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It was a happy sprawl

17 November 2007

Saturday November 17
14 days until the Big Race
8:30-10:00 y’all

Was vegging out to some crap TV for a few minutes (my brain doesn’t want to do anything else after a long run) and stumbled upon some style show on E! hosted by Daisy Fuentes. God, it was painful. But I stayed on it just long enough to hear the statistic that 8000 girls under the age of 18 had botox last year.
Let that sink in.
Eight thousand.
Eighteen years old.
Friggen botox.

What the hell, America? Really.

Ok but enough complaining about society. I promise I won’t put you through that today!

90 minutes. An hour and a half. Shoot! Tried to replicate race conditions a little bit today, which means running with my contacts in and WITHOUT my iPod. 90 minutes with nothing to listen to besides my thoughts and my breathing. Now that’s scary. It was intimidating at the start, but amusing what my mind ultimately came up with to entertain itself.
The first 30 minutes or so was a combination of fragmented song lyrics, old yoga affirmations: “I am calm, I am quiet, I am at peace”, and a little game I like to play called “let’s not look at our watch until it’s been at least 30 minutes.”
(And how do you even WIN such a game?! It messes with your head! Ah, but it does pass the time. Unfortunately I looked at my watch after 25 minutes, and was a little sad.)

Those first 30 minutes are really tough mentally. The trick is to get myself far enough away from home, that I HAVE to run back that far. Walking back would take way too long. There’s also a lot of mental shit-giving that’s necessary. “You aren’t going to quit now. You have to run a race in 2 weeks. Are you going to let yourself down? You suck. Don’t quit. You’ll be really disappointed in yourself if you only run 30 today.”

There’s also a little tricking myself into thinking if I can do this long run, I can do ANYTHING, and I can make up for every time I felt bad in junior high, for every insecurity I have about being the only girl onstage, etc.
The second thirty minutes was a lot of reliving various failures and triumphs. This serves two purposes: it keeps my mind distracted and also gives it fuel. Oh you’re too cool for me Dustin in seventh grade? That’s how it is? Well I ran 90 minutes today, so bet you’re sorry now.

The third half-hour I must say was my favorite. I resorted to telling myself stories to keep my mind entertained. “Once there was a girl named Sarah. She liked to run…” No, really. Then I went into reliving embarrassing stories from childhood, as if I were telling them to a new friend for the first time (remind me to tell you the one about the family video camera, circa 1991). Then my personal favorite new time-passing technique: retelling favorite movie plots. I told myself the first third of When Harry Met Sally.

Moral of the story: I really missed my iPod.

But, it can be done. And at least during the big race there is going to be entertainment and new scenery and other runners and adrenaline and all that.

It was nice to know I was out kicking my butt that early on a Saturday morning, before most people’s hangovers have worn off.

End of run. Stopped, and there was a split second of pure energy again. I snapped my fists up into the air, and my arms felt full. I don’t really know how else to describe it. But it’s a feeling I had all over: completely full and alive. The walk back down the sidewalk felt like I was on a moving sidewalk at the airport. Very surreal. My legs were moving, but it didn’t really feel like it—not after running for an hour and half—it was more like floating. And I was worried…I knew the pain had to be in there somewhere. Where was the stiff-robot feeling I get after a challenging run? Was I going to collapse without warning once this numbness wore off? Thankfully, no, but the soreness did show up about 15 minutes later, and I just sprawled out on my kitchen floor.

(It was a happy sprawl.)

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