Sunday, April 20, 2008

Valley Forge

I can hands down say that Saturday night was the worst night of sleep I have had in a long time. The day had been sunny and beautiful and as a creature of habit I spent the day walking around Philly soaking in this wonderful spring day.
Truth was I was more nervous than ever for this race. I had not run in just about a week. With my sights set on the Hartford Marathon in the fall, there was no way I was going to push myself through the shin injury I had picked up while running the mammoth hills of middle Tennessee. Don't people usually pick up sicknesses or souvenirs while on vacation? Who picks up an injury? I do, the girl who finds out she's going on vacation and wonders where she can fit in her six miles a morning. The girl who worries about what a vacation of eating out and being lazy does to the overachiever runner. At home I have become the definition of the anti-social runner. Going home after work to get in my workouts, 30 minutes of stretching, a well balanced dinner, and sleep. On vacation there was time to sit around and think about giving in to my desires. Chocolate, ice cream, brownies, when I have nothing else on my mind my thoughts are filled with food and when I can eat next. I had to keep reminding myself this was only base training. I was not officially in training yet and so a few back slides were ok, as long as they were few and far between. So in the course of my vacation I picked up a minor shin ailment. I decided to take the rest of the week off completely, save for lifting at the gym two days a week and see where that got me.
Saturday night as I layed in bed it was as if the morning would never came. I woke ever two hours drenched in sweat, watching the clock go from three, to four, to five, and finally to six.
I was happy to get out of bed and finally start getting ready and i threw on my nike shorts and measured out one cup of cheerios and milk. I would later regret eating anything at all as my body was probably still digesting last nights cheese steak and homemake ice cream sandwiches. Even doing an easy one mile warm up make me want to throw up.
I had no idea where my fitness level was these days. Was I a ten minute miler? a nine? certainly not an eight in a half and I wont even mention considering 8mm. I decided to place myself at nine. It was decent enough a goal that I knew I could accomplish it, and would still be pleased with the results.
It was perfect running weather. The thing about perfect running weather, is it is horrible spectator weather. No runner wants to be out running in 60+ degree weather. And no spectator wants to be standing around for an hour in anything below 70. There was no sun and as I lined myself up behind the nine minute mile sign I gazed around at all the runners. What I actually enjoyed most, and I will sound really silly for saying this but I liked sitting on the ground amidst all the runners and look at everyone's legs. I love runners legs. I love fast runners legs. A contorted knot of strength, evidence of all the hard work, hours of training, all the pain they have gone through is evident by the muscles they have. I love everything about the shape, the definition, the curve. One day I aspire to have runners legs. Not just becuase of the way they look, but becuase to me they symbolize great strength and determination.
The actual race itself is not worth writing about. I started off way too fast and ended way too slow. This is typical for me and something I should probably work on. The thing about running is it takes so much trial and error, so many races and analyzing each performance figuring out what went well and what did not go well.

44:39. Sub nine. That'll do.

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