Jul 31, 2006

Running is all in your head.

Running long distances is easy as long as your head is into it as much as you want it to be. My 4th half marathon race took place this past Sunday morning. Katy and I huddled with about 20,000+ other runners, at the edge of the Ferry Building when the gun went off at 5:30am. Mile 1, we were even at about a 9:20 pace. Temperature was good.. about 56 degrees, still overcast, sun had just started rising, slight breeze. My physical and my mental were in check. I was feeling good. Mile 2 came around, we stopped momentarily to grab some electrolytes.. Still feeling pretty good. I jogged up the hill that separates the Aquatic Park from Fort Mason and wasn't the bit phased. Mile 3 came and went, By mile 4, I was in the running zone that so many people talk about. I could feel my muscles tense up with every step, and my breathing had taken a comfortable pattern.... by Mile 6, I was starting to feel the run, but no matter, I was still going to make it in good time. I had lost Katy in the crowd, but I knew we would meet along the run somewhere.. We almost always do. As we rounded up the hill and started across Golden Gate Bridge, my mind started wondering what the hell I was doing at 6:30 am running across the bridge, and all of a sudden I was out of the zone. As soon as the "why" question comes up, it's like a catalyst for the rest of your body to start breaking down... It starts at the feet. The top of my left foot started landing very hard and a past bruise that I had there, started painfully reminding me that it was very much there.. Then came my thighs. Tight.. I should've stretched out my calves. My stomach started gurgling trying to process the spaghetti I had the night before. Then my arms started tensing up, my hands numb from the cold and exhaustion. I had lost my groove, my "just do it" attitude. Instead I started looking for a way out. I looked behind at the crowd, trying to find Katy, but she was no where in site.. And then I slowed down. down to a walking pace. Hundreds of people passed. So many, that I started running relunctantly, trying to regain my pace. By 7.5, I was out of it again. Still no Katy to be seen. The 4:10 marathon pacers ran passed me as did their crowd of people. I was still in the race and I could still get a personal best but the "can do" attitude was no longer existant.

Not sure how I made it through Mile 8 but the 9 Mile Marker came and passed and I started feeling nautious. I took a seat as the crowd started into Land's End. I felt defeated, much like Britain's Paula Radcliff at the 2004 Olympics women's marathon when she stepped out of the race at mile 23. The 4:20 marathon pacer ran passed. There goes my personal best. Minutes later, my friend Katy ran up. She had taken a spill on the golden gate bridge, and had bruised and bloodied up her elbow. Together, we made it through the next excruciating 4 miles.. partially running, partially walking, partially laughing. It just wasn't our day...

Next half marathon is in 10 weeks.. Time to start training my head.

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