Saturday, February 8, 2014

5 plus 6

My training is going very well, probably the best since just before the time my left knee was injured. Consistent training is essential for any degree of success in the marathon; without it that bad day will be a disaster, with it a good day can be exceptional. I admit, I know the former and have been very patient waiting on the later.

I could probably write a book on every long run. While clearing the mind of clutter, often near the end the quiet of moving one more step, one more stride, reduces running to the essence of life.

Last week's planned 16 to 18 was a strong 17.8 miles. Unlike last year's training when I usually struggled building my long runs, so far it has been better. My training is aggressive, just enough to have an edge of fear, of can-I-really-do-this? When those workouts are completed it builds confidence and strength to prepare for the next challenge.


Hallman Blvd via Google Street View
Over the years I have found an odd anomaly on some of my training routes. There are places where I usually feel good or faster, and other places that make me feel slow no matter what effort I am giving. One such place where I feel less strong is Harry M. Hallman Blvd, a short stretch of road between Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park and Patriot's Point Road. I always feel like I am barely moving here, that I am supremely aware of my complete lack of speed, that I what I am doing is indistinguishable from walking.

I almost decided not to run this section on my outbound run, thinking I would make up the distance on the other side of the bridge or back in old Mt. Pleasant. My momentum carried me here along with a bit of gristle, not wanting to give in to a perceived weakness.

I pass a family on bikes and head down to the park, immediately feeling sluggish even though my pace has not changed. Jeese. I'm going slightly downhill and no amount of assistance from gravity makes me feel any faster. It would take a high speed camera to capture my I really this much slower than only a few years ago. I am pretty much living inside my head and then look up.

A couple is coming toward me, pushing a child. I smile. He is waving and says what I think is "hi!" I wave and return the gesture but run on. It is only a handful of seconds and they slip through my fingers.

I run down to the park, take a short break, then head up the bridge. I was thinking today's run could not be as good as last week's but it is. Better. I am thinking of Jay and this, his little brother, reaching out to me. Then it occurs to me I have seen this family before on the bridge...and I vow I will not pass them again without stopping to speak. I regret I did not have the presence of mind to do that very thing today, that I still have much to learn.


Sit. Stay.
As I reach the far end of the bridge, I stop to make an adjustment to my prosthesis. A woman comes up to the fountains and stops for a drink, and finding they have not been turned back on since our few days of freezing weather, blurts out "f-a-duck!" and noticing me apologizes. I laugh and say I feel her pain because I wanted water to take my gel with and already shared her misery. "I am running 20 miles and need my water!" she says and runs off toward Charleston. I turn back and run the other way.

Shem Creek
It is a beautiful evening and I stop to take a few pics, not really having time with darkness falling but unable to resist the beauty of this place. I feel a slight anxiousness that I am holding up dinner, yet feel good and strong and wanting to run on and on.

Sunset at Alhambra Hall

I resist the temptation to run an even 18 miles, stopping at the oak tree that has come to symbolize this strength to me, that of BostonStrong. 17.8 it is, and the effort feels wonderful. The moon is overhead, the holy city is glowing in a silent night.

Thank you for this life, this blessing of every day.

For these wings on my feet.

For one more.

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