Last night, I had a tough time falling asleep. Among the many things swirling around in my mind were two things: if--and where--I'd do my ten-mile run today and what I'd blog about tonight.
My husband was out of town this weekend, so I had hired a babysitter for two hours on Sunday morning so I could run. Problem was, my motivation level was pathetic. Not complaining about some time in the Sunshine State, but I had a vacation hangover, which stems from too much time in a cramped airplane seat, kids that are totally out of whack from a two-hour time change, way too much laundry, an empty fridge and the general malaise that sets in when something you've looked forward to for so long is over. Plus, lying wide awake at 11:30 last night in bed, I knew I was going to feel wiped before I even started.
But I had a new Fuel Belt to try and it was warm enough for a skirt. Nothing like some superficial motivation. I decided to do the easiest run, both mentally and physically, I could think of. Ten miles of out-and-back on the Highline Canal, a gravel path that is as flat as my chest was at age thirteen. I'd bring my wallet, just in case I, um, for whatever reason just couldn't finish ten miles; I could end the run early and head to the grocery store. (See above: cavernous fridge.)
Babysitter came, I drove over to the Canal. Crazy weather was coming in--it was in the 80's yesterday, and snow was coming this afternoon--and the winds were kicking up and dark clouds were moving in. I parked on a slight incline, put my key in the Fuel Belt pocket. Pushed the lock on the door. Stepped out to tie my shoes. Bent down, out of the way of the open door. Bad decision. The combination of the fierce wind and the slight incline blew the door shut. Sh*(.
So I run back to my house, which takes about 25 minutes one way. No gels, no water in my new belt, no music. Actually, not so bad, except that there's a freakin' 1-mile hill I have to climb to get there and the wind isn't playing nice. So much for my flat, chill run.
I arrive home, grab another key and have to will myself back out the front door, even though I know I have to get the van. The whole way back to it, I pretty much have to talk myself out of just quitting at the car and heading to the store, where I could get a latte and shop, kid-free, at my leisure. At a minimum, we needed eggs, chocolate chips, butter, and some jelly beans. I've had chocolate chip cookies on my brain for days, and what's a trip to the store around Easter without some love from Brach's?
The only thing that countered my argument is that I had already run for almost 60 minutes, and had 35-40 more to get to 10 miles. If I quit, I'd have to run those six again, plus four more. And when was I going to do that? I made up a really sophisticated training schedule for the Country Music Half-Marathon, which adds one mile to my long runs every weekend, so I am up for 11 this coming weekend. Was I going to get up way early Tuesday morning to get in 10 again? Not likely.
I took a longer route back to the car, getting me there around 65 minutes. Put the new keys between my teeth as I put on the new Fuel Belt and keyed up my tunes. Then I hit the trail I meant to be on all along and ran, through the rain, for about 95 minutes total, which puts me somewhere between 9-10 miles. (I forgot to charge my Garmin: another speed bump in today's run.)
As I pulled up to the car again, with two different keys to open it (so many options!), I was chilly, nauseous and had no runner's-high to speak of. Still, I was psyched that I had hung in there; I feel like I gained an important ounce of mental toughness today.
More importantly, I had an a-ha moment that will hopefully ease any future sleepless nights: when I don't have a plan, the universe usually does.