Saturday, February 16, 2008

What Running 15 Miles Feels Like

To a 10K-er, it's irrelevant. To a half-marathoner, it's an overacheivement. To the marathoner, it's almost a long run. To an ultra-r, it's a warmup.

Regardless of the mindset, 15 miles is a feat large enough to warrant the feeling of accomplishment on an otherwise ordinary weekend. So how does a 15 mile run work itself into the rest of the weekend? And how does an 8-miler follow so soon after?

Saturday morning: 3 eggs with salsa, a frozen waffle with almond butter.
Strap on an ipod, shoes and GPS watch. Take to the pavement/sidewalk/trail that runs parallel to the I-5 Freeway in Los Feliz.

It's funny. Sometimes I go out on a quick 3-4 miler before work ... and it can feel like hell. But after committing to the long run, the first 3-4 miles of it are easy-going. Amazing how attitude can set the tone.

(More or less, this is the run ... it's not marked from my apt ... better not be too careful. Don't know who's reading this)

After the first couple miles, I settle into a rhythm. The second half of the "out" part of this out-and-back is new to me. Running along the NE side of the park, there are tons of the golfers, bikers, and families out. Beautiful day, as most are is SoCal. 60 and sunny.

I make it to Los Feliz Blvd right next to the creepy children's train that, at night, probably looks something out of Something Wicked This Way comes, the movie that terrified me as a child...

At the turn around, I felt great. 7.5 miles seemed a breeze. I detoured a little bit from the road on the way back, choosing to jump on the horse trail and run on dirt to ease the stress on my legs.

To mile 10, I felt great ... and then things -as things always do- started to go awry. It started in my calf and slowly migrated to my left hip. It was the little critter that embodies pain and fatigue. Miles 14-15 were the toughest. The little bug was working against me. It was like he was doing his own demolition to my ball and socket hip joint. The only way I have found to get through these tough spots it to stare straight ahead and think of every step as one that is closer to the end. Sure, it's about the journey, not the destination. But when the bug comes calling, the end is the only thing that gets him to relent.

Tangentially thinking ... I've named my bike with the pertetually flat tire Max, and I consider the pains my lower body to be bugs of sorts. I wonder what mypersonification of these concepts means about my psyche...I do personify things a lot...Hmmm...

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