I had just spent 15 minutes on hold with the doctor's office to schedule my, ahem, annual appointment and the mid-afternoon lull was hitting. I knew the best thing for me would be to grab my bag, change and head out for a run but I didn't really feel like it.
I could run tomorrow, I reasoned. I ran yesterday, I reminded myself. I don't have to run four days a week.
And then my friend tweeted that she had worked out on her lunch break despite having a blister and forgetting her socks. Damn, if she didn't get me down to the bathroom and into my running clothes from a 1,000 miles away. I told myself that I could do "just" 3 miles and call it an afternoon.
What was supposed to be a leisurely, lazy 3-mile run ended up being more - it was farther, faster and chock full of lessons that I wasn't anticipating to learn.
1. I had planned an out-and-back course that would take me from downtown to a river trail that I used to frequent before we bought our house and moved to a different neighborhood. The beauty of an out-and-back is that if you run 1.5 miles out, you have to run 1.5 miles back. Of course, if you run 1.5 miles out, you have to run 1.5 miles back - even if you don't want to or, even worse, can't.
2. Eating pumpkin chili at 11:30 a.m. is not the best idea if you want to have an event-free run at 1:30 p.m.
3. It's always best to know where you are running, especially where the gas stations are where you are running. Even if it means tacking on a half-mile to your out and back.
4. Crosswalks are a blessing and a curse. If you are going at a good clip, the signal might interrupt your rhythm. If you want to keel over, it's a great chance to catch your breath. Of course, it's all in the timing.
5. Bargaining does wonderful things. "Stop at this crosswalk but you have to gun it the last half-mile and avoid stopping at all costs."
6. I could run faster than I think I can/do if I wasn't scared or more motivated. About a half-mile in, I noticed the legs and lungs seemed to be working in harmony, and I decided to throw in some intervals. I did a quarter-mile hard with a quarter-mile recovery ... until I had to make a pit stop, at which point I decided not to stress the body more than it was. Anyway, all four miles were under 9:00 and my average pace was 8:31.
7. Runching does help you go faster, especially when you have to tack on a mile and still get back to work in an hour.
8. I am not sure if this is a lesson but I decided that it would be really nice to find a running buddy who works downtown. I know having a running date would help keep me motivated throughout the winter, and he/she might push me to go faster. I'm not sure how to go about that. Do you think I could put up fliers or advertise on Craigslist?