Friday morning, having made a complete 180 regarding my fear of the suburban dark, I bounded out of bed, excited to run through the final hour of night. Once again, the cool air refreshed me and I pulled the silence of the neighborhood around me, lost in my thoughts. I thought about other runners I know who get up at 5 AM, too, for their own training, and I felt linked with them. I wondered if they too were alone on the streets of their town, if they were passing beneath leafy tree branches, if they too were heading straight down the middle of the road. I was enjoying my solitude, and I didn’t feel alone because I knew there was someone else out there doing exactly the same thing I was. Maybe we’d even clicked on our Garmins at the same moment, too! I finished my 4.26 miles in a zippy 38:17, once again benefitting from the flat course.
Friday night and Saturday morning I spent in Queens, so before I headed back out to Hicksville for Nana I decided to take my long run. Danielle gave me the thumbs-up on 9 miles, and I was nervous. I headed out at 8:30, an energy gel in my pocket, my iPod turned to the Dump Runners Club podcast (I am woefully behind; Miss ya, Matty!), and a bottle of water in my hand. Even though the bulk of my run would be over the 59th Street Bridge and back, I headed east on 43rd Avenue so I could pad the route with an extra mile on the front end. I hate running up those steps on the East Side Rec Path, but if I turn around at the foot of them it’s only 8 miles there and back. My pace was quite uneven (fluctuating between a 10:57 and an 8:04) — the hills on the bridge really slowed me down — but I was putting out consistent effort the whole time. Miles 7 and 8 were amazing, I felt terrific. At around 8 and a half miles, I started to get a little emotional, because I wasn’t in pain, and I wasn’t exhausted; in fact, my last mile was my fastest. I ran 9 miles in 1:26:23, for a 9:36 average pace. I was encouraged! But no messing around: I stretched bigtime.
I was also tired. I slept the whole car ride from Sunnyside to Hicksville, and last night I was in bed at 9 PM. Today, I ran 4 miles in full sun (I may have slept in–8 AM is late for me) and discovered that this neighborhood is much more interesting when cloaked in darkness. These 4 miles run in 35:09 brings my weekly mileage total to 24.45 miles. With the consent of my body and my PT, I am thinking about running 10.5 next Saturday, and 12 the following Saturday, then taper the week of October 5th. We’llsee. It’s not a plan (I don’t want to jinx it); it’s just a thought.