Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mastering Body: I’m a running snob

and I still believe calling myself a runner is a stretch.  But,  I discovered last week (runner or not) that I am picky about my runs and seem to think that my way of running is not only the best way, but the only way.

The Pilot’s co-pilot (we will call him Co-Pilot Winking smile) has recently taken up running.  The Pilot’s love for running is contagious and seems to have converted many couch potatoes over the years.  It started innocently enough, Co-Pilot would join the Pilot on runs while they were on trips together, but suddenly, Co-Pilot’s new found love of running took on a life of it’s own and subsequently got in the way of mine!

Co-Pilot found a forest preserve near his house and once while running (without the Pilot) ran into an old high school friend who runs with an ultra marathon trail running group.  This meeting gave birth to Co-Pilot’s insane obsession with long distance trail runs.

I, on the other hand, enjoy running outside on the streets near my house or on the treadmill.  I train for road races and see absolutely no need to get muddy, jump over fallen tree limbs or dodge rocks while running.  Co-Pilot loves this atmosphere and begged the Pilot and I to join him for a run last week.

My nice little running plan called for a 9 mile run this weekend and after observing the freakishly high temps occurring in my area, I settled on running those 9 miles on Friday outside in 50* weather!  I was pumped.  I was psyched.  I was ready.  I could do this.  Then the Pilot asked me to run my 9 miles at the Co-Pilot’s trail.  Ugh.  Dream crusher.

I reluctantly went along on this crazy trail run, although it didn’t feel like running.  It felt like fast walking, hiking, hurtling and kicking mud.  The inclines slowed me to a crawl and the unseasonably warm temps had turned the trails into a complete muddy mess.  It was hard work and something I will never do again (hence, being a running snob).

I just wanted to run a nice flat 9 miler at 10:30 minutes per mile (faster than I’ve ever run it before).  Instead I ran/walked 8.85 miles at 14:30 minutes pet mile.  Trail running is different and I couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea that it was a good different. 

At the end of the day I couldn’t be proud of myself for hanging in there with the boys and completing a distance run that literally included hills and obstacles.  I just wanted to bitch about how slow we were going and how (for me) run/walking felt like a slip backwards in training.

Upon reflection, I can see how awesome it was.  I challenged my legs and lungs in a new and exciting way.  The weather in January was nice enough for us to spend 2 hours running outside.  The sun started to beautifully set while we were on the run.  I was able to incorporate hills and distance into one workout.  Co-Pilot smiled the whole time, proud to be showing us his stomping grounds (and then his wife joined us at an awesome beer joint for celebratory brews). 

And most importantly, this was another run in which the Pilot willingly ran at my pace (something that has been happening with greater frequency recently)!

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