Rainbow Connection

A new school year means a new training season too, so Tuesday night I rejoined Rogue’s half-marathon group.

I’d been running and cross-training all summer, so it wasn’t a shocking reentry, especially compared to last year. But the half-marathon group actually started up last week (I had to miss because of Parent Night at work) and for the first time in about two years, I’ve got a new coach. I didn’t know her group’s routine or too many of the runners, so except for catching up with a few friends, I mostly kept to myself.

My university fired its athletic director Tuesday morning (live by the sword, die by the sword I say), so my ESPN podcast kept me occupied on the run up to the football stadium where the faster runners waited. As we performed some dynamic warmup drills before the workout, some light drizzle fell, and a rainbow appeared.

It was my second rainbow of the day, so I figured that had to be a good omen for my run, and maybe my football team and race season as well. After disaster on both fronts last year, a girl can dream, right?

Once we finished the drills, we ran fartleks around the stadium parking lot. This time it was 30 seconds fast with a two-minute recovery.  I think I ran six laps, although that could have been more than six intervals. I kind of lost count and just followed what everyone else was doing. I also think I only took 1:30 recovery because it made the math easier by my watch.

After the speedwork, we had a couple of options. A lot of the new people headed straight back to the store; others who have been training all summer for fall marathons ran four more miles. I opted for the three-mile return route. Yeah I’m in the group technically training for a race in January, but I’ve been running all summer to prepare for the Army Ten-Miler next month. My usual Tuesday runs are 4.25 miles, so this was a totally doable midweek distance.

I switched podcasts (Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me’s guest was Frank Oz! Miss Piggy! Fozzie Bear!) and headed down the hill. I’ve run this loop dozens of times, and it always seems shorter in my head than in practice. A mile down the road, I really questioned my decision to take on the longer distance. I mean, I ran a half-marathon on Saturday, did a Fitness Blender upper body workout on Sunday, went to core class on Monday, and ran three miles after class. That’s sixteen miles and two core workouts in three days. But by this point I was committed–turning back would be no shorter than completing the loop. So I slogged on.

I made it back before the lightning round of WWDTM, and just before my headphones died. More good omens from the rainbow connection?

The lovers, the dreamers, and me.


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