Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Seventeen Saturdays: Episode XIV

Sept. 12

It’s bounceback Saturday. A 14-miler was on the calendar, and I’d run this distance twice before, so I knew I could do it.

I was still nervous.

I had three pretty good weekday runs in the wake of last weekend’s three-hour slog, but I still wondered if that was really a result of all the things I did wrong, or whether it was just a signal that I’d hit my body’s limit and this was the start of a downslide.

At any rate, I got back in to my preparation zone: Last night I made sure to load up on the choo-choo wheel noodles at dinner, and when I needed a little bedtime snack after 10 p.m., I had some more, just in case. (Bonus: Isn’t it fun saying “choo-choo wheels?”) I got a good night’s sleep. And when I got up in the dark this morning just after six, it wasn’t quite sixty degrees outside, so the heat wouldn’t be in the mix this time, either.

Walking across the street to Adam’s house, I was still a little uncertain about the run, though.

Fortunately, running with Adam always means we’ve got to get moving, because he needs to be home before my nephews get up and start their day. Once I’m over in his driveway, there’s not a lot of time to worry – we just start running.

It was a nice morning, too: Warm enough for short sleeves, and a little breeze. It got light pretty quickly, and the sky was blotched with clouds without being low and overcast.

I only checked the split times at miles one and two, and we were right about the eight-and-a-half minute mark on both.

Adam and I kept a conversation going through about seven miles, and even though in number eight I felt a little ache in my legs, it was nothing like last week when, at the same point, I was feeling awful and only halfway through my run.

I did have a minor first in mile ten: While opening a gel pack to eat, I dropped it and stopped to pick it up. It was only a second, but all summer, I’ve managed not to stop moving my feet on any of my runs. If I hit a traffic light or a line of cars, I’ll go off-course for a bit until I can cross; and twice I’ve had to jog in place – once while someone asked me directions, and again for just a second or two at a crosswalk near a parking lot.

The funny thing is, almost that entire thought went through my head in the second it took me to pick up the gel and start running again, but more than 24 hours later, I can still recall that peculiar sensation of stopping mid-run.

When Adam turned for home just before the ten-mile mark, I realized how different I felt compared with my 18-mile day: I was only doing four miles fewer this week, but that was a huge difference mentally, because my four-mile loop isn’t a high hurdle anymore, and when I passed the end of our street, I knew that’s all I had left to do, as opposed to last week, when I realized I had eight more miles and I was already in bad shape.

I felt better, in fact, after 12 miles this week than I did last Saturday after six.

Final numbers for Saturday Number Fourteen: 14.36 miles in 2:01:46, for a pace of 8:29, which is back in my target zone and slightly faster than the 16-mile pace I reached two weeks ago.

And while I’m glad to feel like this particular mental battle is behind me, last week is staying in my head as a reminder.

I’ve got two days off, and then the highest-mileage week  of my training gets under way: 40 miles total, in runs of 5, 10, 5 and, a week from today, 20 miles.

The Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday runs aren’t in my head.

Saturday? I already feel it out there, waiting.

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September 13, 2009 - Posted by | Ohio, running, Sports | , , ,

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