Try Like Kiki: Week 4

“Kiki’s Delivery Service” was one of my favorite movies as a kid because it combined everything I loved at seven years old.

Kiki was a witch and could fly away on her broomstick whenever she pleased; I wanted the same during visitation (parents had a nasty split that carried onto me, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.) She had a cat who could talk; I grew up with cats and have one in lieu of a child, although Marina doesn’t know that. She got to go off on her own and make her own way; I couldn’t wait to do that once I made it 18.

The one scene in the movie that really spoke to me was when she lost her powers. That moment of realization hit her like a ton of bricks as Jiji the talking cat could only meow and she tried unsuccessfully to run on her broomstick down a hill, landing with a hard thud on the ground and a harder realization of what happened.

I have never related to Kiki so much until the last few months. Some personal challenges came up, which resulted in me feeling off the last few months and tanking my desire to run.

Prior to the personal challenges, which came to a head earlier this month, I had been experiencing all kinds of aches and pains in my legs. My calves flared up at my last full in April – which was miserable even though I finished my full in my fastest time yet – and it traveled up to my knees and back down again throughout my spring races.

In hindsight I was signing up for too many races too close together, which forced me to recognize after the Columbus 10k in June – which I ran in my slowest time yet of 1:04 – that I definitely need to take some time off.

Fast forward to Week 4 of my full training. I’m returning to Indianapolis in November to run my fourth full with a determination to break five hours. Leading up to that I have a ten-mile race and three half marathons. I would love to tell you that weeks 1-3 have been wonderful and meaningful.

But frankly, getting into the mental and physical groove has been damn hard.

My apartment complex has a recreational trail running through it, with a hilly portion a straight shot south. I usually run on flat surfaces, but I told myself that I needed the challenge of the hills to build my endurance. I already experienced an unexpectedly hilly course after training exclusively on flat terrain, so I figured that training on hills would make me a more effective runner on majority flat courses.

So I ran 4 miles each this past Wednesday and Thursday, and felt great afterwards. Those distances were enough to feel an impact that didn’t kill me afterwards.

Then came my Saturday long run. 12 miles that were supposed to be finished in about two hours, since that’s my usual pace.

What I didn’t take into account was August humidity basically turning the trail into a swamp. Or that there weren’t as many shaded areas as there were long stretches through an open field.

It took me closer to 2:40 to finish – which incidentally was the finishing time to that hilly race I mentioned earlier – and I wound up shuffling and walking the final leg of my run. I was miserable and emotionally spent.

Usually the runner’s high amnesia kicks in immediately, but it took a few hours and a thorough shower for it to finally sink in that for the first long hill run I’ve had in months, the pace wasn’t too bad. And I am still glad that I took this week’s training to a more challenging terrain.

Like Kiki, I got my magic back after a tumble and not knowing what was going to happen in the end. And I am finally flying again.

I know I’ve heard another runner friend remark that fall PRs are made in the summer. So with that being said I wrapped up Week 4 on a satisfied note by my apartment pool with a happy tummy full of Velveeta Queso Blanco. Which is funny because I was just telling my mom I want to cut back on the dairy.

Regardless, Happy Sunday friends.


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