I’ve signed up to run the half-marathon with the Kristens in November, so now I actually have to get serious about running, which I’m ready to do.
Here’s why signing up for this race is a good idea:
- I get to see my friends! I’m so excited to have a trip booked to connect with my blog partners face to face. I love the positive support and feeling of connection I get from blogging with them. What’s better than getting to celebrate each other in person?
- I need a goal that will challenge me but also feels reachable, and I think this is it. I like to push myself, but I get nervous about taking on too much. While training will be a commitment, I think I can do it. I’m eager to prove it and make myself proud.
- The timing on this race gives me some advantages. I hope to avoid both summer heat and winter snow–and the treadmill at the gym. Also, Free has a heavy sports schedule in the fall, which opens up running time pockets for me that I’ll be able to schedule.
- I am motivated by a personal goal of building resilience. I think more running will pay be back in feeling stronger and healthier, and that will give me an edge going into the long hard New England winter.
Here’s my training plan, which I found at http://www.halfmarathons.net. As you can see, they also have 16 or 20 week plans available. As Kristen has advised me, I will adjust the plan so that the long runs are on Saturday. Up to now, I’ve only run about 10 miles a week, but this plan says that’s fine. My goal is to finish, so I’ll be sticking as close to this plan as I can and not getting fancy. I won’t be running fast! I do not want to get injured, so slow and steady will win this race for me. The only thing that may change with this plan is that I may have to move around rest days or mid-week run days depending on things like the weather or my schedule with Free or work. I’m also going to be ok with adding in another rest day a week if I have to, but only if I have to. I don’t want to beat myself up about it either way, basically.
Last week, I tried a couple five milers just to see how it felt. Other than a little crankiness on the part of my knees and feet (blisters!), it felt good to stretch it out and realize that yes, I can run more if I just push myself. It feels good to push yourself, doesn’t it?
I won’t cheat and not give you any creative writing today, so I’m going to do another timed freewrite for about ten minutes. Here it is, in its pure form, meaning I haven’t written it yet, and I am going to try my hardest to keep typing and not to cross out or revise or anything. I do know what I want to write about though: yesterday’s motorcycle ride.
***4:52pm start time
He will be careful as always and I trust him. Getting on this bike is always an act of trust, of letting go, of putting myself literally into his hands and his heart and asking him to hold me there, gently, carefully. It takes me a while to get the helmet on as I’m always afraid I won’t do it right and it’ll come off if anything were to happen. He’s patient with me but lets me do it myself now; before he would offer to do it for me. I wiggle and push and pull at the straps and then it’s on. I’ve got my capri black jeans and my desert boots and a t-shirt and sunglasses on; what more do I need? My phone is in the side-saddle bag, and my credit card is in my back pocket. I lift my right leg over the back of the bike, sit back onto the seat he bought for me when he upgraded to the larger Triumph, and plop my feet down on the pedals. I always take a second to sit all the way back and then scoot up close to Newman to decide which way I want to situate myself. Both are comfortable, but sitting back means I have to also trust this seat, give my full weight to it and trust that it’s connected and will hold. If I sit back like this, I can’t as easily wrap my arms around Newman, but I don’t need to, hypothetically. I can let my hands drop into my lap or reach back and wrap them around the top of the seat. I can wave or stretch or put them in my pockets. It’s not unsafe; it’s designed to allow me to be hands-free, but figuring out what to do with my hands usually takes up a few minutes of thought as we get going.
Today Newman has one of his soft t-shirts on, not one of the soft ones I’ve bought him in recent years once I figured out what he loves and what I love on him, but one of the originals that is torn and soft from being so, so old. It stretches across his back, which is broad and strong in front of me. My hands reach out to feel the muscles under the soft fabric. He is warm and soft, and I spread my hands over his back slowly, feeling my way over skin and supple strength. Beyond his back I see his arms stretched out on either side reaching for the road. His arms are sun-speckled, brown and weathered and with hair the color of wheat running its way from bicep to wrist. When we stop at a light, I can stretch forward and run my hands down his arms, again feeling his strength near me. I like to focus on his body before me, not the speed or the road or the trees or stores we go by. Sometimes I do let myself lean back and look up, though, and I see the shadows dancing a path on the road through trees and buildings.
***5:08 end time