I'm reading the book Running & Philosophy, which is so far a tasty read for the heady runner. You don't get much better than tracing Martha Nussbaum's thinking on the embodiment and musicality of emotion through running. The woman memorizes operas while she's in marathon training so she can recite them in her head on long runs without an iPod. Both insane and admirable, if you ask me.
Martha, however, has nothing to say about how much my ass hurts, even to sit. Except maybe the quote she gives from Mahler: "A burning pain crystallizes." Kind of sounds like a koan (or a fortune cookie), but that is definitely it. A crystallized, burning pain in the ass.
Saturday, I did my longest training run for the half-marathon in three weeks: 16 miles. It wound up being 16.7 miles, but who's counting? Actually, I was--every hundredth of a mile for the last 7/10 of a mile to my car, as my butt spasmed.
I ran the first 9 miles on my own, then was joined by speedy Jill for the rest. I tried to keep up, but we were running at 1 on a hot afternoon and her smokin' pace... well, she smoked me. My average pace wound up a disappointing 8:23, and I didn't hit the last two miles at HMP like I needed. Bah.
8:23 for almost 17 miles. And I was so bummed by it, I consoled myself with a can of real, full-sugar, all-the-sodium Coke on the way home. It was the best 12 oz. of Coke ever created. My compliments to the factory. Have you ever had a tough long run and then decided that the first thing you consumed afterward was the best possible substance ever made? That was the Coke. I should have kept the can, it was that good.
But the real point of note is that I was disappointed in the 8:23 pace. True, it was slower than I will need to feel ready for the half-marathon. But a year ago, I would have shaved my head for a 17-mile training run at that pace.
This makes me realize something pretty annoying about my personality. I am perpetually dissatisfied. You could say that this means I am always open to growth, learning, evolution, experience. Wouldn't that be nice? Really, it just means that I am usually bitchy and hungry.
I know I'm lucky to have a fast metabolism physiologically, but I'm realizing that my personality has a fast metabolism, too. I process an experience instantly and am immediately looking for the next thing. There's no appreciating the forest for the trees or the big picture or whatever your favorite cliche is. Hence the dissatisfaction with the 8:23 pace and the decent work ethic to improve and conquer my dissatisfaction.
Ironically enough, as I'm typing this, my son just said, "You're kind of a lazy mother." It's funny 'cause it's true. I am kind of a lazy mother. A lazy mother who runs 40 miles a week. (I'll show him lazy. There's a four-year-old who's going to do some hill repeats this afternoon.)
I'm going to try to be more content with my progress and my state of affairs. If that doesn't work, I'm going to start drinking more and blame my stagnation on alcohol. Externalizing dissatisfaction is truly the best approach if you can't remove it, that's what I always say. I'm sure Martha Nussbaum would agree.