You get a ton of time to think when you go for a long run. Especially if you go alone. My running days, recently, have been filled with short, fast runs to train for triathlons. When I have done longer runs (7-8 mi) I have worked on specific things or gone with a group, which tends to distract me and make things go faster. I had not run more than 8 miles this year. This was by choice. I still have the occasional twinge in my neather regions that reminds me that I’m too fat to be running longer distances yet and that my pelvis is still not happy. So I’m keeping it mostly short and sweet.
But yesterday while volunteering at a local 5/10K I was inspired to run. Just run. Like Forrest Gump. I found myself seriously considering finding a local 5K race next weekend and going for a PR and, of all the crazy notions, signing up for a half marathon that is the week after club nationals. I won’t really be able to “train” for it, as my focus will be triathlon training, but I think that I will be in good enough shape and will (hopefully) have lost enough weight that it will be safer to run that distance. Who says distance running isn’t addictive…
So I decided to run longer than I have all year when I got home. Just to see how it felt. To see if I still could. The short story is that I did. I ran 10.7 relatively pain free miles of tough, hilly Columbia countryside. My pace was purposefully slow at about 9 minutes/mile. The point was not to go fast, but just to go, long, alone, under my own power. I forgot how fun that is. And how much time it gives you to think. And the odd crap that you think about when you are trying to take your mind off that big friggin hill you have to go up… So here are some of the random thoughts of my run.
The whole “no beer until after nationals” thing is killing me. See… I LIKE beer. And am still surprised that so many of my uber healthy triathlete friends drink it… Sometimes in mass quantities. And they see nothing wrong with this and think I’m weird for NOT drinking. These are the same people that balk at a Peppermint Mocha because it has too many calories. I don’t get it.
So I “changed” my rule for beer. Instead of “no beer, period”, I made a pact with myself. I can have beer. But. There are conditions. I can only have beer if I a.) run more than 10 miles, b.) bike more than 40 miles, or c.) swim more than 2 miles.
Coach’s note: Even though I clearly achieved my first goal mileage with a 10.7 mile run, I ultimately talked myself out of going to get a beer and just spent the evening with the family by a nice fire on the deck. Much better… and better for me.
But I can’t save my beer workouts. In other words, I have to have the beer on the same day as the run. If I wait more than a day, I lose the beer and have to do another long workout to get more.
I need to fill the bird feeder before the birds start stalking me through the yard. The problem with encouraging birds to come to your feeders is that it usually works. Then if you forget to fill it, they just sit there and look at you. And the longer you take to fill it, the closer to the windows they sit. It’s like they know where you are…
People are idiots (part one):
I found myself very disturbed and saddened this week when on my way back from an out and back bike ride, I came upon a pack of riders surrounding a fire truck. The firemen were busy treating a rider who had gone down. One never likes to see this but when I got the whole story, it really concerned me. Apparently, the rider had been hit by a car. A trailer actually. And the driver then fled the scene. It seems he (the driver) was frustrated at having to wait for this pack of riders and had been honking and shouting obscenities at them. Once he passed them, he then (according to the other riders) purposefully swerved hard INTO the lead rider, who had no idea what was going on as he was well ahead of the rest of the pack. He was down before he knew it. Luckily one of the other riders is a national sprint champion and he caught the guy long enough to get his license plate.
On what planet is this OK? How can you possibly justify the use of your vehicle as a weapon to vent your frustration? When is it OK to hit someone with 10,000 pounds of metal? And before you start trying to defend this guy by saying maybe he didn’t know he did it, the law states clearly that ignorance is NOT a defense. Had he been a more prudent driver, this would never have happened. You lose. Shut up.
And the argument that the bikers were in the way doesn’t fly either. Until the LAW changes, bicycles have just as much right to the road as any other vehicle and you as a driver are legally bound to accept that. You wouldn’t force another car off the road and a bicycle has the same rights as a car.
I guess a deeper frustration for me is that it seems to me that we, as a society, are becoming more and more accepting of violence as an answer to our frustrations. It is NEVER OK to hit another human being under normal circumstances. It just feels like we are forgetting that.
People are idiots (part two):
I am standing on my street corner as a volunteer. Directing traffic, cheering on runners and enjoying the day. My 11 year old son is with me and he is having a ball bossing the runners around and directing traffic. One of the course marshalls comes by on a bike and says that someone just refused to stop for a corner worker at another corner and purposefully rolled into the runners, striking and injuring one of them… and leaving the scene. The police are there now taking a statement. They got the license plate number.
For how I feel on this, see People are idiots (part one). I don’t get it. The corners are clearly marked “race in progress”. There are over 700 runners. The volunteer at the corner is telling you to stop. So you hit one with your car because you can’t wait 2 minutes?
I gotta move on. I’m getting depressed…
It occurs to me suddenly that I have almost two acres. A lot of which is too steep a grade to do anything with. I want to begin leveling out some spots for play areas and patios, etc. On the other side of that, I need fill dirt for some raised beds I am building. But yet I am thinking about calling a friend who has a landscaping business to see if he will deliver me a couple of tons of fill dirt…? Wouldn’t common sense dictate that I just use the dirt I pull off from leveling and put it in the beds? I… am a genius.
My son asked me, while standing on the corner directing runners, one of “those” questions that kids ask. “Dad? If you could have any other dog besides the one we have (Boston terrier), what kind would it be?” I think I mumbled something about a lab or maybe another weiner dog, but as I was running, I found myself going through all the breeds and analyzing them for appropriateness to the family, running ability, intelligence, etc. This is all from a guy who admittedly only has animals because he got outvoted by the family and, if left to his own, would not have any pets…
My front door:
I mean… I was home. I ran for an hour and a half and it didn’t seem like 10 minutes. Before I knew it I was staring at my front door and wondering if I had missed a turn. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad to be home. Those hills were rough. But my brain had taken over and, save for the occasional glance at a trailside bunny or someone playing golf, I don’t remember who was driving my legs. I was too busy solving the world’s problems. I was sure glad to see that door though. Ten miles is still as far as it used to be. Maybe a little further.
BTW… Last night? Slept like a puppy. Complete with whimpering and rabbit chasing. Haven’t slept that hard in a long time. I think my brain was finally empty. But the hills helped…