Moe, for better or worse

This blog used to be called "one year in the life of a short fat runner"; then it was called "Am I a runner? you decide." I've decided running isn't the thing I need to talk about'll come up for sure, but it's just one part of me, so I think I'll just call this blog: Moe, for better or worse.

Monday, March 30, 2009

But is it fun? redux

Many months ago, I posted a conversation I had with my coach. His question to me was, how often, when you run, is it fun? At the time, my answer was long and complicated but it boiled down to, not often.

I think he needs to ask me again.

Last Sunday, I ran 12 miles. 6 times around my loop in the cemetery. 12 miles, no matter how you think about it, is a long way to run. It's intimidating. It takes a long time. If I were to drive 12 miles from my house north, south or west...I'd have gone through at least 3 towns. If I were to go 12 miles east...I'd be in Boston Harbor. It's far.

Yet...I had a great run. Really great. I kept my pace slow and easy, and was well fueled and mentally prepared. I took a gel fairly early and it was perfect timing. The first 4 miles were good...the next couple even better. I felt terrific at mile 10. The weather was good for me, cool, a little cloudy, with a bit of a wind but it died down. A friend had mentioned to me a quote from Dickinson, a certain slant of light, on winter afternoons, which I had in my head as the sun fell lower in the sky. (In truth, the poem is dark and forboding but out of context, the quote worked in my favor.) My mind wandered a bit and I created haiku in my head to pass the time. I counted out the sylables on my fingers when I got stuck. The best was:

o! the golden sun
low in the eleventh mile
thank you my dear friend

the variation was:

o! the golden sun
low in the eleventh mile
brings with it flurries

as it started to snow briefly near the end of my run.

This week, I did speedwork. It's hard. I have to run back and forth in the flattest part of the cemetery, so I'm not killing myself trying to run fast uphill. I was mostly successful, only slowing to recover early in one interval. I felt pretty good and ran over 4 miles including the interval work.

On Saturday, I ran a 5K with a college friend. Coach wanted me to race it, but I'd decided I would run with Aida at least for a while. I wasn't going to run it with any time goal. I would just run it.

Aida and I started together but she needed to keep a slower pace and was content to have me run my own I ran faster than her but comfortably. Remarkably, I turned on my stopwatch at the start. The course was flat and easy but congested with general pedestrians and cyclists using the same path; it was a very small race. We ran out and back along the same route. At the turn around, I glanced at my watch, after passing a couple with a double stroller who couldn't seem to get themselves out of my way...15:48.


No way. No freaking way.

That would bring me in under 32 mins. My PR was 32:42...I could break my PR, just set in December. I didn't need to...I would be ok if I didn't...but it was in my grasp.

I stayed focused. I knew what landmarks I was looking for: the tempory walkway over the water where there was construction, and then the footbridge over Storrow Drive. I didn't check my watch again, but once, and then only to determine about how much farther I needed to go. Finally, I was running on Bay State Rd...there was a man ahead of me who'd been taking walk breaks...but kept passing me when he ran. He was ahead of me. I could see the time clock: 31:35, 31:36, 31:37...I wasn't going to let him beat me and I was going to finish in under 32 mins.

I ran as fast as my legs would carry me. I ran with all my training and miles and support of my family and friends and coach behind me....



I'd done it.

I remembered to stop my watch...31:40. Even better.

I texted my coach. He told me I'd run <10:15s. I was thrilled. In less than a year, I'd taken 3+ mins off my 5K time and I didn't kill myself to do it. I ran a good race and did my best that day. The best I could do that day, which turned out to be my best so far.

So, Coach, ask me again: is it fun?

Yes, it is. Most of the time, now, yes, it is.


Blogger Rudy Martinez said...

Well done Maureen. I'm so proud of you.

You are an inspiration; I aspire to the successes you've had.

Keep up the excellent work.

March 30, 2009 10:01 AM  
Blogger Theia said...

Yahoo! I love those accidental and unexpected PRs. Great job!

March 30, 2009 10:43 AM  
Blogger Jen Jones said...

Your post made me smile :)

March 30, 2009 10:51 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

I said it at dinner the other night, but I'm sayin it again anyway: CONGRATS! A PR sure makes running fun. I guess maybe that is what I need to do, schedule a race and train for it.

Thanks for taking me out for pizza!

April 02, 2009 12:03 AM  
Blogger sauconRunner said...

That's great Maureen, congrats! You have come a long way in a year my friend. I'm so proud of you and your running!

April 04, 2009 1:03 PM  
Blogger solarpowered said...

Just catching up here. This was an awesome post. Congrats on the PR!!!
I can't wait to see you in a couple weeks!

April 05, 2009 7:38 PM  
Blogger Doctor Err said...

that's just awesome! so glad you hit your um... stride. :)

April 09, 2009 9:04 AM  
Blogger Novia said...

Moe Moe,

I LOVE this!

I didn't realize you had a blog!

It's now bookmarked as a fav!

Shoot me a PM when u get a chance, I have a ?? to ask u


May 23, 2009 12:53 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I know this was posted a while back...but I had to leave you a comment.
Congratulations on the PR and your 12 mile run. I find that more often than not running, for me, is not fun. It's a means to an end and that tends to be it.
Well done, Moe!

June 23, 2009 11:20 AM  

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