Monday, May 14, 2012

20 Miler Along 8 Mile

20 miles on the schedule today.  I planned this day off work in advance, so I could fit the long run in and have some veg time afterwards. It comes highly recommended by the author.

Similar to every marathon, with every long run there's always the fear that I wont' make it in the back of my mind. That I will blow up. That something will blow up. My stomach will blow up, my knee will blow up, my calf, my spirit, something.  It remands me of the expression that the idea of death is in every game. The idea that my legs will die is in every major run.  This voice of self-doubt appears to me as a vision of myself walking home with unused Gu in my pockets and my tail between my legs.

My calves had hurt all week, my last two runs of just six slow miles included walking breaks, and I had been icing and taking handfuls of ibuprofen, but still, even as of this morning, the calf hurt to the touch.  I made the mistake of doing the google diagnosis last night, and read all these posts about how if your calf hurts as such, that running on it can make it so much worse.

Instead, I trusted my experience.  Many times I have had this same pain, and as long as I started incredibly slow, let them warm up, that they would release instead of tighten and I could run free. I took Sunday fully off running, and did many Mr. Myagi warm my hands and then massage the hell out of them.

The weather was 70 at the start, 75 at the finish, zero clouds, a beautiful but hot day, but alas no emails form race officials offering a deferment.

As it was, I loved it. There is a space in my psyche and in my spirit that only a long run can tap in to. I started slow enough, sped up at times, and my legs felt as they should. Certainly not fresh as a regular taper would eventually provide, but enough that I could work through. I averaged under 8:20 pace with my fastest miles in the 7:50's and my slowest mile in the 8:40's.    That moment when I knew it was going to hurt but I was going to make it, I was good, and my second 20 miler would be behind me. The metamorphis that a long run puts you through was complete.

I have a loop I do, 4 miles to a gas station where I grab big jugs of water and a kit kat, place them under the shade of my own personal evergreen, and then do 4 miles, out and back,along 8 mile road (yes, that 8 mile) and then return to refuel.  Some minor hills are along the way to prepare me for the beasts I'm about to face in the Ann Arbor marathon, but the main goal is to train my body to run that far and fuel itself correctly.

As always, I saw some strange things. I waved to a neighbor at mile .5 and then again a few hours later at mile 19, and they gave me a perplexed look.

I had my hands in the air with a "WTF!: look at at least 3 cars who almost hit me.

And at one point, a hearse drove by, followed slowly by 20 cars with the orange flags on top. It is always a bit odd to see a funeral procession on a life-affirming long run. In my running haze the hearse stopped, a tall, pale man got out of the long black car, opened up the back door, and wheeled the casket my way.  The lid popped open to reveal the casket was empty just before it came to rest at my feet.

Of course, this metaphysical, supernatural, childhood memory fear-driven illusion  faded away as quickly as I wiped the salty sweat from my eyes, and I watched as the funeral procession took a left turn to go honor the dead as I ran on. Miles to go before I sleep.

Next up is a 22 miler 2 weeks from now.



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Anyone remember this Dude below?  First person to name him wins a little something-something.

Hi, I drive a Hearse, I'm a Virgo, and I like walks on the beach.

3 comments:

Sam said...

The Chauffeur from Burnt Offerings - Anthony James

Cait the Arty Runnerchick said...

great job on the run and i hope those darn calf muscles start acting right for u! :P my dad has been dealing with issues there, but like u said the longer u run the better u kno ur body and how to proceed along with those 'ongoing annoying creaks and groans.'

oh the perplexed neighbor, i used to have this 3.5 mile loop that i'd do for my long runs and by the 4th time i'd get the same looks. in a weird way it made me smile because it makes u feel extra 'bada##' for running the whole time they've been watering their lawn and sipping lemon ade. :)

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