GOING IT SOLO
So between work being uber-crazy and constantly watching “March Madness” (Go Badgers) in my peripheral vision, my day has been rather hectic.
But tomorrow morning I’ll be up at the crack of dawn (funny, whenever someone says or I write “crack of dawn” I hear an imaginary rooster crowing in my head… weird). As I was saying, I’ll be up at the crack of dawn (there it is again… sorry) to do double duty on a run. It’s my last long run before the Hollywood Half Marathon on April 5th, but it’s also a training run to stay in marathon shape for the OC Marathon on May 4th. So, I’ll be doing 17 or 18 miles in and around Burbank. No big deal right… I mean I just did 20 & 23 mile training runs with Team To End AIDS back in February. One difference…
I’ll be running solo.
And it’ll be a little weird.
Yup, this will be the first run of over 5 miles that I’ve done “mano-y-no one” since October of last year.
Again, no big deal, right? Instead of talking to others I’ll just listen to the voices (and that damn rooster crowing) in my head. More precisely, I’ll be jamming out to my iPod. I’ve got a music mix for just about anything, but it’ll be a little different than what I’m used to. Guess I’ll just have to turn it up to eleven.
But then there’s the other considerations. What route will I run? With T2, they had the course plotted out each week with guide cones, mile markers and funny sayings. All I had to do was just follow my “Team Roadkill” pack and I knew I’d end up back at home base at precisely the proper distance. This time the route is up to me. I’ve got my GPS and I know the distances in and around Griffith Park. I can certainly create a course that’ll work and hit the distance. But again, a little different than what I’m used to.
What about water and food? Sure, I can carry enough Gu Chomps (Peach tea, yum) to cover any route, but my water belt at capacity (4 bottles) is only good for a max of about 12-14 miles. So that means at some point I’ll have to loop back to the car to fill up (another thing to consider when I’m mapping my course). And then I’ll miss the great food that T2 usually provides on the course, including pickles and peanut butter crackers… yum. No, seriously… yum. Don’t knock ’em until you’ve tried ’em in the middle of a 20 mile run. They’re awesome.
And what about start time? Each week with T2 I’d arrive to Griffith Park just before 7am where I’d say “hi” to friends and we’d get the weekly pep talk before hitting the pavement. Tomorrow, I can start at 7:00am, 7:30am… even 8:17am (yup, I could be a madman and throw caution to the wind). Point is, I can start whenever the heck I want.
Okay, between you and me, it’ll probably be 7:00am… maybe 7:05am. Don’t tell.
All in all, I’ve been distance running for 5 years now and I spend an equal amount of time each year running solo as I do with T2. I know with 100% certainty that I’ll be fine.
And there are plenty of benefits to running solo, from the freedom to follow my own route and pace, to using the time to think about what I choose. I can brainstorm ideas, work out any issues I want, think about my grocery shopping list or just zone out. No pressure or expectations. Pretty sweet when you think about it.
Still gonna be a little weird though… at least I’ll have the rooster to keep me company.