It's nice to run at 5 am for a bunch of reasons, firstly it's cooler, and secondly, the only people out are other people who are running. The streets are deserted. And you sort of get to know people. You wave. There's a guy who does tai-chi (I guess) in the same spot by the river every morning and I pass him touching his toes a hundred times in a row.
So this Sunday I'd planned to run a long distance, I wasn't sure how long when I started, but at least ten miles, maybe thirteen. And when I got to ten I felt pretty good and I figured why not try and break my maximum mileage? This was 13.8 set when I ran the Odyssey Half Marathon (you think you're going to run 13.1, because that's how far a half-marathon is, but what you don't realize at the time is that every time you cross the street to get in some shade, you're adding to your distance, and over the course of a lot of miles, that adds up to a lot of miles. Serious Runners hug the edges of the course from shortest distance to shortest distance like race car drivers for the same reason. And races are officially measured by people who find the absolute shortest distance the race can be completed in. It's an odd but interesting science.) So, anyway, I ran 14.3 miles on Sunday and though I felt like I may puke during the last 200 yards, I pushed through and finished strong.
Running through the graveyard, early morning. Clickenzee to Embiggen.
Captured by the cemetery paparazzi who, it seems, also got her finger in there.
What I didn't realize, though it seems obvious, is that with all these miles, speed is just sort of happening by itself. When you run ten miles not infrequently, three is a breeze and it seems that at least once a week now I'm breaking my 5k record. This happened again last night when I was out with the West Philly Runners, I'm still by far one of the slowest people in the group but the distances are helping my feet move faster. Which is nice. The other nice thing was knowing that I kept slacking off when I was doing this, so I haven't reached the end of the rainbow yet. This is good, because running 14 miles slowly gets BORING. I'd like it to be over sooner.
Physically I can also really see the changes in myself, my stomach is pretty flat, I don't suck in my gut when I walk past the mirror in the gym anymore because there's not actually much worth sucking in. My face looks thin, and one big thing is that my glasses no longer cut a channel down the side of my face, which they'd done for a while now. It's odd to think that every day now I'm the oldest I've ever been, but at the same time, almost every day now I'm also the fittest I've ever been. My resting heart rate is so slow galapagos tortoises think I've died.
This is as big as this one gets.
I need to figure out what my goals for the future are -- at the moment they're all nebulous "do some more half marathons, wear my medals on the street corner and wave at cars, get faster" but there's not really a place I know that I want to be apart from "not where I was last October", for the moment, wherever I am is good enough. (I've also run out of episodes for Season Two of Zombies Run.)
Do you blog about running/fitness somewhere? Let me know where so I can read your posts. And if you're a FB friend who writes about running, let me know so I can add you to my runners list.
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