Monday, May 03, 2010

Six days

Final week.  I've run my last long run before the race.   I've got a 4 miler tomorrow and a 3 miler on Thursday.  And that's it.  I've done all I can do.  I'm prepared as I'll get.  The rest is all downhill. Kinda literally.  Mr. Bump and I drove the course over the weekend, and it is 90% downhill.  And twisty/turn-y. There is really no way to run it unless they have traffic blocked off, as they will on Sunday.  But I've run all the portions you can run without orange cones in the road.  My shoes are broken in, I've gotten comfortable with my fuel belt, and all that's left to do is hydrate, eat well, get as much rest as I can, and decide what to wear.  I intend to go through my gear and post some pictures of my running stuff.  We'll see if that happens.

I've got a couple of body parts that are nagging at me, and I'm going to acknowledge them and then tuck them away.  They aren't going to prevent me from running the marathon, so I'll just have to live with them.  The inside of my left knee, just to the left of my kneecap, has been bothering me off and on for the last couple of weeks.  But it seems to respond to ice and Advil, so I'll keep on that this week.  My right hip has a spot that's painful when I poke on it or do a hula-hoop hip stretch, but otherwise doesn't bug me too much.  It doesn't seem to respond to ice or heat or ibuprofen or anything.  I think it might be something like bursitis, in which case it is what it is, and probably only rest will make it better.

Currently the weather is looking pretty good.  High of 62, low of 43, partly cloudy, 20% chance of rain.  There is a real possibility of that changing in the next few days, however, and that weather forecast isn't for up in the canyon.  It's bound to be colder, probably in the 30s.  And shady.

But the truth is all of these factors (except possibly for the nagging body parts) are external.  And so much of this whole thing is mental.  I'm trying my best with that part.  I've been reading Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and there's a part where he talks about running a 62 mile Ultramarathon.  He hits a point where he begins to run on autopilot and I'm trying to cement that experience, that state of being in my mind.  I believe I reached it in the last two miles of my 20 mile run a few weeks ago, so I sort of know what he's talking about. This is what he says (his experience in the passage below occurs at around mile 47):
My muscles silently accepted this exhaustion now as a historical inevitability, an ineluctable outcome of the revolution. I had been transformed into a being on autopilot, whose sole purpose was to rhythmically swing his arms back and forth, move his legs forward one step at a time.  I didn't think about anything. I didn't feel anything. I realized all of a sudden that even physical pain had all but vanished. Or maybe it was shoved into some unseen corner, like some ugly furniture you can't get rid of....I was in the midst of deep exhaustion that I'd totally accepted, and the reality was that I was still able to continue running, and for me there was nothing more I could ask of the world.
Sine I was on autopilot, if someone had told me to keep on running, I might well have run beyond sixty-two miles. It's weird, but at the end I hardly knew who I was or what I was doing. This should have been a very alarming feeling, but it didn't feel that way. By then running had entered the realm of the metaphysical. First there came the action of running, and accompanying it there was this entity know as me. I run; therefore I am.
This is what I'm aiming for, around mile 17.  At the end of every long run in my training, I would think about how I was feeling at the end of it, trying to decide if I had x (if x represents run + x = marathon) left in me.  And I never was sure that I could continue until I got to the end of the 20 mile run.  In the last two miles of that run, I began to think that it wouldn't matter if I ran another 2 or another 6.2.  It was all going to be the same.  That's the moment Murakami is talking about, I think.  Letting go of the mileage and just living in the physical process of putting one foot in front of the other. 

Wish me luck.

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