Sunday, May 31, 2009

Runner's High: Knocking it Out

 Today I was thinking about a drive I made a couple years ago.

I was dropping some friends off at Griffith Park for the inaugural running of the Los Angeles Half Marathon. I don't remember why I'd volunteered to wake up before the ass-crack of dawn and drive an extra 20 miles or so on a Sunday; may have been simply because they were teammates.

I do remember waiting for them to get ready. I remember them talking about taking a long-sleeved "throw-away shirt" to keep warm pre-race. I remember them discussing warm-up methods and field size (which was big, for a first-time event--about 10,000 people). I remember conversations about how they thought they would fare in what was essentially, for them, a training run, one for which they'd done no specific training.

I remember being astounded at the fact that they could just knock out a half marathon like it was no big thing, like it was just another training run. I remember thinking it remarkable that a person could have so many race t-shirts that they wouldn't mind throwing one away like it was disposable.

I would never just knock off a half-marathon; I would never sacrifice one of my precious race shirts to the pavement. My race shirts were like medals in themselves; I could wear those around campus, and everyone would know that I am a triathlete. And a half marathon is a long, long race! It takes hard training and planning and (like approaching the Most Holy Place) a good amount of fear and trembling (and maybe bells on your ankles).

But that was three years ago (two-and-a-half?). And now?

Now there's a half marathon/5k next weekend, the weekend before my half-ironman. I haven't done any special training for a half marathon; it would be a last-minute decision; I'm definitely not evidencing any signs of fear and/or trembling. But I'm still entertaining the thought of doing it.

So what? It's only a half marathon. I can just knock it out.