With the Rochester Half Marathon quickly approaching, today was my last chance to fit in one last long run. Two hours this morning, especially blocked out. Just me and my long run.
“So what DO you guys think about all that time? Isn’t it boring?” I’m sure you runners get asked these questions frequently, as I do.
As I downed my last sip of coffee, waiting for the 50 degree downpour to at least turn into a sprinkle, I decided that afterwards I would write down a play-by-play account of my thoughts during the run, and others can determine how boring it all sounds. Here goes… (btw, Does anyone have a long-run experience to share with me? By all means, do so! I’d love to hear.)
Downhill…off to a great start. Just coast. Got the fuel belt, watch, gel, ipod with special long-run playlist…I’m good. I’m not even minding the less-than-balmy weather.
Crazy traffic…may slow me down a little. The price to pay for leaving too late. At least no rain right now…
Spoke too soon. Raindrops are falling on my head. WHY did I apply makeup this morning? I’m sure I look like Alice Cooper. My nose starts to run.
As I attempt to cross the main drag, I see a woman in a trench coat moving her lips at me. People never seem to notice the ipod. I turn it off to hear her tell me how dangerous these sidewalks are. I wave and make my way into the traffic without flinching.
Okay, I hate this stretch. Too much traffic. I kick it up a notch. Stop, go. Stop, go. People look at me funny. Probably my Alice Cooper eyes. And snotty nose. I wipe it on my sleeve. (Note to self: Bring Kleenex next time.) Haven’t you ever seen anyone run in the rain before? Sheesh. A car looks like it’s headed straight at me. I’m prepared to jump into the bank, if need be. It swerves away. No respect for the runner. Get me out of here.
Ahh, much better. A wooded path grazes the edge of a golf course, then leads to the lake. I hope no boogey men jump out at me…forgot the pepper spray.
I rip open my mocha Clif gel. I’ve grown to love these little babies. Sugary-sweet gooey goodness. Woa, don’t step on that stick. Wait…Do sticks have eyes? SNAKE. I’m glad no one was around to witness the sound that came out of my mouth at that moment.
A porta potty. Stop? Don’t stop? No, I’ll wait for the bathrooms at the city pier.
Police cars? What? The city pier is closed? SH**. No potty break for me. I turn around, trying to calculate in my head where to make up the lost distance…
Half way through. Ok, time for the long stretch. The only way to go is straight for a long, long time. Maintain the pace. Check the form. Ignore the nagging need to pee. Hmmm, those bushes are looking pretty good…
I turn up the music, losing myself in a Katy Perry song. I typically don’t listen to Katy Perry, but running brings out the unexpected in people, perhaps. You’re gonna hear me roaaarrr…
Well, hello, annoying hamstring tightness. It’s been awhile…a week to be exact. Can’t say I’ve missed you. You’re like a fly that refuses to leave me be. Now I will attempt to ignore you by thinking of the mountains of laundry waiting for me at home…or the office full of work. Oh, and I have to hit the dry cleaners, pick up a bottle of wine, call so-and-so…(list continues)
There comes a point where I zone out, usually right about here. Time is irrelevant. It’s kind of like meditation, very euphoric. Almost spiritual. Rainy, cold, whatever…The weather is just fine. Spending time alone in this peaceful place is what keeps me running, I think. I don’t look at my distance or pace for miles.
I pass a parked car donning a sign. “Be the person your dog thinks you are.” I think of Sophie Mae, my golden retriever, back at home, and how sad her eyes looked when I left. Sorry, girl. This run is too long for you.
Two miles left. Focus. FOCUS.
I come up behind the trench-coat lady, still walking along. As she does a double-take, I’ve already paused the music.
“How far have you RUN??”
“About twelve miles.”
“Wooahh!” Which probably translates into, “What the **** is wrong with you?” Twelve miles really isn’t that much, compared to a 20-mile-marathon-training-long-run. Some people don’t understand long-distance running, and never will. Oh well, no matter.
What? Only at West Street? I’m ready to be done now. FOCUS. I mapped a hill into the last mile? Really? Where was my head?? A pickup truck passes me. I see a “No Fear” sticker on its back window. Yes, no fear. No fear no fear no fear.
Ah, a Muse song. Perfect. All intense and anthem-y. Muse will get me through this.
Life’s a race…I’m gonna win…I’ll light the fuse….And I’ll never lose…I choose to survive…Whatever it takes…You won’t pull ahead…I’ll keep up the pace…I’ll reveal my strength to the whole human race…
I open the back door, to find my number one fan getting ready to attack me with kisses. An ecstatic Sophie shares in my glee that this long run is officially over. Yay, it’s OVER. Protein smoothie, foam roller and steaming hot shower, take me away…
Actually, as I read through this, it does sound a little boring. I could add fictional events. I could spice it up a little; Try to make people understand why I keep going back for more…
Nah. Running is running. I like it just the way it is.