Fact: I think I have a high pain tolerance, but rolling on a lacrosse ball is making me question this. First of all, I guess I didn’t know what a lacrosse ball looks like; I pictured a softball, but it’s actually about half that size, smaller than a tennis ball, maybe the size of my fist. (Or, you know, the size of an average toddler’s fist. Me and my muppet hands.) Just getting positioned on that thing without falling over, or having it scoot out from under me and go rolling down the hallway (thus enticing two large, overeager felines to chase after it and bat it around for a while), has been a challenge. But believe me, when I’m on it right, I know. I remember the first time I used a foam roller properly and the next day it felt like someone had whacked the sides of my legs with a baseball bat. This is like that, but in an area where I apparently am more of a delicate flower. I can manage about 50% of my body weight on it, maybe, if I’m feeling especially self-torturous.
Fact: After just 1.5 lacrosse ball sessions, I ran my longest run in weeks on Sunday — 6.5 miles, I know, whoa Nelly — and woke up the next day feeling virtually normal. Which is not to say fixed, but not like I’d just had my biggest running week since January, either. It might be the placebo effect in the form of a white rubber ball covered with cat slobber, but still. I am hopeful.
Fact: In the last two miles of that 6.5-miler, I finally felt like I’d remembered how to run. Since starting tri training, nothing about running has felt normal; I knew running off the bike would be awkward, but I didn’t expect it to feel like I literally had no idea how to propel my legs forward in space. My stride feels ludicrously short or way too long, and my already terrible gauge of my own pace is thoroughly broken. But on Sunday, my legs finally loosened up, and I felt like I was flying as I charged toward home. (I’m sure the downhill and the tailwind helped.) I’m trying to be smart and cautious and not fling myself all open-arms toward running again, but it’s a nice sign that my legs haven’t completely lost track of what to do.
Fact: That happened just in time, because this weekend, I’ll be tackling a segment of the Oakland Marathon relay, and I’m suddenly so! jazzed! for it. This has been the chillest big-race experience for me, in that I kind of keep forgetting I signed up; I happened to have a friend whose team needed a fourth member, and the distance is doable with my current run “base,” if you can even call it that. How chill are we? We haven’t assigned relay legs yet. Aww yeah.
Fact: I might, um, already be planning my long runs for Berlin training. We’ve got some weekend trips coming up over the summer, and approximately 600 weddings in the month of September (somehow all before Berlin itself, which is September 30), and every time we start looking at flights to a new place, my brain goes, “How far would I need to run there?” I haven’t made a real training plan yet — because, yeah, a little piece of my brain is still unconvinced I’ll be ready for marathon training, but also because it’s March — but that doesn’t mean I haven’t mentally booked a 20-miler for Chicago over Labor Day weekend and medium-length runs through Philly and Western Michigan in June and July. Oh, and maybe long runs in Seattle and New York, too. Would it be crazy to see if my trips align with races in those cities? Just a little? Okay.