if you understand the reference in the title to this post, then you most likely graduated high school sometime between 1994 and 1997 and therefore should rejoice in being a part of the most amazing generation ever.
this past saturday morning, i tackled my first double-digit (or, what i shall herein refer to as 'double-deuce') mileage in preparation for my debut half-marathon on april 28th. the farther i journey down this rabbit hole of long(er) distance running, the more i realize that i have no idea what i am doing. i have read endless articles on training plans, injury avoidance, blog posts on hydration and fueling for longer runs and, of course, subscribed to runner's world... which apparently is a requirement if you are to become a 'real' runner. you must have a collection of back issues of runner's world and when you find yourself in a conversation with another runner who references "that article on shin splints from the october 2004 issue of runner's world", you must immediately acknowledge that you not only have read the article, but have it framed in your bedroom.
on friday night, i made a quick stop into the running room to pick up my rations. despite my extreme measures of late to avoid having to eat sport gels or gu's on these longer runs, i decided to bite the bullet and pick up a few different kinds to try out, as well as a handheld water bottle. i am in no way ready to start wearing one of those hardcore spibelt things, and i was barely ready to spend the $15 on a handheld water bottle. but seeing as it was predicted to be 72 degrees with 91% humidity on saturday, i figured that i should have some semblance of a plan to have water with me. i made chit-chat with the dude at the running room and sheepishly admitted to tackling my first double-deuce run, to which he let out a hearty 'whoop-whoop!' and slammed me with a high five.
in the end, you can do all the reading and researching you want, but it comes down to the fact that you just have to put on your big girl pants, step out the door and start putting one foot in front of the other. for 10 miles. so that's what i did on saturday morning.
armed with both the badger and my friend sarah on their bikes, my handheld water bottle, a packet of 'gu' and a 'clif shot' (two different versions of basically the same thing) and a rockin' playlist on my iShuffle, we set out for ten lovely miles around minneapolis. it's really amazing how far ten miles will get you in minneapolis proper. we started out in our working class neighborhood in northeast, headed towards the mississippi, crossed the aforementioned mighty miss, caught a lovely glimpse of the downtown skyline, got caught up in the get lucky 7k which had about 4,000 people running in it (a few of whom were very upset that we were on their race route), then headed west on the paved cedar lake trail. we then started to loop back towards home through the mansions of kenwood parkway and lake of the isles, the walker sculpture garden and finally through downtown and back over the mississippi towards home. really, it was the best of minneapolis, in my humble opinion.
i took a little break around the 5 mile mark to eat one of those gu things and drink some water. verdict on the gu: it's like eating frosting, and it didn't upset my stomach as much as i was expecting to. quite to the contrary, about 3 minutes after eating it, i felt like i could run for eight more hours! it really did wonders for my energy level and ability to keep plugging away at the mileage. i wanted to finish strong, so at the 8 mile mark, i tried another version of those energy gels, this one was a clif shot. verdict: it tasted fine, but my stomach was rumbling like a demon within about 5 minutes. so i think for my subsequent long runs, i'll stick with the gu brand.
for anyone who isn't a runner, this post has probably been endlessly boring. but i want to start writing about my training, as i'm trying to get some e-support for this half-marathon coming up. i feel a little bit like i'm floundering off alone in never-never-land, with the hopes to a) not finish the race dead f*cking last, b) run the whole thing, and/or c) come in under 2 hours and 30 minutes for my first half-marathon.
i have no real passionate reason for running this half-marathon. i'm not raising money for hungry or thirsty children in some foreign land. i'm not running to save boobs from breast cancer or anything else equally inspirational.
i'm just running it to see if i can.
i've been a recreational runner since college and have never raced anything longer than a 5k. at the well-seasoned age of 33, i just want to see if i can... to see if i can push myself to run 13.1 miles without blowing a knee, breaking down in hysterics or dropping my umbilical hernia along the race route.
i want to look back and saying "13.1 miles. f*ck yeah, i did that".
i just want to see if i can.