I had a 12 mile run on the schedule last week. I was going to run it Saturday morning but talked myself into Friday morning instead because I really like having my weekends free of running whenever possible. Two days of rest feel like a gift (even if I end up going on bike rides with the kids or walks with my husband – neither of which happened this weekend btw).
If I am doing a double digit run on my own I like to bring my ipod along for music and podcasts to help pass the time. I don’t often listen to music on shorter runs but it really helps on the longer runs. However, since I was planning for a Saturday run, my ipod wasn’t charged. My watch wasn’t charged either. But I was determined and I’m not afraid of some quiet time so off I went.
I have a route and neighborhood that I save for my long runs. I will only run there if I need to go 12 or more miles. Mentally, I need the break of having a place to run that feels fresh. So I had that in my favor. I also had a beautiful sunny day with 50 degrees. The first 8 miles felt awesome. I wasn’t worrying about pace, instead just running whatever felt comfortable. I was consistent and happy. Somewhere in mile 9 I felt a new blister forming (my shoes are getting loose and rubbing in new spots) and that started distracting me. Then my feet started hurting… and my shins started hurting (damn old shoes)… and I started taking walk breaks. If I had something to listen to I probably could have diverted my attention. But I didn’t.
So for two miles I played mental games. This particular neighborhood has a 2 mile long main street with lots of side streets. I turned every time there was a street on my left. I said the rosary and every time I got through a decade, I took a short walk break. We were having people over two nights this weekend so I made a meal plan in detail. Still, when I hit the entrance to the neighborhood, I was mentally worn out. Plus my feet and shins were killing me. My legs felt fine so I wasn’t discouraged about my fitness for the run – just tired of running. Sick of it.
I had two miles to get home. Instead, I compromised with the voice that was screaming in my head at the thought of two more miles. I decided to run to the library which I knew was about 1.5 miles away, go inside and check out a book I’ve been wanting, and then I could walk run the last mile or so home as my “reward.” It was just the diversion/goal I needed. I ran that 1.5 miles with a refreshed mind. And after I exited the library (yes, I walked in there all sweaty and smelly and with dried salt on my face) I turned on my watch for the last spur home and it died. So I decided that 11.5 miles of running was enough and walked the last 1.5 miles home. It was over my planned total anyway so I threw in the towel and enjoyed the walk.
On that walk home I tried to think of other things I could have done to keep that run fresh – after all I have one more solo double digit of this training session to go. I didn’t have any marvelous ideas beyond plugging my ipod in to make sure it’s charged up. But I think I’ll plan a new route (well, it won’t be new because I’ve run on nearly every street in my town but I can mix it up a bit). And after checking out the headlines this morning, I will be thankful that I didn’t have anything so exciting to see because on a major highway in Indianapolis a person found an alligator walking along the road and apparently there is a boa constrictor on the loose down there too. Maybe I should be thankful for my boring run.