After last week’s demoralizing 20 miler, I didn’t run at all this week. It started out as a couple of extra rest days and turned into a pity party/excuse fest. Even though I had no motivation, I knew I couldn’t skip my Saturday long run, especially only two weeks out from the race. I wasn’t sure how the week off would affect this run. Would I have the endurance to run it all? Would my pace bottom out? Would the rest have helped?
What was my brain going to do today? Would I overthink everything and paralyze myself again? Would I beat myself up? Would I be wracked by self-doubt and anxiety?
So I decided to just run. Run without looking at my watch. Run without thinking about running or racing.
I daydreamed and let my mind wander as my body went on and did its thing. I wrote a couple of blogs in my head: one about the church and politics, the other about softball and sexism. I also picked out my imaginary Halloween costume for an imaginary date to an imaginary Halloween party with a very real person. I spent about three miles through Buckhead fantasizing about how that would play out and what ethical delimmas could arise. Good imaginary times. Good imaginary times.
Those daydreaming miles passed effortlessly. I had moments when I looked around and thought, “How did I get here already?”
That’s what I like best about long runs. They’ve always served as a reboot for my brain. They’ve been two, three, four hours alone with no noisy interruptions when I can think and compose and sightsee and stargaze and daydream.
Sometimes when I get home from a long run, I think back on things that happened and things I thought about during it, and it seems just like waking up in the morning and remembering a dream. I think somehow those things must be stored in the same part of the brain. I suspect that long runs have something in common with REM sleep.
The 16 miles ended. I pushed the stop button on my watch and I had run the 16 miles in 2:52:21. That’s a super pace for me at that distance – 10:46.
As I did my cool down walk, I thought about how I always judge myself as good or bad based on the outcome of the things I do. I never allow for any grey area. That’s ironic, because I give everybody else prodigious grey area – often more than they deserve, and often to my own detriment.
I need to remember that a bad run doesn’t make me a bad person. A bad day doesn’t make me a bad person. Even doing a bad thing doesn’t make me a bad person.
And I need to remember that I’m the only one who cares if I break 5 hours in this marathon. My family will still love me. My church won’t burn down. The Earth’s spin will not screech to a halt. They even won’t stop producing Diet Mountain Dew or Pop Tarts.
Even Jesus had a bad day, got pissed at a fig tree and dried that bitch right up. Last I read, he was still a pretty stand up guy.
156 avg heart rate
10:46 avg pace
Total weekly miles: 16
Compare to Last Week
Weeks to Savannah Rock n’ Roll Marathon: 2