Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reflections during a long run

My last long run! (I am still undecided if the 12-miler I have planned for next week counts as a long run (and, therefore, am still a bit delusional)).

This morning, I was severely tempted to ignore my cell phone alarm and bury myself in my king-size bed. In fact, I did reset the alarm once, so when I finally got out of bed, it was close to 5 AM. I always end up going to bed late (there just aren't enough hours in the day!) and wake up in a sleep deficit. I have got to get out of this habit.

Even after I was dressed and out the door, I did not feel confident that my body could withstand a 17 miler this morning. I was looking forward to a spring in the step, a light in the eye. Instead, I felt tired and beat-up. My guess is, my body and mind have already moved into taper-mode. So, I decided to slow down and jog for as long as I could; if I could complete only 10 miles, so be it! Knowing myself though, I knew that if I stopped mid-run without an overwhelming reason (injury, pain, extreme heat or discomfort), I would kill myself with guilt. Especially since this is my last long run (have I stressed that enough?)

So, I tried to think happy thoughts. Fiction lovers have a fertile imagination and I have no deficit in this area. To while away time during a long run, I usually:

- Breathe in the unpolluted, pre-dawn air and enjoy the empty streets
- Picture myself in different fabricated life situations
- Plan my life (right from the next hour up to retirement - Plan A, B, C and so on...the longer the run, the more the alphabets covered)
- Review the plans I've made
- Plan weekends
- Set near and long-term career, running and personal goals (from realistic to plain delusional)
- Think of family and friends and the times we've had together
- Count the minutes to my next refuel session (I usually have water, gatorade, GU and
mandarin orange slices sitting at my doorstep, which I feed on every hour or so)
- Think longingly of my post-run meal and ice bath (Look forward to the ice bath??? I agree - I AM weird!)
- Try to avoid large, menacing dogs and snarl at little, barking ones
- Wave at the other crazy runners/walkers/dog-walkers up and about at this time of day

I stay away from anything that even remotely sounds like work (including to-do lists)...it just compounds the exhaustion!

I am usually not good in idle situations. Boredom sets in pretty quickly. A long run is different, however. I have never needed an i-pod; have never had to stop due to boredom; and am never short of things to ruminate upon.

Today's run proved to be the ultimate test of my staying power, though. After fighting temptation for an hour and a half when I was not even sure I could complete 12 miles, I contemplated stretching the run to 18 miles, then to 20 miles, then down to 18 miles again. At Mile 17, I was relieved when my body made the decision for me. My hips started aching, knees stiffening and back and stomach cramping. OK. 17 it is!

I limped back home after the run, had a tuna sandwich, a banana, a glass of milk and a nice long ice-cold soak in the tub. Then, I logged in, as ready as I could be under the circumstances, for a busy day of work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are as I am, boredom has never stopped me running(only a mile most of the days till we came to Tuticorn in 1976), from day one, that is sometime in 1972 I think,the year after Ranjit was born. I never felt the need for an ipod either.Infact, I have slept while running and gone headon towards a bus on the middle of a broad road,some twentyfive years ago!The reason being I decided to go for my regular 8.1 km run after keeping awake to do an emergency surgery late night! Pappa