Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Minding Matters

I spent a substantial portion of my Sunday morning completing my second-to-last long training run for the Central Park Marathon, which is now separated from me by just three Sundays.  Candidly, one week ago I was feeling a bit discouraged.  My long training run on the 20th did not go well at all - a combination of the bitter cold, the biting wind and the somewhat hackneyed manner in which I had gone about completing my shorter runs that week.   I created a scenario for myself whereby instead of giving my legs at least a day of rest before tackling seventeen miles in very wintry conditions, I ended up running twelve-plus miles over three consecutive days leading up to that run.   A classic case of one's eyes being bigger than one's stomach. In this case, it was my legs and not my digestive system that paid the price.  I ended up spending last Sunday evening waist-deep in self-doubt.  

I washed those doubts away this past Sunday.  While it was about sixty-five degrees south of balmy - or even warm for that matter - the wind was conspicuous by its absence.  Also, showing that even an imbecile is capable of learning from his mistakes (at least every now and again) I completed my shorter, interval runs during the week in such a way that I ran neither on Friday nor on Saturday.  When feet met pavement on Sunday morning, it was the first time they had done so since Thursday.  

Whether it was the rest, the lack of wind, the presence of some food in my belly, a better frame of mind or a combination of all of the above I know not.  All I know is that on Sunday morning, my goal was to complete my 18-mile run in three hours, figuring that if I can average ten minute miles I stand a chance of crossing the finish line in Central Park next month with my best-ever marathon time.  I completed the first third of my run in approximately fifty-six minutes.  And then something remarkable happened.  I gave back precious little time from mile seven through mile eighteen.  I completed the run in 2:51.56.  Please understand, this is not a time that is going to have my name anywhere close to the leader board on race day next month.  It is, however, a time that reinforced in my mind the fact that I have set an attainable goal for myself.  It is not one that is guaranteed to be realized to be certain.  But it is something that can be accomplished.  The ability to do so lies wholly within me.  

As noted Republican stalwart and marathoner Abraham Lincoln once counseled, "Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm."   Sage advice indeed.  Even when you are counting on your feet to carry you 26.2 miles. 

-AK 

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