Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's 5:15 AM and I'm getting ready to run...

****This post was originally started on Saturday morning, but I didn't have time to post it. So, here it is...

I had my alarm set for 5:30 AM, but my guts had other plans! Yes, my bowels woke me up again! What the freak! I also had an incredibly wacko dream. I dreamt that a gay friend of mine asked me to have his child. He wanted me to get prego with his baby, and then let him raise the baby as his own with his partner. I know, it was weird. So, now I'm awake thinking about what I need to do in preparation for my 12 mile run this morning. Since Tokyo Marathon is just a month away, we are starting to taper our running schedule. We have one more 20 mile run next Saturday, and then just a few shorter runs until the race.

I'm really starting to look forward to race day. I'm anticipating it like it's graduation day. It's amazing to see how my running has changed over the last 6 months or so. I recall mentioning to you last May that I had lost my running Mojo. Obviously, I found it. I'm so thankful for that. When I'm running, everything comes into place. My world feels complete and meaningful. I feel truly alive and invigorated every time I challenge myself to a run 14 miles or longer. I love to set a goal each weekend and then achieve it. It makes me feel amazing. I guess, I'm somewhat addicted to the runners high, but mostly I'm addicted to each small accomplishment. Running and training for a marathon is amazing on so many levels. I highly recommend it, if you are up to the personal and physical challenge. I guarantee your life will never be the same again.

So, now here I am. I should be getting to run, but instead I'm telling you that I should be getting to run. I should get off my butt and log off, but I'm just not ready to begin to the process this morning. So, have you ever wanted to know what I do to prepare for a long run? Well, if not, I'm going to tell you anyways. After all, this is my blog and I can write about whatever I want! So, here goes:

The alarm goes off. I turn it off. I roll out of bed, stumble and drag my feet to the couch where I collapse until my eyes can focus. I have to drag my feet for fear I might step on one of Jude's plastic dinosaurs with spikes, or I might step on a small, plastic Killer Whale--those are the worst to step on. The dorsal fin is hard and sharp, causing excruciating foot pain if stepped on. So, I perch on the couch until my eyes can focus. I turn on the TV and watch useless Japanese television shows until I am awake enough to go into the kitchen and get a large glass of water. I get my water and return to the couch, searching for something worth watching. I drink my water, becoming more awake and aware of the world around me. I sit and drink until the glass is empty. Then, my bowels usually begin to process the water and I have to go. I go. I return to the couch.

If I don't go, I can't run. I cannot run with heavy, full bowels. I just can't do it. I MUST be empty before I run. My bowels usually work like clock work, but sometimes they got off, causing me internal distress and making running impossible. This morning my bowels were emptied first, then I sat on the couch. I know you don't want to know about my bathroom habits, but for a runner, your bowels can become your worst enemy.

So, I sit on the couch allowing my senses to return after a nights sleep. I don't have restful sleep, because I always dream. And, I always remember my dreams. I dream almost every night, and I'm tired almost every morning. I hate it, but I don't want to take anything for fear of becoming addicted. I come from a long line of great alcoholics. I know I have the ability to become one myself or to become something worse. So, I try not to take anything I don't absolutely need. Remember, I'm already medicated!

So, when I'm finally able to focus and think, it's time to get dressed. I usually put on my contacts first. Seeing is important. (And, yes, I wear contacts. I have worn glasses/contacts since the 6th grade!) After I put on my contacts, I brush my teeth and wash my face. Then, I go to the computer to check the weather and temperature. I dress accordingly. I wears tights if it's 45 degrees or cooler. I wear shorts if it's 45 or warmer. My clothes are usually picked out the night before and lying on the edge of the couch waiting to be worn. But, I like to check the weather multiple times just to make sure I know the conditions I'll be running in. There's nothing worse than to be out on a 15 mile run ill prepared for the weather conditions. The weather can break you, if you let it.

So, I get dressed and drink another glass of water. I also eat a breakfast bar. If I run 18 miles or longer, I eat 2 breakfast bars. I load up my fuel belt with fluids, cell phone, keys, Yen (money), Sport Beans, tissues, asthma inhaler, and breakfast bar. I know, I'm a freaking pack mule when I run. But, knowing that I have each of these items gives me comfort when I'm out running for 3 hours or so. I need the water to drink, the beans and bar to eat, the phone just in case I get hit by a car or another run gets injured, I need tissue in case I have to pee behind a tree...I need everything I carry. I must have them or I can't run.

I put on my shoes, hop in the car to meet my running buds, and off we go.

I'm like a super superstitious Major League baseball player. I must have everything just perfect or my mind will wonder about it while running. And, if my mind is on something else, chances are I will not have a good run. I must know that I'm prepared for hunger, thirst, emergencies, the toilet...I'm prepared to be self sufficient for the next 20 miles or so. And, I usually am. Occasionally, I drink all 24 ounces on my belt and must stop at a vending machine to purchase more water. But, I'm happy to be ready for anything on the run. Two weekends ago, I even carried a rain poncho for fear of rain on a 20 mile run.

S0, that's my process. It's long, detailed, obsessive and compulsive. Everything must be just right. I must have a certain type of food, Sport Beans, and tissue. If anything is off, I'm off. And, that's just not acceptable in my book. I prepare and prepare again. I'm neurotic, but here my neurotic behavior comes in handy.

Happy running!

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