It’s funny how life has a way of reminding you (and of course by “you,” I mean me) not to take yourself (errrr, myself) too seriously. Mere moments after proclaiming to the world that I never run races I haven’t trained for, the running gods blew me a little raspberry: I got an email yesterday morning from a duathlon friend, asking me to join her triathlon relay team for a race THIS SATURDAY. Apparently the runner she’d been counting on is battling a minor injury, so she wondered if I could take on the five-miles-of-single-track-trail leg of the race. “Of course I can!” was my response, because, really, why the heck not? I am about as unprepared for this type of run as a girl can possibly be, but I’m giddy with excitement anyway – what a fun challenge!
So, with a few readjustments here and there on my training plan to work out my mileage, it turned out that I was going to need to get in my long run today. Oh. Alrighty then. I ate some pasta for dinner last night and pre-hydrated so I could be ready Freddy for ten miles this morning.
I was already looking forward to this week’s long run – double digits! For the first time this year! Running ten miles sounded like I was finally going on a “real” long run. With all that anticipation and preparation, you would think I was rarin’ to go this morning, right?
Ugh, not really. I got up around 4:45 or so and did all my normal morning stuff – coffee, blog reading and “business” – so I could be out the door by 5:30. It struck me by the time I got to the end of my block that it was…well, I won’t use the word “hot” because you’ll laugh at me, but 60-something degrees at 5:30 am didn’t feel like the cool and refreshing morning I had hoped for. And silly me, I had made a Gatorade to bring with me and left it on the counter! D’oh!
The first mile was hard. So hard I found myself whining in my head, “How am I going to run ten miles if I can’t even run ONE?” My goal for the run was marathon pace, but I decided that anything within one minute of marathon pace was close enough for now. Usually after the first mile, my legs loosen up and I can settle into the run. Not so much today. I made it to the two mile mark still bargaining with myself about my pace goal. I put my headphones on so I wouldn’t have to listen to my own huffing and puffing anymore, thinking that might help me get in the zone.
Mile three rolled around and even the Black-Eyed Peas hadn’t been able to turn my feet from lead into gold. Then something funny happened – one of my Zumba songs shuffled into the mix and my legs started to bailar. That’s “to dance” in Spanish, and yes I know that means I just said “…my legs started to to dance,” but since I only learned that word a few days ago, I’m not quite up to conjugating it just yet. I know Restaurant Spanish from my many years of apron-wearing service – “Mas platos, por favor!” – and I can swear quite colorfully thanks to the busboys’ fine tutoring, but I know very little other than that. One of the girls in the Zumba class I teach told me about bailar and now that I’m listening for it, I can pick it out of a lot of songs. Zumba songs frequently talk about dancing, go figure!
So there I am, running along, listening to Que Te Mueve, and my hands sort of involuntarily start doing a little Beto Shuffle. Next thing I know, I’m cruising along at a really nice clip and feeling great. My legs kept running, but in my head, I was moving and grooving like I was teaching a class.
I totally look like this when I’m teaching my class. Totally.
In the end, I managed to negative-split my run and even squeaked in with an average pace a few seconds under my marathon goal pace. Ten miles, spanked. w00t!
Have you ever taken a Zumba class? Do you understand any of the songs?
What’s your favorite post-run meal or drink? Have you ever put spinach in a smoothie?