How do I know this? Funny you should ask, friends. I have 2 ways of knowing that “running season”, which is in the fall aka the best season for running, has begun.
Why fall you ask? Actually probably no one out there is asking that right now because you guys all know why fall is the best running season. If you’re like me, you’ve probably battled the heat of the summer to build a nice base, and fall’s cooler temps mean your pace will drop and you will really kill it. You’ll put in the same perceived effort but be running faster. WIN! Spring is not typically the same for most people. I say for most people because lots of runners hate running outside in the cold of winter so they don’t have as good of a base to really kill it in the spring. Luckily for me I LOVE running outside in the frigid cold (25-45 degrees is my second favorite temp range to run in) so I usually do well in the Spring as well (like my half marathon PR this past February!). The only thing I don’t like about living in central VA is that true fall with high temps in the 50s doesn’t come until October or November. This is where I am jealous of my New England running friends.
So here’s how I knew deep down yesterday that running season had officially begun:
1) [Morning] temps are finally in the 50s and below and the humidity has mercifully dropped. The best weather for running hands down. It’s amazing how I didn’t notice I had been literally running in a swamp (even at 5:30am) until yesterday. It was nice, cool, and crisp
You might have seen on my Instagram that I took advantage of the weather and ran a medium distance 11 miles yesterday (11 on 9/11). I didn’t want to push it much farther because I have a 20miler this weekend and don’t want to go over 45 miles for the week and 11 just seemed fitting on September 11th. I ran 11 in 1:45 and slowly walked the final half mile back to my car stopping every so often to stretch. Everything felt so…GOOD. Like I knew it was officially running season. 🙂
Things also felt good because well, it was “only” 11 miles. For all of my marathon running friends out there you know that you are in “marathon shape” when your medium distance runs (for me these are 10-12 miles a week max) feel easy peasy. Because that is how they should feel in a marathon! If you are starting to hurt at mile 10 you know you’re in trouble for the race (this, btw, has never happened to me. In Boston I started feeling a bit tight at mile 14–mostly because the first 10 miles is a pretty steep decline–which is the earliest I’ve ever hurt in a marathon).
As Hal would say,
I probably also felt good because it was finally cool enough to wear arm warmers with my tank. My favorite running outfit (actually, my favorite outfit also entails compression capris but it’s not cold enough for those yet) I know, good stuff, right?
So yesterday’s run was finally one of those runs where instead of feeling like a chore (like it did all summer in the nasty heat and humidity) it felt like a gift
2) The second reason I knew running season had begun for me–and actually this isn’t a real reason I thought it was just funny–was that I had a little surprise waiting for me when I got to the car and took off my shoes
What the???? Let me preface this with the fact that this never happens to me. I’ve been lucky that I have never had any problems with blisters or black toenails (or any sort of chafing for that matter!). I didn’t feel any pain while running so what was this mystery bloody sock all about? When I took it off I had the tiniest little cut on the side of one of my toes. Geez, did that sucker bleed, LOL! So while this is out of the norm for me, I took it as a sign that running season had officially begun. I’ m ready for some kick ass fall running–bloody sock and all 🙂
When I got home, I made sure to wash my foot immediately and use some Neosporin. You don’t want to mess around with blisters or cuts on your feet when you are running. A few years back, my twin sis was training to run the Chicago Marathon for the 4th time and ended up getting an awful infection from a blister on her foot. She didn’t even know it was infected until she started feeling sick with a fever and went to the hospital. She had to stay in the hospital for a few days and sadly missed the race. So you need to be careful because there is so much bacteria on/around our feet (sorry to be so TMI!). I cleaned that sucker up and put on a bright green band-aid that had been stored in a Philadelphia Marathon band-aid holder. I don’t even know why I have that thing, I’ve never run the Philly Marathon. Think I got it at an expo?
So it’s official! Running season has begun and I’m ready to continue with my plan to run all of the Big Four marathons (with a few other marathons sprinkled in there…like the Shamrock Marathon I ran in 2011 and the Charleston Marathon I’ll run in early 2013).
I’ll be running the Marine Corps Marathon this fall, so that is one step closer. And all of these marathons will culminate with the NYC marathon in 2014 when I finally get a bib. Lucky me I was the last year that was grandfathered into the “3 years in a row lottery” rule and will be definitely running it in 2014 (I explain this here).
How do you know when your “running season” has begun?
Time to share some icky deets: bloody sock/blister stories?