I'm a Slacker with a running problem, wait, maybe that's backwards
Author: Fallon @ Slacker Runner
Hi! Welcome to Slacker Runner! I'm Fallon and this is where I share my love of running and sometimes my frustration. I'm on a journey to become a better runner and make healthier choices, but yes pizza is still amazing. So join me as I try to balance running and a desire to watch Netflix. :)
Well at least running wise. Not gonna lie, life has me feeling a little fried.
I got in an interesting 5K, like I mentioned last week. And everyone at work was intrigued by the white turkey I saw. Even Google says they are rare. Who knew?
Friday was the end to a long, long week. I briefly thought about running but who was I kidding? Then there was Saturday. I wanted to sleep in but I couldn’t. I had a prior commitment working the registration table for a fundraiser for a local charity through work. I should have run in the afternoon but instead I took a 2 hour nap. And I am not sad. I needed it.
Sunday started with drama. The cat was sick so it meant a trip to the emergency vet. People still aren’t allowed into the vet so after they took Heli in, it meant chilling in the car for a while. Coincidently while a helicopter circled the area. I tried not to wonder why they were circling. Thankfully, Heli was ok just extremely constipated. Poor dude.
I could have used the rough morning to pass on running and have in the past but chose not to. My non-plan plan called for 6 in theory miles. Which would also be the longest run since the Santa Rosa Half. So I changed and headed out to see how things went. I tried to play it smart though. I knew I was way undertrained and also figured that my next half would involve a lot of walking. So I power walked the first 3 miles and ran/walked the next 3. Other than a shoe lace issues 2 miles in, I felt surprisingly ok. I fueled at the half way point, still working on that. But I felt good. I even rounded it out to be a 10k.
A 9 mile week sounds like nothing but considering it’s about half of what I ran in the entire month of September, I’ll take it. Now if the daily headaches would go away, that would be great.
This was gonna be the week, I felt it. This was the week I was going to get up an run in the morning before work. This was it.
Then Monday came. I’m not stupid, I knew I wasn’t starting this out on a Monday. I did set an alarm for the earlier time though and at least get up and check out the window to see the what the morning looked like. Then I dozed for another hour-ish. No the problem popped up on Monday’s lunch.
Rumors of a bear roaming my side of town popped up on social media. Then the security videos start popping up. Nope, yeah that’s a bear. And way too damn close to my house. With my weird animal luck, even my coworkers were cracking jokes that I’d be calling in from the hospital.
Granted most of animal encounters are funny- mini horse, goats, feisty possum, runaway chickens, attack peacocks but there are still scars on my ass from the the worst of my dog encounters. So yeah, mornings were sounding less like a good thing. Ha!
It was a Thursday afternoon run this week where I again showed my proclivity for running into animals where they maybe shouldn’t be. I was heading up the concrete path and could see something moving farther up the path and it wasn’t human. Could it be peacocks again? No, didn’t look right. So I slowed and got closer. Wait, are those turkeys? Can turkeys be white?? Also they looked small. But smart. They ran farther up the path from me, snuck into the bushes on my left and doubled back behind me. Then popped out of the bushes behind and bolted down the path. What the hell?
A mile later, things were still weird. There’s a dog behind a stonewall but he and I have been chill for years. However he was going crazy and pogo sticking up and down so I could see his head just popping over the wall. Huh? Then I heard a little jingling. Look up the path and there is a small chihuahua running my way. It passed me and I could a pink bling-ed up collar and then it kept running. What? I turned around and tried to catch it but it dropped me like a track start and I couldn’t find it again. Grrr.
Oh but pogo dog and I shared a look- like “where the hell did that come from?”.
I was feeling ok post Santa Rosa and looking forward to running but I also knew I pushed it more than normal so I chose to the take the week after the race off. I headed out for a few miles on Labor Day which were slow and already hot but that was ok; I was stilling feeling the running buzz.
Then, I started to go downhill. A migraine was rolling in on Wednesday evening. I tried fighting it off on Thursday but lost the battle. I ended up spending all of Friday in bed, on Saturday I moved to the chair. I managed to go out on Sunday to get the essentials for the week but then it was home for a 3 hour nap on the floor. You know how you say you just want a day or 2 to lounge away and watch stupid TV? It’s not as cool as it sounds. I did watch a ridiculous amount of stupid movies though. So many. So very many. And the cat never left me.
A new week has begun, well is almost over, oops. I still haven’t run but I think I am on the upswing. Fingers crossed.
And I’ve cross trained!!! 3 times! I figured I wasn’t well enough to run yet but I could try at least some sort of exercise. Oh my god, squats, it hurt to walk for 2 days. Also, oddly my cat decides she has to be near me when I am swinging around weights. Why?
