I struggled deciding between a long run and a long ride. Two weeks ago, riding won out, and I spent the morning soaking up the completely empty roads for a few hours accompanied by only my own thoughts. I counted fewer than a dozen cars that passed me on the road for the first two hours of the ride. The advantage is mine when nearly everyone else in the area is busy shifting their weight in uncomfortable pews in church. My sanctuary is outside, in the fresh air, an extra dose of Vitamin D.
In the winter, when the roads are unpassable by bike, I particularly enjoy running through the streets in town as families shuffle in and out of church with pained expressions on their faces. They never embrace the icy cold like I do.
I’ve biked enough lately that I can tackle just about any course with little preparation, but as a result, my running mileage has been low. So this morning I set out for a long run (not really that long) to build up the necessary muscles to run a marathon in two months. To hopefully run a marathon in two months. I’ll be in the midst of radiation treatments then, and I have no idea how my body will react to that, but I’m worried. By all accounts, I’ve taken chemotherapy as well as physically possible, but radiation will be every day for 4 weeks, with no time to recover between doses like with chemo. There’s no use in worrying about it now, but still, I’m worried that I’m going to be in rougher shape than I am now.
The best thing I have going for me confidence-wise, is that I ran my first ever marathon without following a training plan and never having run further than 14 miles. It was a painful marathon, and I don’t recommend following that method, but it was doable, and it’s opened up my mind to what I once thought was impossible.
So I ran a peaceful 8-ish miles this morning. Simply in my new lightweight running shoes, skimpy running shorts, and sunglasses. No shirt necessary (summer isn’t over yet!) I passed a group doing yoga by the water in Kollen Park. I passed no one at all around Windmill Island. The roads, sidewalks, everything, still seemed asleep (or at church, or asleep at church).
There was an classic boat show setting up next to Centennial Park. Some beautiful wooden hulls on display.
The run itself was comfortable. I didn’t worry or think about pacing or technique, but just tried to stay relaxed and let my legs turn over. To the point where it would almost take more effort to stop my legs from running that it would to keep them tapping out a tempo. It was never “painful”.
Upon returning home, I was surprised to find out that I’d actually set a personal best time on that familiar route. Last year, I logged most of my runs online, and when running the same routes, it’s easy to compare times. Was I that slow last year? Am I actually in better shape than I think I am this year? I ran a relatively modest 8:26 min/mile pace this morning, and it felt – not easy – but certainly not hard. I only stopped when I did because I’m wary of running too far too soon. Better to build up the mileage at a steady rate.
And yet, combined with a wonderful sprint ride yesterday morning, and my run this morning, I’m riding a natural high. Let’s see how long it lasts.