Easier, but never easy

Running is certainly easier now than it used to be  (circa December 1999 I wanted to collapse after about 400 meters…), but on a day-to-day basis, is it easy? No way. Sure, there are some magical and rare times when I pop out of bed at 6am or finish a long day at work and feel like running 10 miles.

Okay, actually…. I’m not sure that has ever happened. But my point is – even though this is an activity that I enjoy overall, it still takes a lot of effort to get myself out the door. Despite numerous cups of coffee, I was still feeling drained by the end of work yesterday. But I know that seeing my running friends and getting in some sweaty miles usually energizes me, so I dragged myself to the gym. I put my stuff in a locker, changed into my running gear, and started jogging my warm-up. Hadn’t I just done the hardest part? Wasn’t it supposed to get fun now?

Um no. 15 minutes into my warm-up and I still felt like taking a nap right in the middle of Central Park. I met up with my running club, but decided to skedaddle after the coach gave his weekly talk. I was in no mood to do this workout. Usually I’m not one to “listen to my body” because my body always tells me to hit the snooze button or eat another cookie, however this seemed like one of those rare times it would be a good idea to just call it a day.

But, thennn my running buddy S rolled up and I decided to just see how I felt for a mile or two. The assigned workout was a 6 mile tempo at half marathon pace (with an additional 1k pick up at the end, which I did NOT do). I felt okay once we started running, but still…my head was just not in the game. At about the 2.75 mile mark, I announced “Okay ladies, I’m stopping when we get to mile 3”.

Well, mile 3 comes and I decide “What-the-heck, just one more mile…”. By the time we rounded the Harlem Hills, we were 4.5 miles into the workout and so I decided to just suck it up and run the whole $%^* thing. My struggle was definitely a mental one. As evidenced by the splits, physically I was in fine condition to do a workout. The Harlem Hills slowed me down a bit (ahem mile 4), but I managed to finish the tempo without feeling like I exerted myself too much and I’m pretty sure I could have run sub-7:00 pace for these 6 miles had I not been so out of it.

After my warm-up (1.5 miles) and cool-down (2 miles), I ended up running 9.5 miles total. So. What was going on last night? Was I just being whiny and grumpy? Yeah, probably.  But also, sometimes I just don’t feel like running. Maybe I’m tired or mentally exhausted from work. Maybe my stomach hurts or I’d rather be meeting your lady friends for happy hour. I’ve come to expect that I will feel this way and sometimes the only thing I can do is push on. I suppose the point of this post is to say that training gets easier, but it’s never easy. Becoming better is a lot of work and sometimes you won’t be pumped up about the day-to-day grind. I wish I had an answer or remedy for that, but I don’t. So I just put on my running shoes and hope for the best.

And maybe bribe myself with something delicious once I’m finished.

My friend Meggie is having a bake sale tomorrow, Saturday October 1st from 1-4pm to benefit pediatric cancer research. If you live in NYC, you should come down to Washington Sq Park (or inside the NYU Kimmel Center  if it rains…) and buy lots of sweet things.

For example, sweet things like THIS:

Yes, I made these. Now go buy them.

I prepared a tray of Rice Krispies treats, cut them into squares, dipped them in chocolate, and covered in sprinkles. Recipe inspiration provided by the Kellogg’s website. My trick is to add a tsp or so of canola oil to the chocolate as I melt it – I find that it helps the chocolate set up a little better (i.e. harden up).

And so at midnight, I found myself with melted chocolate in my hair, sprinkles in my stove burners (don’t ask), tired legs, and in a much better state of mind. I’m calling yesterday a win.

What’s your favorite bake sale treat? Pretty sure I’m going to purchase enough tomorrow to give myself diabetes. Joking. Sort of. Not really.