Sunday, October 18, 2009

Reflective run on a chilly foggy sunny morning

2009 Olathe marathon: cancelled due to snow. 2009 Frisco 50k: 5:24. 2009 Maryville marathon: 3:57. 2009 Psycho Psummer 50k: sprained ankle and DNFd. 2009 Heart of America marathon: 4:30. 2009 KC marathon: injured and DNS. My 2009 success rate for races is 50%. 50% of the time, I do the training, prepare and plan, but do not achieve a finish.

Aside from racing, I’ve logged tons of miles in 2009. Running kept me sane this summer as I logged 16 to 20 miles a day instead of obsessing about unemployment. In fact, running that much on a daily basis has been a dream of mine for a long time. Some people were unemployed and hiked the Allegheny Trail. Some people were unemployed and worked on their hot rods. Some were unemployed and took motorcycle trips. I was unemployed and ran a personal multi-day ultra marathon; a private self transcendence race.

I almost always feel tons better after a run. Airing out my mind and body brings me joy. Racing holds a self importance factor for me. I admit it. There is some ego involvement with my racing which sickens me when I stop to think about it. Running by itself brings joy. Racing brings worry and egotism. I get ideas like running two marathons in two weeks so I can join a club called “Marathon Maniacs” and have a swell t-shirt declaring my status and causing envy when I wear it to races.

The thing about racing is the fussing it adds to my life. I fuss about the weather, when to go to packet pickup, where to park on race day, how will I relieve myself before the race, what will I wear, if I win an ag award will I stick around to pick it up, how quickly can I get home after the race, etc, etc. When I think about a race, I immediately start fussing. As I ran this morning, I thought about whether to run the Springfield marathon. I immediately began a succession of fussy thoughts beginning with one that would ruin next week’s long run because it would become mandatory training instead of something I want to do for joy.

It was a blessing to run this morning, however slow. After my run, I saw a friend of mine. She too was in the doctor’s office on Friday getting her foot x-rayed. But she came out with a boot, instead of a golf ball of gauze like me. Today, my toes are wrapped in Compeed to protect their sensitive bruising, but otherwise they are not too bad.

Without any plans for a race, I still think about strapping a fuel pack on my back, stuffing my pockets with Gu and heading out for 4 or more hours. I love long runs, especially in the winter. As I think of myself jogging down a long road into a blustery north wind, all concerns of the world fade and the timelessness of the run occupies my brain. All my brain cells stop firing, the synapses become quiet and they all gaze down the long road into the wind.

For some reason, LSD holds a romantic fascination for me. I like how my legs feel after at least two hours of running. I like how my legs feel after four hours of running. Yes, they hurt, but it is a fascinating sort of hurt. One time last summer, I ran a 31 mile training run. That afternoon, I lay on the bed with ice packs on both knees and both ankles and red splotches up and down both legs from the heat. It was one of my finest and most memorable moments.

Am I whining about racing because yesterday didn’t work out? Is it a good time now that I am not officially entered in anything to take my inventory and decide what is important. What adds true value to my life?

I am convinced that I can eat below a calorie minimum 90% of the time (or more); so calorie burning isn’t mandatory to counter the excessive calorie eating. I have a great weight lifting routine which I think is important for longevity. I drive around my neighborhood and find ways to add an extra loop or mile to a run. Running is my thing. I hope to have a personal multi-day ultra sometime this winter.

Next Saturday, I will probably be doing a long run, but I hope not for any particular reason. I may even go running again today!

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