Fun fact: When you sign up to run a race in Canada, your training plan is delivered in kilometers.
I hadn’t thought much about this until I set out for my long run last Sunday. Chris and I had a quiet Saturday night, so I was up by 6:30 and had a light bite to eat (oats + almond butter + fruit) and some water before getting ready to head out. 15K was on the docket, my longest run to date. I decided not to overthink it and just start moving.
It was a gorgeous morning with plenty of sunshine and a cool breeze. I had planned a route along Beacon Street (because running up the hill at the start of Comm Ave first thing sounded really lame/hard), over the MIT Bridge, down and across the Longfellow Bridge, and back. This would allow me to wrap up around Coolidge Corner, where I could buy some water and shake out my legs with a walk home.
I had also planned to avoid listening to music or podcasts for as long as possible on this run. I wanted to focus on my breath, let my mind relax, and enjoy the quiet morning. Since it was the 4th of July weekend, the city was indeed quiet and the first few miles flew by. I’m still hesitant to push my pace on long runs, and was enjoying an easy rhythm that allowed my eyes and mind to wander.
Suddenly, I realized I hadn’t investigated exactly how far I had to run in miles. Despite having lived in Canada and New Zealand for a combined two years, I’m still sometimes confused by the imperial-metric conversions. 15K? So like, 9ish miles. But I’m not really a “I’ll run for _ish miles” kind of gal. I knew that running 8.9 miles vs. 9.3 on this training day would make no long-term difference, but I didn’t care. If it said 15K, that’s what I was going to do.
I could have turned to the good people of Google, but I had some time to myself and figured thinking it through couldn’t hurt. I know that a 10K is 6.2 miles, and a 5K is 3.1, so I have 9.3 to check off today. Well that wasn’t very hard. Then I started thinking about how many kilometers I had tackled each time my watch pinged a new mile. Running with kilometers in mind suddenly felt so satisfying. I’m sure many people try to avoid thinking about their mileage as they cruise on a long run, but these distances are new and exciting to me, and thinking about Ks meant more checkmarks. That ping means 6 miles, but it also means 10 kilometers. 10 is a badass number. Look at me go. 11 will be here so soon. In case you couldn’t tell, I like checkmarks.
After this mental detour, my mind quieted down and I just tried to absorb the moment. I’m training. Right now. For a half marathon, something I never thought I’d really be interested in. I’m running along the Charles. The trees are beautiful. The wind is slowing me down but keeping me cool. I live in Boston. I love Boston. I love running. The good feelings were abundant as I crossed back and forth across the river. La la la, isn’t life grand?
- Running a new and iconic route
- Being passed by a super badass mom pushing her kids in a massive stroller #goals
- Sharing waves and “Good mornings!” with several familiar faces from November Project.
My watch pinged and I glanced down, excited to see 8 miles already come and gone. A distance that had seemed so scary last week was now just a checkmark on my way to 15K. But my watch said 7 miles. What? Why? Is this thing broken? I’ve definitely run 8 already because, well…oh wait. No, it’s right. I’m at mile 7. So just 2.3 to go. Why does that suddenly seem so far and annoying?
I sensed that my mind and growling belly were irritated and realized that if this was just a fun, non-training run, I would definitely stop right here. So it was time to dig a little, and time to let a podcast distract me. Since the interview I chose was focused on running, it had the added benefit of re-motivating me to finish strong and enjoy myself.
I soon fell into a great rhythm, picked up my pace, and found myself picking up speed as I hit 15K/9.3mi. I slowed to a walk with a new milestone checked off and a smile on my face. Despite the mind-driven bumps along the way, I had an amazing morning and still felt like I had more to give. I continue to be surprised by my body and areas of previously untapped strength, and my mental agility is beginning to catch up.
Onward and upward with training. This weekend my long run will take place in Stowe, Vermont. Bring on the Green Mountains and 16K (whatever that means) 🙂