Sunday, August 05, 2012

The pause

This summer marks the seventh straight that I've been prepping for fall marathons. Looking at the training graphs for the past few months, and activity on this blog, you'd think I've taken a hiatus.

Not so, but logging less than 50 miles in June (I took two weeks off to go to Asia) and 128 miles in July do not equal one of those monster months I've been accustomed to in years gone by.

I know the work that goes into that fall marathon, 300 miles once I piled into an August three years ago. The training schedule, once ingrained into your calendar, puts a sense of purpose into each day. Didn't get in the 7 mile tempo run? Your day would be ruined.

Looking at my daily schedule now, my runs take a priority -- I still schedule after-work commitments so I can 'get my run in', and look to build up the mileage by the time I reach Friday evening. Every weekend still has that purpose with the buildup to that long run on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

But the program, it's freeflowing, all in the head, my body's on a sort of autopilot built to train up to the endurance event.

The dividends are still there -- after a sweat soaked run, I still feel as spent as I'd experienced hundreds of times by now. Feeling that my body was pushed, that I was able to connect to my physical self.

But I don't measure progress in pace times now -- at least not this year. This year, other priorities manifest, and I no longer view marathon training as work. Work would take the love out of it, I guess, so in that vein, I view my training as a way of life.

Running my 20th marathon this spring was almost a more poignant moment in a way than qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon. After finishing No. 20, instead of what next, I took a longer view. I no longer thought about the next marathon but about how long I would run, period.

Do I get the itch to run? I still do, every day.

This morning, having not attempted a long run in a few weeks, I put in seven kilometres on Rock Creek Park before ducking back inside to view the finish of the women's marathon. Having cooled off, I weighed between staying in the comfortable apartment or heading back outside into the DC heatwave. Mind made, I refilled the bottles, stepped outside, regained the satellite signal, embraced the heat and hit the unpause button.

13.1 miles in 2:02

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