Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Sequel Time Already?
It seems like just yesterday, I was blogging about being able to get in my first evening runs of the spring with a little daylight to illuminate my path, and the lovely aroma of dinner blowing in the wind from the homes above my old faithful river trail haunts. Unbelievably, it's been seven months or so since those final weeks before my spring marathon in Kansas. Now, it's happening all over again-except that the days are getting shorter as I enjoy that fresh air and food smells.
I got in what I believe will be one of my final evening, outdoor mid-week medium-long runs for the season last night, enjoying that short, perfect season for running that we get for a few weeks each spring and each fall. It's that dry Western Colorado air that feels crisp-cold before the run begins, and turns into ideal shorts and short sleeve shirt weather once the body's moving and working up a sweat. Ira Glass, introducing stories of This American Life has been a regular running companion on the iPod as of late, and last night was no different. The miles go by as each story engages me, and it soon I'm nearly finished with my run without ever hitting a lull or wishing I could just get it over with already.
As the moon climbed in the night sky and stars became visible, I realized that I could see just fine. So, instead of running the two miles back to my home from the river trail to finish up my run on the treadmill, I kind of turned it into a mash-up of medium-long run with hill repeat-esque trips up all the cul-de-sacs in my neighborhood, which has a layout very similar to the terraced streets in the movie E.T. When I finally returned home, it was as if I hadn't done any work at all during those ten miles. It was just one of those great runs that once again reminds me why I love to run, and leaves me with a need to take to the roads again very soon.
So, where does this leave me? Did I mention that my fall half-marathon comes up in eleven days, and I'm suddenly finding myself itchy with that madness of taper? It doesn't matter that it's not a full marathon. The symptoms of the madness are the same.
I've already started to check weather forecasts for Moab, and keep reminding myself, thanks to a Running Times column I read last year, that I should really get in to Goodwill to find the funkiest, ugliest, warmest coat possible that nobody else will buy so that I can have something to wear pre-race. Everyone may get a good laugh at me, but I will laugh last when I'm not the Human Popsicle after huddling with the masses around the fire pits at the start for ninety minutes, like we did at this race two years ago.
The next most likely symptom of this madness should be obsession over pacing-and whether I should just go with the flow or formulate a very specific pacing strategy. After using ten year age groups for the first five runnings of The Other Half, the race moves to five year age groups this year. I made the mistake of looking up last year's results and counting down the women in my five year age group (OCD much? That's me!). IF I can run the race of my life-and IF no other woman in my age group runs the race of her life, I have a VERY outside chance to squeak into a placing slot. I've had bad luck with my two aggressive half starts, though, so I'm thinking that taking a chill pill might be the best strategy after all. As last night's run reminded me, sometimes it's just good to give in to all your senses, and let the good running happen without forcing things.