Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Let the Tapering Begin!

On December 7th, 2010, I ran two miles at Fayetteville Lake and then puked in the grass. This Sunday I ran 22 miles at Hobbs, in 85-degree heat, and felt pretty much fine afterwards. Not too shabby!

I knew it would be my last long run before Hogeye so I wanted to have a really good one. I carried an extra water bottle so I could run the entire Little Clifty Loop and the entire War Eagle Valley Loop (15 miles) before returning to the car to refill. Then I ran the short spur to the bunny ears (an obvious name for the two 3-mile loops, if you see the map). I ran the Dutton Hollow Loop first because it's the hardest of the two and I wanted the opportunity to bail at the end. As it was, I felt great and never gave a thought to not also running the Bayshore Ridge Loop. The first mile of that was super easy, but during the descent to Beaver Lake I felt an unfamiliar pain in my left knee for several steps in a row. Nothing serious, but I saw no reason to push things with the Hogeye only two weeks away. I decided to walk the last few miles back to the car.

As I walked, it struck my just how long it had been since I actually hiked instead of ran. You can never take your eyes off the trail at Hobbs, but walking, you can pay a little bit more attention to the blooming dogwood trees, the bugs and critters scuttling into the leaves to get out of your way, the sounds and smells of spring. I found a perfect owl feather some distance off the trail which I would not have seen running. I collected it and gave it to Donald when I got home.

It also struck me that, with my last long training run out of the way, I was essentially standing at the eve of my first marathon. There's nothing transformational about that; I did not set out 16 months ago with the express purpose of running a marathon--I set out with the purpose of becoming more fit, which I have done. There's nothing final about this marathon, either. I have an even more difficult race coming up six weeks after it, and there will be more after that. Still, it's a cool feeling to be standing at the eve of your first marathon.

I got just a bit emotional, as I walked. I remembered how surprised I was several years ago to learn that my sister Jennifer, who I had almost nothing to do with at that time, was about to run a half marathon. I called to wish her luck. Next thing I knew, she had driven all the way from Houston to run my first half with me in Winslow. I remembered my friend David Dinan who finished the Fayetteville Half and then waited in the cold another 45 minutes just to see me finish. I sponsored David when he ran the St. Jude Children's Hospital Marathon in Memphis on December 6th, 2010, the day before my vomit run at Fayetteville Lake. I thought of my mom running her first 5k at age 65. I thought of Mrs. DMG who, with no prompting at all from me, came home from Dillard's with running tights, a synthetic T-shirt, a jog bra, and some Nike running shoes. She's been running about ten times since.

Running has been good to us!

Total for Mar 26 - Apr 1: 27 miles.


Jen T said...

I concur...Running has indeed been good to us. The rewards go way beyond becoming more fit. Thanks for sharing this.

Love ya Dave! Glad you decided to walk and take care of that knee--better to walk a couple miles now than to walk 20 miles on April 15! Wish I could come up for this one too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jen! No problem that you can't make it up here. It's my turn to drive anyway, maybe for one of those absurd bridge running races. Love ya back!


bulletholes said...

Funny how life happens ain't it?