Today’s long run left me feeling the feeling that all runners run to feel! Like a boss. We all run only for the feeling of feeling like a boss.
Not every run feels like this, so as I’m sitting on the couch trying to resist taking a nap during a thunderstorm, I will take some time to be grateful for my body and how it has changed over the months to be capable of awesome things.
I started the day with french-press coffee, an english muffin with peanut butter, and a glass of strawberry lemonade Nuun. I had another full glass of water in there somewhere too. I remember wishing that I would have had a glass of water the night before, so I wouldn’t feel dehydrated in the morning. I pinned two gels to the inside of my shorts (that’s a thing people do. I’m not weird) and packed a ziplock full of chews into my water bottle pocket. I wasn’t sure if I would need all that food, but it’s better to have too much than not enough.
I started my run at the loop around Lake Baldwin because I knew it would be a safe place to get in my first few miles before the sunrise. There are always other runners or cyclists at Baldwin, even at zero dark thirty, so I’m comfortable running there in the dark. Was not disappointed by the sunrise. (Can you ever be?) I ran past an old man that stopped his walk to take it in. ❤
My run took me up the main street of Baldwin Park, which is full of cute shops and restaurants – there is a chocolate shop where you can create your own chocolates. My family is obsessed with it – and then down towards Highway 50. I was feeling great. I was shocked when my phone told me I passed the 3 mile mark!
Around mile 4 I found myself on a part of road that I only ever see if I leave the mall from the wrong exit. This turned out to be a fun few minutes for me because I discovered that our tiny mall is getting a MAC! YESSSSssss. Now there’s a Sephora and a Mac in one place. And an Ulta right across the street. Hallelujah!
I took my first gel, a strawberry-banana Gu, and it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Gels are definitely easier to take in while running but they are not as fun to eat as chews (which are basically glorified gummy bears). I crossed Hwy 50 and headed south towards Lake Underhill Park. It was at this point that I realized I did not have sunglasses! Noooo! I considered stopping in a CVS to buy some, but I told myself to suck it up and not forget them next time.
Another mile sounded off on my phone and I was so pleased with how strong I felt! I can remember the first 5 miler I ran – it was so hard that I had to turn off my music so I could focus enough to finish. The human body is an amazing machine. It’s so adaptable.
I continued south towards a little community park that we often drive past – there are volleyball courts, playgrounds, a skate park…it’s awesome. My half marathon in a couple of weeks will start at this park so I planned to run a few miles of the course today to get a taste of the race. The race starts in the park, goes north for a 5k loop, and then heads south for a large loop to total 13.1 miles. I didn’t stay on the course for very long – I just ran the lower loop of Lake Underhill before heading back up to Baldwin.
Lake Underhill was a really nice surprise! I have heard a lot of good things about it from friends but I always assumed it was nothing special because it’s not in the best part of town. I was wrong! Look how beautiful it is:
Finishing up the loop at Lake Underhill, I started feeling tired. I was a little over halfway through the run so I made a commitment to keep a steady pace and limit my walk breaks. The sun was shining in all its energy-depleting glory by now. I found myself really appreciating any shade at all – building shadows, overpasses, even some shrubs that only shaded my lower half. When I made it back up to the skate park, I stopped to refill my water bottle and douse my head and neck. Always a good trick to cool off, but then people think you’re sweating like a horse (you are).
I got back to Lake Baldwin with 10 miles total, so I had to do another loop of the lake to finish my 12. Running the same loop twice in one run is always a big mental challenge for me. I’m like, “I’ve already done this!!!” Plus at the end of your longest distance everything seems very hard. I gave myself my two standard challenges to get through: keep running through the end of this song, keep running til that bench up ahead. At the end of mile 11 I felt like I had some energy still left in me so I decided to push my pace for the last mile, about 45 seconds faster than my previous miles. It was definitely uncomfortable, but I was able to hold it for most of the time! Though I did have to take a walk break midway through the last mile.
The past week or two I have been wondering if my training has been too easy and whether I have been pushing myself hard enough. I have been telling myself I wanted to prevent injury during my first training cycle, but I think I could be pushing a little harder and still be in a safe zone. I ended this run feeling like a truly gave a good effort to this training run. It was at an easy pace throughout, but I pushed myself to take less walk breaks and to give it my best effort at the very end. During my race, I want to be able to look back on my training and not be disappointed with the efforts I gave. Sometimes your biggest motivator is how your future self will see you.
I got home and refueled with a cinnamon crunch bagel smothered in butter, then (after much lazing around on the couch) Matt and I headed to home depot to finally start building my headboard! I’m so excited! It’s in the garage, stained, and awaiting assembly!
- So many dogs in Baldwin Park. Everyone has a dog, and everyone brings their dog to brunch. Also everyone is rich so most of the dogs are purebred.
- People get to the dog park REALLY early!!! On my first loop around Baldwin I saw people already at the dog park, and I saw a ton more on my second loop. We only ever go in the afternoon so that was crazy to me.
- I saw at least three fluffy cockerdoodles today. You know, the ones that look like teddy bears?
- Saw a woman walking two big dogs and two chihuahuas. One chihuahua had Napoleon syndrome and was barking at everyone going by, then he somehow got off the leash! I tried to help her catch him (he wasn’t going far, just evading her grasp) but she just decided to head back home and he followed her. Poor other dogs, they were being so good!
Happy long run day to my runners!
Shout out to my momma who signed up for her first 5k! She’s walking the Volition America 5k, so she will start her race a few minutes after I start my first half marathon! How cool is that???