Today's run really started yesterday. Yesterday morning was the time for my hard workout. But for various reasons, starting the night before, I just couldn't get out the door and finally, at about 7:30, realized that a long, hard run was not going to happen. At that point the urge to just skip the run became very strong, and I had to look for reasons to run. I did make it out the door, to do 3.5 easy, untimed miles to Cobbs Creek and back down Cedar.
This gave me 303 miles for January. At the beginning of this month I would not have believed that I'd break 300.
All kinds of thoughts went through my head on this, and would easily have warranted a blog entry but yesterday was a busy day. But I often have thoughts that try to convert cutbacks and changed plans from shortcomings to virtues. As in, "yes I was supposed to run hard but I needed an easy day". Or as in, "my inability to get out of the house this morning is my body's way of telling me to cut back". Some kind of spin so that its all good. And there may well be some truth to that, or it can be complete rationalization. And the inability to ever resolve that has been the source of much hand-wringing.
I thought yesterday of Tolstoy's War and Peace
, how in one of the early war scenes one Russian general takes charge of the chaos of the battle scene by reacting to every change in circumstances as though he had planned it and how that was just the way things were supposed to go. Rearranging his battle plan to conform to the unanticipatable commotion and in doing so he assumed leadership. Its been ages since I've read W&P, but that sticks with me and I wonder how much we all do that.
But yesterday's easy run left me getting up today with the same long run staring me down again. It took me a little while longer to get out of the house, but I made sure I did this morning being fully aware of the difficulty of getting back on the horse. Plan was to run a BN loop, dropping my time on the 4-mile river part from sub 28 last week to sub 26, and to drop my time on the BN part from my Saturday run with John, where we did 9:58 to the top of the hill en route to 18:37 to the plateau.
I felt strong, the streets were wet and a little slick, but conditions were good. As I got to the Schuylkill bike path it started to drizzle, and for some reason I had totally blocked out any prospect that it might rain on this very cloudy morning. I got to feel like Al Gore's frog in the slowly heating pot. The rain got progressively heavier and I didn't notice.
Got to the river and the first quarter mile split came in 1:35 and it felt easy. Easy to where I knew I'd have no problem with this run. In retrospect, I did 6 miles on Tuesday at 6 minute pace, so this run should have been easy, but somehow it was different. Anyway, I felt strong and more or less kept up this pace as the rain came down harder. The West River 4 went down in 25:23 and I could have done it faster. The ascent up BN continued to feel strong, and my time at the summit was 9:09. Kept chooglin' and made it to the plateau in 17:17.
By this time I was dripping and thoroughly soaked as the rain was beating down. But I was very happy with how well I ran and how strong I felt. I continue to say, as I said last week, that these times still have a ways to come down, but I gotta love the chunks I'm cutting off right now. And with each chunk cut off I see myself as faster. Its a transformative process, where I'm heading back to where I was. I'm getting back there.
But I'm not quite ready to let go of my ankle. People regularly ask me about it and I tell them that its 98% healed. This morning I wonder what its going to take to drop that extra 2%. Its hard to drop it, to say that its past and that I'm fully healed. Not to have that to hide behind anymore. So I decided that when I run a tempo run at sub 6 minute pace, or when I get my first cheetah time in a race, then I'll discard that 2%. I'll know when that time is there, and I'll say it in my blog. And now I'm thinking maybe next weeks BN run is a time to try and drop it.
For those of you who know my aversion to running in the rain, it wasn't bad this morning despite the relative cold and the fact that I did get drenched. I felt dry, like my inner core was comfortable and somehow an outer layer - that included both my clothes and my skin but was not part of me - were keeping the wetness out. It also helped that I ran really strong this morning. All I had to do was block out the thoughts of peeling off the clothes and the warm shower that awaited.
Which brings me to the blog title. I wore my tie-dye Reba repellant spandex shorts under my regular shorts this morning. Reba's bro-in-law Mark got them for me for Christmas, warning me that the company had sent him replacement shorts (which I also got) because the colors on these shorts ran. I found that out this morning, with my legs taking on a pinkish hue and the tie-dye imprints from the shorts giving my midsection a funky color combination as I stepped in the shower.
I'll spare y'all the picture and just say that the run went 13.5 miles with a total time of 1:40:34. And my legs feel better now than they felt yesterday.