running is so much freaking fun

…so you’re probably seeing the title of this post, and going through the following thought process:

1. Uh oh, is this sarcas-oh wait, Meghan doesn’t speak that language, it can’t be.

2. Then she’s serious. What a lame title…

3. Blame a runner’s high. Yeah, that sounds about right.

It’s more about how I feel right now regarding running than what this post is actually about. Just roll with it….

I had a sub-par birthday weekend. Oh well. It happens. It included a strangely upsetting case of race envy over the RnR Philly Half, a 37-mile solo bike ride (and a narrow escape from sunset), the onset of fall/cold/S.A.D., and studying. BUT I did get to indulge in a wonderful eleven miler Sunday morning on both roads and trails. What I learned: 7:18 is the new 7:38. What does this mean? Well, I used to finish long runs strong when I was running about 7:37 pace. Now I’ve been finishing up around 7:18 pace, and I feel the exact same, if not better. I feel invincible. Like, bring on Boston. Tomorrow. Now. Let’s do this. I almost contemplated switching my entry in the Philly Half (not to be confused with RnR Philly) to the full, just because I enjoyed that 7:18-7:38 cruise pace so much. I came back down to earth when I realized a.) I’m only up to 11 miles, and I should be up to 17 if I were to do that, and b.) have some patience! My gosh! More on this later. Basically, I felt extremely confident and on top of the world. Running is so much freaking fun like that.

Some sites I passed through on my run.

Some sites (sights? Up for debate…) I passed through on my run.

Fastest yet

Tuesday’s interval workout began in fear, as my right quad/hip flexor which had worried me all week felt very off during my warmup. But, the feeling ended up subsiding a little throughout the workout, which was really relieving to me. The weather was great (tank top + compression socks weather! Practically freezing!), and I managed to click off ten hill loops faster than I’ve ever done at that workout location (it’s basically a 0.4-mile block with an incline for about half of it). I had a strange experience in which my legs didn’t even feel like mine. They were just moving, and I was following suit. I’ll take it.

One of the sharper turns of the hill loop. Almost bang into that short stop sign every time.

One of the sharper turns of the hill loop. Almost bang into that short stop sign every time.

Saucony group run

Thursday night was another group run from the store with Saucony! I should really do a separate post focusing on my review of the Mirage 3, which is the shoe I chose to test-run, but I think I can summarize it pretty well here. First, I did not notice the 4mm heel (versus a higher relative heel). I felt like I didn’t need to change my stride at all. Sometimes, I think this is skewed because I always run with a big group of people on group runs…I would think more about the shoes if I were running alone and not talking, that is. Either way, I didn’t notice much of anything different, which is a good thing. The width was absolutely perfect as well. I would definitely run in this shoe again, and I’m really glad I got to try them on a run of substantial length! I led our sub-group (two reps, three other guys, and me) toward some trails which spit out onto other roads that consisted of a huge downhill and a small uphill, mostly. We were running around 7:30s until the woods, slowed down naturally on the trails, and then booked it once we were on the roads again. I was chasing the pack running around 7:05-7:10 pace, after a 6:47 downhill mile. And actually, I was okay with it. Normally I would be against running so fast on a normal run, but I was chatting and I felt pretty good, so I went with it. If I could…why not? As an aside, new post-run brews: Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale and Troegs HopBack Amber Ale. No pumpkins were refrigerated yet (grr)! Thirsty Thursday Funday Runday: good to have you back.

By the way, the evening began with this…what a great challenge! Definitely made for a few hard laughs pre-run:

Try it before you knock it....

Try it before you knock it….

Shoenerd visit + spontaneous sprinkler run

Today at work I visited a local pharmaceutical company with my coworker for their “Run at Work Day.” Employees were encouraged to walk or run a 0.68-mile, 1.06-mile, or 1.68-mile route during their lunch break. The table next to us featured a raffle for a free healthy lunch for a week at work, and we set up a sampling of our products and offered gait analysis and such. It was a beautiful day, very warm and sunny, and lots of people came out to participate. All was well and good until a guy came up to us intentionally to stir the pot. There was no one else to talk to at the time, so I went along with it, but seriously dude, your defense against your two-year-old Nike Frees as you overpronate down the driveway plus your clearly inept knowledge about strength training given your noticeably muscularly unbalanced and stiff upper body does not make me want to discuss running with you…especially when you  tell me to my face you are “calling BS.” On my opinions. Real cool. And yes, he did drop the Born to Run line <end anti-gym-rat vent session>.

What was my point? Oh, all the people running and walking plus my legs feeling great after yesterday’s run plus the good weather made me want to run again today! I realized I did have clothes with me…I may have worn some of them the day before…but once I was sweating would that really matter (shh…I never do this!)? So, upon my return to actual work, I took a few seconds to convince Steve that running in last night’s running clothes was cool (phew, I wasn’t alone) and that it was a perfect time for an easy four miles. And so we went. It was a fun little midday frolic to Greenway Meadows, through some awesome sprinklers, and on part of a little cut-through trail. Runch = success. 

Greenway Meadows. This photo was actually from a PI workout last month.

Greenway Meadows. This photo was actually from a PI workout last month.

And hence the runner’s high continued, and all of this leaves me with:

fun

 

Muddy runch

Some people do “mud runs.” As in, actual organized races involving man-made mud and transplanted obstacles. When I race, I race to run fast. Thus, I do not participate in mud runs. I do, however, run in the mud. And it’s awesome. If there isn’t a foot of snow on the ground, or if other people I am running with haven’t planned a run on the road, I’m on the trails. On Friday, we had an unexpected 55 degree day, which melted most of the previous week’s snow and left the trails, well, calling for me. 2.15weather

After an exciting morning, I left work at 1:45 to “runch.”

runch (v.) – to take a break from work and run.

runch break (n.) – a period of time equal to the length of your desired run during the work day in which you are not at work, but instead in a state of bliss on a road or trail.

I headed to my park of choice, my favorite place to runch. As expected, the trails were very muddy. This run was also a test for my Achilles, since I had not run on it since Tuesday’s workout. While I did feel a little tightness at some point, there was no pain, and it’s safe to say I am not as concerned about it as I was Tuesday night. It was 52 minutes of fun, and I enjoyed the warmth to the max. I was in short sleeves and shorts, but could have easily been as sweaty in a tank top – it was awesome. I stretched outside the store upon my return, and got a couple second glances. “You’re really muddy,” one guy said, “where were you running?” I told him, and refrained from my signature “you should come buy shoes from me!” line (apparently I don’t exhibit such restraint at the bar…).

Proof of my muddiness:

Image

So awesome.

On Sunday at our post-run brunch (post to come, in the meantime see Brennan’s!), Martin and I were talking about our separate fun Friday runs in the mud…and we both took pictures of our shoes! How about that! “You have to!” he said, and we laughed for awhile at how runners take pictures of their muddy shoes.

A successful runch.