Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Challenging Myself Is Harder Than Challenging An Opponent

I know that I'm not the easiest person to live with.-- Maya Angelou

Yesterday I ran the same 14 mile course I did two weeks ago when my urine came out darker than my skin. I'm pretty dark by the way. Today was a lot better. I felt better and I ran it faster. The last time I did it I had to stop at Starbucks for water. I made no such stop today. Last time I had some hamstring issues and even later in the day my hamstrings still ached. I even decided to Live Tweet it. I did that for a few reasons. The first reason was to try something different. I didn't really know what a live tweet was. I also didn't know why anyone would find my tweets after every mile with pictures interesting. Actually, it may be interesting. I took 14 different shots and tweeted them after every mile. After mile 1 I learned how to tweet without stopping.

The second reason was to control myself a little. Sometimes I get out of hand when I feel really good. Oftentimes I get bogged down when I don't feel great and hit a hill that absolutely zaps me. When that happens I think about stopping. I don't ever want to stop so I do whatever I need to do in order to keep my mind on the right track. Sometimes I sing out loud to distract myself from anything but the words and harmony of the song. Yesterdays trick was to do something different at every mile. Running 14 miles requires very little thought or additional training at this point in life. In fact, when I sign up for a marathon it is a forgone conclusion that I will complete it. I don't say this to sound cocky, actually far from it. I say this to show that even runs that are well within your wheel house can seem like a task.

Every mile I would anticipate the mile marker. As I felt the marker approach I began to look for things to photograph. Then I would hear that I hit the marker and at times there was nothing worth a capture. Then I got creative with angles or odd things on the sidewalk or a driveway. The thing I didn't do is think about where I stood as far as completion of the run. I thought mile to mile, tweet to tweet and photo to photo.

Before folks begin to rail on about tweeting and taking pictures remember that I am not promoting any of this behavior. It is something that I did to get through a run that was far, for me. That route caused physical distress last time. That route isn't beautiful. Running 14 boring miles can be arduous. Contrary to popular belief, I don't do long runs just for marathon training. I want to run 10 miles a day, every day, before work. So I guess I am training but for something atypical. Every day I try to figure out how to get better at this running thing. Races are easy. You get T-shirts and medals. Bagels and sports drinks wait for you. A bunch of people screaming, "you're almost there" or "you are awesome". Running alone is not as easy.

For me, everyone is usually asleep. My routes aren't littered with runners. Every day, my opponent is the guy that wants to stay in bed or the guy that wants to only do adventurous routes or "crew" runs. Most days I have to beat that guy... senseless.

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