I can tell that I am in good shape when long, challenging workouts go by in a flash. I am not positive if time speeds up or stands still, or if I freakishly enjoy the agony/glory I am feeling in that moment that I don’t want them to end? Honestly, it’s a mystery I’m not in a hurry to solve because it is a magical feeling not easily reached, so I’ll choose to simply smile and appreciate it.
I still have a handful of important workouts in front of me over these next two weeks, but the jaw-dropping ones are behind me.
Therefore, I was looking forward to Sunday’s long run all week, but I wasn’t in a hurry to get it started, because it would serve as my final long run before race day. Instead I wanted to savor and store up this last long effort before letting go and believing all of the work I put in the last few months was enough.
“What is your plan for today?” Marion asked in-between his first few sips of coffee.
“I need to run eighteen miles at Ironman race pace.” I replied flatly.
“I’m not sure where I want to run.’ I stared at our rain-drenched deck solemnly, ‘Wait, yes I do.”
“I am going to run around our neighborhood.”
“You’re going to run loops for eighteen miles?”
I have a deep appreciation for music; however I am not a musician. I’ve tried, but after falling down on every dalliance I’ve had trying to learn instruments, I resolved that I can be just as happy appreciating music than actually creating it.
I played the saxophone when I was eight, the trombone when I was ten and the guitar when I was fourteen. I excelled at none of them.
Meanwhile, my brother Peter and my mom play guitar, and my sister Mary, I believe, is a piano savant. She picked up songs quickly and easily while we played on my keyboard during our rare and brief bonding sessions growing up. I was always amazed and inspired by her finger’s ability to dance across the keys effortlessly, and play music that sounded both beautiful, and correct, unlike when I played… I value music because it has the power to jet us through time and space touching parts of our hearts and minds unreachable by any other force of nature.
It also unleashes our hidden super-powers.
I know that running with a loaded iPod has played a HUGE role in how i've conquered most of my long runs, but especially the last two. It is a safe assumption that running on a treadmill for over three hours, and running monotonous loops around my neighborhood for over two hours requires a heaping dose of mental fortitude, but honestly, all I needed was Pink, Lady Gaga, Imagine Dragons, Sia, and a few of their fellow pop buddies blasting through my ears to get me through both runs effectively.
Great music makes time fly by.
Actually, great music and playing mind tricks makes time fly by. For example, when I started on Sunday’s run, all I thought about was the mile I was running. I did not think ahead or behind me, I simply remained present. I needed to maintain a specific pace, and that was my sole task. I didn’t consider anything else. I didn’t care that a gaggle of movers were staring at me like a lunatic as I ran back and forth in front their truck all morning, I just stayed in sync with every step while listening to NSYNC and ticking off mile after mile on pace and feeling good.
Even though I went into this run confident, Hillary encouraged me not to go any faster than our agreed upon race pace, so I kept my ambitions at bay and stayed steady. Luckily, I felt comfy in that range, which is encouraging, because locking in that feeling is vital for my mind and muscle memory to draw upon during the race.
No matter how many marathons I’ve run, or triathlons I’ve raced, surprises always pop up. That is why this form of deliberate practice in training is so significant. It’s important to be fit enough to handle the miles, yes, but what matters most is being able to adjust and adapt to the surprises successfully.
The race is almost here, it's time to get excited.
Since I teased NSYNC earlier, I thought I'd share one of their classics. You're welcome.:)