Recently, I have had several people ask me, when or how does running become enjoyable? When does this mystical “runner’s high” happen? How does one get to that point without giving up? My answer is always the same, you just have to go out there and run. I talk about endorphins a lot and how much I love running. However, running isn’t always enjoyable. Sometimes, the thought of another mile is so daunting that I want to give up. I will be running the Chicago Marathon in October and recently downloaded the training plan. Looking at the weekly mileages, I thought, “Why am I doing this? This is stupid.” The thought of 40 miles per week, then 50 miles per week is just hard to fathom. Then, I have to remember that I’ve done it before and that I’m not “required” to run those exact work-outs. I can modify to prevent injury as much as I want. They’re not the boss of me! But still, even as an experienced runner, I still have those, “Well how am I going to do that?” moments.
Last weekend, I ran the Baltimore 10-Miler. Initially, I hadn’t had high expectations for the race. It was run by the same people who ran the Baltimore Marathon, which I hated. I signed up for the race on a whim because they were offering a really nice jacket for all the finishers and the entry fee was relatively cheap (especially considering the prize). I’m not proud that I signed up for a race because of the give-away, but I did it. I’m glad that I did! The race was really fun. The crowd wasn’t too large (around 4,500) and the location was in lovely Druid Hill and Lake Montebello in Northern Baltimore. Getting to the race was another story. Husband, the police officer, definitely locked the car doors as we drove through some really seedy neighborhoods. Once we got to the start line, it was a delight. There was a band, plenty of port-o-potties (after the toilet debacle of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half, this was excellent), Dunkin’ Donuts was giving out free samples, and many more. Ben thought this was the greatest thing that ever happened to him: a park with dogs and music? What could be better!
One of my, “Well, how am I going to do that?” moments happened in the middle of the race. Mostly, the race went well. But, like an idiot, I took it out too fast running 7:45 splits for the first 4 miles. At the turn-around (it was an out-and-back), I started to die and realized how much training I have to do before Chicago. At mile 9, the poop really hit the fan. The delightful downhill on the way out was a brutal uphill that made me want to cry. Several people walked it, but like the XC coach that I am, I made myself go up it. Thankfully, I had enough left in my tank that I was able to finish strong with a final kick, but my second half splits were abysmal. Ah well. The spectators along the way were fun. There were some excellent B’more ladies (not hons, sadly), who kept yelling, “Get on with your bad selves.” Awesome. Pure Baltimore. The officers along the way were also pretty fun and would yell at us up the hills. It was a really collegial race. I think that’s one good thing when you go into a race with little expectations about the race and your own performance: you have fun.
Post race was excellent. June in Baltimore is brutally hot and humid, so at the finish they had ice cold wet towels and my new favorite post-run food: watermelon. Watermelon is not my favorite fruit, but after a hot run, nothing can be better. It’s fruit and water all in one. Genius. After picking up my swag, we hung out listening to the band and chomping on Munchkins and fruit strips. So delicious. Ben loved every minute. He danced and had a grand old time. Husband enjoyed it, too. He’s become quite the race-spectator expert and gave the 10-miler a “thumb’s up”. It was a great race and I HIGHLY recommend it.