Week 15: My Stunning Mystery Companion

“What with all my expectations long abandoned
And a life that just gets more and more demanding
There’s no doubt that you’re the reason I’m still standing
My stunning mystery companion” – My Stunning Mystery Companion, Jackson Browne
I suspect Jackson was singing about a woman in this song. This song shows up in my Van Morrison Pandora mix a few times a day while I am working and, when I heard the last chorus of the song the other day, I thought about running instead of a person (not that I don’t think of my husband in these terms).

 

I started out this week sick with the crud that is going around my office. I think that is one of the reasons why last Saturday’s planned 20 miler sucked so much. I was exhausted on Sunday and feverish by Monday. Chest was tight, head hurt, glands swollen. It gave me a small amount of consolation – I don’t completely suck at running long distances, I was getting sick! That’s the ticket!

Heather bought me this book from Amazon and gave it to me on Monday. It brightened an otherwise horrible day of trying to sit at my desk and make it through work because we already planned time off at the end of the week.

IMG_2134

This book is hilarious. I have already read the cartoon about thoughts one has while running a marathon but had not read the book. I loved a lot of stuff about the book but I like this quote the best:

“Reason 7 to run long distances: Become a drug addict. And so, motivated by fear, I choose to be a different kind of drug addict. And make no mistake: running is an addiction, both chemically and spiritually. There are euphoric highs, terrible lows, and the constant desire to ‘squeeze in a quick run’ in order to feel whole. But unlike other drug addictions, running is socially acceptable. It’s like being able to smoke crack every day, but instead of getting strung out you get bananas and compliments” – The Oatmeal

I’ve said before that I realize this is just a blog about running and, training for a marathon, is just a lot of running but, what I hoped to convey is that, for me, it really is a drug. I’m beating my blerch – the fat kid still inside of me who has all the doubts and fears, who wants to quiet the world while she runs down the miles. And I really love bananas.

Dimity cut me back this week and I was very grateful. I ran the Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon (and Food Truck Rodeo – can’t forget the food trucks) on Sunday as a training run. Laurie ran it with me but we were supposed to run with Sara and Heather, too. Heather is still in a boot with a foot injury and Sara is recovering from a glute strain.

It was an epic run. I am now the owner of a brand new, shiny half marathon PR. I shaved 6 minutes off my prior PR and 9 minutes off my less-than-stellar performance in Montreal, where I had secretly hoped to PR. I will hold onto this PR during the times when running is hard, again. I am grateful that all this training has yielded me something more than 5 plus hours on my feet, slogging through the streets of Philadelphia!

IMG_4604 In the chute, on my way to my PR

The weather was amazing. Heather and Carly volunteered to be course monitors. I found Laurie right before the start so we ran together the entire race. She is the world’s best pacer and an amazing motivational running partner. She earns her living writing and speaking on HR matters but I think she should look into charging people to run long distances by their sides! Fortunately, I get to run with her for free but I’d gladly pay to have her by my side. We kept up a lively conversation for some of the way but some of the way we kept up a comfortable silence. There is a special kind of bonding that happens when you run alongside someone for so many long, hard miles. Although you complete distance running out in the open for the world to see from afar, what happens up close is personal and intimate. I’ve had the pleasure of spending many of those miles with Laurie, Sissy, Sarah, Heather and Jen. We’ll always be bound together as the Fleet Feet Fall Half and Full Marathon Group (or Team Indiana Jones).

Towards the end of the run, right before Laurie pulled ahead of me in the last mile and a half, she teared up a little and said she knew, at that moment, that she was really ready for her marathon on Nov. 2. You could see how much it meant to her to know she had done everything right. Having witnessed it all this Fall, I know she did. She pushed herself, she cross-trained, she ate well. She is ready and I am honored that I will be at the finish line in Raleigh to see her success. I’m not sure I will feel the same way two weeks before the Philadelphia Marathon. I am sure there is more that I could have done. I am still in the “ignorance is bliss phase” since this is my first rodeo but Laurie knows from experience what this takes and she gave it her all.

IMG_2171 She looks gorgeous after the run!

Running is my companion and so are the wonderful people I have met along the way. You know who you can really count on when you’ve got to find someone to run 20 miles with you. Laurie is tapering so Jen and I have agreed to tackle the elusive 20 miler on Saturday. I have no idea what to expect (yes, I do – pain) but I do know I will have someone by my side, helping me make it home. Fortune and glory, kid, fortune and glory (our team motto).

 

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