If projections hold and the planets align, I will run the Bristol (Rhode Island) Independence Half Marathon on June 26. It'll be lucky number 13 in my 50 Halfs in 50 States quest, which I'll restart in my 50th year in the smallest state. It'll also be on the 19th birthday of the almost-adult who made me a mom. I have a hard time wrapping my head around how fast time has moved -- how is she 19? -- but will run rather than fret about something I can't understand.
Speaking of time and how it moves quickly, in training terms, now is when the long runs start getting longer. On Saturday, I ran my second ten miler of 2021. It was all one could hope for: I covered the distance and my sciatica didn't flare up. #winning
I'd love to point to some huge insight I had during the 2+ hours. But after more than a year of life-changing thoughts and feelings that worked themselves out when my feet were in motion, this run was full of little moments. It was a welcome change from sobbing at mile six.
The biggest difference between a double-digit run at the beginning of April and the end of April in this part of the country is how zippy fast I was because I was only wearing one layer of clothing. My first 10-mile run (in freezing cold weather) took 2 hours and 16 minutes. I trimmed off 7 minutes the second time around. I'd love to say improved fitness was the cause but, really, I lost at least five pounds when I ditched the fleece tights, two jackets, mittens, and a big fleece hat.
Think of me like an Olympic swimmer who trains with long body hair to increase drag who shaves everything just before a big race to gain speed. Only not with swimming or the Olympics. I did shave my legs in mid-April, after five months of not bothering. I'm sure that helped.
The other thing that helped was a new spring in my step. I went to New York City for a few days mid-month after my full immunity kicked-in. As much as a love my family, my dogs, and my town, after 14 months of close contact, getting to see a stranger was invigorating. To say nothing of food I didn't cook and a room I didn't vacuum. I even found the subway rats endearing, which is a sentence I'll never type again.
To add to this spring is a song in my heart -- or, at least, for mile nine of the ten. Thanks to a well placed downhill and Kelly Clarkson's "Whole Lotta Woman," it was my fastest mile. Additionally, I'm now convinced that Kelly and I would be great friends, even if she isn't a mother runner. The universe needs to hook us up.
The run was full of other small discoveries: my new favorite GU is the cola one, which is weird because I really don't drink soda, cola or otherwise. Like the summer daffodils, the local runners are emerging after a winter's rest. Nine minutes of running and one minute of walking might be my perfect run-walk interval, if only because it makes the math so much easier.
These feel like small discoveries because they are. Not every run needs to change how you see your place in the world. Sometimes, you have a string of perfectly adequate runs where you muse on all of the little details that truly don't matter much. Those free and easy moments are pretty great, too, and we should notice them more.