Morning running = Afternoon nap

All my life, I have never been a morning person.  Even when I was little, I don’t think I went to bed early.  (Sorry Mom and Dad!)  I remember doing the flashlight-under-the-covers thing for a long time, and then I remember sneaking downstairs in the middle of the 10pm news to watch TV (mostly Jay Leno…) with my dad.  Needless to say, I am the opposite of a morning person.

How I ever survived high school summer running at 6am every morning is beyond me, but I do remember how nice it is to run on a summer morning.  A cool summer feeling before the sun really brings the heat.  Getting out there before much of the world is yet awake (and night shifters are wrapping up their shifts…) and just getting it done.

Sounds great, right?  But I wouldn’t really know anymore.  My 12+ hour work days where lunch often doesn’t happen until 3pm don’t exactly make me want to get up earlier than my already early alarm to run.  I’ve cut back from my night shift coffee habit, and I don’t need to go back.  (Some people might call of this talk “excuses.”  I call this “I work with sick/challenging people all day.”)

Of course, a difficulty of not running on days that I work means that I basically have to run on every day that I don’t work.  Which is awesome until you’re fun friend Abbe says, “Hey!  Come to Fire Island on your day off!” and that maximizing your day at the beach means leaving your apartment at 7am.  And you have a five mile run to do.  (Instead of nine miles because you smartly moved that to Thursday.)  So you set your alarm for 5:30am, fully thinking that you’re probably going to snooze that alarm long enough that you don’t have time for the run.

For the record, I am acutely aware that this is a total first world problem.  Moving on.

The alarm goes off at 5:30am.  Nope.  NOOOOOOOPE.  5:38am is next.  Be that runner, Susan.  That runner who gets their training in without excuses.  (Despite the ones listed above.)  You’ll only sleep another twenty minutes anyway, and that’s hardly worth missing a run.  Right?  But this pillow is comfortable………………..okay, okay, OKAY, I’ll get up.

I ponder brushing my teeth while doing my lunges/squats warm-up, then I head out the door.  Contrary to how it’s been going lately, my Garmin immediately gets signal.  For the sake of time, I cut down on my usual walking warm up to about two minutes, bargaining with myself that I’ll take the first mile slow.

I suppose one reason why I like taking my time to wake up and run (a luxury I generally have on my days off) is because I haaaaaaate morning legs.  That sluggish feeling where your legs aren’t quite awake yet and moving them feels like moving mountains.  I suffered from a bad case of morning legs on Sunday morning, clocking in that first mile at 8:52.  I told myself to ignore my watch and just be proud of the fact that I actually got out of bed.

It was a pretty crisp morning (before turning into a perfect beach day), and I enjoyed the early hours with a few other runners.  My legs woke up before I did, and soon enough I was actually hitting miles in the low-8’s!  Numbers I haven’t seen much of lately while still feeling comfortable…on morning legs, no less!  This may have also been propelled by the fact that I checked the time and distance – realizing that I miscalculated the route by about half a mile, I needed to boogie a bit to get home on time.  I rolled through the hills on the west side of Central Park feeling quite on the top of the world.

Ah, that’s why people run in the morning.

Sunday, July 12 – 5.06 miles in 42:07, avg pace of 8:19

Then I PR’d in showering/getting ready and we were off to the train!  We had some Dunkin Donuts to fuel us through the train/ferry ride before we were greeted by Abbe (and the crew) on Fire Island.  We headed right the beach, applied some sunscreen, and soaked up the sun.  Other highlights included fish tacos (for lunch and dinner), some refreshing summer beverages, and a much needed afternoon nap on the beach.

Oh yes, I napped.  I napped HARD.  That early morning wake up call got to me, and I passed out to the crashing waves, oblivious to the chatting and music going on around me.  I may have drooled, I’m not so sure.  But it was glorious.  Because is the there anything better than a nap on the beach?   I think not.

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Eric and I on the ferry.  We were much tanner upon our return.

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The only beach picture I took.  Oops?

We ended the trip with a ferry ride into the sunset.  You think I’m kidding, but I am not.

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A poor, late picture of the sunset.

