Sunday, October 19, 2008

Slow and easy

I thought I was going to get an early start this morning (Sunday). I woke up at 6 a.m. to watch Meet the Press. After that was over I switched to the Food Network, thinking I'd go out running at 8, 8:30, 9 at the latest. Instead I fell back to sleep... I remember having a dream that Emeril was cooking for me! (And I was being rather rude, I kept wandering off for some reason.)

So what with the random dozing, eating a bit of breakfast, not wanting to get up while Tyler or Bobby were on, and general laziness,* I wasn't ready to head out until after 10:00. Then, when I unplugged the Garmin from the charger—where I'd left it since Friday morning after learning it had completely discharged between Wednesday and Friday—it had somehow completely reset back to the "beginning," erasing my history (which didn't matter, as it's all been downloaded), and walking me through the initial tutorial again. (I also learned, a bit later, that my one-mile lap settings had been erased, so I was measuring time and distance, but that's all.)

My initial plan was to run 12 miles, following a loop through north Everett and around the marina that would net me 12 miles by the time I got home.

But as I headed north on Colby, sore in my touchy ankle and sullen in my mind, I just wasn't feeling it. I was anxious over how late I would get home (my day's housecleaning plans were meant to start at 10 a.m., about the time I hit the road), and I was sure my body didn't have an endorphin to spare. Twelve miles were looking awfully long, as I ticked past one mile and then, finally, a second mile.

That's when I decided to give myself a break. I would knock the twelve miles down to ten, which would save a little bit of time overall, and I would change my route. Instead of the marina route, which is really nice but once you're on it you have to go the whole way, I would stick to my familiar town course, just adding a couple miles on the north and south ends, to bring it up to the ten miles. Since I would be right in town, I could head home at any time if I really wanted to throw in the towel.

And just that little bit of leeway, that freedom to quit if I wanted, took away my desire to quit. I kept going north until I reached the Arboretum at Legion Park, a tiny little public garden that has a little bit of everything—a native plant trail, a pillared entrance, a English-style perennial border which includes a scent garden and a white garden, a Northwest demonstration garden, a woodland garden, a conifer garden, and a Japanese maple garden, which is turning all sorts of beautiful colors this time of year. The path around the gardens is only about a quarter mile, although I did a couple of extra turns which made it about a third of a mile and put me at three miles when I left and headed south again.

The further I ran, the better I felt. I even started adding extra block loops, just to ensure I could make my ten-mile total easily. I crossed Everett Avenue at six miles. And that was the point where the deeply buried endorphins unearthed themselves and the hard run became an easy run. My legs lightened up and the earlier aches and pains floated away; my anxiety about the time dissipated and although I wasn't really running any faster than before, I was running just to run and not satisfy some arbitrary weekly goal that I had set for myself.

I figured I didn't dare turn around and head home until I had at least eight miles in—it would be horrible to end up short just by a fluke. So at 41st, where I would normally turn back, I kept going south, and didn't turn around until my watch read 8.25 miles. That was safe and would, I suspected, even take me over the desired ten miles.

The route home was slightly downhill all the way, which was a nice way to run what turned out to be another 2.75 miles. I landed at Starbucks at 11.1 miles, which took exactly two hours. That is about a 10:50 pace. Certainly not stellar, but fine for a slow and easy distance run. With the half mile walk home from Starbucks, I finished with 11.6 miles total. After I had decided that twelve miles would be too much!

The barrista at Starbucks who made my latte asked me how my run was. I told him, "The first six miles were hard, but the last five were great!"

*Keeping in mind that I was up until at least midnight watching Notting Hill and then the beginning of Saturday Night Live! And yes, I am pathetically lazy. If I'm not actually running or walking or working out in some fashion (or shopping), I prefer to be lying around reading a book or watching TV instead of doing something useful like housework!

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