Saturday, February 18, 2012

GK Huff-and-Puff

Central Park - Bethesda Terrace and Angel of the Waters Fountain -
Originally uploaded by

When the email came through during the week from our NYC half-marathon coaches, I read that the plan for Saturday was to run 11 miles, across the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. I knew my knee would never make it (and I doubted whether my stamina would anyway), so I resolved to take myself back to Central Park and pound the pavement on my own there instead.

And so it was that I set off early-ish to reprise the Gridiron Classic 4-mile run I did a few weeks ago. The sun was shining, the taxis were honking, the ambulances were wailing - it was a perfect New York morning.

I got all the way to Central Park with my Gu electrolyte chews in my pocket, my Gymboss interval timer on my wrist, and my drink bottle filled to the brim with cool water. And who should I see walking through Central Park, but Morgan Freeman! All the signs pointed to this being a good run for me.

As I braced myself to get started, I realised that the battery in my run timer was flat. ARGH. How was I going to survive the full 6 miles without knowing when to run/walk at the proper intervals? I might die. But then I got over myself and decided I would just count. I figured that if I counted in time with my steps, I would get into some sort of rhythm (or trance) and I might actually do okay. And with that resolution, off I went.

Right on cue at the 4-mile mark, my knee pain started to announce its presence but I didn't let it throw me off. I kept on counting and ran-walked like I was supposed to. There were parts of the run today where I really thought "Woohoo, I can do this!" and then there were parts where I desperately wanted to stop. And just when I felt like that, a thought crossed my mind: Hey, I could do another 1.7 mile loop here! Madness, I tell you - madness!

In the end, sanity prevailed and I stopped myself at 6 miles. I was pleasantly surprised that, as I stretched, I was feeling normal - I could think clearly, I could see clearly, and I didn't feel like falling down and staying there.

I did forget to eat any of my electrolyte chews, but I will go back out tomorrow and make a conscious effort to try them. I even put a new battery in my interval timer so I won't have to rely on my brain next time. Most excellent.

Oh and I have a new fuel belt to wear tomorrow - one of these space-age (but very professional) looking contraptions with 4 little water bottles and a tiny pouch in the back for nutrition supplies.

So here's to another 6 miles tomorrow - hands free this time!

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