I knew all week that I needed to run 12 miles on Saturday. I was planning for it. I scheduled my Friday evening so I could get plenty of sleep. And that would have worked if not for a phone call from my dear sister. Sometimes family really must come first. So, I didn’t get home or in bed as early as I had hoped. Such is life.
I set my alarm as if I was going to get up early enough to run the 12 miles before I had to go to mentoring. But then, when my alarm (or maybe alarms) went off, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I kept watching the time tick on…not sleeping, but not waking, just thinking about how I should be getting up.
But I didn’t get up until I had to for mentoring. I laid in bed until almost 11 am. I never do that, but I just couldn’t get up. I was so tired. It had been a long week. And yet, I knew I was going to have to go running. So, I mentally prepared for it.
On my way to mentoring, I grabbed a banana and a bagel so I would have plenty of time to digest it before running. I knew I’d have to get out the door almost as soon as I got home, so I had to eat.
And now, a digression: it’s an interesting thing to eat when you view food as fuel rather than something to be enjoyed. Not that I didn’t enjoy the banana and bagel. I did. But I also knew that I had to eat these two things; the potassium in the banana and the carbs in the bagel would be exactly what my body needed to make it the 12 miles I was going to push it. Eating felt good. Not like something I shouldn’t be doing. Which is how I often feel when I’m eating. Even if I’m making good choices. But eating to feed my body so it can do the things I want it to do changes how I feel about food. I wish I could always eat that way. But such is not the way my body (or my emotions) work…
Back to the running. I left mentoring about 15 minutes early because I knew I wanted to run my 12 miles in Central Park and I did not want to be running after dark. There was a very small window of opportunity to make that happen.
It was a lovely day and I actually wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt. It was a little cold to start, but I warmed right up. Given my knee and how it’s been feeling, I made sure to actually stretch once I warmed up. And then I was off.
For the entire first loop (six miles) I was having debates in my head about whether I really needed to run all 12 miles. Wouldn’t nine be enough? But as I approached the end of the first loop, I knew the answer. No. Nine would not be enough. Running is 90% mental. In order to finish the 13.1 miles I will be running in two weeks, I knew I needed to know I could do 12. And so, I turned around and reversed the loop. (I couldn’t stand the thought of repeat exactly what I had just done.) The first half I pushed myself. The second half, my only goal was to keep going. And yet, somehow, I managed to do the two loops in almost the exact same amount of time.
The bad news is that my time was a bit slower than I was hoping. The good news is that the race course I will be running in two weeks is much less hilly. In fact, most of it is downhill. So, I’m thinking in the next week or so, I will put in a good push with some serious training runs, focusing on speed work, and then I will enjoy a relaxing couple of days in Vegas pre-race, and if all goes well, I should be able to cut 10 minutes off my time from last year. Here’s hoping.