It looks like the weekend running in the Maine hills did me well. I had a nice run this morning. I usually begin a little sluggish on these early runs but today I felt vigor from the start. It’s interesting how a change in your perspective can make the normal seem different. I thought my course through the streets of Raynham was a decent route. There are some hills in the second half of my runs which I thought were great for training. Now those hills look like little bumps in the road.
I ran the White St “Moonlit” Run that I wrote about in My Morning Run. Today had the same feel. The clear sky along with the moon and the reflecting snow gave me plenty of light to run. As I turned on to Center St, a very bright Venus lead the way as it centered itself with the yellow lines on the road. The streets seemed empty like I had them to myself. The consistent grade and oddly missing ice under my feet let me extend my gate. Thoughts of work and family, fundraising and the marathon, you and Dana-Farber bounced in and out of my head. What felt like a blink of an eye, I was at my water stop. I decided to just run by because I didn’t want to stop. Reaching into my pocket, I grabbed my water bottle and laughed as I tried to drink the almost completely frozen grape powerade. By the time I got to King Philip’s Bump, the sun had already risen. I looked at my reflective vest as its broken straps flapped against my running jacket. I said to myself I can’t wait until I don’t need both for my early runs anymore as I noted spring will soon be here. When I entered the neighborhood, I looked at my Garmin for the first time. I was happy to see my results but distance and time didn’t define my run. It was all about what happened between the start and the finish. I was centered again.
Hope everything is well will you. I will give you a call this afternoon to check in. Take care.
RM: 9.75 (White St “Moonlit” Run)
I finally got outside for a run this morning. It was cold, I think 8°F. I was looking forward to it all week, but when I got out there, it didn’t go as planned. I had no energy. I was running like my feet had bricks tied to my running shoes. My stomach was bothering me for most of the run too. It was a bad run. I kind of wanted to stop.
Most of the time I was concerned that today’s run was nothing but junk miles. That is when you are running with no purpose than just say you ran. These miles do not add to your training and can even hurt it if they start to add up. I tried to add smaller goals to give this run some substance. Improve my form, attack the hill, charge down the hill* or pick up the pace. Anything, but run with my feet dragging on the wintry street. Nothing seemed to help.
Today’s training was not going to be the normal physical exercise, but would be just as valuable. It was mental training. When things start to go wrong during a long run, your mind can start to take you out of the game very quickly. You start to dwell on maybe an injury, the distance ahead of you, or any other self-defeating thoughts. You feel like you cannot finish and your only option is to quit. This is why you need bad training days. Luckily, I have been doing marathons and triathlons for a few years now, which means I had a lot of opportunities for some mental training.
Here is my “mental” checklist:
- Figure out if I still have all my body parts and they seem to be
working (for the most part)
- Check if I am having another one of those dreams where someone dressed
in an Elmo costume keeps tripping me before I can get to the finish line
- Slow things down and reassure myself that I’m fine
- Ask if I’ve been drinking and properly fueling during the run
- Make small goals (next mile, next water stop)
- Remind myself I can do this
- Most importantly, I have to beat Elmo!
Although I did not run well today, I can say today’s miles were definitely not junk. Tomorrow I get to rest and more importantly go to the DFMC party. Seeing you and the rest of the runners and partners will definitely be my spur.
I hope you are feeling better and see you tomorrow!
* note – sprinting up and down the hills was not the smartest thing to do on an icy road.
RM: 7.25 (King Phillip’s Hill Run)
I wake up and look at my clock on my nightstand, 3:39 a.m. I think to myself, “Good another 1 ½ hours of sleep”.
… 4:05 a.m. …
… 4:51 a.m. …
… 5:04 a.m. …
… Beep, beep, beep, slap!
… 5:15 a.m.
I skipped getting my running clothes together the night before which makes for chaotic morning. I search through draws and baskets hoping to find at least one pair of socks. Upstairs and downstairs I run looking for hats, gloves and running shoes. I remember today is a longer run and I should bring a drink with me. Thank goodness my wife is very organized or finding my water bottle would have taken another 5 minutes. It’s starting to feel like yesterday’s stressful day is sliding into today.
Finally, I out the door. I take off running and realize its dark out. It dark every morning I run, but this time it’s different. It’s dark and fuzzy! Oh yes, I didn’t grab either my glasses or put in my contact lens. I figure I’ll be fine without them today. It’s not the first time I ran without seeing well. Plus, it took me so long to get out the door today. I didn’t want to turn around. But a few yards later, I checked pockets of my jacket and it is empty. My water bottle is sitting on the counter. So I am now heading back to the house to get my glasses, drink and a quick check to see if my head is attached.
It’s been almost 30 minutes since I started this process and I’m still on my street. I am grumpy, tired and a little bit cold. There is a conversation going on in my brain on why I like running and hear the words “sane people are still in bed warm and sleeping”.
I finally lift my head up after the last ½ mile of looking at the ground and see a beautiful picturesque scene. Just above the horizon, I saw it; a large, luminous full moon. It was casting shadows of the trees and houses in the glistening snow below. It was like someone was lighting the way for just me, as all my angst from moments ago disappear.
The morning was especially still. There was no breeze and very few cars even for that time in the morning. All I could hear was my gait as the arms of my jacket swished back and forth. It was peaceful. I found myself looking at places I’ve run by and ignored countless times before.
When I got to North Main St, the moon had returned. It was just above the old farm houses as it hid their age. In the southern sky was one lonely bright star. Too bright to be a star; a planet I thought. Later I found out that it was Saturn.
At mile 5, I stopped for a moment for a drink of Powerade. I was glad I turned around earlier to get it. It also gave me the opportunity to be mindful of the moment. I took a quick 180’ view and started back home.
When I got to King Philip’s Hill, it was kind of a symbolic moment. When I reached the top, the sky was somewhere lost between the night and the day. As a ran down the hill, the moon headed for the horizon on my left as the sun’s light peaked out on my right.
By the time I got on to Rt 138, the world was awake. Cars buzzed by, as their drivers headed to work with coffee in hand. I felt bad for them as I picked up my pace to match theirs. For they have no idea that they missed a beautiful morning.
I finished at sunrise and sat on my front porch. Something I don’t normally do. Well, not in the wintertime anyway. I reflected on my run thinking it was gift. At that moment, I looked down at the clear walkway that has been covered in snow for weeks, and I noticed a shiny gold giraffe which looked like it was some type of confetti. I smiled. Giraffes are the symbol for vision; to see things in a different light.
Yup, that’s why I run.
RM: 9.25 (White St “Moonlit” Run)
The rule of this morning’s run was “Slow and proceed with caution”. Most roads were plowed well enough for traffic, but traffic plus a runner, not so much. Each time a car was coming down the road I had to judge: Did the car coming see me? Did the care moved over enough for both of us? Or do I have to jump into the snow bank? Running with conditions of packed snow and ice gave my ankles a work out too. Needless to say it was an adventure.
Looks like the technical glitches are all out of the way and you should be able to start writing your own entries soon. I look forward to it.
Did you have another snow day today? I bet you did.
RM: 8.0 (King Phillips Hill Run)