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Breaking out

There is a place out there I wish I could reach more often.

As I've gotten older and traded endurance for speed (though it wasn't much of a trade - I was never particularly fast), I've learned things.

For example, the first two to three miles of anything suck. This morning, for instance, was an easy day. 3 miles. After running 13 on Sunday, 3 seems hardly worth putting my shoes on. But I do it anyway. And it feels good only when it's over.

But it's during that 13 that I find that place. It's a mental place that starts around mile 9. It's like my body takes over. Innateness takes over. It's like putting civilization and simply being civilized behind and doing what your body wants. My body is on automatic and my brain feels like it's back in tune. Like a guitar whose strings have been over-tightened and only now loosen to find the right notes. (BTW, I had my first guitar lesson yesterday so that metaphor is on the brain. Short capsule summary - it went well and Kirk Hammett has no immediate worries about me taking his job.)

Why does it take 9 miles? I have no idea. It's like civilization is concrete that has to blasted through to get to the dirt underneath. I find my rhythm - in my feet, in my heartbeat.

Maybe that's when the endorphins kick in. I have no idea. But one of the most fascinating things to me about running the marathon is that I will be pushing those limits. I'll get what's past there.

Saturday, I ran 13 miles. When I did the half-marathon last fall, I ran 13.1. These are the longest distances I've ever run. Next week, my long run is 15 miles.

Unchartered territory.

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