Friday, December 11, 2009

The Lunch Time Run

As a runner As someone with self-proclaimed, mild OCD, I enjoy a good routine. In running terms, this means a late-afternoon/evening run that begins as close to 5:30 as possible. The planning that goes into this runs deeper than I originally thought and only revealed itself when I decided to change up this routine.

I essentially realized that from the moment I wake up in the morning to the time I turn out the light at night, I’m prepping for the day’s run. It starts with what I eat at breakfast, snack on mid-morning, shovel in at lunch, snack on at 3:30, and consume post-run through bed time.

Yesterday, I tinkered. I’m fortunate to have a very understanding boss (who hopefully is reading this), and she lets me head out for my runs on occasion during lunch whenever the situation calls for such a thing. I’ve done this a couple times before with moderate success. Then there was that disaster of trying to run in the morning before work, which completely back-fired – I was ready for bed at 8:30 every night and walking around in a general fog, but that’s a post for another time. That whole food intake quantity and timing thing is difficult to change but I may have it down now. With hockey at the inconvenient time of 7:00 last night, I didn’t want to miss out on my run. Thus, the tinkering had begun.

In addition to the tinkering, I had a tempo run planned. Tempo runs make me nervous. I try to play it cool and tell myself it’s only another training run, but I heap some pressure on my shoulders because they are certainly a targeted workout. My uncle told me, “If you want to run fast…you have to run fast,” and aside from intervals, tempo runs are the best way to accomplish that. So, now not only was my schedule off, but I had an important run to crank out as well.

I kept my 10:00 yogurt appointment, but instead of waiting for lunch, I downed some pretzels as well too to stave off the oncoming noon hunger. At 11:45 a.m., I trudged downstairs to the bathroom to change and go through the obligatory office niceties: “Ha, going for a run? Pretty cold out there. How far you running?”

“Six miles.”
“Six miles! I don’t want to drive six miles, heh heh.”

And so on and so forth.

The W&OD trail runs just past my office, so I’m able to hop on that and do a quick (HILLY) out and back. On my warmup mile, I found my thoughts drifting toward work-related tasks, but once I got into the tempo portion, everything else melted away and it became just about me and my run, i.e., that “this is my time” feeling. And yes, it was windy. And yes, it was cold, but I felt alert and refreshed once I made the turn back into our office parking lot.

The worst and most tragic part of the run was nothing related to the run itself. I forgot my shower sandals at home and had to brave the office shower *gasp* in naked feet.

Returning to my desk, I wolfed down my lunch and enjoyed the post-run euphoria that had startled to settle in. This is both a good and bad thing. Normally, I’m home and the wind down time begins for the evening. (Note to boss: stop reading here). The wind down time had officially begun and I descended into a semi-lucid state where I could close my eyes at any second and fall fast asleep.

I made it through the day, however. One of my colleagues bolstered my spirit with some homemade chocolate chip cookies. By the time I got home, I was rested and ready to get to my hockey game for workout number two.

When I did finally get home, the only thing on my mind was food. After devouring a plate of meatloaf and the grilled cheese I’d craved since the final buzzer rang, I fell into a deep, exhausted sleep. Maybe there’s a new routine brewing here. Nah.

Do you ever get out for the mid-day run during the work week?

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