Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Commoner Goes For A Run

I love to run as you may know.  In two weeks I'll be running my second half marathon of the year and I'm ready.

Last Sunday was the final long run before you start my favorite part-tapering off-where you run less so that your body recovers from the beating you've given it over the last three months.

That final run was a 12 mile run through my beautiful trail in Morgan Hill.  That meant 6 miles up and 6 miles back.  Past the model airplane area, past the foot bridge, past the golf course-into the land that is so far from the start I'm not sure if I'm in the same town or if I made it to San Francisco
 (Next to AT&T Park and Valley Fair this Mall -this trail is my happy place)

The whole time I was training for this half marathon I tried to beat my times from the last time I did one.  This worked for me-I was stronger, faster, leaner, and had done all of these runs on the trail and it was a breeze.
 
 (4 Mile foot bridge-that's what I call it anyway)

The three mile mark.

But then there was mile 12. 

 
(Not sure what this means).

Last time I ran the 12 mile training run I crashed, mentally and physically.  At mile 6 I couldn't breath and my shoulder hurt and I had to walk most of the way back.

I cried-I did-I never cry but I did.  All that training and I couldn't go 12 and had to race 13.  A set back I was assured and I changed my goal for the half to be to finish and I did.  I made it. I finished.

The training this time had been a breeze and I was confident I could face the 12 mile ghost.  But then Rob pinched a nerve and he couldn't run.  He could just drink Starbucks for 2 hours and wait.  

 
Usually Rob is on the trail.  We never run together because he is fast-but I see him on his way back and he waits for me at the end with a high five.

So I'm by myself-no big deal.  This is my trail and I'm fine. The runners would be out, the bike riders, and the walkers with their dogs and kids.  Everyone on this trail gets along with a mutual respect.  Bikes say "On your left".  Dog owners contain their dogs as you pass and runners always wave and nod.  I love it.

I stop every 3 miles.  I stretch, wipe the sweat, catch my breath, eat some power gel and take a look at the scenery. I try to remember to look around occasionally because it's beautiful.  

My run is going pretty well.  I'm running a fast pace, but feeling strong and confident.  I'm not in that mind zone where I'm focusing on other things, songs, lesson plans, vacations, I couldn't really think of anything. Running is my therapy but today's run was a mental game itself.   At mile 3 I stopped looked around and noticed.  There was absolutely no one in sight.  Not as far as the eye can see.

I'm a city girl with city senses.  I know my surroundings, no how to walk, what to avoid, and sense trouble a mile away.  There's a sense to danger in the city.  It's usually pretty standard and if your smart you can avoid it.  I've spent a lot of time in NYC growing up, I had that.

Put me out in nature and not so much.  There's nature, there's serial killers, there's places where the psychos can hide you for years and no one knows, there's killer bugs, and birds.  It's like hiking, I don't like that solitude.  

I've never been on my trail when NOONE is around and now I'm a little freaked. (admittedly I probably ran faster).  I had to continue and as I did I started noticing a few cyclists.  The code is usually no contact with cyclists, you don't have to wave, or nod or acknowledge, you usually just stay out of there way.



 But not this day.  Not for me.  I made eye contact with every single one of them. I nodded, thumbs upped and said 'good morning' to every one of them I noticed.  I figured that they could identify my body or remember seeing me if I went missing.  I pictured my husband calling the school for my class picture to give to the papers.  It was going to be bad. But the cyclists would remember me because I said hi to all of them.  I was a little dizzy from the nodding I'll admit.

The run went fine. I chased my demons, I finished strong and confident.  The last 2 miles are really hard no matter how far you run because they are all uphill.  But I finished strong and fast and even thought I could have done more miles, like I will be in the fall when it's marathon training time.

Something unforgivable did happen in the last mile. No one has told the pretty blond mom runner group that it's polite to say hello to me if you are a runner on my trail.  As I said hello to each of these runners-according to the runner code.  Not one of them-the 7 of them, all blond, in groups of 2s or 3s who were perfectly dressed in pretty black outfits even acknowledged me.  I hate them.  They need to find a different trail.

They all looked like this.