That was a little misleading… what I really meant to say is the Kona Whine runs ~ as in I am a bit of a whiner when I’m running. At least, when I’m with… my coach. Apparently. Or so he said. The thing is, I’m just getting back into my running groove and let me note right here and now, I’m NOT COMPLAINING (or whining)… I love to run with my coach. I know it’s making me a better running. He is a fast runner and I feel bad holding him back, so I am trying to go faster. So, there might be a little bit of a whining thrown in there… and I can’t help it. I want to run a faster pace. But I have to run my run too, or I know I will start to hate it. It’s a tough balance for me.
I just spent one glorious week with my coach / boyfriend, and his family on the Big Island, HI. We stayed in a house in Kona and it was picture perfect. Really. Just truly breathtaking. And, because I am still on my training plan for the big marathon in December with a training race/half marathon in a couple weeks, running was still on the agenda, even if on vacation. Who am I fooling… even if I didn’t have any upcoming races, I still would have wanted to get a few runs in, vacation or not. Running is not a chore, but something I really do love doing, although one might wonder about that after the 4 runs we did in Kona. Because as I said, I was a bit of a whiner.
My running friend, Maili, from the Marin Social Running Group recently ran the Kona half marathon back in July (you can read about that here) finishing a sub two hour race. On each of my runs, I thought about her running that race, in that heat. I have to say, I don’t know how she did it. It was so frickin hot!! And humid. I thought I was gonna melt our first morning out (stupidly after 8 a.m.!) I had thought about bringing my small water bottle, but my coach said I would not need it for this short 4 mile run. Um… wrong! I was so hot, I thought I would die! I am used to running in cold windy climates – low 70’s or less. I don’t run well in the heat or so I want to believe. My coach kept telling me that I would run better when I ran back at home. Of course I know this, but still… the heat sucked! I actually didn’t even finish the first run, I walked the last half or was it whole mile? I don’t know for sure, because I was delierious. I’m kidding of course, but the Garmin I was using didn’t kick in right off, so I can’t be totally sure.
And yes, I said Garmin. I have had one laying around for a few years, never compelled to try it out. My coach convinced me to start using it and even though I still like running with my iphone and Endomondo Sport Tracker, it was nice to have a free hand to… well, carry a water bottle, in excessive heat, which I did for the other three runs. He was really sweet to set it all up for me, because frankly, I hate those watches. I am totally inept at using them. I get so frustrated with it and it’s sensitive touch and stupid beeps that sometimes I want to just rip it from my wrist and chuck it to the side of the road. I am trying to be a good sport about it, and I suppose it makes me appear more like a professional or serious runner. I still like my phone app though.
So anyways… I had a scheduled long run of 7 miles to do on Sunday. My belief on long run days is that you run them at a comfortable pace. That is what I tried to do, if it’s possible to be comfortable in 80 degree humid heat. (I know… I’m whining… it’s considerably hotter in other parts of the country like back east right now, wah, wah, wah… I know! I am a whiner, I get it!) 😉
We decided to go out one direction for 2.5 miles and run back along the main road in Kona just outside the House, then upon returning go one mile in the other direction (the route I’d been running) and return. It was a pretty flat paved road with a few (small) rolling hills.
After 4 miles, the heat was really getting to me. I had my small water bottle, but wanted to conserve it, thinking when we reached the house we could, um… stop? get some water then do the final two miles. But no. As we approached the house my wonderful coach told me to keep going and ran in to get me some cold water to refill my bottle. Damn. I was really looking forward to a little break. Seriously. The thing is, I didn’t want to really stop, I just let the heat get to my head.
We hit the mile mark after descending a hill. Here it comes… as we were descending the hill I whined, “OMG, I have to run back up this hill?” It’s kinda funny really because I would never utter those words to any of my running friends. I don’t think. Hmmm… have I? I’m sure in my head, but out loud? Gulp. Maybe I have.
At the bottom of the hill, I stopped. Just for enough time to mow down a few Jelly Belly Energy Sports Beans, which I might add, my coach gave me a few months ago. I was feeling depleted. I just was. My coach just started running up the hill and pointing to his head, indicating that it is all mental. Whatever. My brain said it was depleted. It needed something to pick me up. So whether or not it was the magic beans (as Flo calls them) or the mental thought that they are magical and giving me some energy, it got me back up that little hill. Even though I made it up and over, I was still feeling the heat.
I also was listening to my shuffle and at this point needed to distract myself from the run altogether. The trick I play when I’m feeling this way is to start singing. My kids have told me that my singing voice is not so great, let’s face it, I’m no American Idol. So I just sort of whispered the words of the songs softly, since my coach was within earshot of me (when solo I sing a little louder!) I surely don’t want to scare him off! Later, after the run my coach told me he thought that I was calling him an asshole for pushing me to run more than I felt like. I wasn’t, just singing, but I will admit I had some repetitive thoughts in my head akin to “I hate you,” all in a loving way, naturally.
Before long, the end was in sight, and so I decided to push myself to finish strong (and maybe to redeem myself a bit, embarrassed by my lack of athleticism) and I ran harder (spurred on by a little sugar rush as well) and I started to pass my coach, which I think surprised him and we ran a little further past our end point. Afterwards I felt better about my run and was glad that he pushed me to not be too much of a whiner. As my coach, that is what he is supposed to do. And sometimes, as his, um… pupil? I am supposed to whine. His job… push me, don’t let me slack. My job… well, whine about it, I guess.
Frankly, I like to think of what my friend Andrew always says to me, ‘if it was easy, everyone would be doing it’. Therefore, I whine. At least I’m still doing it!!
Lastly, as I don’t have much else to say about running in Kona (except it is beautiful there and I wish I was still there), so I will just say, afterwards, I didn’t feel like I had run at all. I wasn’t depleted or worn down. The heat really didn’t get to me as much as I think. It also helped that I was lounging/ snorkling/ swimming in the cool ocean waters or was busy relaxing and enjoying my time with my wonderful, caring boyfriend / coach.
Like Right here. Or in that hammock. Which made the runs seem like they never happened at all. No whining now.