Going Amish

Lancaster_County_Amish_03For my 20-mile marathon training run, I decided to abandon my trusty Nike+ app and just do it, er, run. Yes, I wore a basic sports watch, and yes, I had my iPod, so I guess I didn’t go completely Amish. But I’ve been so up in my head lately about my upcoming marathon — and pretty down on myself for my decrease in speed since last year — that I thought it was time to worry less about my time.

Besides, I don’t use my Nike+ or a GPS during the actual marathon, so it was a perfect chance to practice how I play.

Here’s what happened: I ran 20 miles, and it was fairly awesome.

I could not have asked for a more beautifully crisp September morning. I had a good meal the night before and felt well-rested. I took  water when I needed it and ate Shot Bloks in my usual 30-minute intervals. I split up the run into two 5-out-and-backs on the Lakefront Trail and made sure to enjoy the scenery (including a massive amount of joyful dogs) along the way. My hips and knees and ankles ached at the appropriate times, but I never felt out of breath — tangible proof that I’ve been putting in the work and it’s actually paying off.

In the end, when I checked my watch and struggled through some horrible running math, I realized I’d run 20 miles at a far faster clip than the majority of my long runs over the last couple months. Sure, the weather probably played a part (OK,  a BIG part), but I also know removing the pressure of constant pace monitoring allowed me to just do my thang. And it turns out, I’m pretty good at just doing my thang.

Now it’s off to taper town with my confidence and my excitement for the Chicago Marathon completely restored. — Mags

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