“So, if I could keep my anxiety and curiosity from eating the heart out of me for forty-eight hours, I should then find out for certain whether this boy was telling me the truth or not. Wherefore, being a practical Connecticut man, I now shoved this whole problem clear out of my mind till its appointed day and hour should come, in order that I might turn all my attention to the circumstances of the present moment… “
From Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
When I got to that quote around Lap 20-something of Saturday’s 112-lap, 14-mile indoor run, I was nearly overcome with the impulse to run downstairs and make an announcement over the YMCA microphone: “Listen to this, people! Here is a guy who really speared the anxiety problem back before your great-grandparents were born! If this strategy worked for a guy facing imminent execution, don’t you think it ought to help you get through all that mundane bullshit that’s constantly lighting up your central nervous system?”
But I didn’t, of course, because that would’ve destroyed my fellow runners’ right to get absorbed in their own little world, listening to whatever helps them get through the process. Besides, the person whose attention I most wanted to get here was myself. So I silently maintained my run/walk pattern — three laps run, one lap walk — and kept listening as Twain’s time traveler calmly outwitted Merlin and became the power behind the throne.
Eventually I got through all 112 laps without too much of a struggle, except for the one occasion on which I got clogged up behind a throng of walkers and was gently yet firmly “scooted over” by a much faster runner at least six and a half feet tall.
I think I’ve found my rhythm. That pattern of 3 on, 1 off feels like leapfrogging through the laps, counting by fours. The only problem was that I started out way too slow. I actually felt better midway through when I began to run faster, partly because it woke up my legs but also because the laps started to melt away much more quickly. So next time — especially if my sister isn’t running with me, since she’s a natural speed inducer — I need to remember to pick up the pace from the beginning.
Here’s how the rest of this week’s training went:
Monday – The most grueling yoga session ever. This class has gotten huge since the “New Year Resolutioners” (as my son calls them) came on board, which makes it more of a challenge for the instructor to keep the session running according to schedule. This past week we were flying through some of the series in an attempt to fit everything in. I was a puddle of goo on the floor afterward.
Tuesday – 7 miles on the home treadmill, interrupted every so often by one of the kids, who were home due to snow but attempting the school system’s first-ever “e-learning” day. Strapped my laptop to the treadmill so I could watch one of my all-time favorite movies, the Coen Brothers’ “O Brother Where Art Thou.”
Wednesday – 4 miles on the treadmill due to icy roads and cold temps. Jogged first two miles, then did 20-minute ladder workout, then jogged a cooldown.
Thursday – 7-mile outdoor run around the neighborhood. Started out getting blasted by a cold wind, but the weather warmed up and the sun came out over the course of the run. After all this run-walk training on longer distances, it was a relief to know I can still run at least 7 miles without a walk break. Was going to weigh in at the YMCA, but since the weekly weigh-ins are optional and I wound up overdoing it calorie-wise, decided against it.
Friday – Rest day.
Saturday – 14 miles, as described above.
Sunday – Half a mile attempt at jogging with Loki in a bitter cold wind. It is so much harder to run with him now when footing is slick and iffy! But I’ve got to keep at it or he’ll never calm down. Also rode 5 easy miles on a spin bike at the Y to help my legs unwind from yesterday’s long run.
Total : 32.5 miles running, 5 miles of biking.