Last week after my less than stellar performance in Portland, I was seriously doubting whether I had the where with all to run yet another half marathon in 4 weeks. Those mental demons came calling in huge way (especially along I95 at midnight in CT with a screaming hip): I’ve got an old body, and pounding on it doesn’t make it any younger. I’m never, ever going to win a race, so what’s the point. Really? And what is it exactly I’m trying to prove?
All week, I tried brushing them aside. I continued along my typical training (3-4 days, 3-4 miles each time), even throwing some hills into the mix, but meh. But the mojo just wasn’t there.
And then Friday night came. And with it, the Olympic opening ceremonies. I confess–I LOVE the Olympics. I love what they stand for, and I love watching ALL the events (except beach volleyball and the ribbon gymnastics–don’t quite get that one). I love that athletes work their hearts out for their one shot, and most go home disappointed empty-handed. I scratched out ‘disappointed’ because really, are they disappointed? Maybe, if the medal podium was in sight and they flubbed up, yep, I’d say disappointed, but I’m betting most go in aiming for a personal best, and they know that even that personal best is unlikely to get them a medal. But they show up anyways. For the honor of representing their country, for the challenge of competing against the best in the world in their sport, and maybe even for the fun of it.
I’ll never win any medals with my running, but I do enjoy the challenge, and I still find running lots of fun. So keeping that in mind, I was determined to not skip my Sunday’s long run (10 miles), and I decided that instead of going it alone, I’d get out there with the Sunday group at my local Fleet Feet. I’ve always found this group to be slightly intimidating–Fleet Feet does plenty of 3 mile runs–but this group runs 6-10+ miles and most are training for one event or another. They are experienced and fast. I showed up anyways. And found myself running in tandem with two other men and one other woman. The three of them needed 14 for their run, so after 8, I split off to head back to the store (two miles to go) while they went off for another 6 (!). I finished strong at 10.67 miles in 1h54. That was all I needed.
I’ll be in Providence, all laced up and ready to go in a speed-appropriate coral and with a great game plan that will see me through successfully to the end of the race.
The Olympics is inspiring in more ways than one. Several winter games ago, the Yarn Harlot held what she called the Knit Olympics, in which knitters picked a project to start and complete within the timeframe of the games. I LOVE challenges like this, and since I spend too much time in front of the TV anyways during the games, it was a great way to get a sweater out of it. The Knit Olympics were a one-time deal, but I still challenge myself to the same thing every two years–knit a sweater within the two weeks. For London, Bedford is my project. And after one day of viewing, here’s where I am:
This is a scary project for me because I’m not sure I have enough yarn. And I don’t have a back-up. This was hand-spun yarn I bought in Vermont last fall at the Vermont Sheep & Wool. I have 5 skeins, and I’m hoping there are at least 300 yards per skein, which should give me enough. Even if it’s 250, i’ll be ok. maybe.
So, if the stars are aligned (and the weather cools down), I’ll be driving to Providence on August 19, run my race well, and wrap myself up in Bedford for the drive home. And that sounds just about perfect to me…