It is now less than a month until my first half-marathon. I was feeling considerably worse about my prospects before Saturday, a sunny fall morning when I ran 9.4 miles—my longest run by about 2 miles, and trust me, I felt it afterward. Trying to tack on distance, I repeated loops on my route and took turns I hadn’t tried before (this can backfire, as it did when I had to retrace my sticky way out of a muddy dead-end around mile 3). I’ve been running without music pretty routinely and finding I don’t mind thinking about my book and other things in my own head. But Saturday, for the 9-miler, I brought out the big guns:
The Fellowship of the Ring, Extended Edition.
We recently bought a Blu-Ray set of the LOTR movies and they came with a digital download copy (don’t ask me) and so I downloaded the first one and synced it to my iPod, for fun. Then I decided to run to it. Kind of like an audio book, since I can’t exactly watch the screen while I’m running (1. dangerous 2. nauseating 3. too much glare).
I ran from Bilbo’s birthday to the doors of Moria and I must admit, I run longer with distractions. This probably means that my level of physical fitness is higher than my level of mental endurance for running, but so be it. And (this is going to make a few of you jealous) the area I run through is not un-Shire-like.
Even on a Saturday morning when runners, bikers, riders, and dog-walkers are all out in full force, I frequently run on a hushed wooded trail, seeing no one but cows and pheasants for a half mile. All summer things have been green and lush, stalky plants shooting up as tall as I am along the path. Occasionally I pass an older man with a walking stick. Occasionally I get passed by a horse (not my favorite). It’s beautiful and peaceful out there. And probably about as different a running experience from the Philadelphia half-marathon as I could get…
Addendum! This was also the first run on which I tried to power up partway through. I ate a little honey packet around 5 miles; and by “ate” I mean, squeezed partly into my mouth and partly all over my hands and then wiped on my leg. Tasty!