Lessons Learned From My First Run Home (or: Oh yeah, this is supposed to a running blog, too)

I had a great “running lesson.” That’s the nice way to say I had a crappy run, thanks to ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running by Danny Dreyer.

He’s right though, I did learn a lot!

The Scenario:

  • I’ve decided to run my first full marathon on Nov.27, 2011. The Seattle Marathon. In Seattle. A few days after Thanksgiving. 26.2 miles.
  • I need to train for it.
  • I’ve chosen to follow Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 Full Marathon Training Guide.
  • Mid-week runs are between 5 and 8 miles.
  • I live 7 miles away from from work.
  • There are great trails between work and home.

All of that adds up to: I should just run home from work! Easy peasy. My running partner Erin does it all the time. I see everyone else doing it all the time. It’s my turn!

For the day in question, I was supposed to run 6 miles. Plus warm up and cool down, that would be 6.5 miles. Why not just run another measly mile and call it good?

Mile 0.0: I’m walking out of the building where I work. One of the security guards asks me if I’m running home. I wonder what made him ask that?

White running hat and shades? Check.

Wireless Headhones? Check.

Shirt from my last race? Check.

Sleeve thingies to keep the sun cancer away? Check.

Garmin? Big check.

Stupid backpack that’s going to try to kill you later? Check!

Let’s run!

Mile .5: (I assume) Gah, running with a packpack sucks. Time to adjust!

I have a hip belt on my backpack which I thought would be handy in keeping it from jiggling all over the place. But it interfered with my water belt. And it kept riding up. So I took it off and hiked the straps up so my pack sat on my shoulders higher. Not too bad.

Mile .75(ish): I feel pretty good. I’m doing a 9 minute mile. It’s a nice day. The sun is shining, the birds are singing.

Mile 1.5(ish): Wow, this isn’t so bad! I wonder how far I’ve gone… HEY! Stupid Garmin! I KNOW I’VE RUN MORE THAN 400 FEET! GAH!


Mile 2: (As I’m running through Myrtle Edwards Park) Oh, good. They are setting up for Hempfest. It smells like patchouli and hippies.

Mile 3: Okay this sucks. My bag keeps flopping around. my heart rate monitor feels like a boa constrictor wrapping itself around my chest. And my backpack is annoying. I stop to adjust and notice that Mt. Rainier is out. I enjoy Seattle in the summer while trying to catch my breath.

Mile 4: The Zone! I found it! I can breathe. I’m doing a 10:30 mile but whatever.

Mile 4.5: Run through some sort of spiky foliage.

Mile 4.75: Wonder why my shin hurts. Look. Oh. It’s bleeding from the Spike Plants I ran through a quarter mile ago. That’s neat.

Mile 5:  As in, the 5 stages of grief:

  1. Denial: This isn’t happening to me… I can run half marathons!
  2. Anger: GAH! Stupid backpackheatsunlungsaireverythingargh!!!!!
  3. Bargaining: Okay, if you keep running, you can have a yummy sandwich from Paseo for dinner.
  4. Depression: I don’t wanna run ever again! *sob!*
  5. Acceptance: I can do this. It’ll just take longer than I thought. And I need a different backpack.

Mile 6: Ballard Locks! I’m almost home! Time for a quick picture that doesn’t do the beauty of the Locks justice.

Realize I have “Teach Me How to Dougie” in my head. Contemplate jumping.

Mile 7: SandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwichSandwich.

Mile 7.5: I’m standing outside of Paseo. They don’t take cards. I don’t have cash. I thought there was an ATM next door and I can’t find it. Maybe it’s gone? I’m too tired and ready to be home to care that I’m not going to get my delicious sandwich.

At home: I pour a reward glass of wine and decide I should see how much my bag weighs.

It only weighs 12 lbs.

What the heck weighs 12 lbs in my bag? My clothes, my lunch bag, some foodstuffs that I got at the Latin market… Okay I can see that adding up quickly.

And my shoulder straps dug into my shoulders and it looks like I got in some sort of weird fight.

Lessons Learned

Oh yeah. I learned things.

  1. I need a  backpack that is suited more for running and not whatever it is my current one is suited for.
  2. I need to carry less stuff in it. Maybe don’t go to the market at lunch and bring home a lot of extra junk.
  3. Start wearing it on small runs and work my way up to longer ones, to get used to the thing.
  4. Always carry some extra cash for Paseo emergencies.

I’d like to try to run to work next. I’m thinking I’ll bring extra stuff with me the day before so I don’t have to run with anything sherpa style. Or maybe I’ll just move to London and have someone transport my stuff for me. Clearly, that would be the best way to go.