On Sunday I set out for my least favorite run of the week: the Recovery run. Defined by my Running Bible (aka Train Like a Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line–and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity, by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea), a Recovery run is “a short, easy cruise, usually under three miles, you do the day after a hard effort or race”. Otherwise defined by this girl as “the run most likely to be blown off during the week”.
Last summer I was much more dedicated to the concept of a slow, leisurely run the day after logging some hard-core miles. I would happily pull up the latest podcast of Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and off I would go, cruising at a just-above-walking-pace of 12 minutes per mile.
This summer? Not so much.
I think it’s because I’ve become accustomed to (and spoiled by) the presence of my running buddies, Carrie and Amy. There’s nothing like ten miles of idle chitchat and gossip to make the hours fly by. We just started this weekly group running early this year, and I love it. Last year it was pretty much just me and my iPod, and while I love my music, I’ve definitely found that having someone to talk to helps me pick up my pace (and ignore my whiny knees).
Amy and I do a few short runs together throughout the week and all three of us typically set out for ten miles or more on Saturdays, so I’m pretty sure that all family members involved are tired of our bonding time come Sunday morning. So we’re left to our own devices. Carrie, the dynamo of the group, probably gets up and runs six miles (overachiever) before the sun rises. Amy and I? See this author’s above definition of Recovery run.
But yesterday I decided it was time to whip it back in to shape. Grandma came to sit with Zoey and I fired up the podcast playlist that has been so woefully ignored in the recent past.
It wasn’t the best run ever. I found myself needing to set little mental goals for myself, such as ‘okay, you made it to Bradley Lake, you’re 1/3 of the way there’. There was certainly no runner’s high. I didn’t even feel like I worked hard enough to warrant eating whatever the hell I felt like for the rest of the day. But I do acknowledge the importance of an easy run at least once a week, and with the You Go Girl! half marathon looming around the corner in roughly six weeks, I want to make sure my body and mind are pumped and ready.
But it hasn’t escaped my notice that the three miles I ran on Sunday were more mentally challenging than the ten I ran on Saturday.