Monday, September 24, 2007

Is that all?

Yesterday morning I ran my last really long run before the marathon. I had it scheduled for 20 miles, and I finished.

When I made it to the half-way point, I felt really good. I decided to stretch it and run an extra street, which out in the country always seems to be a mile apart. Suddenly a 20 mile run had became 22 miles.

I felt great. I was right on schedule and I had walked even more than I planned to. I was running well, especially considering I didn't wear my MP3 player. Since the marathon isn't allowing them, I decided to train without it. This is the first long run I've done without music being pumped into my ears, there's a big difference between running with a pounding beat in your head and running with the sound of wind, pounding footsteps, and breathing.

At 5 AM in total darkness running country roads, it's scary. Every time the wind blew the drying corn stalks my mind flashed back to the aliens in the movie "Signs". Had an animal as harmless as a deer peaked out of the corn I expect that I would have died on the spot from a heart attack. It didn't matter which trick to control worry I tried, I just couldn't get the aliens out of my head. I was grateful when the sun came up and the corn seemed a lot more like corn and a lot less like an alien infested field.

Unlike normal, I brought my cell phone with me on this run. With about 4 miles to go I called home to tell Erin that I was going to make it. It was as much to keep my confidence up as it was to assure her that I'm still coming. I'd been gone for 4 hours already, and she hadn't heard anything from me, so I wanted to assure her that I was fine. At that point I was sore, but still running fairly well. The last 2 miles of my run however, my heart started beating much harder. Running just a few steps made it feel like my chest was pounding too hard, and I had a hard time getting into a rhythm. The most I was able to run during those two miles was a quarter mile. It didn't matter though. My goal was to finish this run, and I did.

October 21st is close, and after chasing the same goal for 13 years, I'm about to achieve it.