- Getting older sucks. For the first time since I hit puberty two years ago (sarcasm), I can feel my body change. I can't eat three bowls of cereal for breakfast and drink two dark beers before bed like I used to without feeling sluggish on my next run. I'm also discovering that the aforementioned diet leads to a stomach pooch that is more difficult than ever to tone.
- Being a mom means my priorities have changed. Meticulously planned fartlek runs have been swapped for helping little man sound out words while he reads books, settling simply for an easy 3 miler. "Early" morning long runs that start at 8 am now start at 5:30 am before my little guy rolls out of bed. A strict diet means I can only have 2 packs of fruit snacks with 10% fruit juice instead of 4.
- Long runs are better enjoyed solo. During my first marathon, I trained with Kristin--the best running partner in the world. Now, I'm happy to hit the road for 3 hours or more by myself because it means...well...time alone. I've loaded my phone with audio books, podcasts, and soothing music (instead of pump up music) because this solo time is rare and vital for me to attack the day.
- Having a small group of folks to run with every now and then is helpful. On Wednesday mornings I have a mid-length run (7 or 8 miles), and I've joined a small group to help keep me accountable. We are all at different stages in life, but it's nice to have company to keep me honest and running early.
- Sometimes it's okay to rip the shirt off. I've been a runner for over 7 years now. Before this year, I've only ran once without a shirt. Now that I'm training in high humidity, I have little reservations about letting all the goods hang out.
- Slow runs are okay....and are needed. Gone are the days when I could pull a 10 minute mile for 15-16 miles. I'm learning the art of negative splits---conserving energy the first half so I'm not dead the second half. It's making my recovery time much quicker.
- Hydration is vital. I've had to teach myself to drink while running. Before this marathon, I'd drink and spill water all over my face. If I drank more than 6 ounces, my stomach bounced loud enough for spectators to hear. With time, I've learned how and when and what to drink during long runs. I now drink at least 24 ounces of blueberry-pomegranate Gu Brew during 2+ hour runs.
This weekend I have 18 miles to cover which will bring me to about 40 miles total this week. Then I'll only have a 19 and a 20 miler before I begin a slow taper. If you're out and about in Grand Island on August 23 at 6 am with nothing to do, come out and support the runners with noise makers and funny signs. We'd appreciate it.