On Saturday I ran 13.1 miles for the fifth time, but unlike the last four — no cheering crowds, no start line, no medal at the end. Because I can’t resist an occasion, I nicknamed it the Summer Streets Half-Marathon for the Manhattan street closures I was taking advantage of where I spent the second half of my run.
For really no reason, at the end of this run I felt confident like I never had before that I can do this marathon. It was a victory I needed when I needed it.
It rained from about mile 1.5 to mile 8.5, Prospect Park to downtown Brooklyn, over the Brooklyn Bridge and through Lower Manhattan, Chinatown, SoHo. At a crosswalk I saw a guy take off his shirt just to wring it like a towel, and I knew how he felt. But I wasn’t upset. This summer has me so Stockholmed that the novelty of being cool, verging on cold, far outweighed the inconvenience. (And my iPod didn’t short out, for which I credit the armband.)
It kept getting better. Around mile 9.5 I experienced this weird wave of euphoria where I was just happyto be out running, looking at all the skyscrapers, covering the distance. About a mile later I ran into runningbeautiful(New York! It’s just a small town with a subway!) and we ran together for a bit, which was really fun. Then I hit 72nd street and turned around to go back downtown, and I knew I was going to finish — the best feeling.
I was so happy that instead of hurrying home I hung out on Summer Streets, climbing onto a big bounce-house-type couch (not me, but here’s the couch) and hitting a free food samples fair for cheese and granola bars. Usually, I just want a shower and a nap as quickly as possible. I felt all right when I got home, except for my feet which got a little torn up from being wet and stuck in wet shoes for hours.
This was a watershed moment in training and I approached it with apprehension. I must have mapped out at least six possible routes to get the mileage in. I was extra meticulous with sleep and dinner (gnocchi!) the night before, and I’d like to keep it up because I think they were both critical to my mental game. It feels too cheesy to write, but I am so excited about the challenge ahead. As usual, I had a lot more to think about while I was running, but as soon as I sat down to write it all escaped.