Marathon journal - week 4: Riverside alumna Hayley Lyons

My First Marathon

Week 4

Intro:  I spent last weekend moving into my new apartment.  New apartment.  New city.  New job.  So it only makes sense that I will spend the majority of this week looking for new running routes and exploring my area.  My biggest concern is still safety.  Because I’m a morning runner, I intend to get my workouts in before work, which could mean running in the dark some days.  My goal for this week is to find an area to run in that is safe for running before sunrise. 

Monday:  3 miles.

Today was the first run in my new area.  I ran to a nearby shopping center (a perfect 1.5 miles away) and back.  All that I have to say about this area so far is whoa, traffic.  It was like a real life game of Frogger, only with crosswalks and people who ignore red lights.

On a positive note, fall is in the air!!!  There was no better way for this new city to welcome me than by giving me a crisp, autumn run on my first week here.  

Tuesday:  6 miles.

I decided to explore my neighborhood today.  It’s pretty hilly, but I’ve learned to love hills because they help as much as they hurt.  

Okay, now I have to share something that happened to me on today’s run, but if you have a sensitive stomach, go ahead and skip to Wednesday.

…Still reading?  You are a brave soul.

Around mile four, I approached a dirt pile that spread across the entire street.  Thinking it was just dirt, I ran right on through.  And that’s when I saw it: a dirty diaper.  In the midst of the dirt.

All that I could think was, You have got to be kidding me.  (In so many words or less.)

I really had no choice but to run home and complete my workout.  Needless to say, I basically used an entire package of Clorox wipes, which unfortunately don’t clean memories as well as they do germs.


Wednesday:  3 miles, abs.

My GPS watch doesn’t work very well in my neighborhood, which kind of messed with my pace today.  My watch said that I was running well below pace, so I kept increasing speed, and then, when the signal finally picked up, I realized that I was running much faster than I usually do.  This really proved to me just how mental running is.  I often go at a pace that I’m familiar with because I don’t think I can go any faster, but today my watch tricked me into nearly reaching my 5k PR time, even with steep hills.  

Thursday:  5.5 mile tempo run.

Today was unintentionally a tempo run.   I started off at a normal pace, but it was chilly outside.  I kept increasing my pace, hoping to warm up, and then when I reached a certain speed, I figured Why not? and maintained the faster pace, including hill accelerations at each incline as well.   I cut over two minutes off per mile from the first to the last.  After 5 miles were complete, I jogged a half-mile cool down.

Friday:   9 (or 10) miles.

I expanded my explanation of my new area.  My goal was to run to my boyfriend’s apartment and back to my own, but I took a wrong turn on the way back and ended up exploring a neighborhood full of classic, old southern homes.  It was pretty awesome.   

It’s like this city was made for runners, with all of the sidewalks connecting streets, making it easy to switch up your route without getting stuck in the middle of traffic or lost.  I was worried about leaving Greenville, South Carolina to move to a bigger city because I wasn’t sure how friendly people would be.  I’m one of “those runners” who not only greets but practically runs up and hugs the people I pass.  In Greenville, the people I pass on my route typically know me or at least see me every morning, so they always greet me with comparable enthusiasm.  The good news is the people and runners in my new city are equally as friendly and enthusiastic!  

My watch died toward the end of this run, and I know, judging by the time I arrived back home, that I ran slightly farther than nine miles.  I brought Emerald’s Cocoa Almonds with me but only ate two of them because my body seemed to gain energy on its own today.  I also brought water instead of diluted Gatorade this time, and I think that I like the diluted Gatorade more while I’m running.

Saturday:  Off.

Sunday:  Off.

Total:  26.5 (or 27.5) miles.

Conclusion: I ran all five weekdays this week so that I could take the entire weekend off to enjoy college football season—so worth it.  I got my mileage in and was still able to cheer on my Clemson Tigers.  This week has been a reassuring one for my worries about running safely in my area.