A Sign You’re a Runner

Scene: me walking to my desk on Thursday morning.

Me: “Good morning, Ms. M—”

Ms M—: Good morning. Did you go run this morning?

Me: No. I’m just going to wait until after work.

Ms. M—: I can see it all over your face [that you didn’t run this morning].

Moral of the Story: if your co-workers can tell you didn’t run in the morning, you might be a runner.

So Far, So Good

I’m coming up on the halfway point of training. In other words, I’ve got about 8 more weeks until the Dallas Marathon. And so far, aside from a ridiculous amount of rain, training has been mostly uneventful: just the usual 6 days of training around a full-time job, marriage, etc. And yet, I must admit that this round of training has actually felt easier than training for Rock N Roll Dublin.

 

I realize “easier” is a wildly relative term when we’re talking about marathon training, so let me explain. My goal for Dublin was to try and set a new PR. This time, however, my only goal is to finish—no time goal; just get across the finish line upright and in my own power. When I ran Dallas in 2016, I didn’t finish; I made it to mile 15 before I had to throw in the towel…and it’s bugged me ever since.

 

So, this time, around, my only goal for this race is to set the record straight and cover all 26.2 miles of the course. I don’t care if it takes me 6 hours or if I end up qualifying for Boston (it’s a long shot, but a girl can dream, right? 😉). And because that’s the only goal—finish well—this round of training feels vastly different even as it involves considerably more time and mileage. Running to finish has taken an enormous amount of weight off my shoulders. It’s granted me a clarity about my own abilities as a runner that I didn’t quite have the last time around.

 

Maybe I should forego the time goals more often.

Rock N Roll Dublin: The Half Marathon

So, for anyone that’s (still) wondering, I didn’t meet my time goal for this race. I was hoping to finish in faster than 2:27:32. Instead, I finished in 2 hours, 56 minutes, and 24 seconds. Yes, it’s still a respectable time. Yes, I finished the race upright. But it’s been a few weeks, and I have to admit that it still bugs me.

 

It hurts to spend weeks working for a goal and not meet it. It stings a little more when you’ve spent weeks blogging in the lead up to said goal attempt. But, if we’re being honest, this failure was just a reminder that sometimes I’m my own worst enemy. My problem wasn’t a lack of physical training; my problem came down to the space between my own two ears.  I’ll own that, and I’m already working on that for the next few races.

 

In the meantime, finish time notwithstanding, let me just say that this will go down as one of my favorite races. It’s hard to be completely bummed out when you had the chance to run in another country—a beautiful one, at that—in some of your favorite running temps. This race may not have been perfect, but it was still no less amazing.

 

And in the meantime, all I can do is keep learning, keep trying, and keep running.

 

Rock N Roll Dublin: The 5K

Greetings from Texas! We made it back from Dublin almost two weeks ago, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t trying to talk my husband into moving back just for the sake of the better summer temperatures. Seriously, does anyone know if Aer Lingus (or any other airlines with hubs in Ireland) are hiring?! 😉

Incredible weather notwithstanding, I couldn’t have asked for a better time in Dublin (if you want to see some pictures, check out my Instagram: @mallorycmorris). Then again, I’d argue it’s hard not to have a great time when there’s wonderful people, great food, and a beautiful city involved. But, since you probably didn’t come to this post to hear me gush about Dublin, let’s get down to the real point of this post.

13+ weeks ago, I laced up my running shoes and started training for the Rock N Roll Dublin Remix Challenge. And two weekends, ago, I saw the culmination of weeks of work in the early-morning hours of a Texas summer with a 5K on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. Yup, that’s right, yours truly actually ran two races that weekend!

For anyone not familiar with the Rock N Roll Marathon Series, let me explain: in some of their locations, Rock N Roll stages what they call the Remix Challenge: a short race on Saturday (a 5K or 10K) and a long race on Sunday (a half and/or full marathon). In my experience, the short races on Saturday are a great way to let someone get a feel for Rock N Roll’s events without having to take the plunge and commit to a half or full marathon.

And no, you don’t have to run both races of a Remix Challenge. But, for the runners that do decide to run both races (and there’s more people who go this route than you’d think), there’s the bragging rights/added satisfaction of an additional race, extra race medals, etc. It might also prove that we’re a little bit crazier than the typical runner, but that’s a debate for another time! 😉

(The two of us over the River Liffey on our way to the race.)

I’ll be the first to admit that I love Remix Challenges because of the extra bling (race medals) and the bragging rights. But Dublin reminded me that I also love Remix Challenges because the short race is easy. Think about it: if I’ve put in the work to get ready for a thirteen-mile race, then taking the Saturday of race weekend to run 3.1 miles becomes a piece of cake. Provided I’ve done the work to get ready for the half on Sunday, I’m not worried about running a short race on Saturday.

(Pre-race crowd)

Unlike Sunday’s race, Saturday wasn’t about any specific time goal. There wasn’t the concern about pace, endurance, etc. that comes with running the longer races. Instead, Saturday was just about having fun and running for the sake of running. Under the right circumstances, the short races of a Remix Challenge remind of all the reasons I fell in love with running in the first place. In the end, not only was it fun, but I ended up finishing in 31:46! One of my running goals is to get my 5K time under 30 minutes. And while I obviously didn’t meet that goal, getting so close without worrying about it (or without actively trying to get it) was the perfect shot of encouragement as I continue on my running journey.

(And DONE!)

Back to the Grind!

You know I’m back like I never left (I never left)

Another sprint, another step (another step)

Another day, another breath (another breath)

Been chasing dreams, but I never slept (I never slept)

 

With Rock N Roll Dublin done, you may be wondering, “What’s next?”

