and we felt the course was a little safer that way. We were meeting Lilly – our newest running friend – back at our starting point at 7:15am so ran 2 miles north before turning around. The sun rose pretty quickly so by the time we got back to 54th, it was light out. We introduced ourselves to Lilly (she and I know each other although have really only met in person once before and she was meeting the rest of the crew for the first time) and then started running south. Our plan was pretty similar to past long runs: We kept a pace between 10-10:30 and took a break every 4 miles. We’d gel, drink water, stretch and go the bathroom during those breaks but otherwise would try to keep moving as much as possible.
Those first 5-6 miles with Lilly flew by. We asked for her to tell us her life story and peppered her with questions. Having a new face with us was really fun! And she fit in perfectly. She didn’t mind the constant F-bombs we dropped and jumped into the conversation with ease. She is training for her very first marathon and had to run 16 miles on Saturday. She has never run on the Monon either! She was a great sport and I love how willing she was to run with strangers and on a new path!
We passed the time by telling our life commercials and talking about everything and anything. When you have 3-4 hours of running together, there is no need to make anything a short story. And if something pops in your head, you may as well talk about it. We were all grateful for the conversation and laughter. And I laughed a lot in this run! After sharing my latest bizarre dream, we played the Homonym game and tried to come up with as many pairs of words as possible. We also talked about Adam’s running form – he is so boppy and I told him if he could put that energy into moving forward vs up, he’d probably be even faster. With that, he tried out a new running gait and had me in tears watching his attempts at a more fluid form. Also, every time someone passed us running really fast, we’d come up with as many reasons as possible for the sprint. “His car alarm is going off” “His wife is having a baby”
We picked up the pace for a few miles around 11-12 and definitely did negative splits the second half. And the weather was perfect! Though a little chilly to start, it was incredible those last 7ish miles. The sun was shining and the temps hovered around 60 degrees. Such a far cry from just a few days ago when the temps were 30 degree higher. When we cruised in to mile 20 for us, mile 16 for Lilly, we were all smiles. Long gone were those feelings of being unmotivated and grumpy. We had completed 20 miles at an average of 10:15 overall. We were thrilled.
Also that week, I did crossfit 3x and did my very first rope climb! As someone deathly afraid of heights, I stopped at 12′ vs going all the way to the ceiling but I was ecstatic. And the same day, we rocked a barbell progression and my friend Nick snapped some good pics.
So fast forward now to last week, which was Connections. This is our biggest event of the year for work which means long days and nights with clients and prospects and limited time for working out. I did my best, however, to at least sweat every day:
Monday: 3 mile run with my friend Amy who was in town.
Tuesday: flight simulator on my back deck. This consisted of double-unders: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 and then back down. Sounds easy? It’s not. If you mess up and they aren’t unbroken, you start that round over. I got through 35 with plenty of attempts so probably did well over 200 double unders.
Wednesday: made it to CF for back squats and “Fran” which is 21-15-9 of thrusters and pullups. I improved my time by 2 minutes!
Thursday: This workout was dedicated to a great friend and crossfit coach, Jamie. He moved to Oxford, England this weekend to study for his MBA for a year so we had a farewell WOD for him that consisted of his favorite movements and lots and lots of people. 55 people showed up to work out together and send him on his way. Good luck, Jamie!
Friday was a rest day – and I do mean rest. I was in bed early!
Saturday was supposed to be another 20 miler. And though I had pumped myself up for it and felt very ready on Friday, by Saturday morning, I wasn’t having it. I showed up at 7am to meet Meghan, Adam, Lilly and Jake. We planned to do what we had previously – take a break every 4 miles. But we breaked a bit more often this time. Once was to deal with poor Lilly’s knee after an epic fall (McDonalds offered her some hand sanitizer – ouch!) and others were to walk or drink or eat. But I knew from the get-go, I wasn’t doing 20. My legs weren’t bad, I just wasn’t into it. So when Jake and Lilly wrapped up at 12 miles, so did I. Meg went on for a total of 14 and Adam for 15. And I went shopping Though I wanted a solid 20 miler to give me confidence on race day, I knew when to cut my losses. It would have been a horrible 20 and my body probably wasn’t recovered from last week’s run (and definitely not from the work week). So I am not beating myself up over it. And the best part of the day? Seeing all of the Perfect Strangers for brunch so we could meet Baby Emery. He is just a doll! It was amazing to catch up on everyone’s lives and talk running, crossfit, work, family etc. And to snuggle that little Baby Bop. I do adore these women (and baby).
Sunday: The Back on My Feet Marathon Relay! I did this event 2 years ago and had a blast, so had been looking forward to this event all week! My team consisted of friends I met at Crossfit – Jess, Josh and Chad. Our name: The Prancercisers. Josh was running with Collin and Michael (the guys he runs with every Saturday) and Mark – a new crossfit friend. And we had many other friends running too! Adam, Meg, RJ and Martha were one team and there was another crossfit team there too.
We settled into our camp with blankets and gatorade and got ready for the race. The format is pretty slick: it’s a 2.17 mile loop and each runner does 3 heats. Our order was me, Josh, Chad and Jess.
I had a bit of a false start, but was right beside RJ for the first .5 mile. We talked about running the lap together but I was feeling good, so picked up the speed. Mile 1 was 8:49 and mile 2 8:19 for an overall pace of 8:34. I was thrilled as that’s definitely fast for me! As the laps went on, we cheered for our friends, snacked and talked. JD’s team vacillated between first and second so they were definitely the team to watch. We’d see them, as well as our teammates, across the white river and scream loudly for them while halfway through their heat. Those guys were running sub 6 min/paces which was just incredible! When it was time for Jess to come through on her first lap, I was in position for my second. I listened to music this time and wanted to keep a consistent pace. I had changed into less clothing as it was getting warm and took off fast on that first (technically third mile) – it was an 8:11. I slowed down for the second mile and came in at an overall pace of 8:27/mile for my second heat. But this heat sucked. My stomach felt badly and it seemed to draggggggg on.
But all of us were doing great! This distance (2.17) is somewhat hard to navigate. It’s short enough you want to run fast but just long enough to make you tired. We certainly didn’t care about our overall times though – were just enjoying the camaraderie. And for me, the best part about being the first is that I was done first. My last heat clocked in at an overall pace of 8:54/mile and I have to say I felt MUCH better than the 2nd heat. I actually enjoyed it and talked with other runners and smiled. I kicked up the pace at the end and JD got some great shots
The bad part about being first is that I missed the finish of JD’s team (yes, they lapped us by 6 miles). They got 2nd place!!!!! They were so fun to hang out with and cheer for.
We cheered for the rest of our teammates and when Jess was getting close to the finish, we did what every true Prancerciser does: We pranced across the finish line.
Afterwards, we went to lunch together and I haven’t laughed that hard in weeks. My stomach hurt and my eyes watered. Not only has Crossfit Naptown and running made me healthier and stronger, they both have given me friendships I can’t replace.
THREE MORE WEEKS UNTIL CHICAGO!