Last week I prepped for my 12-mile “long run” by watching the scene in “Godfather 2” when Michael flees a New Year’s Eve party in Cuba during the revolution.
It was my husband’s suggestion. As a history buff, he’s gotten much more interested in my indoor marathon training since I started counting laps by going up and down in years. I needed 96 laps at the Y to get in 12 miles, so I started at 1918 and worked my way up to 2014.
I started with the Flu Epidemic, based on some relatives’ memories, and got through the 1920s-1950s by focusing on images that stuck in my head from looking over a timeline with Bob. Though I wouldn’t have done very well on a quiz linking events to specific years, it was fun to time surf through such random events as the first cheeseburger to the Manhattan Project to the Cuban revolution on New Year’s Day 1959. By the time Bob called to check in, I was approaching 1983. “I’m coming up on high school graduation,” I said. We both got a laugh out of that one.
I think there’s some cool imagination infrastructure to explore here, but in retrospect I wonder if it isn’t too mentally exhausting to try to focus on each year individually when you’re traveling through nearly a century’s worth. It might be better to go into “time traveler” mode, moving through a few years at a time just by noting the progression and then “landing” on years that have more meaning, ideally because of some blend of family history and pop cultural significance. (In Thursday’s run I remember feeling a sense of relief when I got to 1934, when my mother in law was born, because it was the first lap in quite a while where I had some kind of personal connection.)
The other thing that would help would be using the baseball pitch counter that my brother-in-law Gunnar suggested the other day. My dad apparently uses one on his Canada fishing trips, noting that without it he and his buddies would be likely to estimate a 103-fish day (their record) as a 150-fish day.
I bought one of these $10 gadgets at Dick’s Sporting Goods the other day, but didn’t use it on my long run because I wasn’t sure I wanted to hold it when I was also planning to carry my cell phone. (And I really should’ve had that salted caramel GU with me, too, because after running for 2 ¼ hours with no fuel except water, I was feeling pretty woozy those last few laps.)
I did try the pitch counter during Saturday’s speed workout at the downtown Y, when I was only running 14 laps at a time (it’s a shorter track), and it worked really well. It was reassuring to have a backup lap count beside the one in my head, and it fit easily in my hand with the belt ring over my in index finger.
So now I’m planning to use the pitch counter (or “clicker,” as Dad calls it) during today’s 80-lap 10-mile run*. Maybe I’ll pretend it’s the gizmo that runs my time machine. It certainly looks primitive enough…
*I hate saying what I’m going to run ahead of time because I worry I’ll jinx my workout. So let me amend that statement by saying I hope to do 80 laps today.