 

Well, what’s next is the BMW Dallas Marathon in December, with a few shorter races along the way during the training schedule. As of today, it’s 16 weeks until race day, and that ever familiar cycle started over with a 30-minute run in the pre-dawn hours and Texas humidity. And yet, for the achy feet, cranky hamstring, and sluggish pace, this morning’s run still left me feeling like I could conquer the world and ready for the next round of training.

 

No two races are the same, so it stands to reason that no two training cycles are the same. The first run of training feels like flipping to a blank page in a new journal: I really don’t have a clue what’s coming over the course of the next few weeks. Do I have goals in mind? Sure. Are there things I want to learn or do better? Absolutely. But, when all is said and done, each training cycle is its own journey; all I can do is take it one day at a time, one mile at a time, and see what unfolds. I’ve had races where that blank training slate felt daunting and left me more than a little anxious. But this time? Bring. It. ON!

 

I feel glorious, glorious

Got a chance to start again

I was born for this, born for this

It’s who I am, how could I forget?

I made it through the darkest part of the night

And now I see the sunrise

Now I feel glorious, glorious

I feel glorious, glorious

–Glorious, Macklemore feat. Skylar Grey

 

PS For anyone that’s interested, I do plan on recapping my experience in Dublin. Working on that particular post (or two? I haven’t decided yet) has turned into one of those moments where all the words and thoughts in my head try to work their way out at the exact same time. So, bear with me while I work through pulling that story together.

 

PPS For anyone that enjoys running to music, check out this cover of Macklemore’s “Glorious” as performed by the cast of NBC’s (now cancelled…*sob*) show Rise. This song may or may not have been on repeat as I ran this morning. 😉

 

Here We Go!

Good Saturday morning!

I’ve got about 4 minutes until the Rock N Roll 5K starts!

That being said, with all the work that’s gone into this weekend’s races, all that matters is this:

See, I’m Smiling

Normally, this is the point in a training schedule where I start checking my Weather Channel app to get an idea of race-day conditions. At this point, checking the weather helps give me an idea of what to pack.

I realize there’s still 12 days for this to change, but let me tell you this forecast made my morning!

Note to Self

Dear Self,

 

Two weeks from today, if all goes according to plan, you’ll have finished the Rock N Roll Dublin Half Marathon. Two weeks from today you’ll get to see the results of 13 weeks of commitment, discipline, and hundreds of miles.

 

Because this is the point where your worry tends to kick into high gear, let me just say this: be present.

  • DO NOT view a bad run as an omen of failure on race day.
  • DO NOT obsess about the weather.
  • DO NOT let the rest of life derail your training schedule.

Be present. Focus on the moment in front of you, and do what you can in each of those moments as they come.

 

The rest will just have to take care of itself.

Summer Running

Aside from the summer I started, I’ve tended to dial back my running routine during the summer months. Since I live in Texas, I loathe walking across a parking lot to my car during the summer months much less run 4 days a week. As such, I’ve tended to focus on races in late fall or winter. It means race training doesn’t begin in earnest until the middle or end of August: just in time for the temperatures to gradually become more bearable.

Then my husband decided he wanted to run a marathon as part of our honeymoon. In August. So, in the name of an unconventional honeymoon adventure, I started training in the middle of May and have watched the thermometer rise as the miles added up each week. Needless to say, it’s been an interesting experience to put in race-level work during a Texas summer.

So, I thought I’d take a minute and share some of what it means to run during the summer.

  • Summer running means a hot, sweaty, glaring reminder that I’m a glutton for punishment. Granted, I’ve been this way my whole life. But there’s nothing like rising temperatures to realize the inner masochist is alive and well.
  • Summer running means the near-permanent addition of tan lines around my watch, wedding band, socks, etc. I also think there’s the beginning of a tan line on my nose from my sunglasses. And you should see my husband’s farmers’ tan; that’s impressive.
  • Summer running means SPF 50 is my friend if I run during daylight hours. Who doesn’t love the smell of Coppertone?
  • Speaking of daylight, summer running means a dogged determination to find all the shady patches of my route if I’m running during the day. Now, in Texas, the shade doesn’t always provide that much relief, but it’s still better than nothing.
  • Summer running means pre-dawn workouts are a great way to avoid the heat…even if it does mean more humidity. 4AM is my friend!
  • Summer running means I *might* know where all the water fountains in the nearby parks are located. 😉
  • Summer running means the Camelbak stays in my fridge to make sure I have cold water for long runs (because not all long runs take me through the parks).
  • Summer running means the realization that the freezing (and sub-freezing) temps and the need for 3 layers of clothes this past winter suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. Honestly, I *might* be looking forward to those kinds of conditions, again.
  • By the same token, though, summer running means gratitude for the fact that I only need one layer of clothes to go outside.
  • Summer running means relief that it should be at least 20 degrees cooler in Ireland next month.
  • Summer running means the chance to see nature in full bloom. Check out the picture below!
  • Summer running means love for the homes and businesses with sprinkler systems. Take what you can get, right?
  • Summer running means the chance to see what I can and can’t do in different weather conditions.

And, ultimately, summer running has meant a growing gratitude for the fact that–despite the heat, the humidity, the salt/sweat/sunscreen combo–I’m able to run in the first place. There may come a day when I’m no longer able to run, but this summer has reminded me that I’m nowhere near that point. This summer has reminded me that, for all the frustrations that come with the season, training this time of year has opened up a whole new set of reasons to be grateful.

So, this may not be my favorite time of year to run, but I’ll do it anyway because I can and because it’s worth it.

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