Siiiiighhh. Well. Today was week 7 of my LA Marathon training. I should be excited! But for whatever reason I was just downright ornery today.
Every Saturday day is long run day. I give up my Friday nights to be in bed by 9 and up by 4:30 AM. I say give up my Friday nights but if we’re being honest I wasn’t doing anything with them anyway. The sleeping early and waking up early isn’t a bad thing and usually I’m a little groggy but get over it. I don’t know if it was the fact that my dream was me running my first ultra so I woke up feeling like I didn’t need this shit, or that it’s been a particularly challenging week where I technically missed my workouts (eh I did leg day and ran on an awful treadmill so I tried. Hardly.) but either way I just was not. Having. It.
Speaking of challenging not only are my weekends my long runs but I’m actually a mentor with a fantastic non profit called the LA Leggers. It’s an amazing running club and community with pace groups ranging from Boston speedsters to 15 minute walkers. We’ve got ’em all! And I train the BTR which is the folks who are newer to the running side of things so we do low intervals and a beginners pace. This is my very first year mentoring and it’s a very rewarding thing to help motivate others… but on days like today it can be challenging.
And all my “Nope. Not having it.” didn’t matter because I had people relying on me so I had to suck it up and show up. Grumble.
On days when we are below double digit miles the Leggers bring in guest speakers to talk about things like nutrition, shoes, physical therapy, and have demonstrations. Today’s demonstration was yoga for runners. It was a fantastic talk and some really good poses for people with hip and leg aches. I’m really glad I got to go to that and may try some after writing this.
After the talk and brief few hellos it’s out to the park to meet our pace groups. Last week I had substituted for the 14 runners who were short of mentors and today I had no idea where I was supposed to be. My group is quite large with an average of 40 runners, and the 14s is more petite with about 10. Turns out my group was also short so I had to part ways with the fabulous 14s and regroup with my brilliant BTRs.
With such a large group our pack of mentors are stationed at various locations in the conga line. You’ve got your drivers up front who handle pace and direction. In the middle you have mentors closing gaps and making sure folks are staying happy. In the back you have what I call the sweeper where you make sure no one falls behind (if you can help it, sometimes folks tap out) and also watching safety of things like cars coming up from behind. Maybe it’s the fact that I was a former safety patrol officer in the fifth grade but I kind of like sweeper position. You get to bark out safety rules and keep all your ducklings in a perfect line. People get cranky at the sweeper but we do it because we want them to train smart and safe. Today I was our gas pedal of a driver duo. I set the pace and another mentor picked our snaking around obstacles. Thankfully all us mentors get along so there’s no back seat driver arguments. Plus I am incredibly clumsy and would run all of us into a tree if I didn’t have the backup. In fact I when I had to quickly avoid an obstacle I ran us all onto a gymnastic section of the sidewalk and heard surprised yelps all the way back as each runner took a step onto the squishy ground. Whoops.
Gymnastic section of the sidewalk? Ah, yes. We train in Santa Monica so there’s a lot of things like muscle beach and parks with gymnastic tools all around. The view is beautiful and the temperature is about 10 degrees cooler than where I live. It’s an hours drive for me but it’s worth it.
So anyway today’s mileage was 8 miles. We did a 3 miles loop in one direction and a four mile loop in the other. I started us out fairly slow at about a 14 minute mile jog. The trick with any training run is to not burn out too early and come back on fumes and tired legs. I typically run a bit faster but I need to remember my ducklings need support and that’s why I’m there for them. I was still in my head being a crank so I made conversation with my steering driver about racing different distances. I started to come around and then a mother effing rock got into my shoe. Nothing grinds my gears faster on a long run than a stupid rock jabbing me. After fixing that we were at our turnaround and back to being positive. I picked up the pace a little bit now that we were going downhill. It was getting hot at around mile 6 and the crankiness started to set in again. I started to feel like how my parents must have felt on road trips. I just wanted to be home already! But again, doing it for them… I picked up our pace on the last two miles now that they were plenty warmed up and didn’t hear much griping. We finished strong with a run up the hill and everyone actually looked happy. I have to say that finally broke me out of my funk to finally see their faces and some of these people ran their longest distance yet and were SMILING. It’s a good feeling.
DISTNACE : EMINEM (8 MILES)
ELAPSED TIME : 1:57:52
AVERAGE PACE : 14:40
ACTUAL PACE : 14:00*
*we do not stop watches at red lights