It’s so weird. Some days I feel like I can barely drag myself around the block. Other days… well, wooh!

I think I felt extra motivated after the half marathon 5k was over, and ready to turn to a new page, which is the marathon relay coming up at the end of March. I want to be ready. I want to be a strong contributor to my team.

So yesterday I drove down to the start of my relay leg. This is new for me, to actually be able to train ON the route of a running race. It was kind of cool. I parked my car at the intersection and already I could imagine the thousands of people who will be there too. My heart started pounding. I got all gadgeted up: first I put on my Bodybugg, which has been out of commission for a while because I couldn’t find my armband. Then I set my iPhone to the couch-to-10k app, week 5, day 1. This same workout totally killed me last week. It is supposed to be 70  minutes total, and I pooped out after 30, and felt totally defeated. Back in the saddle.

At first, my feet and ankle were really bothering me and I was worried. I was wearing new running shoes, which I feel like I really need. The soles of my old ones were SHOT and I think it’s not healthy to run on them because they’re all uneven. I had on my ankle brace. Something about the lacing had been messed up at the 5k and the top of my foot was really, really sore. But whatever. I had to do it.

There’s something very Pavlovian and addictive about the “couch-to” apps. They play some loud tone and a voice says, WALK NOW or RUN NOW. And do whatever it commands. I started with a 5 minute warmup. As I was walking (fast) I noticed what a beautiful route it is. It’s a wide, flat road called the Mandela Parkway. Which I love. There were some plum blossom trees already blooming, and some awesome graffiti art. (I didn’t take pics while running, I stopped and took them when I did the mileage with my car later) It made me so happy that I chose this leg of the marathon. It feels perfect for me.

It’s a really industrial, warehousey kind of neighborhood at first; a lot of trucks and industry. And you know what was amazing, I got like half a dozen thumbs-up and people waving at me. They seemed so happy to see me out there running. Did they know I was doing a marathon training, and that the marathon is going to be coming through this neighborhood? I don’t know. At any rate I was feeling very Rockyesque.

After about 15 minutes my feet stopped hurting. Everything just loosened up, got warm and lubed up and felt great. I got into a real groove. The intervals felt great: 2:30 run, then 2:30 walk, back and forth, 20 times. Every time I started feeling a little tired, cardio wise, the voice would say WALK NOW and I was so happy. Then every time my bones started hurting, it would say RUN NOW and I’d be happy all over again. It actually felt a lot better to run than to walk; it took pressure off my feet and just felt… relaxing. (I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST WROTE THAT)

As I ran, I kept imagining doing this with hundreds/thousands of other people, and several times I got teared up. After a while I realized that I was in a completely different part of town. I could not believe I’d run that far. When the Voice told me I was “halfway” I pulled a U-turn and started heading back to my car. I couldn’t believe how far I’d gone.

My return trip took two minutes less than the trip out. Which was great. I got to my car and I felt like a million bucks. Then I got in and drove the route again to see my distance (which C210K doesn’t measure, and I didn’t want to run C210K AND Runkeeper simultaneously). My halfway point was at 2.9 miles. Which means… I ran 5.8 miles of intervals! In 70 68 minutes!!!!

I was a damn happy puppy after that. And it made me feel like, it IS going to be possible, I AM going to do this, and it’s gonna be great.

Here’s some pics along the way. Look at this cool metal person sculpture. It’s enormous, and there are two other half-people on the other side of the road. Everything just made me so happy. It was one of those great, great, great runs. I feel so lucky.

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