Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where is the Power?

Yesterday around mid afternoon all I wanted to do was run. Just get another run in, preferably a nice long one. I had all of this extra energy which was bordering on anxiety. I was so excited to take an hour and a half and just run my heart out. Cristian had a work dinner, so it would be just me and Luna. Cristian would definitely not have wanted to go on a second run for the day when it was all he could do to get out of bed that much earlier to run in the first place, so my plan was perfect.

Around 4pm I looked outside and it was pouring. I don’t mind running in rain, mind you, it’s the wet clothes the next day that I don’t appreciate (did I tell you that here in Italy I don’t have a dryer? Try it and you’ll understand why running in rain is a sad proposition...). For one second I felt like I had out-fooled the weather by running in the morning, then the next second I felt like the weather was getting me back for being so smug.

It was still pouring when I got home and Cristian went off to his work dinner. I was feeling a little blue so I did the only other thing besides running and eating Crab Rangoon (which is kind of like having a dryer in Italy...) that can cheer me up. I took a bath. I read for a bit in the tub (Ian McEwan in Italian, it was all I could find in the house that I hadn’t read and it was surprisingly good even translated) and then kept thinking about how I couldn’t wait to run the next morning. Maybe I would wake up EXTRA early and go EXTRA far! I knew that this cut-back week was for the birds. I need miles!!! Then I wrote in my journal about how this cut-back week was for the birds and how I needed miles, then I read my new Trieste trail running book (did you know that the whole railroad--- now a bike path—that I run on was built in 1870 in 19 months?? I have simple projects at my house that have taken longer) until I fell asleep.

Then, about two minutes later (or perhaps 8 hours) the alarm went off. I should have jumped out of bed, but I didn’t. I re-set the alarm to an hour later (Cristian didn’t seem to mind--didn’t even budge when the alarm sounded). Forget cut-back week, I thought... how about TAKE OFF A WEEK? Then I remembered Luna. What time was her last walk? Hmm...before the bath, before the diary writing, before the trail running book. She can hold it another hour, can't she?..

What? Was that a lament from the other room? A dog sob? Jeremy (dog owner, runner, Aussie exchange student with us in Belgium) was right when he said Luna would keep me honest during training. No choice. Upsy daisy...but contra volontà...

It took us forever, but we got a little over five miles in (on as flat a course as possible) and to tell you how hard it was, just think of what my Power Song was (I don’t have a Nike pod, so my Power Songs are the songs that repeat inside my head while I’m running): “You’ve got a Friend,” by James Taylor. I’m not kidding. It felt like a cruel joke, too, since I had had a long vivid nightmare last night about a Facebook Let’s hate Karoline conspiracy. Now imagine listening to that song on a cassette in your Walkman with batteries that need to be replaced and you will get an idea of my pace.

I felt good when I got back, though, which is what usually happens. But I was wrong about cut-back week being no good. Sometimes cutting back is just what you need. Now let’s just hope that the reduced mileage will help put the Power back in Power Song because, no offense to James, but he’s not that fun to run with.

1 comment:

  1. James Taylor would be so proud....perhaps. Step-back weeks are confusing, for sure. I look back at the 7 miler I did on Saturday (and yes, Kari, I was happy with my time, too!) and think WHAT NEXT? When I notice that I will be back down to 5 miles on Saturday, I am both relieved and frustratred at the same time. I know, our non-marathon-training-friends out there are simply saying "Then run the extra miles, you freakin freaks!!" But, as Hot Hal says, "step-back weeks make it possible to survive the stress load that is part and parcel of the high mileage necessary for successful marathon training. You relax, knowing that you can store strength to push ahead to the next level of achievement."

    So, I say, step back with pride, Kari. Store that energy, replace your batteries and, for now, always remember that "You've Got A Friend." But, might I suggest finding a new power song for next week when the step back is not an option?