Saturday, November 5, 2011

successful long run

Yesterday I headed out for a nice, long run. 14 miles. Really starting to kick up the mileage in the marathon training program. And the magical point which, for me, is the transition to REAL distance. (It's always been 14 miles. That's when it feel like a LONG distance) It's also when the mental benefits of long runs kick in.

Last weekend was a 13 mile run. Not much shorter. And really? I should have been feeling those mental benefits last week. But with the impending storm moving in, I was focused on getting the miles all done before the wind and rain and possible snow started. So I started mixing workouts. Distance + speed + intervals. It's kind of like mixing beer + wine + hard liquor. After 13 miles of tempo plus ladder intervals and ending with more tempo, I felt like I had just ingested a few red party cups of Jungle Juice. And the next day I pretty much felt like I had gotten run over by a truck. So much for the nice, relaxing, Zen effects of long runs.

This week was different. This week I focused on the LSD I can become so addicted to. (don't worry...Long Slow Distance! I'm not turning to pharmacology just yet) This week, my brain cooperated, as well.

The last marathon I trained for specifically to empty my head I was so happy to find that the endlessly chattering voice in my head shut up on long runs. Yesterday, I found something different. The chattering voice came back. Which was a good thing, this time. Because as endlessly chattering as that voice is, at least it's sort of happy. Upbeat. Optimistic. Though at times annoying.

What I hadn't fully realized until yesterday was that the voice in my head over the past few months has been angry. Really, really angry. Without justifying it or getting into the ugly details, I'll just say that I did have reason to be angry. But I never knew that the anger would take up permanent residence in my head. And make me into an angry person.

I mean, there's angry and then there's ANGRY. I was angry with a lower-case l. But even that's too much. It's just not me. Yet it had become me.

So somewhere between mile 5 and 6, the anger melted away. It didn't melt away and drift off with the tide, but it stopped talking. And the chipmunk voice came back. I missed that chipmunk voice! It plans and arranges and supposes and what-if's almost to the point of obsession. But it never feels like taking a Louisville Slugger to somebody's head. It's a happy voice!

So even though when I was driving home from the canal, the angry voice tried to weasel its way back into my head, I recognized it and was able to shut it out.

Chipmunk: 1, weasel: 0.

And that's what I call a successful run!

Next week I do 15.

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