Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Seventeen Saturdays: Episode IX

Saturday, August 8

Jenn left for work this morning at 5:30. I figured on getting up and checking my email or watching an episode of “How I Met Your Mother,” because even though that’s earlier than usual, I know that when I’m in that almost-awake state, if I go back to sleep, I will have really screwed-up dreams.

Today called for a 10-mile run: a step-back week in preparation for the jump to 15 miles next Saturday. Adam wanted to try and get a little earlier start than usual – say, by 6:15 instead of 6:30 – so again, getting up a little early seemed the way to go.

Of course, I didn’t. And as expected, I was treated to a dream of an unlrelenting, unconnected chain of events and tasks, none of which I was able to complete because new things kept popping up. I’d be trying to jot a note while interviewing someone, and we’d be interrupted; I’d try to reach a meeting and I’d have to stop to take a slow elevator ride carrying a traffic light. It was like a crazy hectic pummeling 12-hour day in which I managed to get NOTHING done.

The sound of my alarm going off was a mercy.

Power Bar and water, pull on the shorts, shirt and shoes, head over to Adam’s. It’s about 6:10. A stopwatch and note are taped to his mailbox: “Sorry – no sleep last night. Good luck!”

Okay, so now I’m looking at my longest solo run to date – and it’s not a bad thing.

I head back home figuring I’ll load up a nice long podcast to listen to, but when I start downloading, I get a “27 minutes remaining” note, and I’m kind of ready to run now. That’s cool: I could use the braintime.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have my brother along for the early-run chatter, but for the first couple miles, before my brain is sufficiently wandering and defragging and distracting me, I’m ultra-conscious of the physical effort it’s taking to run this morning. The slight creaks in my calves and the backs of my knees seem amplified for about the first two miles, but eventually either they quiet down or I just forget to pay attention to them.

Today is long run number nine, which means there are now fewer Saturdays ahead of me than there are behind. (The race itself is on a Sunday, preceded by a two-day rest period.) Counting the marathon, I have as many running days left as I’ve already done.

The training curve gets steep from here on out: I have just five more distance frontiers to cross. And next Tuesday is my final three-mile run until I start scaling back over the last three weeks.

Looking ahead in other ways I have my 20th high school reunion on a Friday night in September. The next morning I’m scheduled to run a frontier of 18 miles. I haven’t decided yet whether I’m rescheduling that run. I suppose it’ll depend on how that Friday goes.

It’s an overcast morning, with a slight breeze. They’ve been saying it’s supposed to broil today, but there’s none of that morning hint of oncoming heat.

I crossed paths with maybe ten other runners today – one of them twice, I think, and at opposite ends of my run. It reminds me of spring 1989, when Dad bought a used ’82 Corvette. I remember him telling me with a kind of conspiratorial yet childlike enthusiasm about the subtle wave of acknowledgement that Corvette owners give each other. I loved doing that. Loved trying to be nonchalant yet still expressing a shared joy.

The thing about the running encounter is that you can usually see it coming for a few minutes, and since I’m a dork, I start wondering early (like, say as soon as I see that our paths might cross, even if the other runner’s a couple tenths of a mile off) how to handle it. The short, quick nod? The casual not-too-high wave? When do I make eye contact? Are we greeting vocally or sticking to nonverbals?

I usually go with the nod, maybe a “Morning,” if it seems right. As when I was allowed to drive the Corvette, I’m slightly self-conscious of appearing too eager, to enthusiastic, and they’ll know I’m the new guy. (Yes, this is totally unreasonable and not likely to be remotely true, and even if it is, So Effing What, Right? Well, some people are scared of garter snakes, so there.)

The miles kind of passed, well, not quickly, exactly, but I find afterward that I can’t really remember feeling a particular stretch where the physical effort became a mental drain. I reached my driveway again 92 minutes and 16 seconds after leaving it, another 10.18 miles on the shoes, and the brain cells feeling kind of newly springy.

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August 9, 2009 - Posted by | Ohio, running, Sports | , , , ,

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