Visions of races past

Yesterday was the hardest long run I've done in a while. I had 16 miles on the training plan, but this is my first full week getting back on regular training, so it felt like I was on week one and starting out with a 16 mile training run. Thanks to the 72 hour snow storm we had this week there was snow and slush and ice everywhere and basically the only clear stretch of running space was Central Park. I'm cool with running 16 miles on 6 mile loop...when I'm listening to music. And what did I forget to do yesterday before leaving the apartment? Yup, I forgot to upload a playlist onto Fenny.

So I had a silent 16-turned-into-15 miles, running circles around Central Park, in cold and snow that just wouldn't go way. On top of that it was warming up yesterday and the thick snow was melting off the trees. So throughout the run clumps of snow were falling down on me. Most were tiny clumps. But every now and then I'd get a hefty baseball sized one on the shoulder or arm. One clump landed square on eyebrow getting snow all up in my face. I guess the feeling is mutual: cold weather doesn't like me either.

Instead of continuing to be a Debbie Downer on the weather, I had to distract myself during the 2.5 hours spent battling the elements. As normally happens during a silent run my mind started wandering off to past races, which are always a source of pride and "if I did it then I can do it now" mentality. It helped that yesterday I was actually rerunning parts of the NYCM course.

I found it interesting yesterday that there are particular scenes from certain races that I constantly turn back to. They were mostly:

  • Miles 17-25 of The Flying Pig, when my race strategy had collapsed and it felt like the finish line would never come within sight or within reach
  • The last 1.5 miles of The Breakers Marathon where I chopped 20 minutes off my PR
  • The sprint to the finish at the Great Bay Half-Marathon
  • The hills section of the Boston Half-Marathon, where I learned what distance running meant
  • Every mile of the NYCM after Queens
It's funny that I completely blank on Baltimore (or as some will remember: MY FIRST MARATHON EVER) and the slew of Half-Marathons I have under my belt. It's also funny that the parts I pick to play over and over are usually the most challenging parts of the races. It's like I know I'm doing something hard now so I think of another time I did something similar and prevailed. I guess that's a healthy strategy to have, even if I did end up cutting the run short by one mile.

Here's hoping that next time I 1) can muster it up for the last mile and 2) remember to bring music with me. (I guess there is an unmentioned #3: stop running in the cold, but alas, that is not an option for now.)


Laura said...

I'm impressed that you remember the good stuff! I spend my long runs trying to FORGET other races, because in my memory, the distance from mile 15 (or whatever) to the end is always much longer than it was at the time. For some reason my memory only reminds me of races that seemed ultra long instead of ones that flew by.

Adam said...

YOU, of all people, forgot to load up the iPOD!? The guy who spends hrs figuring out the exact playlist for each and every race??? The snow is going to your brain man :)

15 miles is good enough though. Way to get out there and noodle on some of races past.