My weekly training consists of three runs: a long run, a short run, and a speed-training run. I am increasing my long run by a half mile each week, which means that each week I am running the farthest I have ever run in one go. (On Sunday I ran 7.5 miles for the first time.) It's not often that I accomplish something so concrete and new, and so I enjoy these small weekly triumphs. I come home and discuss the whole run with Greg, who genuinely wants to know how fast I ran and how it went and which route I took and whether I stopped to re-tie my shoes or take a drink of water. I love his interest in these banalities because I am interested in them, too.
I am learning things on these long runs, beyond the obvious lessons my body is learning about running just that much farther each time. I am quickly learning that long runs simply take a long time--there is no rushing through them. It turns out that there's something quite freeing about this. I'm able to settle into the run and relax, as odd as that might sound. I get to enjoy listening to my music, and even slow songs are welcome, since there is no hurry. This sort of imposed patience also allows space for thought; I am able to puzzle through something put off all week because I didn't have the energy to deal with it, or to turn a simple thought over in my mind and enjoy its intricacies. Or I can not think at all, void my mind of anything beyond the rhythm of each step and corresponding breath. I'm surprised by how beautiful I'm finding this experience to be. So much of my life seems to be full of rushing from one thing to the next, trying to catch a train or bus, making it to work or trying to get home, meeting friends out. These long runs are space carved out in time without intruders or deadlines.
While I am enjoying this process, I have two pieces of disconcerting news. The first is that registration for the race is still not open. I am beginning to worry that there is a problem of some sort and the race will be cancelled. We'll see. The second is that I injured my ankle last week while running (strained my tendon, I think?) and now am a bit limpy on a slightly swollen ankle. This means no more running until I am healed, which throws the whole process a bit out of whack. I will be patient, though, lest I push it and do any serious or permanent damage. Not worth it.
Meanwhile I will mentally prepare. Last night I dreamt that I was walking up a hilly street in my neighborhood, trying to get to a meeting. Down the hill toward me came a short woman wearing a teal top hat; she had the shape of a human, but in my dream I knew that she was an imp or spirit of some sort. Anyway, she mischievously smirked at me and knocked into me as we passed. Circling back around, she tried to repeat this, but I surprised her by grabbing her and then gave chase after her up the hill. She squawked and whined as I ran after her up the hill, shocked that I was able to chase after her with such determination. If I can't run in my waking life for the moment, at least I can keep training in my sleeping life.