I admit, I was whining.
Friday I was not in the mood. I had spent the day cleaning my apartment (which, frankly still looks like it needs to be cleaned and should give you a pretty good picture of the sad state of my housekeeping ability) and thinking about my long run on Saturday morning. The week had beat me up pretty badly. It was a long work week and a challenging training week. I was back to the track, doing long bike rides and a brick on Thursday which left my legs pretty dead.
Welcome to the heart of triathlon training — working out on tired legs.
Still, Friday was my day off from training (and from work) and it gave me the opportunity to take of chores. I cleaned up my living room (which often serves as my impromptu locker room when I’m to tired/lazy to put my gear away), cleaned out my closets, caught up laundry and dishes, did paperwork and even organized parts of my home office. The process didn’t make me happy. It made me grumpy. And with the thought of a 20K run looming the next morning, I was in a rather glum mood.
But as I started to clean up the clutter, I noticed my mood began to change. I was tired and yet my strength seemed to be coming back. So too did my perspective.
I’ve had several friends who have not been able to run. They’re suffering injuries or illness — some minor setbacks some life-altering. Being able to get out for a run — any type of run — is a blessing. With a bit less clutter in my home and in my mind, that 20K run through the village of Orchard Park and up to Chestnut Ridge Park became a fresh opportunity.
It was a warm morning and rather humid so the day began with a ride around the course to strategically place water bottles. My run started in the village with Sue and Nicole as we joined up for two miles before they peeled off for a tempo run and I continued on my long run.
Now, the 20K was noted by my coach as a “run as you feel” run. In other words, there was no pace to hit. It didn’t matter if I ran fast or slow. In fact, slow and easy is preferable, particularly since he will beat me up enough during interval and tempo run days. There was no need to try and hit any pace. No need to even look at it. The only goal of this run was to get in the mileage.
So I ran steady and easy. Miles 5-7 were hard. Really hard. It was a long, slow climb and my pace dropped dramatically. But oh well.
In the eight mile I saw three turkeys cross the road. It made me smile and I stopped to look at them.
Then I met up with Mark, who had four recovery miles on his plan for the day. The light jog for him was the final third of my long run and the company was greatly appreciated, even if it was more to hear Mark talk while I panted, waiting for the watch to hit 12.4 miles.
The Garmin still hasn’t been plugged into the computer. Eventually it will, but more for curiosity. Because the actual value of the run isn’t in the math. It was in the actual act of running.
And so my smile returns.