Then I tried to break my elbow on my front gate so that was fun. Still hurts. Then the next morning, I stumbled on the rocks and fell off the curb trying to open the gate. Seriously, just call me Calamity.
Also, my Timehop has reminded me that I apparently have a similar migraine every September. So what is it about September???
Race morning dawned all too early but then don’t they all. Plus I had now confirmed that the GI disaster that was Napa Valley was not a one off, ate at the same chain the night before Santa Rosa and same issues. However this time, I was prepared with both my meds and lots of Pepto. Fingers crossed.
The race started right at 7:30 with corral A going first and Corral B a few moments later. I was in B. I had very low expectations going into this race, both due to my lack of training and the weather circumstances. Smoke in the air and a very warm morning.
Mile 1, I went out too fast but no real shock there. Well, the 12:40 was kind of a surprise as I rarely see 12’s these days. I started interspersing walk breaks on my 30/50 schedule and just kept trucking. I was carrying electrolytes and knew I was taking water at every water stop. Mile 2 dropped me back into the 13’s which made sense as I already felt tired, ha!
Then things got wierd. I was moving along doing my thing, taking water, taking pictures of the course, listening to music but somehow gaining on the 2:50 pacer. What was going on?? Miles 3-5 saw a 12:59, 12:33, and 12:46.
Mile 5 also saw another feat. I caught up to the 2:50 pacers and then dropped them. Don’t get cocky, don’t get cocky, just keep going. We had hit a dirt, gravel part of the trail and I was loving it. It was warming up but there good tree cover. Mile 6- 12:39.
I was entering unknown territory in a few ways now. I was moving faster than I have in months, now farther than the distance I had run since May and now past the longest distance I had run in these running shoes.
I was also tiring but again, that made sense. I was slowing down but I’d also started to think I really could hold onto a sub 2:50. That would be almost 20 minutes faster than Idaho. I now feared hearing the 2:50 pace group. They were chatty enough that I knew I’d hear them first. I kept pushing… and repeating my new mantra.
Around mile 9, we looped around on the path and started making our way back to the start line. 4 miles to go and the wheels were starting to come off. We hit a section of direct sunlight and I started to melt. I took a wet towel at an aid station for the first time ever. (They’ve always kind of grossed me out.) I was walking more and more and then there was no more running.
I cramped. Hard. Both my calves seized up. Running was no longer an option. It just wouldn’t work. I was power walking as best I could. Which was also contributing to my issue as I was still maintaining a mid 13 pace. Which was also earning me comments from other runners as I passed a few- I was walking faster than they were running. Couldn’t tell if they were impressed or irritated.
But it was all for naught. I heard the voices I had been fearing. The 2:50 group caught up and dropped me. Wah. But that also took away my crazy push which may be why I suddenly felt a massive side cramp as well as the continuous leg cramps. At this point I was trying everything and even walking backwards at some points. Now I was just making people laugh. 12 and 13 were my slowest- 14:31 and 14:52.
This is the first finish line I have ever walked across. Even when I’ve had horrible GI races or rolled my ankle on the side of the mountain, I’ve found a way to at least jog across the finish line. This time? Nope! I just kind of struggle walked across the finish.
But I finished! 2:56:58– ten minutes faster than Idaho.
While this race was flat- and flat is not my fave- I would totally run it again. It reminded me of me, if that makes sense.
I am at the point of fitness where sometimes a rest day is smarter than pushing it before a race. But that also makes it way too easy to remain a Slacker.
Last week wasn’t horrible and I did get out for 2 days of runs. They weren’t bad either. Both were short but both were decent. Slower than crap but decent. The only downside was the humidity during Saturday’s run. What was that all about??? We don’t do humidity here! 100 degrees, sure but humidity, no. Yuck.
Then I rationalized that a long run on Sunday wouldn’t help me for the race but could possibly hurt it. I was feeling an odd ache in my left leg and was freaky tired. Nap time!
I still had a shoe dilemma though. The farther I had run in the Torin’s was 6 ish miles and that makes me nervous for Santa Rosa. So I figured I would try a short in the Wave Riders even though Idaho made me want to burn them. Nope, no change. In fact, I took my shoes off and finished my run barefoot. Well, let’s be real- I was walking. Only crazy people run barefoot on concrete. Or people with stronger feet than me.
Then the week ran away from me and now Santa Rosa race weekend is here. What????
Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to it but I have some concerns. First is obviously my fitness level, well lack there of. Next is smoke. It’s hard to find somewhere in Ca that isn’t affected by smoke at the moment. Worse is the fires causing the smoke.