When I first started running, my life was ruled by my watch. It told me when to wake up, when to run, when to eat, when to walk. I obsessed over splits and gauged my success on how fast I was running on a given day. A fast run meant a good day. A slow run ruined my day. When I started road racing I put even more pressure on myself to run fast. And at a point in my running career I was fast. Little by little I improved, with track workouts and hill training shaving minutes off my personal bests. Keep in mind that, at my best, I’m a mediocre middle-of-the-pack mid-distance runner. Fast for me was a 5K under 25 minutes, a 10K under one hour and my personal holy grail, a sub-two hour half marathon.
I remember when I finished my second half marathon, I sobbed like a baby because I missed that two hour time by 26 minutes. Never mind the fact that it was the 2005 Manitoba Marathon, a race that will be remembered by the tens of thousands of runners who raced that day as being dangerously hot and humid. It was 36C and all of us had trained in cooler spring temperatures and were unprepared for the heat. In the final 5K I passed runners who were laying unconscious on the side of the road, hooked up to IVs or who lost control of their bowels. My husband and friends met me at the finish line with flowers, tequila sunrises and high fives for surviving that run, hardly expecting the blubbering mess that I was for missing my goal.
All because I was ruled by the watch.
It’s only recently that I’ve realized that I’m not a fast runner. Sure, I could be if I ran 400m repeats, but I hate the track. While I can’t run fast, I can run for a long time. I’ve decided to put that theory to the test by signing up for my first ultra run, the Tread 6 Hour Trail Run on May 27th.
See, they don’t even call it a race. It’s a run.
On Saturday I started my training for the Tread Run with, you guessed it, a slow run. Halfway through on the trails, I saw this awesome sign that will be key to successfully training and running this wacky marathon. I’m following a training plan that incorporates plenty of rest days with long back-to-back weekend runs. I know it won’t be easy and I know there will be days when I’ll miss a run. I’m just happy that I get to run slow.