I was up at 4AM this morning, so I could get my weekly "long run" in before the sun got too hot. I waited till 5:00 to actually hit the road, because it was too scary out there on the dark. I wasn't worried about traffic. We live in a rural neighborhood, on a dirt road. I know of one person who drives by every morning at exactly 5:00, but other than that, it's pretty quiet around here until around 7. If I was running in the evening I'd be worried about drunk drivers, and actually, any time after 7AM you're taking your chances with people in a rush to get to work, and with people like Rick and I saw the other day - a man in the passenger seat, with a child of about 8 years old behind the wheel. Yes, really.
My concern in the pre-dawn hours is dogs. A lot of people let their dogs run loose at night, and I didn't want to encounter the local pack out there all by myself. I was pretty lucky, and only saw one loose, mean dog, which happens to belong to our neighbors, and which I had a friendly conversation with them about just a few days ago. I guess I have to call Animal Control, which has always been a waste of time for me, and perhaps I'd better reconsider a little can of pepper spray. Sigh...
Being awake and outside at that time of morning was pretty amazing. I watched as the sky began to get light, and shadows took shape under the trees. The birds woke up shortly after I got out there, and the sheep in the field around the corner were already in mid-breakfast when I went by. I keep hoping that one of these days I'll get to see the peacock that lives there fly down from his nightly perch in one of the giant old cottonwood trees that grow along the side of the road that was once a stretch of the El Camino Real, going all the way to Mexico City.
I listened to an African Pandora station on my iPhone, in hopes of channeling some Kenyan running magic. Taos sometimes looks a lot like the place we visited in Ethiopia, and I found myself sort of transported to another continent. I don't think it helped my running much though. Today was a hard one for me. 9 miles of running and walking had me seriously wondering if I'll really be able to go the 13.1 mile distance in September. This is really, really hard.
Somewhere in the last couple of miles, it occurred to me that I've been comparing myself to my 26 year old daughter, who can run forever, and to ultra athletes I've been reading about, who have been running professionally for years. In a snap-out-of-it moment, I reminded myself that I'm almost 55 for godsakes, and I only just started all this in February. I've been feeling like I'm somehow defective, like I got a clunker of a body, just because I can't just hop to my feet and run like a Kenyan. How ridiculous. Even if I'd been doing all this for the last however-many years, there's no guarantee I could ever get anywhere near that good. There's nothing wrong with my body, and my body isn't me. It's just where I live. It's the "equipment," and I'm still learning how to operate it, kind of like that little kid driving the car the other day.
I have 2 more months before the race, and again I remind myself that my only goal there is to finish it on my own 2 feet, and not in a van. Next week I'll go for another long run at some crazy hour of the morning, and I'll give it all I have, which actually, when I think about it, is quite a lot.