It's 7 am. I've been up since 6 (luxurious sleeping in), and had toast with peanut butter and honey, some Nuun water, and a cup of coffee. Read the new issue of Runner's World, tried to get dressed and find body glide and put in my contacts without waking up the sleeping household. Then, out the door.
This is my view before each run, behind our house. It's where I fiddle with my phone and headphones, get my Garmin GPS to wake up, and go through a few warmup mobility moves: lunge matrix, leg swings, and sometimes some calf pumps. I tried to do a selfie of me lunging but it's a pretty atrocious photo so I will spare you. Instead, here's me acknowledging that it is, indeed, time to start running 16 miles.
First, above, I have to point out my armband. No idea what brand. I've had it forever and I never wash it. It's cracked and the velcro is almost entirely given out. It unwraps from my arm at least six times per run and I can't even begin to tell you what it smells like. And yet, although I'll happily splurge on a new pair of Hoka's or a Oiselle top, for some reason replacing this thing seems unnecessary. My running-economy priorities are weird, but they are fixed.
Okay, so off I go. The plan is to head south for four miles, north for eight, and then back south for another four. I'm also going to work my usual listening protocol for long runs, alternating between a book on tape and music. For the first four miles, it's Attica Locke's new Bluebird, Bluebird which is a novel about a down-on-his-luck Texas Ranger investigating two murders in a small rural TX town. It's wonderful so far. You should read it.
I remember as I run the Oak Street Curve that today is the CARA Ready to Run 20 miler, which means that pretty much anyone in Chicago doing a fall marathon will be out on the lakefront for the point-to-point supported 20 miler. Except me. I am a lone wolf this training block, and although it's a little weird to wave and say hi to all these runners I know, I'm happy to be on my own.
Well, only about three miles in and it's time for a pit stop. What can I say. Luckily, Navy Pier has it all: air-conditioning, clean bathrooms, and a water fountain.
Back at it, heading south. I should note that it is hotter than I wanted it to be - mid-70s, and pretty humid. No wind, but a mix of clouds and sun. I chose to go south first because I think that's the hotter section on the path. I try to hit the water fountains about every two miles and make sure to take in several gulps at least.
At mile four, I'm about down by the Chicago Yacht Club (fancy!) where I stop for a drink at the non-fancy parks dept water fountain and toast myself with gel number one:
Down the hatch, washed down with water. All right, time to head north. But first, switching over to music and taking a break from chasing a gang of racist thugs in Lark, Texas. I have an old playlist called "Country music LR" and that's what's up today, lots of golden oldies that keep me mellow and easy on the pace.
Speaking of pace, I've run the first few miles in about 11, now I'll push it down to between 10:30 and 11, which is where I stay pretty much the rest of the run. If it were cooler, I would keep it at 10:30, but I'm giving myself a little leeway given the heat and humidity.
Heading north on the Oak Street curve I pass wave after wave of Ready to Run 20 milers heading in the opposite direction.
Mile 8 happens just north of Fullerton, over the bridge. Legs feeling a little achy in the knees and tight in the hips, so at each water stop I try to do some hip circles or a squat or two. Not much you can do about it on the run.
The 20 mile groups have thinned so it's quieter north on the path, which I like. Around mile 10, I run into my friend Shana, and stop for a minute so we can chat about work, families, running, and of course - our national nightmare. It's good to see her and we make plans for some runs together in the winter after my you-know-what is done.
Forgot to say I switched over to the novel again after a nice chunk of country music. Powered by some Kris K.
Starting to drag a little, around miles 10 and 11. It doesn't help that there's a giant walk for the cure type race up around Montrose, with huge crowds of walkers taking over the entire path. One woman even snidely said to me, "You're going the wrong way" as SHE was blocking me on the right side of the path. It was like wading through a parade.
Finally, I reach 12 miles, turn around point at the north-most end of the park. And I realize that maybe I've miscalculated my route, not taking into account the half mile to the path from our house. So what will happen is that I'll hit 16 while I'm still about a mile away from home. Oh well. Too tired to care much about that now.
At the rotary at Foster Beach, I stop for a nice stretch and notice the changing leaves. Fall is coming.
Either the last gel or the second wave of country music gives me some new energy, and I hit some faster miles on the way south.
Love this song in the Johnny Cash bio-pic when Reese and Joaquin do it:
So then I felt pretty good. Ran through some mantras in my head - I have one where I do a body scan and relax each part sequentially also picturing waves of blue energy to cool me down. What can I say, I need something to do in my head that long on the road.
Finally, that last beep of the watch, and done!
16 miles for the day.
51.7 for the week.
And then I jumped in the lake: