Yesterday was my first really long run – 15 miles – of the marathon training. I’m following the Hanson brothers marathon training plan – a plan that tops out at 16 miles for the long run, and relies fatiguing the body with high-mileage weeks that precede the long runs. The next six weeks will be filled with this sort of mileage, and given my how grumpy my feet and legs have been lately, I am delighted to tell you that I didn’t DIE. Actually, death is not the problem. What happens to me is that I get a nagging little pain during a really long run, but nothing that’s too difficult to push through. I finish my run just fine, but after I stop running, that nagging pain raises its voice. Hours later, it’s bellowing. It takes days or weeks to shut up.
But not yesterday, my friends. Other than the blisters – which I attribute in part to the toe-box squeezing monster spikes I was wearing to avoid breaking my legs, arms and neck on the icy Wyoming roads – I was in no pain at all. But even if I had been in pain, it would have submitted to what followed. Because the best way to celebrate your first long run, it turns out, is to celebrate Valentine’s Day two weeks late.
Now, let me just say this not how I normally celebrate Valentine’s Day. This was a particularly outrageous Valentine’s Day gift. See, I’m here in Wyoming hanging out with Joe after his knee surgery, and he insisted that, in thanks for my help with the recovery and the dogs and all that, he wanted to send me to the spa at Teton Village. At first, I was kind of a pain in the ass about it. This is not the sort of gift that I am programmed to accept gracefully. Eventually I submitted, though, because my feet and legs told me to stop being such an idiot.
After I showered and had some food (one gel=not enough for a 15 mile run at altitude, in snow, against crazy wind) Joe took me to the Snake River Lodge & Spa. I spent the hour and a half that preceded my first treatment wandering from hot tub (set by huge windows overlooking the ski area) to sauna to steam room. This is the sort of place, by the way, where the moment your towel gets the slightest bit damp, someone appears and replaces it with a fresh one, tidily rolled up, along with a fresh glass of citrus-infused ice water. After that ridiculous bit of relaxing, a therapist named Travis came to get me for my massage. Travis told me his wife runs marathons, which means, my friends, I was in the best possible hands. After my massage, Travis handed me off to Marie for a facial. Following the facial, Marie suggested I hang out for a bit to give the final serum another twenty minutes or so to absorb, so I was forced to sit in the hot tub again.
I know there are people who spend days in spas all the time. I don’t get that. I have no idea what that would be like. But I can say that I’m happy not to be one of them. If I was, I might not have any idea how marvelous it felt. I might think it felt normal. And that would be such a waste.