Listen to Your Body Part II: Validation

I left you last walking the white sands of Myrtle Beach, SC, on a beautiful, sunny day. I wasn’t feeling bad about skipping a run that day given how horrible I felt the day before, but I was thinking about my workout regimen for the week.

Typically, I run 5 1/2-6 miles with my roommate Jess on Monday nights. Last Monday night, though, we didn’t run. Jenny, Jenny’s friend Lauren, Melissa, and I had so much fun in Myrtle Beach on Sunday after our beach time that Melissa and I didn’t want to leave! Back to reality – and work the next Morning – or a few beers and lawn games with local peeps? No contest! Needless to say, we got home pretty late that night.

Par-tay lay-days!

Par-tay lay-days!

I was surprised that I felt somewhat attentive throughout the work day on Monday despite my lack of sleep the night before, but it wore off and into an achy back (a SURE sign that I’m tired) by the end of the day on Monday. Was I going to run? No. And, the gloomy drizzle of the day was just enough to bump that ‘No’ up to a ‘Hell no!’

Then came Tuesday. Jess and I usually do a ‘deck wreck’ workout at the gym. Jess decided she wanted one more day to be lazy; so I checked the gym class schedule to see if anything piqued my interest. Nothing did. I’m still a little tired, but I should go do a quick deck by myself. Did I? Any guesses? Hmm? If you said ‘Yes! You did!’, I am sorry to disappoint you.

I went shoe shopping instead.

Along comes Wednesday, the first day of spring and the last day that Melissa had to run 4 x 1 mile repeats according to her marathon training plan. I was not looking forward to it, especially since the last time I had done any running – or working out, for that matter – was the previous Saturday that I cut my beach run short because I felt terrible. Gulp.

We started with a two-mile warm up, which I assumed we were doing pretty slowly. I was most pleasantly surprised, though, when we came to our turn-around point and I glanced down at my watch – 8:16! Not only had I chatted with Melissa the entire time, I felt just fine – no strain, no struggle, no feeling like each of my legs weighed 800 pounds. I felt back to normal.

And that was only the beginning of the validation for my time off. Neither of us was too enthused to do the workout, but we went straight down to the track before we could dwell on it too much. I kept up with Melissa for the first mile, which we ran faster than any of our past attempts for the same workout.

My watch was not working when I hit the ‘lap reset’ button at the beginning of the second mile. By the time I gave up toying with it, I was 100 meters in and so ran about an extra lap at a recovery pace, then ran an 800 instead.

For my second mile, I started with Melissa and kept up with her until about two laps in. She was slowly speeding up, and I instantly assumed that meant that I was slowing down. When I looked at my watch, though, it affirmed that I was maintaining the same speed. I was able to maintain it, and, although Melissa beat me by about 10 seconds, I ran that mile only slightly slower than the first!

Two miles and an 800. I think that’s enough for today. I feel better but don’t want to overdo it before I begin training. Buuuuuuut. . . I wonder if I can run a third mile that fast. . .only one way to find out! Did I? Any guesses? Hmm? If you said ‘No!’, I am sorry to disappoint you.

Validation for a little time off is the best beach view ever.

Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., studies child development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a long-time road and trail runner. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.

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