The idea didn’t come to me until five minutes before I headed out the door to meet Megan: If we hustled through our miles, I could make it to part of Phoebe’s basketball game. It was my older daughter’s final game of the season, and I’d already missed several games because I like to do my long training runs for the Boston Marathon on Saturdays instead of Sundays. (If I’m in town for the weekend, I like to get the run done, rather than feeling antsy about it.)
The plan was for me to run three miles, then meet Megan for a 10-mile loop “around” the Willamette River before retracing my steps home for a total of 16 miles. But as I set my Garmin 110 outside to get a satellite signal, I realized I could detour to the school where the Purple Pythons would be playing. I dashed off a note to Jack, “Bring something warm for me to wear; I might meet you at the game,” and set off.
Enthusiasm for my just-hatched plan and for meeting Megan had me running too fast from the get-go, and when I met up with my gal-pal met up, we were no better. As every mile average-pace popped up, reading about 45 seconds faster than my usual long run pace, I tried to rein us in, but to no avail. Conversation flowed as easily as the miles, shifting from Megan’s debate about homeschooling her kids to her book group that meets weekly to discuss Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream to me telling her about my brother’s happy-tear-inducing rehearsal dinner in December. As we neared the end of our miles together, I told her my scheme. In addition to being concerned about making it in time to see any of the action, I also fretted about the distance. We quickly nixed the idea of her driving me to the game: It would allow me to see almost all of the game, but it would mean I’d only cover 13 miles. Next up:
Me: “But what happens if I get to the venue, and I’ve only covered, like, 15 miles?”
Megan: “You have to ask yourself: Will you be okay with that, mentally?”
Ah, Megan, you know me so well: I wasn’t asking her if, in the grand scheme of marathon training, 15 miles was the physical equivalent of 16. No, indeed, I was asking her if I’d feel like I’d copped out of going the full distance. Yeah, she had my obsessed-with-numbers mind down pat.
I decided I could cross that mental-bridge when I got to it. A quick hug, and I was off. Once again I ran too fast, sling-shotted by Megan’s encouragement and a sudden, almost overwhelming desire to see Phoebe play. I forged my way from the river through the Rose Quarter area, crossing against lights and cutting through parking lots to save time. I was a mama on a mission: get to the game. I spied the school, and made a final dash, only slowing down as I slipped in the gym door.
It was half-time; the teams were tied 14-14. I glanced at my Garmin: 15.41 miles. The un-covered .59 mile was forgotten as soon as the purple-clad gals headed out onto the court. The second half was a thrilling nail-biter, with Phoebe scoring the winning basket. I couldn’t have planned it any better.