The Green Socks.
Last year, The Bataan Memorial Death March fell on St. Patrick’s Day. I didn’t want to go full-out leprechaun since this is a race to honor our Veterans, so I ordered green compression socks to go with my black and white outfit. In general, my calves have issues, so I like to wear compression socks on any run over 10 miles, and sometimes the green socks come into rotation (my others are hot pink and white).
I never really thought they were that out of the ordinary. I enjoy bright clothing. And, since I always assume that I am a target for kidnapping (fun times in the head of Amy), I figure wearing something bright might help witnesses remember that they saw me at a certain point in order to establish timelines and locations of my last known whereabouts. Really, they aren’t anything out of the ordinary for me.
But then, during my 19 miler on Saturday, I easily got comments from 20 different people. It was an out and back run, so many of these people commented twice (and those who didn’t comment the first time, went for it the second time!). “Hey! I recognize those green socks!” “Way to go, Green Socks! Still going!” “Love your socks!” Men, women, runners, cyclists, walkers, kids in bike carriers. Everyone.
Having the constant encouragement was actually very motivating, even though it had nothing to do with my running performance. It made the hot long run much more enjoyable, and as a result, I ran faster than I have been for long runs, and I smiled much more. And I am certain that if I would have gone missing, several people would have called in to let the authorities know that they saw me along the trail!
The whole thing made such an impression that I actually demanded that Aaron take my picture post-run so I could share it on the blog! Green socks have special powers!
In other news, we are now officially in the middle of the Balls to the Wall (from the windowsssss to the wall!) portion of training. All we have left is three 20 mile long runs with a down week in between each before heading to Taper Town (won’t you take me to Taper Town). The mileage has been built up, so the next 4.5 weeks will be dedicated to getting more miles in at marathon pace and working to make marathon pace feel as comfortable as possible.
*Funny that on the days that I was writing my blog post last week about pushing through adverse conditions to be more like a soccer player, I was actually taking a couple of rest days to deal with some stomach issues. Nothing too crazy, but experience has taught me that running through it equals having to crawl in fetal position on the side of the road.
Monday: 4 recovery miles
Tuesday: REST (yes, I was pretty happy to avoid an 800’s workout)
Thursday: Tempo (15/20/10): Because Aaron was at a work event and the temperatures were hot outside, I opted to do this run on the treadmill. I always increase the incline to 1% to simulate a more realistic effort. Tempo pace was 7:39 which is perfect, but I’m trying not to get too excited because, incline or not, I still had a machine pacing me and pushing me along. When I can recreate it on my own, I’ll be happy.
Saturday: 19 mile long run: Overall, drama free and with minimal pain. The last few miles were hot, and as we were leaving after our river ice bath, an ambulance pulled up to rescue a runner who had apparently passed out, so even though we started at 6:30 am, things were getting into the dangerous realm by 10:00 am. I ran this with an average pace of 9:22 which is 1.5 minutes slower than marathon pace and right on track. However, in 4.5 weeks, I want this to be at a 8:52 average, so there is speed to be gained before then!
Also, we ran next to the river which means bugs. I have so many bites on my legs, and if you look at this picture closely, you’ll see a the types of swarms we have to run through. This was right at eye level, and those little dots were bugs in front of my face.
Sunday: 9 miles: This was supposed to be at marathon pace, but I knew I wouldn’t come close, and I didn’t. Because I accidentally counted the weeks wrong, we started training two weeks late which meant significant mileage jumps over the last several weeks. After only training for 12 weeks for Boston and having major issues close to race time, I’m extremely cautious about how that ramp up affects my body.
After Saturday’s long run I was feeling funkiness in my legs and I knew that pushing the pace wasn’t a good idea. So, I stayed in the low 10’s/high 9’s and just got the run done. Not quite World Cup Soccer Player status, but I do think that my legs recovered much faster and much more adequately because of it.
As of right now, I think I’m on track to hit about 3:30 on Marathon Day. I’m not giving up on a sub-3:30 marathon yet, but I know that the next few weeks are critical, and now is the time to stay focused. If you see me running, please yell at me to run faster, and be sure to make a comment about my socks!
What’s your craziest/most attention grabbing article of running clothing?