I’m on fire folks! I’m experiencing something entirely new while training for this year’s Fargo Marathon, and I love it! I’ve gotten into the high mileage weeks, and feel full of energy. It’s a nice change from feeling tired and “run into the ground” like I did during my previous two marathon training sessions. Maybe it’s all the speed work I’ve done in the months leading up to this. Maybe it’s the incredible 22 mile confidence booster I completed last Saturday. Maybe it’s all the positive feedback I’ve been receiving from my Red River Runner and Daily Mile friends. One friend has been calling me “Fast Jim,” and while I know I’m not really very fast, it motivates me just the same! Whatever the reason may be, I’m feeling stronger and more physically alive than perhaps any other time in my 47 years on this planet.
It seems like the only thing that can derail me is myself, and since I do possess a tiny self destructive streak, I need to be careful. A week ago, I got carried away by my music while doing strength training, and did an extra set of all my exercises. The muscles in my lower back took the brunt of that episode and have been tight and tired ever since. Right now that is my largest problem heading into the final six weeks of training, but it’s one I’m confident I can get past.
This morning I took a break from strength training to give my back a little rest, and decided to do only my scheduled 4 mile run at the UND Wellness Center. Generally, my four milers start out a little slow, and I speed up gradually until I’m flying at the end, something us runners call “negative splits,” because each mile “split” progressively gets faster, resulting in lower times. I wanted to ease up a bit on how much speed work I do with only six weeks remaining, so I told myself I wouldn’t get carried away and go crazy (again) on the final mile even though I felt really good.
It all started out well; mile one 8:50, mile two 8:35, and mile three 8:30. The music started out in my favor for the final mile with AC/DC’s “War Machines” giving way to Scandal’s “Warrior.” Abba’s “Waterloo” came on next and I knew I was in trouble when a shiver ran through me, and my legs suddenly wanted to take off to the up tempo tune! I used every bit of willpower I could muster to hold back. I knew if I went too fast today, my important speed work tomorrow would suffer. I decided I should let all the high energy out of my mouth instead of through my legs so I started to lip whisper the lyrics. Louder and louder I got, until I was whisper shouting along with Abba. “Wa Wa Wa Wa Waterloo” with my head bobbing from side to side with each syllable! I’m sure I looked positively insane to anyone who happened to glance my way, but I didn’t care, I was having fun and I wasn’t punishing my legs. I finished up the mile at 8:20, right on pace; mission accomplished! Like I said earlier, I’m my own biggest threat to myself! My own weird form of sanity won out today, but tomorrow may be different! I don’t know if I can handle feeling this good!