Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fifteen miles

Fifteen-mile run today, enough of a distance to make me feel proud and want to tell other people about it.  Three five-mile loops in Central Park, which was almost immediately boring.  I listened to music, thought about work and family, thought about the act of running: what each muscle and joint was doing, how far I had traveled, how much farther to go, always calculating times and percentages.  When I am in the middle of a grueling run I tell myself that I have already completed it, that the act of wanting is the same as achieving.  "Action is intention," I repeat to myself, and somehow it works well enough.

Starting around the halfway point today the uphill segments of the run began to feel unusually grueling.  The slightest change in slope would threaten to wreck me.  I was generous with the walking breaks, but it got to be extremely difficult.  I was hungry and wanted to sleep.  My proudest moment was during my final ascent up the Great Hill, when I maintained a running pace up the entire thing when every fiber of my body wanted to stop and walk.  A small victory over myself.

I was fairly useless for much of the day after that.  I came home and showered and went to Chipotle for some protein and carbs.  L left the bed unmade for me so I could take a nap, but that felt indolent at two in the afternoon.  I just took an ice bath and now my entire lower body is quivering, not in the good way.

I had to remind myself that the training process actually will make me stronger.  Today it felt like these longer runs merely sap the energy and power that I already have, draining me of what I will need to complete the marathon.  Today I saw two runners in particular whose t-shirts resonated with me: the first,"Running sucks"; but then the second: "If you're still sweating, you're still alive."  Amen to that.

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