BUT IS IT FUN?
A running story submitted by Auntie Moe
But is it fun?
Many months ago, I had a conversation 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, which translated to 6 times around my loop in the cemetery. No matter how you think about it, 12 miles 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. My mind wandered a bit and I created haiku in my head to pass the time. I counted out the syllables on my fingers when I got stuck. Near the end of my run, it started to snow.
On Saturday, I ran a 5K with a college friend. My coach wanted me to race it, but I'd decided I would run with my friend Aida. I didn’t want to run it with any time goal, I just wanted to run it.
Aida and I started together but as she needed to keep a slower pace, she was content to allow me to run ahead of her, to run my own race...so I ran faster, but comfortably. 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 the landmarks to look for: the temporary walkway over the water where there was construction, and then the footbridge over Storrow Drive. I only checked my watch one more time to determine how much farther I had to go.
Finally, I was running on Bay State Rd, the final stretch. A man who'd been taking walk breaks, but kept passing me when he ran, was a few strides in front 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 even 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 plus minutes 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.