This week, I’ve given my seventh-graders a series of Would You Rather …? questions for their journal topics. Stuff like:
Would you rather have a Pause button for your life, or a Rewind button?
Would you rather talk like Yoda or breathe like Darth Vader?
Would you rather have a time machine that only goes back in time or a time machine that only goes forward in time?
Well today’s run played the Would you rather …? game too. Would you rather complete three miles at a faster pace or seven miles at a slower one? With a ten-mile race coming up on March 29, I chose seven slower miles.
I haven’t been out to Rogue on a Saturday morning in a while. My calf injury kept me out for much of January, and while I was able to run again in February, I was running such short distances that it didn’t make sense to get up at 6am and drive eight miles to run three or four. I just ran from home later in the morning. But today, hoping for more than the 6.4 I ran last Saturday, I figured I’d meet up with my lonely running buddy and give seven miles a shot.
It was in the 30s when I woke up, and I couldn’t decide how to dress.
Would you rather wear two shirts and risk being too warm or wear one shirt and risk being too cold?
Would you rather wear gloves and have warm hands the first mile but have to carry them the rest of the way or suck your hands up in your long sleeves the first mile and not have to keep track of gloves?
In the end I went with one long-sleeved shirt and no gloves. If it had been windy or something, I would have added more layers, but it was almost 40* and quiet so I rolled the dice that I’d be okay when I warmed up.
Once we started, I could not get into a groove of any kind. My legs felt sluggish and my calves ached with fatigue. I relished the water stop at mile one–clearly I have lost a lot of fitness thanks to limited running the last three months. But nothing hurt so I plodded along.
On the way out, we stopped for water a couple of times–the last one was at about 3.25 miles, so we just had to run over the dam for our 3.5-mile turnaround, then we stopped again on the way back. These little breaks helped me rest tired legs but the cold temperature forced me to start moving again quickly. Knowing we were only halfway, I tried one of those Gu gel things but could barely get 1/4 of it down.
Would you rather choke down slimy Gu and feel a burst of energy or forego the Gu and listen to your stomach growl?
Guess I need to keep working on that fueling plan.
On the way back, I walked a bit on the gravel path (the slippery surface was unfriendly to recovering muscles) but otherwise I kept running. Even though it might have looked more like walking, I really did run up the long, gradual Vista Ridge hill (which doesn’t seem like much when I’m driving, but is quite obviously a hill when I’m on foot), then managed to hit the green light and didn’t even get a break then. Tired legs plodded on.
Would you rather run uphill or downhill?
Would you rather stop for the traffic light and get a breather or keep running because if you stop you won’t want to start again?
Finally we hit the last water stop. It’s one mile (mostly downhill) to Rogue, so it really helps me mentally. Just one more mile. We joked that it’s the easiest mile. Except the first part. And the last part in the parking lot–you’re almost there but not, plus the dumpster stinks. And the middle part isn’t great either. So yeah.
But today the high school was hosting a 5K and the road was partially closed for the race. We ran on the sidewalk, and about halfway down the hill the first racers passed us in the street. Luckily it was a small race, because at the four-way stop we needed to cross while the racers turned, so we had to dodge a few runners at the corner. They had run 1K and we had run 6.5 miles, so we were at a speed disadvantage. But we pretended the race volunteers were cheering for us too.
Back to the original question: Would you rather run three miles at a fast pace or just over seven miles at a slower one?
I ended up with 7.1 miles (we all know the decimals are important) and I ran pretty much all of it. It was slow and sluggish, and it confirmed that my upcoming ten-miler will likely be the slowest of my three attempts at this particular race. But the Winter of my Discontent (as it shall henceforth be known) taught me that I’d rather be healthy and slow than injured and sedentary.
After we finished our foam rolling rituals, we walked a few doors down to the Starbucks for a post-run beverage. And I enjoyed my heated car seats allllll the way home.
Would you rather have heated seats or air conditioning?
Would you rather have coffee first or a shower first?
I think you know how I’d answer that last question.