Thursday, August 24, 2006

Break out

Today I ran past Centre Street.

I broke past that psychological barrier and ran as far as the Kosher strip mall on my Heartbreak Hill run. I broke past that corner of Centre and Commonwealth, past the mental barrier of "I can make it one mile..."

Last night I looked at the map site to figure out where to turn around if I wanted to do a 3 mile run. This morning, just before I got started, the inner loser spoke up.

"Excuse me, but THREE miles. Are you sure that's a good idea?"

Freakin' inner loser. If I didn't think it was a good idea I wouldn't be planning it now would I? On the other hand, given my knee and now my ankle - which is bugging me because I was favoring my knee - was it a good idea?

So I decided I would decide when I got to Centre Street.

At Centre Street, it felt good and when I realized I was at the Kosher strip mall, I figured I had gone far enough for this morning. In the end my Heartbreak Hill run was 2.5 miles this morning on a day when I almost turned around and went home more than a few times.

First I almost didn't make it out the door because I overslept. Normally I get there at 7 am, I didn't leave the house until almost 8. Most of the parking spaces at City Hall were taken, then I noticed an empty stretch. I forgot my watch and key pocket and I hadn't eaten.

Finally I said, "I'm here, I'm going to do this." I decided I'd relax and take my time and when I got home I'd figure out what song I was on when I finished, went to put my key in the mp3 player case (and discovered it has a key pocket inside) and shoved my inhaler in my cleavage.

The difference between running at 7 am and 8 am is the commuter traffic. At 7 am there's traffic on Comm Ave, but the carriage road is pretty much empty. Around 8 am or so, you get little back ups in traffic and people trying to avoid the traffic will cut down the carriage road to get to the lights. So every so often you'd get some moron in an SUV barrelling down the hill and you have jump onto the median or the sidewalk to avoid them. (As a side note, it's even worse in the evening commute.)

I was glad I did remember to bring my shades this time through, the sun was pretty bright. The problem with them is that people tend to avoid saying "hi" or trying to make eye contact because your eyes are hidden behind a pair of polarized lenses. I missed being able to smile, nod and greet my fellow runners and walkers this morning. But I was equally glad not to be squinting.

Coming back down the hill, I kept an mind's eye out for my virtual trainers - Cap'n Tek and Johnny Kelley. I guess Tek's on west coast time right now because I didn't see him out there. At the bottom of the hill, I did let Johnny know I made it past Centre Street. "Just 24 to go now Johnny, not 24.2," I called out as I passed the statue.

He was applaudig as I crossed the finish line but had faded by the time I was able to walk it off and stretch. The important thing was that he was there today.

By not having a watch to pace myself, I had to be more aware of the back beat in the music. I also wasn't pushing myself to go faster. I couldn't use my mantra of "13 up/12 down" - not even in a modified manner - because I had no way of checking times. By adding up the music times and plugging that into the pace calculator - I ran about a 14 minute pace today. I'd need to get that time down next time, but I'll take it for today.

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