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Run Smart, Run Well, Run Happy

October 14, 2009

My right shin hurts, the top of my left foot hurts, my right ankle seems weak, my right shoulder is sore, my left calf is numb…I sort of feel like this Shel Silverstein poem (which lately, among all the others in Where The Sidewalk Ends, we’ve been getting a big kick out of for bedtime reading before the kids go to bed). I have these pains that kind of come and go as easily as breathing. I know they are phantom pains, not really there and just tricks of the mind, but still the mind is powerful and it’s trickery is hard to get around sometimes. But I will prevail.

In the few days left before the marathon now, I have indeed had my moments of calm confidence. Like yesterday when I was out for a gentle 4 mile mid-day run. I ran an fine pace and felt like I could probably go on forever. Granted it was just 4 miles, but after all the training I’ve done the past 12 weeks, I know I can run a marathon. Then I also have these moments of random phantom pains and racing-heart-inducing thoughts of totally hitting the wall with 3 miles to go in the race…I’m doing this all to myself. I know this. For I am competitive and after all this training, I want to run the best race I can run. I know on one hand, like everyone tells me, I should be smart and run it easy and just try to finish. But you know what? I also sort of think that kind of theory is low-balling myself. I’m a better runner than just someone out for a 26.2 mile jog. I believe I can push myself and (mostly) run 26.2. Oh, the difference in my mind between Jogging and Running is huge.

I was once out for a run on some trails in the woods of Beaverton, Oregon near the Nike campus and I came upon a class on a little field trip. One of the little kids called out, “Everyone move, it’s a jogger!” I almost stopped and corrected him – I am not a jogger, I am a runner. But instead I simply picked it up a notch and ran by him faster than any jogger he’d seen lately.

Well anyway, this is all just motivation-speak for myself at this point. Just documenting the thinking that goes on within. We’ll see what happens on Saturday morning. Either I decide to take everyone’s advise and be safe or I try to run the race of my life and hope I make it to the end. One of them certainly sounds like a more fun option to me for sure! Might make the best sense to combine to two theories and run smart, run well, run happy and simply enjoy what all the training was for – a sweet, long October run along the shores of Lake Champlain and nothing more.

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