Taking My Running Up to Another Level

I spent the day yesterday with Seth, Ryan, and Jason at our quarterly offsite. We finished, as is our tradition, with dinner at Frasca, which involved a lot of wine. I rarely drink wine anymore as I never feel good the next day (I’ve switched to mostly drinking scotch.) But Frasca is a special place and the wine choices I end up with when I’m with my partners are spectacular.

I’m running enough now (around five hours a week) to be in a disciplined routine where I follow what my coach Gary gives me each week. When I went to bed last night, I knew I’d have a hangover in the morning and it’d be tough getting out the door. I had a one hour run – a typical Tuesday run for me after a long run on Sunday – that’s a combination of recovery and gearing up for whatever is really coming at me this week.

I was not surprised that when I woke up at a few minutes before 7am I felt like shit. It wasn’t the “I have a cold” feeling, but “Wow – I drank too much last night” feeling. I drank about a liter of water,went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, put my running clothes on, and Facetimed Amy. I had a fantasy that when I got off the line with Amy I’d feel better, but I knew it was a fantasy.

As I got out the door to start my run, I decided to punish myself today. I knew that I wouldn’t have any speed in me, so instead I took a right on the Boulder Creek Path and headed to Eben Fine Park. I knew that I’d be going uphill on a steady grade once I got to the park and by that point I’d feel completely crappy as the hangover started to burn out of my system. I also knew it would be worth it, as by the time I hit the 30 minute mark and turned around, I’d feel good.

And I did. I glided down the hill back toward home, hangover gone, legs moving, and sweat flowing. I let my thoughts go wherever they wanted to, and as some point I thought “Ok – I’m at a new level and ready to start thinking about a marathon again.” The breakthrough was that I got out there and did a real run even though it would have been easy to roll over in bed, moan, and go back to sleep at 6:50.

If you are a runner, I expect you know this feeling. It’s the redemption after a night of excess, followed by the joy of the next day when your system is recalibrated.

The sun is out, it feels like summer, and life is good.

  • TeddyBeingTeddy

    out of curiosity, why running instead of cycling? Isn’t running bad, long term, for knees/joints?

    • I’m not allowed to get on a bike anymore. I’ve had two accidents, including one where I lost about an hour of memory. I’m done with bikes.

      • TeddyBeingTeddy

        Fair point, I guess I’d rather risk hip replacement than permanent brain damage too… That’s why I don’t do exercise at all, much safer that way.

    • Mark Smith

      I hear that a lot from friends, most of whom prefer cycling over running and often for that very reason. I think some people are perhaps built more for running than cycling, and vice-versa. Ive been running semi-seriously for a few years and haven’t had any problems so far. Other friends have ran far less and complained about knee/leg pain etc. So they stick to cycling.

      My inspiration is my Mum. Started running in her 30’s to get some time out of the house (full up with 6 kids!) on her own. Shes done around 11 marathons, most recently an off-road one last year at the age of 61. I’m 34 and yet to do my first marathon, but I’ve done 3 half’s so far this year and am maybe building up to a big one!

      BTW Brad love the blog, check in most days, keep it coming, insightful and inspiring on many levels

  • Hard choice > comfortable choice. And the first test is always in the morning!

  • robertcpease

    Ha! Awesome post Brad and I long ago discovered a long run is one of the only ways to shake the results of a “night of excess.” Thanks for sharing this!

  • Sebastien Latapie

    That’s how I feel with cycling – just getting out there typically makes everything better. Push past the first 30 minute grind and everything else opens up.

  • nick_pou

    pretty nice what they’ve done with Eben Fine Park – was pleasantly surprised last time I walked through

  • Sam

    Funny. Regularly I find myself in exactly that spot mentally and physically, staring at my iPhone timer as I am about to start a morning workout routine. For some reason I started the habit of repeating to myself the mantra “the body will not exercise itself.” And then I get started. Without fail, I am always happy I did.

  • Jeff Hohner

    So awesome to see you back at it. Nothing better than feeling like you are back in control and ready to push forward – feeling good and ready to go. Bring it on.

  • Chris Haberle

    No worse feeling than waking up in a fog. No better feeling than conquering it with a run, and salvaging a great day out of what could have been forgettable. I used to think running was just about hitting the next PR, but I sometimes feel more accomplished by doing exactly what you describe in this post.

  • Bill Adkins

    Wow – very cool story – I was tracking right with it from similar “too much fun at Frasca”evenings. Great to hear you’re back on the running horse again.

  • Excited to read you thinking about a marathon again! When I talked to you at Denver startup week last September and you mentioned you weren’t training for them at that time, I felt a sense of loss for you. Is it too early to ask what specific race may be next?
    -Andrea “40 marathons and counting” Hill

    • Portland, Oregon.

      • Nice! I’ve heard great things about that race. I just checked off Oregon with Eugene a few weeks ago, so I’ll just have to watch for your review!

      • Molly Bullard

        I have done the Portland marathon twice (2 of my 3 total so I am far from a maniac) and it is very well supported and I know you will have a great time! I just revisited your photo organizing post as I am in the midst of writing one of my quarterly newsletters. I hope all is going well with your photo project and if you’re ever in Seattle, come to a class! Molly, http://www.seattlephotoorganizing.com

  • Ravi Melwani

    Amazing article. The marathon says alot about your spirit and your attitude. By the way guys I have just started my own little website. Need your support. http://www.carijasa.co.id/service/event-organizer