Saturday morning, I woke up an hour later than I wanted to, and then spent almost a half-hour with my shoes on, debating with myself whether or not I would actually get up and out the door. I made it to the gym, and hit the track just before 10:30 a.m.
I walked for the next 2.5 hours. I would stop for a few seconds to stretch out a tight muscle, or to grab a couple swigs of G2 (low-cal Gatorade) at every "mile" mark.
56 laps. 7 miles. Another milestone.
I listened to music on and off. Sometimes, if I just wanted time to think, I'd pause the music and just listen to my own breathing. I prayed some, but it seemed forced, like I was using it to distract myself instead of letting it flow naturally. I need to figure out how that will work.
I spent some time imagining ("visualizing" sounds too New Agey) the final 0.1 of the half. What music could be playing? Will I try to sprint the last 500 feet, or will i be too shredded to do more than trudge? Will I cry? (Of course, I'll cry. I'll be a basket-case. Just thinking about it gets me all verklempt.)
One of the songs on my Shuffle that I love running to is Johnny Cash's cover of Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage." It's got a great, quick tempo that keeps my pace up, and Johnny's singing about how he's gonna break his rusty cage and run. Then there's this transition, about 1:20 in--a pause, followed by a key change and shift in tempo. Every time I hear it, I can't help but start sprinting (or the closest thing I can do to sprinting). It's like my own personal "Chariots of Fire" anthem. I don't know why, but it just touches some primal part of me as an athlete.
Here, see what i mean: