Every Monday I begin the week with a decent run-usually 5-7 miles. I've had Sunday to recover from my long Saturday run and I enjoy the fact that my run is MILES less than the one I ran two days prior. BUT, every Monday I also start trying to mentally prepare myself for the upcoming Saturday run. This last Monday and Saturday were no exception. I was going to run the farthest I had ever run before-15 miles. I was a little nervous all week about it. Each time I would lace up my shoes during the week, I would visualize myself on my course for the day, and try to mentally rehearse how much farther I would be running in a few days.
Saturday arrived and I was intimidated, but determined. It was sunny, 60 degrees and gorgeous outside . . . the best weather for a run! Michael uploaded a few hour-long NPR programs onto my shuffle to help pass the time. I printed up an outline of the course I was running and we agreed to meet 10 miles into my run so I could get a drink of water, stretch a little, and break up the monotony. I ran down the driveway, onto Chester Ave. and began running toward Gypsy Hill Road. My muscles felt relaxed, my heart was steady, and my mind was focused. I've begun to realize how marathon training is much more than just training your body to run for hours on end, it is also training your mind to endure. Three hours of running can be challenging on so many levels!
Sixty minutes into my run, I had 9 miles left and the first program was just ending. (You don’t need to be a math genius to figure out that I run really slow and steady!) I could hardly believe that I had been running for so long! The NPR broadcast was of a show that Michael and I have been listening to for a little while now—This American Life. It is a wonderful compilation of topics and Ira Glass, the moderator, delves into the heart of each matter. This program really gets you thinking about so many issues that our nation, our world, our family, and we ourselves face. He covers a huge range of topics from our trade agreements in Cambodia to finding ways to resolve “never-ending” sibling rivalries. Sorry, I digressed . . .
I usually listen to music when I run, I really enjoy peppy, energetic dance music that keeps my heart alive and my feet moving. I didn’t realize how engrossed I would become in these broadcasts, nor did I realize how quickly the miles would pass as I distracted my mind from the pavement. Ten miles into my run I still felt great. I met Michael, enjoyed a package of fruit snacks and couldn’t help myself from downing an entire bottle of water. We visited for a moment while I stretched my legs and then I was off again. Two hours in to my run I had enjoyed another episode of This American Life and was feeling more educated and a little worn. As I finished the last three miles of my run, I began to wonder if I should just run a few more miles. I had already logged 15 miles on to my Saturday run and it was going to take a lot of effort to get back to this point. It was still sunny and beautiful. Why not? I was sure I had a few more miles in me. Instead of turning onto the other end of Chester Ave to head home, I ran around the local junior college behind the Smith’s home and headed for the trail that I began my run on. Surprised by how good I still felt, I decided to sprint the last 200 yards back to the house!! I couldn’t believe how far I had run--17 MILES!!
This run definitely gives me hope for the marathon in April. I just hope the weather is just as nice and perfect; although, I’m a little skeptical. Boston weather doesn’t usually cooperate for Marathon Monday. Last year it was poring rain, the year prior it was freezing cold, and the first year we were in town I think we had record high temperatures so the runners were all suffering from heat stroke! Good thing we love Boston despite the weather. (Especially when we can escape to California for a little of the winter!)
Thanks to This American Life. It really helped pass the time.
btw, you can download podcasts for This American Life off of Itunes for free! You'll totally enjoy it!