Friday, September 15, 2006

Nine and ½ Weeks

Calendars can be so helpful.

Especially when you look at them.

I was reminded of mine today when my longtime friend and newfound tribuddy, D, sent out a note about the Philly Marathon. You know, the one that is a mere 9-1/2 weeks away! With IMmoo plans, setting up this site, and a monster work schedule this week, I had completely forgotten.

So, it’s time to get my groove back. It’s time to convert these 10 milers out to the boonies (more on that later) and 10Ks around D’Town (Holla!) to something a lot more meaningful.

Now, don’t worry…I’m not just jumpin’ on into a marathon program with only a few weeks to go. (None of us has eeeeevver done that! Noooooo….) I had worked myself up to some very comfortable mileage as of a couple of weeks ago, including a strong finish at the Half-Wit Half Marathon – a *brutal* race that is Ron Horn’s (Pretzelcitysports.com) idea of a “good time” out in the woods of Reading, PA, if there could ever be such a thing.

[And as a total aside, if you’re local – and I know some of you are from my glorious statcounter that allows me to stalk…er…track those who come here – and you are looking for fun, different and challenging trail runs, check out Pretzel City. They throw a great race, Ron has a wickedly sharp sense of humor, and even the most brutal trails leave you wanting to come back next year. Good stuff all around.]

Aaaanyway. Back to Philly. Now, initially I was training to do an ultra this fall, but I had, well, a fall of my own. Actually, it probably was better termed a graceless and somewhat gnarly connection with the asphalt and dirt.

Let me set the scene for ya. I live in Downingtown, PA. A relatively small town that has a cute little residential area, some neighborhood trails, and a “main” road that leads in and out of town and proudly housing the requisite Home Depot, Lowes, Weggies, etc. Often I encounter a bit of a conundrum when planning where to go for a run at night. I can stick in town and do the 5K loop again…and again…and again until I want to puke from the sheer boredom of it. Backwards doesn’t help. Backwards worked once, and then it was just as boring. The other option is to venture out on my own looking for new routes.

(Keep in mind, too, that I just moved to D’Town to live with Mighty M – my significant other/boyfriend/patient listener of all things tri. I’ve known the roads in town my whole life, but never really known them as a runner/cyclist…more, let’s say, as a means to get to the grocery store…for ice cream…)

So, in a somewhat desperate attempt to NOT have to do the loop that night, I decided to run on the road to Exton. Um, yeah, the road with lots of traffic…um, and stores…and construction…and a minimal shoulder, and did I mention the on and off ramps with the Rt. 30 bypass? Sigh. As Mighty M says, I must have had stupid for lunch.

But the run felt good and strong – really strong. My usual left IT band issues were barely noticeable and I was gobbling up hills without a thought. It just felt right – and you know exactly what I mean. So I’m heading back into town and reach that point that every runner reaches. The literal fork in the road. To go longer or go home.

The smart move – play scout for a moment and notice that the sun is rapidly setting RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. Maybe notice that the twilight is clearly going to be shorter than usual with all that cloud cover. Oh, and maybe make a mental note that it’s a holiday weekend and there aren’t many people around.

Or, keep going.

Clearly, you know my choice. So, left on Quary, right on Boot and we’re off…gotta break 10 miles tonight…must take advantage of feeling good…

But wait, there’s all those grants to flip around in my mind, too. I need to make my lunch for tomorrow at work…maybe a spinach salad? No – had that on Friday. But putting the shredded carrots in there was excellent…definitely repeat that. Speaking of repeat – I’m starting to be a big fan of running to SexyBack…Justin is so hot…(thank goodness nobody can hear me think this!)…this stupid new Nike armband…makes it so tough to

WHACK WHACK WHACK WHACK

Left knee, right knee, left palm, face. In a ditch, in the dark, on the side of a road, on a national holiday, with no cell phone.

I must have had stupid for lunch.

I managed to get myself out of oncoming traffic, but the pain was awful and all I wanted to do was puke. (As I’m doubled over in pain, I actually had a fleeting thought about whether or not puking would mess up my nutrition for the run. Weird. O.) After a little regrouping and a lot of not-so-concerned citizens passing me in cars, I managed to walk the 2 miles home from some TLC from Mighty M. Oh, and I cried. I’m not ashamed to say I bawled the whole way down Boot Road. My. Little. Eyes. Out.

Well…com’mon…its was dark and scary out there.

Short story long, I was out of commission for a couple of weeks after that. First, my typical IT issues were the problem, and then it converted to stiffness at the impact of the fall (below the kneecap). But I think we’ve had a good little recovery time, me knee and I, and I’m jonezing (and I mean JONEZING!!) for a good, long run.

Tonight, that’s the agenda. But this time, I think I’m going to avoid Boot Road.

Oh, and don’t worry, I had spinach salad for lunch today.

1 comment:

Flatman said...

Sounds painful...

Be careful out there! Have a great run.