Saturday, March 24, 2007

Back in the saddle. Or at least trying

Today was a pretty great day.

This morning I went out for a 6 mile run. I went over to a favorite spot, a rail trail that is a few miles from the house. I neglected to think about the possibility that the melting snow might create a muddy route... The terrain went from dry land to ice to mud to snow. Very messy. I rationalized with myself that this was the cost for having it be a pretty flat course - the negotiation of the terrain made up for any thought of breezing through.

With the Cherry Blossom 10 miler only a week away, I am a little nervous about the time goal I set. I'm relying on positive thinking, determination, and the race atmosphere to help out. I have not been as consistent with training as I was with the half marathon, but this time around my baseline fitness was better. Plenty of room for improvement, though.

As I was plodding along I thought about how this will translate into a lifelong habit. Will I always try to gain speed? Will I ever feel the need to run a marathon? Will I find a race distance that is a favorite? The fun of it all is that I have no idea, really. I hit my ruts and then reinspire to pick new goals, and I expect that pattern will continue.

A friend is visiting us this weekend. He's one of those people I've known since high school, and we've only grown closer since. Even dated for a while, before we each figured out that we were gay. Funny how any boy/man I ever dated is now gay. Perhaps gay is catching, and I gave it to them?

He is likely moving back east, and to help persuade him to come to Boston I took him on a big walking tour. The South End, North End, government center, Back Bay, Copley Square, etc. I love (and miss) walking around Boston for hours. We had a great time.

On the way back I went a little out of the way to take him to Jordan's Furniture. If it sounds srange that I would take anyone to a furniture store for the heck of it, then you are not familiar with the place. The one we went to, in Reading, has a trapeze school, a water laser light show, and an enourmous front entrance that is filled with a vast array of scupltures created entirely of jelly beans. Millions and millions of jelly beans.

The furniture is also nice.

After all of the walking, both of us were pretty beat. When we got back to Manchester, we got some burritos, watched Igby Goes Down (which is either really self righteous and bad or oddly intriguing - I haven't decided yet), and called it a night.

A pretty great day.

1 comment:

Mr. Satan A. Chilles said...

Of course you're going to do well in the 10-miler this weekend. Weather should be in the 50s or so, and the course is relatively flat, though never let anyone tell you a course is flat, because you'll be cursing a surprise hill somewhere. So just keep your pace on the uphill and you'll hopefully get a downhill as a reward.

Make sure you're near the start of your corrall, and out of the way for any speed freaks. However, since the corrall placement is based on time, that shouldn't be an issue for you. Just make sure you get off to a reasonably good pace so you don't find yourself obsessing over making up for lost time later.

Since you're shooting for an average sub-10 minute mile, it should be easy to mentally compute your pace during the run, but don't beat yourself up over it while looping around Rock Creek Park, either. I hit the wall big-time running around the capital in the Marine Corps Marathon once, and couldn't figure out my pace time, and that confusion made it even worse. Relax, keep an eye on your watch, but no second-guessing, no drama. Challenge yourself AND have fun (as best you can). Easy for me to say, but at least I can say I've been there.

So just keep your pace, watch the scenery go by (or in the case of the Kennedy Center, watch it go by above you), and concentrate (mentally break up the course into sections if it helps). Sometimes you can train and train and the race comes and it's a lousy day, and sometimes you just show up for a race and it's a PR. Not that you don't have some control over the outcome, but you have to accept it whatever happens. Besides, how many people do you know can run ten miles?

Oh, and forget about marathons for now, sometimes runners obsess or talk too much about them, shorter distances can be challenging in different ways. This is the only race that matters for now, and it's going to be lots of fun, right?

We'll be starting our 10K in Central Park at the same time Sunday morning, so we'll send some positive vibes your way. So hydrate the day before, wear your most comfortable running outfit, enjoy the views of the Potomac, and reward yourself with a nice brunch later. Have a great race!