This post could also be called Neurosis!
I woke up to a hard frost, late, at eight o’clock. My plan had me out the door running by eight. I blew my plan. A flurry of WordPress activity kept me up late last night. In bed at ten has me up at six. Eleven-thirty? Not six, not running by eight. Eating cereal at eight-thirty: I keep trying to stop with the cereal. Honey Nut Chex. I can’t kick the habit. For a few weeks, I transitioned to oatmeal, blueberries and walnuts added in. That’s a good pre-run meal. But now I’m back to Chex. A half a box, empty calories.
I bought tights last night. Nike Thermal running tights. They were a birthday gift three weeks ago. Or at least they were a gift-idea written in a card. But now they’re more than an idea. I last bought tights in 1996. I still wear them; or I did last winter. They bag on my butt. Bunch on my shins. I’ve lost weight since 1996. Plus, the elastic is gone. I pulled them up super-high and rolled down the waistband. My new tights fit perfectly. I’ll try to replace them at a normal interval.
I finally got outside at nine-forty. Still freezing, still frosty, the sunlight shone but felt impotent. Deciding on clothing for a long run can be tricky in the fall. Often, I leave my house in freezing temps, and by my last few miles it’s pushing sixty degrees. Tights, no tights? How many shirts? I struggle with these decisions, check Weather Underground, and then struggle some more. I went with tights today mostly because they were new.
A hundred yards from my house, I felt hungry. Today was long-run day. On normal Saturdays, I run a seven-mile wooded trail loop on the Gettysburg Battlefield. Most of the paths are groomed equestrian trails, so not difficult, but they feature solitude, beauty, peace. A two-mile section in the middle breaks up the easy running with steep climbs and descents, loose rocks and roots hidden beneath the leaves. On my long day, today and every two or three weeks, I run to the trailhead instead of drive, two miles from my door.
Hunger at the start of an eleven-mile run is a bad situation. I’m a slow runner, eleven miles on trails is a two-hour run. Even when I’m just sitting on my couch, after feeling hunger pangs it’s unlikely that I can wait two hours to eat. I’m skinny, no fat reserves. And hunger makes me lose my shit. Wait, I’ll run by McDonalds, I thought, I can just grab something there. Oh, I had no money, McDonalds wasn’t happening. I kept running, happy I brought my phone so I could call for a ride when I fell to pieces.
Many runners take Gu with them on their long run. Gu is a semi solid syrup contained in a plastic pouch. It’s one hundred percent sugar with a bunch of manufactured vitamins and amino acids added. Gu makes me gag. It runs down my throat like phlegm in the closing days of a bad cold. I usually have a Gu pouch in my house. I know I do now, I just bought it a two weeks ago. Before I ran, I searched high and low, I couldn’t find it.
I took a Payday mini with me instead. Do you know about Payday bars? Also all sugar, except they are infused with peanuts. So, besides the simple carbohydrates, I get fat and protein as well. It’s a better option for refueling during a run. Plus, it seems old-school. Something they would have done in the seventies. Preferable to manufactured sugar paste. In my first marathon, I refueled with Fig Newtons and Yoohoo.
I made it home. My Payday did the trick. Unlike Gu, you can’t suck a Payday down, so I usually walk while I eat one. I saved it for the steep rocky section. There’s a hill I usually walk anyway, this let me save face. Not that anyone saw me. This trail is always empty, even though throngs of tourists mill about in a parking lot thirty yards away.
Tonight. November 2nd, was Halloween in Gettysburg. On the 31st, we had flash floods and tornado warnings. They decided to keep the kids in for the night. As promised, Eli and I torched our pumpkins and passed out candy by the light of our mini bonfires. Eli wore his trench coat and gas-mask. I wore two hoodies and still froze my butt off.