September 7th was a 20-mile run. I wasn’t even nervous about it. In fact, I was looking forward to it. A few weeks ago, I was freaking out about 17 miles. After I finished the 17 miles, 18 and 20 were just no big deal to me.
This 20-mile run in addition to getting used to being in my feet for so long was also special because I did it solo and with no music. I normally run with music, but since I discovered a few weeks ago that my music player wasn’t going to last, I thought I should do at least one really long run without music. And the 20 mile run seemed like the perfect run to do this on for a couple of reasons.
One, it was sufficiently long so that I would have more of the marathon experience. Second because I was going to be starting my run well before the sun came up and for safety reasons, it would be better to be fully aware of my surrounding until sunrise.
Turns out that running without music isn’t so bad. At least when I am running completely solo. I don’t run with music when I am running in a group because that is just rude. But when I am completely solo, it is another story. I tend to think a lot and I’ve discovered that music can drown out the thoughts. Not all the thoughts are bad, but sometimes, I really want to turn my brain off and not think about things.
This past week was one of those weeks of thinking way too much for me. One where I didn’t want to think about things. Yet, it felt like things were conspiring to make me do a lot of thinking. While doing the 20 miles today, I did try to find ways to turn off my brain and not think. I think for the most part I was successful in doing that. Focusing on my footfall turnover, breathing as well as looking at the running form of other runners did the trick most of the time. Though, there were times when a thought would come racing into my head and I couldn’t get away from it. Not to mention, those thoughts might have reminded me of a song that summed up the thought as well.
If I were not afraid of getting strange looks, I might have started singing those songs along the way. But probably to the great relief of all the other runners on the lakefront path today, I did not bust out into song. As for the run itself, it was really good. My calf did start to cramp up around mile 17 so I ended up walking more than and I didn’t want to. However, my time for those miles was pretty good and would have been great if not for the calf thing.
Now, I have a cutback mileage week coming up and then a race the following week. Hopefully it all goes well and if it does, my hopes of finishing the race looking fresh will be realized. I did get a great compliment after my run in that someone told me I didn’t look like I had run 20 miles. Rest assured I did and that makes me feel even more confident that I will conquer the hometown beotch this year with ease.