Running Out of Time.

So much could go wrong on Tuesday night. And, so much could go right.

I've had a year since the last Workplace Challenge at Jones Beach, a 5K(3.5 mile) run/walk for charity between employees from most of the major companies on Long Island. I've been genuinely pushing myself in the gym, spending as much as 65 minutes on the treadmill when I got out of work on time, sometimes running more than 7 miles in one session. I completely eliminated Starbucks Mocha Frappuccinos from my diet, no easy task with the 100 degree plus July we just suffered. Race or no race, I think a blended caffeine drink topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce isn't a bad thing to eliminate from my diet, what with the family history of heart disease and all. I am in my mid-30s, though I keep forgetting that depressing fact. Maybe I'll continue not drinking the stuff. Maybe I'll have one on Wednesday. I'm definitely looking forward to my company's annual “ice cream social” on Friday, a veritable outdoor buffet of ice cream and toppings galore.

With everything that went down last week with the passing of my aunt, I only made it to the gym once. That left only Monday this week for a second run before the big night. Even though the race has traditionally been in July and we got an extra week this year, I don't feel ready. And I know that running, much like life, can suffer from psychological factors. When I got on the treadmill on Monday there were voices telling me to slow down, that I couldn't keep up the pace, that the gym was too hot, etc. I tuned them out. I paid attention to the television in front of me, let the sitcoms distract me. I thought of songs I liked, in keeping with the rhythm of my feet pounding below. One mile. One point five. Two. Before I knew it, twenty minutes had elapsed. I reached my goal of 3.5 miles in just over 29 minutes, beating last year's time by five minutes. I kept going, and at the end of my session hit seven miles. It wasn't the furthest I've ran, but it was still consistent with the average of what I've been doing. Maybe last week didn't hurt me as much as I feared.

I know outdoor conditions are very different. There are hills and curves and other people running around me. There's no air conditioning outside, but at 7 PM I can hope for milder conditions. At least the heat wave seems to have broken. It's also important for me not to think of this as any different from any other night of the week. I'm doing what I do every night, just at a beach with more people, and running half the distance I normally do in the gym. So it should be a piece of cake. It's hard not to be competitive though. Mind you, I'm not competing against my friend who runs triathlons and usually comes in 2nd or 3rd in our whole company. I know I'm not competing against the people who usually come in first in the whole race; 3.5 miles in 15 minutes is absurd. Those people are running like 14 miles an hour. That's almost superhuman. Some people go simply for fun and take a nice leisurely stroll for an hour. No one has to run. But the one person I am competing against is MCF 2009. Last year, after being out of shape for a few years, I figured anything under 40 minutes would be good, and I did it in just over 34. So as long as I get back in under 35 I'll be happy, and if I beat last year's time by even a few seconds I'll be ecstatic.

There's no more time to prepare, nothing more I can do. I just need to get plenty of rest, not eat any junk food that will mess up my digestive system(I must steer my folks away from their inexplicable new habit of bringing home McDonald's every Sunday night), and focus on getting all my work done on Tuesday so I can leave a little early and beat the traffic. It's going to be a great night, and it's going to go by quickly, and suddenly it will be Wednesday. Who knows, maybe I'll finish in under a half hour like I do in the gym, which will be awesome. The only down side to that is setting the bar too high for next year. But, I'll run that race when I come to it. I never know what I’m capable of until I stop thinking about it, turn around, and realize I’ve already done it.


Blogger Lorna said...

good luck!

8/03/2010 3:20 PM  

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