Saturday, October 16, 2010

20 Miles

Great conditions for fishing? By the time I saw that it was too late for a change of plans. Or sport. With three weeks to go, I was ready to run.

I must have forgotten to wipe my dreams off my forehead before setting out this morning. Today's run was my first 20 mile run ever and my last long run before the taper as I get ready to run the New York City Marathon.

At mile 3 a group of cyclists passed me slowly on a hill. They cheered for me and one of them wished me luck in three weeks. I also got a few "21 days!" cheers and even some runner-on-the-war-path growls. Friendly ones. I growled back as best I could.

How did they know I was training for NYCM? I could've been training for MCM. Or maybe I was just a runner on her usual Saturday morning neighborhood run.

Maybe it was because I was following a good chunk of the marathon course. Or perhaps it was thanks to the marathon ads and banners popping up everywhere. Maybe I just looked like I meant business and that my business was #NYCM.

Whatever it was, I had a blast.

I ran 20M to meet my neighbor from across the street for brunch, about 5M from where we both live. It makes a lot of sense, right?

Often the hardest part about running is getting out the door.

D was going to be in a conference in the city. She was free for brunch but only for a small window of time and she was bringing me a dry change of clothes. All this meant that when I woke up in the morning there was no question. I was going to leave my apartment by 7am without agonizing over it or wondering whether I really wanted to do this, or if I wanted to to this today, or if maybe I wanted to read a book first. Nothing. Just get ready and head out the door. No dilly-dallying. I had to get there on time.

I decided to break it down into manageable chunks in order not to be overwhelmed. I decided to think of it as 5 mile warmup run. Then I was going to run for 10 miles, which I know I can do. Then I was going to do a 5 mile cooldown. Plus, whenever my mind wanted to start freaking out about how much I'd run and how much longer I had to run, I'd tell myself I was going to run all day. Six hours at least, so I might as well relax and sink into it.

Is the last bite really better tasting than all the other ones, or is it just that its being the last makes it more intense? Today I took the intensity away from the last few miles by pretending I was going to run for much longer. That way when I got to the last mile I was rested and relaxed and managed to make it my fastest mile of the run: 2 minutes faster than the others.

There was a wind advisory, but the wind gusts just made it more fun. I was well rested and I think I probably benefitted from the extra effort of running against the wind. My eyes were tearing at times. On the Pulaski bridge I felt I was being pushed into the barrier; as I approached the Queensboro there was a moment where I took a couple of steps but did not move forward, and I shivered when waiting for lights at 92nd. But it was fun! The wind kept me company all the way, whipping my braids around and I'm sure at times it must have pushed me from behind, though I don't remember that.

At Mile 20 there was a surprise. At the corner that marked the end of my run, about a dozen people with posters and matching shirts where cheering for me! They'd kept themselves busy cheering for Avon walkers while I got there and they kept it up after I left, but they were there for me.