This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Beauty of Out and Back

I had a nine mile long run scheduled for today.

Tim had an adventure race scheduled for the same day.

His started in the morning. Mine would start when he was back home. That didn't happen until 2:30ish. I quickly gave him kudos for winning his race in the coed division and rushed off to Umstead to get my workout in.

I did my best to focus and visualize my route. I had decided that I would listen to tunes vs. my favorite podcast and add my playing list to my (this) blog post. When I got ready to go, my iPod would not reset for me to play anything. When I finally got it ready to go (after 10 minutes of pushing every sequence of buttons on the six button max device), it died. I threw the POS into the car thinking "what the fudge am I going to do for 9 miles?????"

I figured that I did this -- run without the iPod -- during my races, even the long ones, so surely I could do it today.

And I did.

All I could hear was the crunch of my running shoe hitting the gravel-like path of Umstead's bridle path. Eventually, I could hear my breathing - hard and patterned well - along with my 2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, counting that I like to do while I run (and walk, and climb stairs).

I was befuddled at how the heck I was going to do this run but I knew it would be done. Once I started, I knew I would be out for 4.5 miles and there's no other way to get back than to run/walk it back.

Fortunately, my brain and my body cooperated with my intention and I managed to run 98 percent of it. I took two walk breaks that last roughly 2.46 minutes (I guess that's not roughly, huh?) each. The first was after turning around at my halfway point and almost completing the "S" hill. I made the mistake of looking up and seeing the end still go up and I decided to walk it while I downed my water.

The second came at the water fountain, with two miles left to go, where I could refill my bottles *and* splash water all over me to cool me down. This was the best thing I could have done for myself because I ended up "racing" to the end. This is easy to do as the end requires going sort of downhill and it's one of my favorite places to go fast, so the finish was my runner's high with a self-appreciation for persevering and getting the workout in...determination.

Umstead at this time of the day was pretty deserted. Sporadic bikers passed me throughout my run. I could hear them (since I didn't have my iPod) and a couple of times wondered if the biker was going to attack me, but this time, I was safe.

The best part of the run was running the Reedy Creek Trail, after passing the turn to the spillway, and going up that part and passing three young dudes on bikes. When I passed the first guy, I was thinking how cool this was, passing a bike running. Then I passed the second and third guy (granted, one was a tandem bike with a kid, so technically, I passed FOUR guys). I was psyched and upped my pace, going UP. But I reached my halfway point and turned around to finish up my run. THANK GOODNESS BECAUSE THAT WAS HARD.

I knew I'd get this one in. I just didn't realize how much easier it was than I thought. And when I say 'easier', I mean it hurt like hell.

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