Monday, December 20, 2010

Weekend Adventure: Falling Short

We had a busy weekend, which is the only way to end an even busier week.While there were lots of successes - I am now officially DONE with holiday shopping, I attended not one but TWO White Elephant gift exchanges, the dogs were worn out in Amy's backyard, I had a great yoga class on Saturday morning followed by a coffee date with my yoga ladies, and my gifts are mostly wrapped - there were two notable moments where I fell regrettably short.

First: I attempted to do a variation of (never home)maker's Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies. While the cookies looked beautiful and photographed well (I love you, lightbox!) something about them was a little... off. My version was too dry (probably because I subbed all-purpose flour for the pastry flour portion) and the candy canes I stuck on top were too hard and crunchy. This is not to say the cookies were not eaten, or complimented - they were, in fact, a festive hit at our White Elephant Christmas party. It just means I have a little tweaking to do before I officially share them on the blog. For now, you can feast your eyes on these photos.

Second: Yesterday, I was all set to run my first 20 miler of the season. I had been working up to this distance for weeks - past long runs have been 14 miles, 16 miles, and 18 miles this last Monday. I've been doing well on these runs - more or less hitting my goal paces, recovering quickly, and keeping up with my mid-week training. The day of reckoning had arrived, and I was prepared! Garmin: charged. iPod shuffle: ready to go. Weather: perfect. I felt strong, capable and approached twenty with a relaxed and laid back attitude. And we're off!

The first five miles flew by. Around mile eight, on a long hill, my legs began to feel heavy and I blamed it on the 18 miles I'd run just six days earlier. I ran out of water, but I knew at mile 12 I'd be at the track and could refill and stretch when I got there. The miles ticked by and I kept thinking about the track, counting down until I could rest for a second and use the bathroom. Oh, the bathroom. Once I started thinking about the bathroom, it became a bit of an obsession.

I finally made it to the track, only to find the water fountains had been shut off - I guess because the semester had just ended? I walked to two fountains, only to find disappointment. Then, horror of horrors, the bathroom door was locked! I decided to try one last door, on the other side of the track, and saw that it was propped open. I finally got to use the bathroom and refilled my water bottle in the sink, which was kind of gross but I was desperate. This all took about fifteen minutes. I finally started running again, and my stomach was NOT cooperating. I looked down at my Garmin. I had just under eight miles left to run. An hour and ten minutes, if my stomach didn't cause my pace to suffer or force me to speed walk from bathroom to bathroom.  I jogged around the track to see how my stomach felt, and it was still a mess. It was clear that today was not my day to run 20 miles. I headed home.

And you know what? I was okay with it. I didn't beat myself up over the missed miles, and I didn't wallow in guilt and disappointment for the rest of the day. My training has been going really well this season, the marathon is still six weeks away, and I have two more 20 mile runs scheduled in January during which I will have the chance to redeem myself. While I believe in pushing yourself and running through pain and discomfort, I know the importance of listening to your body and giving yourself a break when you need one. Yesterday, my body was telling me it needed a break. Yesterday, I listened.

Oh, and about the bathrooms - this happened on my 18 miler as well! I know stomach issues are common for a lot of distance runners (also known as Runner's Trots - how precious!) and it's such a bummer to have to make pit stops and deal with discomfort. I've found that I have this problem more frequently when I run later in the day. I'm going to try and start my long runs earlier from now on and see if that helps. I'll let you know!

And on that note, I have to get back to work. So that I don't leave you with the image of Runner's Trots racing through your head, here's a photo of Calvin relaxing in the kitchen.

How was your weekend? Full of success or opportunities to try again? Even though mine didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped, it was still a productive and relaxing two days! I hope the same is true for you.