In case you were wondering, Fire Island is worth every second of an early wake up.  Thank you to Abbe for the invite!  I can’t wait to do it again.

Alright morning runners, let’s hear your secrets.  To my nurse readers – do you run before work?  I used to run before night shift, but I couldn’t sleep anyway…

nine miles, by the numbers

Summer is definitely in NYC in full swing, and it seems to be taking on a Florida-like feel.  Luckily not as hot as I imagine Florida to be, but in the “it’s probably going to rain at some point today” feeling.  Of course, this only applies to the days that I have off from work, as the days that I work tend to have bright and sunny written all over them.  I worked Sunday, and I’m working Friday and Saturday, so I’ve had most of this grey, humid week off from work.  I had high hopes of a beach day on one of these days off (being off during the week = much less crowded beach = more relaxing = happier Susan), but I couldn’t work it in with the weather.

However, an offer of a beach on Sunday (with sunny weather!) got me excited – except I am scheduled to do a long run of nine miles on Sunday.  Not ideal when you want to get out bright and early!  (And getting up to do the long run would be really early!  No, thank you.)  Abbe mentioned that she was moving her long run to Thursday – why yes, I think I will too!  So, nine miles on the docket this morning.  I was a little nervous about moving my runs around because that would be a fair amount of mileage for me over four days – 20 miles in four days – and I’m trying to be careful about doing that.  But………..why not.

Nine miles on a Thursday.  By the numbers.

9 – Number of miles I ran today

10 – The time at which I started running.  Not too shabby for this I-hate-mornings-person

70 – The temperature.  I’ll take it.

0 – The amount of sun I could see.  Gave the air a nice, cool feel.  Definitely welcome from previous days!

3 – The number of hair ties I used.  I think mine keep getting stretched out, so I use more and more to prevent any hair bounce/falling out.  I need my hair in one place.

2 – The number of times I ran on the bike path (you’re welcome, cyclists!).  And this was only when it was a “shared bike path” because the pedestrian path was under construction.

2 – The number of cars in the way of the pedestrian path.  Annoying, but not too bad.

4.5 – The number of miles I spent equidistant from another running in neon green shorts.  Maybe we should have run together?

8:31 – My average pace!

164 – My average heart rate.  I put on my HR monitor last minute to compare to my last long run.  My avg HR for 8 miles (at 8:07 pace) was 171.  Still not sure what all this means.

2.5 – The number of miles I had left when my ankles started being cranky.  This is the longest run I’ve done in the Saucony Ride – maybe I need more pronation support than I thought.

0 – The number of times I stopped during the run!  I thought I’d have to stop for some water, but it wasn’t that hot and I felt like I’d be fine without water.  (I don’t drink much on the run…oops.)

16 – The ounces of Nuun I drank when I got home.  Gotta help with that salt rim formed on my forehead…

15,000 – The number of steps I took, included the 8-ish minute warm-up/cool down walk I add to my runs.

Overall, I really tried to keep the pace easy – my legs have been tired this week, and yesterday I made myself sloooooow down for a three mile recovery run.  I managed 8:37, so I definitely could have gone slower, but it felt really easy.  For this long run, I kept my watch on the heart rate display and tried to keep it as close to 160 as possible.  This helps me keep it easy without freaking out over the pace.  Most running books/marathon advice will tell you to run your long runs slow – 1-2 minutes per mile slower than your goal race pace.  I never do this.  But if my marathon day pace is 7:31, I’d be a happy runner.  (Because that’d be a PR, ha.)  I know I need to focus on not hammering my long runs since they’re not really made to be a workout.  The distance is a workout in itself…but isn’t it fun to test yourself??

Not when you’re coming back from injury!!  Whenever I look down and don’t like the pace, I remind myself that I’m coming back from time off, so I need to get back into shape.  Also, I remember that I’d rather be running slower and building back up than not running at all.  Slower miles are better than no miles, right?  Right.

But to recap…

Thursday, July 9 – 9.11 miles in 1:17:40, avg pace of 8:31

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Pretty even, hooray.

Next week will be a cutback week (convenient for a reason I will explain later…), and in two weeks I’ll bump up to an 11 mile long run.  Excited to get into the double digits again!

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