Monday, August 29, 2005

13.1 miles vs. Naomi: One week left

I’ve been pretty coy about this half-marathon coming up this weekend. (For me.) In fact, I’ve barely been mentioning it at all. (For me.) I’ve kept the angst (in this space) to a reasonable minimum, I think, and I hope you all appreciated it.

But, despite my heroic effort of will to spare y’all the sturm und drang of my interior monologue, rest assured, there was both sturm UND drang in my interior monologue.

First there was the whole month that I didn’t run in Africa, prompting a few doomsday scenarios in which I Never! Ran! Again! And also gained 25 pounds (instantly!) and other atrocities! Of catastprophic proportions!

Somehow I dodged that bullet (don’t really know how, but I can tell you that it involved some crazy Matrix-fu and also incantations and hypnosis, which last may in fact be the reason the memory is a bit fuzzy), and I started running again in a prompt-like fashion.

But were my fears of ignoble defeat assuaged by this bona fide miracle? Oh no. Please. Puh-lease.

To illustrate the angst that remained, I will treat you to some highlights from my brain as I ran the first four miles of my twelve-mile run on Saturday (note: Foreshadowing!):

“Wow. This sucks. Maybe I should just stop.”
“Twelve miles is a lot. Shouldn’t I be tapering this week?”
“Damn, there goes my instep. If I injure myself today, I’ll never be able to do the half-marathon next week. Maybe I should just stop.”
“Ack. Was that my knee? Maybe I should just stop.”
“What’s my pace? 11:30-plus? Wow. And I haven’t even taken any walk breaks. I wonder if Jackie and Tim will let me take walk breaks during the half-marathon? And also? Maybe I should just stop.”
“No. No stopping. I’ll just run these next few miles a little faster. Mile three, that’s totally my mile. I’m going to kill this mile. The wind, it will not be able to keep up with me, because of the fastness that I will achieve.”
“Hmm. That was about 12-minutes, that mile. Maybe I should just stop.”

And so on for all 57-ish minutes of those first five miles.

But I! do not quit! Oh no I do not! What do I do instead? I press on.

And then I collapse and die and everyone is very sad.

No, I do not die. I keep running, and! Something magical happens.

First? The trail started to go up hill. And second? It started to rain much harder.

Neither of these things are magical. Sorry to have misled you.

But wait, the magic is still coming. Because that 6th mile? 10:40. And the seventh? 10:20. And it kept getting better.

8: 10:30 (well, this one had a really steep part)
9: 9:40 (I started going downhill)
10: 9:20
11: 9:25
12: 9:11 (!!!)

I ended up averaging a 10:30 pace. And I could have smoked the last mile-point-one of the half-marathon, had it been race day.

What did I tell you? Magic! And by magic, I absolutely mean performance-enhancing drugs. Because you know what else happened around mile five, besides the uphill-going, and the rain-falling? I ate a PowerBar Chocolate Gel, with caffeine, which was my goo of choice during the marathon, but which I haven’t had since TNT stopped bringing boxes of them to my every Saturday run.

I may complain about the taste of those things—I like to say that the chocolate ones, which are my favorite, taste exactly like chocolate frosting, if you’ve never eaten chocolate frosting—but my heaven, they are effective. Because, my super-tricky secret weapon is that I never drink coffee or soda, so I almost never have any caffeine. And when I do? Watch the fuck out, is what I’m saying.

Of course, the rain was more helpful than I implied, because it cut the humidity and caused the temperature to drop. Also, the first four miles were on gravel, which may have been the root of the foot and knee pain. Nevertheless. I’m all about the gel.

And also, watch out Virginia Beach Half-Marathon, because I am coming, I am bringing PowerBar Chocolate Gel, and I am warning you, the result, oh, no, it will not be pretty (for you).


Blogger jeanne said...

First: we LIVE (or I do anyway) for your angst-filled posts about running! come on!

and b): you totally kicked some 12-mile ass!

and iii): how do you get inside my head like that and steal my thoughts?? it's positively freaky.


(p.s. thanks for your comment; it really made me think. (about regretting not doing something); and i did something, but really not the thing i was thinking of, but another thing, but have given myself two months to do the first thing. Oh alright already: take a new job!! I talked myself out of taking the first one that was offered, even though it was gadzooks more money. I'm sure none my friends will ever talk to me again about anything to do with jobs. The end.)

9:13 PM  
Blogger a.maria said...

!!! i swear when i read your posts i totally picture you with boxing gloves, a helmet and mouth guard, out there giving the pavement a serious beating. its too funny.

you are gunna rock that half and i cannot wait to hear about it.

and by the way, um hello fast. my name is slow. mind rubbing off on me?!

12:07 AM  
Anonymous ali said...

What an awesome run and a great time on mile 12! You are going to do great and the half, really looking forward to reading all about it.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Running from my House said...

you're going to be kicking some half marathon booty next week!

after you're done rubbing off fast on a.maria, bring it over here. my half is in ONE MONTH.

11:30 AM  

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