Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Beginners and Seasoned Veterans

As the temperatures have been quite high even by 10 a.m., my sitter agreed to come a little earlier. I had wanted to get 4 miles in on the treadmill before he arrived but managed to complete only 2 in 18:55 when the door bell rang.

I then headed out the door shortly after 8:15 a.m. My plan was to run 12 and do another 2 miles at goal pace on the treadmill once I was back in the comfort of air conditioning. The first 3+ miles I did on the road throughout the neighborhood, trying to stay along the shady areas as best I could. I then hit the river trail where I would do at least 2 loops before returning home.

The past couple of weeks, one of the local high school cross country teams have been using this same trail for a weekly training run. In addition to the other users, there have been 20+ high school runners dispersed amongst the pines and Bitterbrush. Much busier than I like but I don't have the luxury of driving to another trail.

I opted to begin the river trail loop on the east side. Just as I stepped onto the trail, I could see a small group of 3 young runners about 3/4 a mile ahead of me. Two of whom seemed comfortable and the 3rd whom was struggling. She started walking just before I caught up with her and said, "On your left." She resumed running at a brisk pace, pulling away from me to catch up with her friends. She tried calling out to them, "Sara, wait up!" to no avail. When she caught up with them, she convinced them to walk with her.

This is when I finally pass them. As I do, I hear her say, "I can't do it! It hurts." I glance in her direction and she is holding her side. Her friend replies, "Running is not a team sport." I know what she is trying to say. Don't compare yourself to others. Push through the pain. Take it day by day. But her friend's words come off sounding harsh. She wants them to walk with her. They want to do their best and continue on.

I thereby get the urge to stop myself and try to impart some wisdom. "Try running for one minute and then walking for a minute. Then gradually increase the time you are running. You'll get there. Just take it slow." They smiled in gratitude... I wanted to say more but I didn't want to sound preachy.

I proceeded on. Up the hill and down. Just as I came to the narrow part along the water's edge, Horsetail Rush thick on both sides, I came up behind a woman walking her dog who suddenly decided to jog. At this same time, 3 male runners - all bare chested [Oh! I wish I could run without a Tshirt and bra - it would be so much cooler!] - came up behind me.

I called out, "On your left." No response. Again, a little louder. Still no response. This is when I realized she had headphones on. I told the guys. "Ah. Figures," they said. We jogged behind her a little more over the planks laid across the mud. Over the makeshift bridge. Then I yelled, "On your left. Coming through." She was startled and stepped aside. The four of us charged up the rocky outcropping and resumed pace.

Actually, I was trying to prove that I could hang with the men so I was really pushing the pace... I think we were well under 8 minutes for a quarter of a mile or so. On a rocky trail! What was I thinking! This is my long run day... SLOW DOWN! As I regained control of my senses, the guys passed me. The leader, one I recognized from a local running store, says to us, "You'd think she'd at least turn down the volume!" "I know," I responded, "Especially on a busy trail!" The other two guys chuckled and one said, "Enjoy your run." "You guys, too."

I reached the park shortly thereafter, crossed the footbridge and headed up river on the other side, the guys continued on downriver towards the old mill district. About 1.25 miles later, I turned again at the footbridge upriver, beginning my second loop of the river. I opted, though, to stay on the east side of the river where there was more shade. It was after 9 a.m. and it was already in the 80s. I slowed down. No sense killing myself to hit pace in conditions like this... besides, I'm on a trail and one's pace is slower on trails anyway.

When I returned again to the park, the 3 girls I had seen earlier were walking towards the beach area, I assume to take a little dip in the river. The one who had tried to encourage her friend to not give up gave me a little wave and big smile. Perhaps my little comment had helped?

I turned about and headed home. Delighted to see the doorstep. I bid the sitter adieu and gave each of the kiddos a Popsicle. I desperately wanted one myself but held off. I had to convince myself to get on the treadmill. Two miles at goal pace (8:34). I did the first mile as 800m intervals. Stopping briefly for water and a wet towel. I pushed through the last mile, more confidant.

16 miles. 2:42. An average 10 minute mile pace. My training plan called for 9:47 but with the heat and the trail, I'll take it!

I covered more running miles today than I did all of last week. It was a recovery week and I took that liberally... running 7 on Monday, 6 on Thursday, and swimming a combined 3800 meters on Tuesday and Wednesday. I rested Friday, Saturday and Sunday... leading to a little fatigue yesterday on the long run but my hip is feeling much better. I think it was a wise decision.

To top it all .... chaffing in a new area! I generally chafe below & between the boobies where my sports bra comes into contact with my chest. After the run yesterday... I discover chafing in the crouch area where the elastic of my panties apparently rubs. Urgh! I ran in my old favorite shorts - built in panties - why the chaffing, now?!


  1. Wow..that is a busy trail. Nice of you to help out with a few words of advice. You may want to consult with Marcy on the crotch injuries - she'll be glad that some one else has them too :)

  2. Your advice sounds like it was taken in just the right spirit. You not only helped those girls in the moment, you gave them a great model for when they, themselves are veteran runners.

  3. hate chafing., but thought you might enjoy this link on children's lit.

  4. That was great of you helping the girl out like that. I was glad to hear she hapily took your advice.

  5. Makita,

    You are awesome!

    I use bodyglide to keep from chaffing. If you have not tried it, you may want to give it a try. It comes in a push up stick that you apply to your skin like deodorant prior to the run.



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