Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Perfect Distance

So I'm training for a half-marathon, which will be next Saturday. I use the word "training" lightly. I just run more often, and have increased how far I run. I thought I needed a goal, so on a bit of a whim a month ago, I signed up to run more than twice as far as I had ever run before. It turns out that if you run slowly, as I do, then there is no reason why you can't run twice as far as you normally do. Or, at least, that's what I found out, when I started running farther.

I used to run three miles two or three times a week. Now I run five or six times a week, and I run longer distances. My longest distance to date was about nine and a half miles around the chain of lakes in Minneapolis (and did I feel lucky to be a Minneapolitan when I ran that most beautiful nearly-ten miles in the country? Yes, in fact, I did.).

Still, the chain of lakes run took all morning, and it wiped me out all day. The perfect distance is the one I ran this morning. Six miles. There's a loop along the Mississippi that crosses the river into St. Paul and then crosses back over into Minneapolis. Six miles gives you time to listen to an entire episode of Fresh Air (and, let's be honest, if you run at my pace a little bit of Planet Money, too). It gives you time to be in a rhythm of running that allows all of that other stuff that you always think to get pushed all the way to the back of your brain so that you really hardly hear it any more. It also gives you a pretty good reason to stop by the Baker's Wife for a pastry afterward, and it forces you to leave the aged dog at home. I love six miles.

Now, if only I had signed up for a 10K. That would be perfect.

P.S. If you missed Terry Gross talking to Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno, whose daughter was murdered, and you kind of like a good cry, then here's a link to it. I don't even like poetry and every one of her poems hit me right in the gut.
Note: This link is not here for my mother, so if you carried me in your womb for nine months, do yourself a favor and don't listen to this podcast. And if you know my mother, don't teach her how to listen to this podcast. Give her something fun, instead. Maybe she'd like a little Stuff You Should Know. Josh and Chuck can lighten any mood.


Lisa said...

Good for you! I bet you'll like it and be proud of yourself.

However, I agree with you on six miles. I've done two 10-mile races, both of which I got talked into. I'm not fast, but I've got a lot of stamina and I'm stubborn. So I can do it. But the truth is, I just start to get bored after an hour.

Alex said...

Hey, Lisa, thanks for the note. Whenever I see something you've written, "Shouldn't that girl too busy being in labor to write? Doesn't the boy want to come out and meet his parents, yet?" Sheesh.