My first (of 5) marathons this year will be April 15th. A mere five weeks from right now. While the training has been good, it has not been perfect. I’m not one to worry much about this, however, since running for me, as it is for most, is very personal. My reasons for doing it have nothing to do with beating anyone else out there on the course. That’s not to say I don’t have a time goal in mind, I do. We all do, right? But it’s not the focus or the reason I run marathons.
I run marathons because I love the freedom of running.
I run marathons because I love pushing myself beyond what I use to think I was capable of.
I run marathons simply because I can.
Saturday I ran 20 miles in training mode. The weather forecast said although the Pacific Northwest had been experiencing some beautiful sunny and slightly warm days, Saturday would be the return of rain and cold. I fretted about this. While I don’t mind running in rain, the last time I ran 20 in the rain my skin chaffed so horribly that it was more pain than pleasure to shower and I still have a mark from where my sports bra rubbed my skin off during the friction of 20 wet miles. Still, I was determined to get out there, even if I woke to rain, because my time is short and it just had to be done.
The weekends my boys are with their father are generally full of appointments of one form or another. Running is an appointment for me, if I don’t schedule it I worry it won’t happen and that is frankly not acceptable. To make that appointment work with the others I had to get out of the house before 5 a.m. While I love to run, I also like to sleep and since I get up before 4 if I’m running Monday through Friday, Saturdays are generally reserved for sleeping in a bit longer. However, just like the rest of the week I was up at 4, out by 4:50 and on my way.
It’s always a mind game for me, running 20 miles. It’s a mind game if I’m running anything more than 10. When my Garmin beeps 1 mile, I always think “only 19 more to go!” That makes me laugh every time. I hate counting down miles. I don’t like mile markers in races; I don’t like hearing my Garmin beep. I don’t like knowing how much farther I have to go when it’s such an incredibly long distance. The fix is listening to my iPod so I don’t hear the little beeps. However, because I’m a woman, who runs alone, when it’s dark, I don’t listen to my iPod until its light out and I’m in a busy, well-traveled, well-lit, with lots of homes and/or businesses area. That meant for the first 5 miles I listened to the beep and counted backwards.
When I hit 5 I walked for a bit, ate an energy bar and turned on the music. My 18-year-old created a running playlist for me with some of his music. He listens to rap mostly and I’m okay with that, even though I don’t. As it turns out Snoop Dog, Eminem and Wiz Khalifa have good beats for running. I rarely will play just his playlist though so it can go from Train to Snoop to Eminem to Jason Mraz to Jefferson Starship and back to Eminem. It’s odd, I admit, but it works. When I turned on the iPod Saturday morning the first song to play was my favorite from the boy’s playlist. “Vato” by Snoop. The words are vulgar, but when I’m running I love it and if I have been running at a slower pace this song (along with Black and Yellow by Wiz Khalifa and pretty much ANY Eminem song) makes me run faster. It’s a strange phenomenon, and while I don’t understand it, I just go with it.
I ran the next ten miles with little to no hesitation and it felt pretty awesome. It seems like it’s been a while since I’ve had a decent, good feeling, long run – but Saturday it appeared to be what I was experiencing, a nice and pleasant easy long run.
Just last week I ran a horrid 13. My calves cramped, my thighs cramped, the bottoms of my feet hurt and I just wanted to cry, and walk. In fact, I did cry and I did walk, a lot. But I made my 13. And swore I’d never run again. Yea, that happens periodically, but it never lasts more than an hour. I can’t give up the addiction that easy.
So I ran on. As luck would have it I ran out of sports drink as I approached mile 16. That sucked and I let it bother me. It was caused by my own poor planning. However, the absolute worst thing that could have happened (at least for me) did happen at mile 19.
I was in my neighborhood. Less than 2 blocks from my house. Yet I had just clocked mile 19. SHIT! I had miscalculated my run and here I was so close to home yet still needing the additional mile. I considered just going home. It’s close. Good enough. Whatever. But that part of me that loves this thing called running wouldn’t have been happy with that so I turned left and ran away from my house, again. Of course it was the longest, hardest, hilliest mile of the entire 20 miles (it wasn’t really but it certainly felt like that) and I just wanted to be done. Before I knew it, however, I was done.
Twenty under my belt and wait. . . . I felt pretty good. I had hoped to finish in less than 4 hours, but it was 4 hours, 4 minutes and 54 seconds. My pace was 11:22. Some days I would have been a little bent out of shape with that. Saturday I wasn’t. Aside from just finishing 20 miles, the entire run felt nice, comfortable and dare I say easy. Slow or not I could not argue or be disappointed with an “easy 20.” Who says that for God’s sake?!
I had a massage scheduled with Brett on Sunday, but Dosha cancelled because Brett was out sick. I was sad about this. I had, after all, earned my massage, but I managed to find my happy in the fact that while I hadn’t gotten a massage I had saved $90. Couldn’t argue that was a good thing and truly my legs weren’t that tight!
Ahhh, the joy of a good run. I certainly hope the good runs stick around. This is an easy back off week. Five, five, five, eight, and twelve. I want them to be good and yea, okay, I’d like them to be a little quicker. 🙂