Sunday, April 28, 2013

getting wordsworthian in training in april

On Friday morning I went for a run around 6 at the Arb trails.  One of the many amazing things about running in the early morning is the blanket of silence that seems to fall around you as your footsteps pitter-patter on the soft dirt.  I started to think about how relieved I am now that the semester is over, as it was the hardest one I have ever had.  I then started to think about the Kalamazoo Marathon, which is quickly approaching.  I thought about the torture of the road for 26.2 miles, and the race adrenaline that will undeniably quiver through my bones for most of the time.  I thought about what the race is going to be like.  The purpose of the race is to get the miles in, and then do a 50 miler six days later.  This turnaround is quick, and I'm interested to see how my body is going to respond to it.  I then reminded myself that Kalamazoo is not a race for me, it's just a long run.  And it's not just a long run, it's a long run with Katie Wittenberg.  

As I came out of the woods and onto a section of clear trail, the morning sun splashed onto my face.  I squeezed my eyes shut and jolted my head around in some sort of a ridiculous manner at the surprise.  As I felt the warmth I shot back to a year ago, when I was on a long run with Katie at run camp.  I can't remember where we were, but we were in the middle of a long run, on the side of the road, stopped.  We were stopped because I was bent over, grabbing my stomach and gasping for air while laughing, which was, I'm sure, actually sounding like some sort of hybrid between a dying horse and an annoyingly high pitch - like when a mic gets too close to a speaker.  I remember straightening out, trying to get my shit together, and Katie continuing her story through fits of a silent, violent shaking form of laughter, which only made me relapse into my previous state.  I remember the way the sun felt on my face, and my sweat-glossed cheek it was soaking in.  I remember that this was the height of my right IT band problems.  I remember it was so tight that I was sure my leg was going to rip off with every other step I took, and my kneecap would fly across the road.  I remember thinking that that was going to be more comfortable than what I was experiencing during that run.  But in that moment, right then, none of it mattered and the only thing that hurt was my right abdominal muscles from the fit of laughter.  The importance and significance of this is that the laughter had totally overcome my physical pain.  Unless you have been in that kind of physical pain, with multiple miles left until you are finished, all you can do is imagine yourself in that situation.  

In just one fraction of one second when the sun had hit me on that early morning run, I had completely transferred back into this memory.  I wasn't just remembering it, I was reliving it.  It reminded me of this Wordsworth poem (Daffodils) (yes I'm going to print it instead of link it so you actually maybe perhaps possibly read it):

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

I always thought it was stunning how the mind remembers things that touch our soul, and the things about those things that we remember.  It somehow fails to record the actual event, but captures the emotion and physical aspects of it near perfectly.  I don't remember what Katie and I were talking about that spun into this hysteria (though I'd be willing to bet it was an impersonation), but I do remember how it made me feel, down to the physical aspect, not just the emotional.  For Wordsworth it only took laying on a couch and closing his eyes to generate this, and for me it only took the warm sun spilling onto my face. This is more than just a memory; a word for what I am at a loss for.  

One of the many wonderful things about Katie is that she never shuts the hell up, and neither do I.  When we run together it's one huge conversation, interjected with random shouts, impressions, crazy body language and absolute explosions of laughter.  This is why the Kalamazoo Marathon is going to be a blast.  Had she not agreed to run it slow with me and have a good time, I would not be running it.  For once, the bib numbers won't matter, water stops will be a welcomed stop, and any glimpse of a PR is out the window.  It's hard to find people with this kind of outlook on life, and it is beyond doubt even harder to find a runner with it.  "You want me to do what?  Casually jog a marathon?  A race that I paid for?  What are you?  Fucking crazy?"  Maybe.  Probably.  If so, I'm really happy that Katie is 'fucking crazy', too.

++a week in training:
monday: am: 6 miles with Erin.  So slow, I felt bad for her, but I could NOT find another gear.  Total dead legs. lower body session with Lauren.  pm:  measly 3 miles at Gazelle's Boston Memorial run.  Way fun, scored 118 high-fives.
tuesday:  off [too much shit for finals to do]
wednesday:  am:  3 miles with Cohen.  Upper body workout with Lauren.  pm:  6 at Urban Herd
thursday:  7 miles in the morning with Katie at Al Sabo.  Got caught in the rain.
friday:  12 miles at the arbs
saturday: 9 mile road loop from the apartment
sunday: 7 at Al Sabo (dirty herd)
total running miles:  53.  also had 18 miles logged on my bike just from commuting.  anything to increase aerobic capacity!
notes:  was really going to try to get 40 miles between saturday and sunday, but slept in on both days.  I don't even really care.  I also pushed myself harder with more weight this week than I ever have before.   I don't know where I'd be without Lauren (my trainer) pushing me and helping me gain confidence.  Weight training is really fucking hard, and I get mad because I feel like people think I just go hang out at the gym for an hour twice a week.  Wrong.  I work my fucking ass off.  And it's finally showing.
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