The Running Window

It’s that time of year: cold weather, work deadlines, holiday travel. My mileage has taken a huge plunge. I was in my hometown last Wednesday night until returning to Pittsburgh yesterday evening. Thursday I went for a run with my pal Keeley. I gave her two options: six miles easy, or four miles with two at her tempo pace. She went for the latter, and I made her work for it (and she did great). We had a really nice warm up mile during which we chit chatted, then negative split the tempo miles, followed by a nice cool down, and oatmeal and chit-chat in the kitchen with my mom.

I didn’t run AT ALL when I was in Michigan visiting family for Christmas. I have a number of sad excuses: I sleep in a cave when I’m there. Seriously, this bedroom has no light. So that, combined with vacation sleeping-in, and the way we eat at really random times, meant no running for me.

We got back Monday night around dinner time. I’d still been eating pretty erratically, but had a hearty lunch (we stopped at my Uncle Mark’s, and he’s a chef. He whipped up some leftovers: field green salad and soup with black truffles. And cheese biscuits. Om nom nom). I was catching up on my interneting while my mom and her fiance watched some TV, and started getting antsy and almost anxious. I figured I might be hanging out with friends later that night, and had hoped to run the next morning with Keels, but the forecast was grim (rain/snow mix anyone?).

That’s when it hit me. The urge to run. Right then. It was that now-or-never feeling I like to call the running window. If you get right into you running clothes, lace on your shoes and get out the door within that time frame, you have a fantastic run. If you lolly-gag too long, you won’t go at all. it was do or die.

I ran upstairs, got all teched out (including a brand new UA cold gear shirt courtesy of my mom and fiance for Christmas; it was his idea apparently to get it for me, and it’s awesome), told my mom where I was going, and headed out the door, donning my headlamp and some somewhat emo but still blood-pumping music. I did three miles at half-marathon pace, the third mile edging towards tempo pace. I wore my new Brooks Ghost 4s for the first time (my second pair of the same shoe), and felt fantastic. It completely cleared my head, and I showered up, and met up with friends, pigging out on food and not feeling the least bit guilty.

The end of the year is tight and stressful: I have a big case due at work on Friday, am picking up NB from the airport tomorrow after his trip home for Christmas, and after I get off work Friday we’re heading right back to Ohio to spend New Year’s weekend. And we’re running a 5K.

But I got out the door, and that’s what counts. My mileage will get back up there. In the meantime, I know I can just get out and run: make it feel good, or make it hurt. Whatever it is I need in that moment.



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I'm a 35-year-old writer and runner. This is my running blog.

One thought on “The Running Window

  1. That tempo run and post-run conversation was a blast – easily the toughest but most fun run I had all break. Wish we had time to squeeze one more in before we went separate ways, but the 5K race was also awesome!

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