Sunday, March 17, 2013

Call in the Pinch Hitter.... Genius

Ahh... the long run. I write a lot of entries about my long runs because frankly, I have a lot of time to think during them. So here's another one.

This morning I had planned to meet a few friends for some trail running. I needed a 16 mile run and on the trail we were running that meant two six mile loops and a four. Piece of cake right? Oh sure, it's always a piece of cake on paper... enter real life.

Real life is that with this heart rate training I never know how long trail runs will take me. Depending on the trail, the humidity, the temp, the alignment of the stars, blah blah blah. I kind of knew that the gals I was meeting wouldn't be running with me. But it's nice to say hi. And it's nice to know that someone is out there with you. Even if "with you" means two miles ahead or behind you.

This particular day I had made plans with a friend for lunch. A built in recovery meal. YEAH! Stress about when to plan the meal. Boo. But we came up with a plan early in the week and I was excited!Then half way through the week she emailed me and asked if it would be crazy for her to run with me. She's been recovering from a big injury. Of course I said, YES PLEASE RUN WITH ME! I gave my current disclaimer for all runs: what I do is hardly running and the longer I go the more I walk. Thankfully, she was still interested so yeah!

The run started. Beautiful warmish temps and a sunrise. The trails seemed greener and everything was good times. And then.... heart rate monitor started getting wonky. Weird readings. I tried all the "tricks" I could think of. But all I really accomplished was me getting frustrated. So after the first six mile loop I gave up on the heart rate monitor and tried to run smart. This caused me all kinds of stress. I've run hooked into that thing for two months now. It seemed like I didn't remember how to run without it.

Finally got my 12th mile done and was so ready to be done.... and then.... fresh faced friend! The pinch hitter!!! We picked up the other runner who had started with me and all three of us headed out for the last four miles. And it was FANTASTIC! Our new company told us stories and caught us up on her life and she was full of fun and yeah and magic rainbows! Before I knew it we were on the final turn and I couldn't believe that the last four miles of a 16 mile run had gone by so quickly!

So, what did I learn? That calling in a pinch hitter for the end of the run can be a game changer. What had become a frustrating run ended on a "that was awesome" note! Definitely a win!

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