Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

The first blog I ever read with any regularity was My Marrakesh, a design and lifestyle blog written in a sort of poetic style by Maryam Montague. Next would be the hugely popular 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson, though she’s such a successful cookbook author now that I think her books have eclipsed the blog. Finally, I am a longtime lover of Kristin Armstong’s Mile Markers, which lives in Runners World’s online home.

Appropriately, these three are telling of my primary interests and hobbies.

I’ve often quoted bits and pieces from Mile Markers and I shared her post about suffering sweat sisters frequently during my tenure at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She’s a thoughtful writer and writes so articulately that she strikes me as an incredibly compassionate and present human being.

Last week Kristin wrote about a 2- and 10-miler taking place in Austin this weekend, called Run for the Water. Her running coach, Gilbert, is a runner from Burundi, where he was nearly killed in a horrific massacre, but escaped after being beaten, burned, and trapped for nine hours under the bodies of his dead classmates. He organizes this weekend’s race where the $25 registration fee provides clean water for a Burundian for A LIFETIME. I’m on a clean water kick after lululemon’s yoga event for Charity:Water last week, so I decided to continue the trend by running as a remote participant in Run for the Water Sunday morning.

It was wonderful.

Sunday morning was super sunny and comfortable. Cool enough for long sleeves and tights, but not enough that I could see my breath. I headed out to run the same route as a few weeks ago, from home through Southfield and back.

I felt a lot better this time around, plus there were way more runners and walkers out since it was such a nice fall morning. It was good to have company.

My goal was to hang close to 9:00 minute miles, but I wasn’t sure how I’d feel after a really tight Saturday afternoon run in new shoes. It still felt kind of funky to be in new shoes instead of my well-worn limited-edition Boston Kinvaras, but despite not feeling quite at ease, my first few miles clocked in under nine-minute pace. I told myself to take it easy on the way out and let my body wake up, that I could push myself later if I was up for it.

Today was a thinking run. I thought about the Philly Half Marathon coming up in a few weeks, about the hills I’ll probably face at the Half MerryThon in Gloucester a few weeks after that. I thought about work, about blogging, about stuff coming up this week. I had my iPhone with me and listened to tunes, but mostly my mind wandered.

Once I hit the turnaround around mile five, I felt comfortable keeping an eye on my watch, but stayed mindful of taking it easy thanks to Bart Yasso’s recommendation for long runs during our group run a few weeks back.

I finished up in 1:27:44, an 8:46 pace.

I’m in a good place with my running right now, enjoying it and feeling like I’m making progress, which helps. I’m not in PR shape, but at least have the sense that if I stay on track, I’ll get there. I was most pleased that in my last three miles I felt strong and capable, which is exactly how I hope to feel in Philadelphia.

And even though I was really just out there by myself yesterday, it was really cool to know that halfway across the country, a few thousand others were doing the same distance for people halfway around the world.