This means getting to sleep at a decent hour most nights. (Um, yeah ... ) Not eating with the appetite of a professional football player, therefore gaining weight and exacerbating knee and ankle joint stress. (Um, yeah again ... ) Running on days I'm supposed to without someone telling me I must. (Wow. Hmmm ... )
You know me by now: motivating myself to a larger goal requires bells and whistles. No different in the case of Long Runs .... the essential weekly jaunt that starts at 6 miles on Week 1, grows longer by 2-mile increments, and works up to 21 miles by Week 15, just in time to get ready for race day. An essential psychological and physical component in marathoning. Unwise to get behind on.
When training for Boston the past 2 years, Children's coaches made these runs Events, each at 8 a.m. on Saturdays. And damn, that requirement worked for me. Even in the black cold of January, or after a 60-hour workweek, or when my IBT cried torture .... I got up at 6:30 on Saturday and made a cup of coffee, ate a bowl of oatmeal, drove to Newton, and was cranking out 15 or 18 miles as the sun came up.
So my motivational conceit this training season is to do the same: make each Long Run an "Event." And henceforth, an Event will contain going to contain the following:
1. It will be Saturday morning, if at all possible. It will never be Sunday.
2. It will be mapped out ahead of time.
3. It will never be in the same place twice.
4. It will start and end at some awesome food locale, which I will patronize after successful completion.
Yesterday was Long Run #2, but Week #1 of Long Run as Event. And .... despite setbacks like oversleeping and burning the coffee (yes!) and not leaving the house until 10, then zoning the Route 16 exit off 128 and being forced to backtrack around a traffic jam on Route 9 which means the run didn't originate until 11:15, then mapping out 2.5 extra miles by accident and choosing as "awesome food locale" a bakery without eggs or sandwiches or one bit of greasy diner goodness ....
Not a total failure.
Completed just under 11.5 in slow but serviceable 9:30 pace. Scenery included the rich and rolling hills of a rich and rolling suburb. Sun hot, breeze cool. Knees: behaved. Carrying a water bottle in lieu of water stops, not a deal-breaker. Lack of conversation or music replaced with looping internal monologue on frustrating men in my life: as usual, rewarding.
And despite lack of eggs and sausage, Quebrada Baking Co. (just off the Wellesley Hills Commuter Rail Stop) did make up for it with a killer blueberry scone. Which I ate as I drove over to Nantasket Beach for the afternoon.
So Long Run #3 next Saturday: 12 miles .... along Wollaston Beach and around through the Milton Hills. The Wheelhouse Diner in Quincy as motivation. Full report to follow.
(And, incidentally, I'm taking suggestions for future runs or future diners. Do share.)