When Ordinary is More

lifecycle of an ordinary run

run1

eee ahh ooo eeee, creek crack squeak, shuffle scuffle plop plop

‘don’t judge a run by the first mile… don’t judge a run by the first mile…’

run2

thump, thummmp, thumpthump, THUMP

inhale, exhaaaaaaale, inhaaaaaale, exha- inha- exhale-e-e…

run3

swish, swish, swish

‘alright, finally, this feels kind of normal’

run4

push, lift, push, lift, push, lift

‘…is there time for one more??’

run fall

Who’s counting anymore??

It doesn’t take much to turn an ordinary run into extraordinary, but when it happens, it’s worth those miles in gold.

Sarah OUaL

Weekend Long Run According to my Brain

This week was a step-back week in my newly-developed half marathon training, and to make things fun/make sure I got my ass through the miles I got up early(ish) Sunday and ran to our Browns Backers bar for the game. It’s a convenient six miles along the beach path and river trail, and a mile finish along a road with a bike lane so it was safe, familiar, and offered a great motivation to get my ass through it.

horse carrot

you know, except I’m the horse and the carrot is beer and pizza…

horse carrot pizza beer

that’s better

So here’s how it played out, per the voices in my head:

[SET SCENE]

NEWPORT BEACH BIKE PATH – MORNING, SUNDAY

Overcast and misty, the first cool morning in months. Lots of joggers, walkers, and desperate coffee searchers busy around the path while our protagonist (Sarah, 28, in denial about being out-of-shape) impatiently waits for satellites.

long run scene newport

“MAN! this overcast feels great – maybe I should’ve worn sleeves? When was the last time you said that? Ha! Summer must be almost over! teedle dee da da

<cheerily waives to other runners>

This isn’t so bad, after all. I feel great! Maybe I AM ready to get back to marathoning…

<mile one beep> Hmmm that’s probably too fast… Oh whatever! Don’t listen to your watch, legs say keep going! It’s only seven miles…

Bathroom? There won’t be another one the rest of the run… Do you have to go? Go now if you think you do we’re not stopping later!

Ohmygod am I in a minivan full of kids or on a run??

<bathroom break>

Ok, that feels better. Man I love this outfit I should definitely buy more of these shorts. I wonder how the yellow would look on pasty skin…

<knowing nod to other runner darting towards bathroom>

Well hello, friendly cyclists! Wait why are they so friendly? This is suspicious… do I have TP hanging out of my shorts? Is there a trap up ahead?? Am I going to get jumped by a bike gang? All I have is my phone and an iPod, is that enough to satiate a mugger?

Is my breathing to heavy for mile three? My legs still feel great, but maybe we slow a bit to let the lungs catch up…

Nah legs don’t like that.

<.5mi later> Ok yeah we need to slow down. This is starting to hurt.

Is it hurting, or are you bored? You’re probably just bored, focus on your form… Ok focus on this song… Ok focus on HOLY SHIT that bike almost ran me over! Douchebag.

Let’s make a deal, you can walk the foot bridge up there if you run hard the rest of the way after. Deal? You’ll get a nice breather but then it’s fucking game on the last few miles.

<30 seconds later>… How far away is the foot bridge? A mile? Half a mile? Quit thinking about it! Just listen to your music and enjoy it.

Ugh who put all these slow sad songs on here?? <skip skip skip> How much further to that damn bridge?

Fuck it’s hot.

Are you really going to walk on a seven miler? C’mon you can keep going. Might as well get to the finish as fast as possible, not drag out the pain any longer, right? Right!

<mile five beep>

Only two more miles! Seriously that’s nothing you’re fine.

<walks foot bridge>

Ok, but you’re running the rest of the way hard! Get a little reset here then we go.

<slows to barely a crawl for last 10m, prolonging the glorious recovery walk as long as possible>

Alright, think of all the runners in Chicago gutting out that last 10k… Ugh nevermind that sounds awful, not motivating at all. Ok, think of how happy and proud they’ll feel coming down that homestretch! Or how happy you’d be for them standing on the sideline cheering… Finish this run feeling proud! You can push through, you love this!

Do I? Do I really love this?

… There’s pizza, beer, and the Browns game waiting at the finish…”

<drops pace. clocks fastest final mile.>

<immediately forgets pain and agony of run while trying to discreetly change sports bras in the car. cheers out loud when pizza delivers at halftime.>

socal browns backers patricks pub

Browns win! (from patrick’s FB page)

Sarah OUaL

MLB Playoffs and Marathons (an October hybrid story)

It’s October. Guess what that means??

