Tuesday, February 15, 2011
I Must Break You.
After yesterday's rooftop adventure, I was fully planning to wuss out on my long run. I have 3 parallel plans -- one for the Beginning Marathoner (which I am), one for an experience runner targeting a 3:30 finish (which should fit my abilities based on my last half marathons), and a 3:19 finish that's my "push the envelope" training plan and a Boston Qualifying pace for a 40-44 year old (the 3:15 for a 35-39 year old is realistically out of reach). The n00b plan put me on 8 miles for Week 1, the other two put me on 13 (my shortest distance run of the plan. I went to bed beat, tired, and a little bit sore on Saturday night, planning to do the smart thing after a hard day of show removal and run 8 in the cold & snow. That plan went to hell when I woke up and felt... fine. So I figured "Game On!" and laced up for a nice half marathon distance.
I've learned that the best way to complete a long run is to run half the distance out and turn around (or a run one big loop). You typically feel fine going out and then, when you get to that halfway point, you have little choice but to complete the workout and get home. For those who live in the area, the loop I ran was from my neighborhood, out on Rt 15 to Jericho, down to the end of Lee River Rd. and back to Rt 15 on Plains Rd and back home.
Miles 4 - 6 are on Lee River Rd, a rolling, twisty section of road that has hills on the left and farm fields on the right. Running down through this valley, I started thinking about Rocky IV and his training regimen in the Siberian wilderness -- chopping wood, running up snow-covered mountains, and farm work. Contrast that with the mechanized, supplement/steroid driven (I know there's a difference; no preaching) plan used by Drago. This weekend has been very much about getting outside and doing work vs. going to do workouts in a gym and work on my pecs.
I may not be doing one-armed switch plyo pushups or hauling a dog sled with my trainer on it through 2 feet of powder (no ideas, Hallas!!), but I like to think I've got a little Rocky in my soul. I sure felt a little Eye of the Tiger when I turned onto Plains Rd. just past the half way point, knowing that I was on my way home. I was temped to run to the top of the driveway when I got home and give a loud, "ADRIAAANNNNNNN!!" yell, but the dogs would've started barking & woken the twins from their nap. Yelling another woman's name tends to be frowned upon by most wives, so for a variety of reasons, I decided it was in my best interest to NOT do that.
There's a metaphorical angle to this story as well. When the towering Russian approaches Rocky in the ring and coldly declares, "I must break you," Rocky replies with confidence, "Go for it." In many ways, that brief scene sums up how I feel about running this marathon, or at least, how I did when I signed up for it back in January. You could say that Marathon itself or simply the training for it is analogous to Drago. Big. Intimidating. Has killed people. Those kinds of scary things.
And here I am. A dude who's barely been running for 10 months stepping in to the ring against this beast. Am I in-frickin'-sane? Well, maybe, but I went looking for a challenge and I found it. The training for the race is daunting and the knowledge that the race distance is still about 25% longer than the longest training run I have planned certainly has the making for an epic showdown on race day.
So when I'm staring down that 13, 16, or 20 mile training run or toeing the start line of the race in May and that big, dumb Russian voice starts saying, "I must break you," my determined response will be, "Go for it.*"
*This assumes the race and/or training plan doesn't have fists, in which case my response would be probably be more along the lines of, "NOT IN THE FACE!"