Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Double Digits! (or, “How Zumba Saved my Long Run”)

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!

Post Long Run 003Savoring my post-run compression tights and a chocolate-banana-spinach-and-peanut butter protein shake.

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?

19 comments:

The Jesse said...

awesome job on your first double digit run of the year!

um, i LOVE your post labels! i was ROFL when i was reading them :)

Michael said...

I love spinach in my smoothie!! Interesting you should say that about the weather. Ours was identical this am and I was thinking the same thing. You would think after months of runs in the 80s the 60s would feel great but I was hot this am. Good luck at your du and have fun.

CautiouslyAudacious said...

Cute post! What a great turn out, love it when that happens! I haven't put spinach in my smoothies. So if I usually have a almond milk, banana, frozen strawberry, vanilla protein smoothy if I add spinach would I be able to taste it? Or would it still taste yummy but just turn it green?

Candice @ I Have Run said...

Chocolate milk for me. I'm too lazy to make a smoothie.

Teamarcia said...

No zumba for me....although i bet I'd be good at it.... If I was drunk! Always spinach in my recovery shake! Nice job spanking that 10!

Kate said...

Nice run! A good song can make such a difference.

If I have any recovery drink, it's usually just chocolate milk. Or diet Pepsi, which is known for its healthy ingredients, right? Right? And nooo spinach in a smoothie for me...I'm more a strawberry/peach kinda girl.

coach dion said...

First up running races you haven't trained for is OK, it racing races that you haven't trained for that is the problem. 5miles of single track will be more fun than race, so no problem.
2nd I don't really have post run drinks or meals, that said I have been known to sit down with a bottle of red wine at the end of a long trail race and watch the rest of the field come in...

PS an egg and bacon roll in nice!

Alma said...

I've never tried a Zumba class but I bet I would like it despite being a total uncoordinated mess. However, I think it was the Latin groove that put that the juice back in your step. Maybe try some raggaeton or latin pop music? Only 2 songs would do it - otherwise they'll drive you crazy.

Never done the spinach in my smoothie but I am not opposed to it. Just don't think of it. I do add spinach or arugula to almost every other dish though. :)

Karen said...

I have been to one zumba class. It was packed! I kind of liked that no one really cared whether you could follow along or not, they just kind of did their own thing. It was like dancing in a club at one point.

bobbi said...

I've never taken a zumba class - I've always been curious though. I'm sure I'd look as out of place as the big bald guy in the video :)

(coordinated, I am NOT!)

Heather said...

Nice job! They do a zumba class at the elementary school here and I really want to check it out.

Kara said...

Sweet compression tights!

I would never drink a spinach smoothie ever again. I like spinach enough that I don't need to ruin my smoothies with it. :)

Char said...

I've never done Zumba but I know the power of a good song and how it can lift you.

ajh said...

Ohh. A relay! Have fun with that!

runningonwordsblog.com said...

Wow, I am totally distracted by how awesome your compression tights are! Details?

Tortuga_Runner said...

I got my Halo bars! So amazing. Spinach in smoothies is good, no real flavor change, but great nutrition boost. Post run it has to be bread with peanut butter or chocolate milk. MMmmmm

Aimee said...

Nice job with your run! Nice zoot compression tights too! I have the active recovery ones and LOVE them!!

No Zumba for me, but I have a friend that loves it!

Candice @ I Have Run said...

BTW - you won my runnerd giveaway =)

ratherthecouch said...

Way to go P! I love my spinach smoothies! I make mine with a banana, blueberries, milke and unsweetened cranberry juice. Yum!