Saturday, January 8, 2011

Amnesia for Marathoning

As I watched the snow fall last night on the eve of my first long training run, it reminded me that marathoning is a lot like having a baby.  If you didn't get a little amnesia after the worst of it is behind you, you would never do it a second, third or 18th time. 

All through the summer and into the fall, I was blissfully excited about running the Pig again this year.  I remembered the joy of crossing the finish line, but I had conveniently forgotten about crossing icy bridges with below zero wind chills whipping at my face.  As I headed out the door this morning, shivering even with my fleece hat and two pair of gloves on, it suddenly brought the reality of it all back for me. 

"Why in the hell did I decide to do this to myself again?!"  I thought as I headed down to Newport on the Levee to meet my Running Spot group.  But when I got there, and saw the packed room of bundled-up runners buzzing with excitement about the start of the training season, it immediately put me in a better mood.  After all, I wasn't the only idiot who voluntarily woke up at 7:00 a.m. on a snowy Saturday to go run 6 miles.

I took pleasure in the safety of numbers and joined the 11:30 pace group.  I knew I could run a lot faster, but my plan was to start out at a very easy pace and build to where I was comfortable.  Some people like to charge forth with all they've got into marathoning, whereas I like to approach running as more of a subtle sneak attack.  At about 4 miles in, I turned on the jets (okay, really slow jets) and easily caught up to the 11:00, then the 10:30 pace group. 

I forgot to turn on my Garmin when I started, so I have no idea what my time was, but I felt like I still had some gas left in the tank when I was done, which is a key indicator of a good, solid run.  After it was over, it really wasn't as bad as I anticipated, weather-wise.  The first few miles were a little rough, but once my body temperature warmed up, I felt a lot better.  By mile five, I was feeling great as I let the cool, crisp air enter my lungs.  I listened to the snow crunch under my feet with each step down Pete Rose Way.  I looked up and across the river and saw a few little shafts of sunlight breaking through the clouds, and it gave me a chance to reflect on the beauty around me and how lucky I was to be happy and healthy in this moment.  And then, as if my amnesia was spontaneously cured, it all came back to me:  This is why I run.


Anonymous said...

I had these same exact thoughts on saturday! I forgot about getting up early on saturday morning and all that goes along with it. But the difference is - I have never trained in the winter time. So this running through the snow in the freezing weather is a little new to me. I will be thinking of you next sat when I'm running in the freezing cold! LOL - Virtual running buddies!! YAY!

Gabrielle @ Weightless said...

Yeah, the cold weather running sure isn't easy, but when I think back, some of the really cold days have been some of my favorite runs. Virtual training buddies - I like that! ;-) Good luck this training season! I'll be keeping up with your blog to see how things are going!