NO! Not pumpkin anything!! If that was your first thought just close out your browser and vacate the premises. Go find yourself a latte or a muffin and come back after Christmas.

Most of you reading are runners, so you’re probably thinking “Marathon Month!” which is cool. Even I, a self-proclaimed marathon hater (it’s love/hate, in its truest form) can get behind that. And some of you are tapering for said October marathon, so I’m gonna just calmly put this hand on your shoulder, offer you a bagel from a safe distance, not bring up goal paces or workouts, and back away slowly.

Good little taper monster… Good marathoner… eat your snack, don’t hurt me…

feed your marathon diva oiselle

an oldie but a goodie – Dealing with a Pre-Race Marathoon Diva

But seriously, October means playoff baseball and it’s the best time of the year!

!!!!!!!!

… Bueller?

A lot of people don’t love baseball. That’s fine. They love crackerjacks and summertime and beer in plastic cups, so they pretend to love it, but in actuality think it’s a total bore. That’s fine! Really, it is, I’m not mad. Not everyone can have such a proactively analytical mind to appreciate a seemingly slow-paced game for how complex it actually is…

(nerdily puffs chest with a delusional look of superiority)

But playoff baseball? That’s something everyone, especially runners should get behind. And here’s why.

By1XMX1CEAAstKd

at the ‘07 ALCS game three, the last series of postseason baseball* played in Cleveland. wikipedia it if you’re curious, I don’t have the heart to say out-loud how it ended

*don’t get me started on the new Wild Card play-in situation

Think about marathon training in its broadest form: a grueling, never-ending training cycle followed by the long-awaited race that should feel like a million hard-earned bucks but is usually a drawn-out, painful affair.

That’s exactly what an MLB season is like. Six weeks of Spring Training (base building), followed by 162 regular season games (16-20 weeks of structured training), with countless disabled list stints, lineup changes, overanalyzings, and freakouts along the way. If you’re lucky (and good) you get sprayed with champagne at the finish.

post race season celebration

practically the same

It’s a long, LONG, summer, boys and girls.

Now take into consideration that sometimes shit happens and despite a boatload of hard work and dedication, you never end up getting to toe the starting line of what you were working so hard all summer towards. You get injured, shit comes up, lord-knows-what-else, and suddenly your season is over with a screeching halt. You don’t get to run your race and your favorite team gets statistically eliminated from contention the final week of the regular season.

<sigh>

theres always next year cleveland gvartwork

22* of 30 MLB teams don’t even get a chance to play for the playoff crown at the end of the regular season. That’d be like 75% of your training partners not getting to run on M Day. But in this case it’s because they aren’t that good, so it’s not so sad, but still. You get the analogy of grinding and grinding and having to peter out early.

*again, wild card play-in

So you manage to get past all the hurdles and bullshit 16-20 weeks (six months) of training (baseball) threw at you, avoided any last minute Race Eve nightmares (earned a place into the playoffs) and are finally all bibbed-up and chipped-up in the corral, ready to go. Congratulations!

cim start

congratulations? this shit aint over yet, it’s just getting started

The big game is finally here! All those weeks and months of hard work finally come to fruition and you get to put them to the test. Now it’s time to be smart, savvy, and fucking tough as nails. Don’t blow it!

Am I going too fast?

Should we bunt? Let him swing away?

Is it time for a gel?

Tony can’t hit lefties… but if we pinch hit no-glove Bobby is going to right…

Can I really hold this pace 10 more miles?

Can we ride the starter one more inning?

I blew it! I’m running out of gas! Am I even moving forward anymore??

Totally exhausted the bullpen, they’re getting hammered, the series is fucked!

‘One Mile to Go’ OMG I’M GOING TO DO IT!

9th inning rally… HOLY SHIT COME ON! WE CAN DO THIS!

So even though one step can’t change the course of a marathon like a swing in baseball can, I think we can all appreciate the tenacity and sometimes maniacal optimism that keeps pushing us through those long days along the way, knowing how sweet the finish line will be.

From one seemingly boring-as-shit sport to another, we salute you, October!

Sarah OUaL

(this post written by cabernet Sarah and attempted editing by under-caffeinated Sarah, whom don’t always see eye-to-eye, and for that publisher Sarah apologizes)