I was two miles into my twelve-mile run when a duck flopped out from the woods. It rapidly waddled along the trail, trying to escape the daunting footfalls of the intrepid marathoner. The duck quacked, flapped its wings, and rose a few inches before hitting the pavement. It complained loudly and hobbled down the path, as quickly as its webbed feet and odd body would allow.
If this were a story of fiction I would say, as I drew near, the duck suddenly launched itself into the air, soared above the river, and led a column of its compadres to the safety of the nesting ground. I would then tell you the duck inspired me to keep moving, no matter how inelegant I felt.
But this is not fiction.
The duck flopped back into the bushes. I heard a splash and a lot more quacking.
I had ten miles left to contemplate this message from nature.
The literal interpretation suggested I was a creature out of her element: waddling along looking ridiculous, while the real runners passed by.
If the interpretation hinged on flying, then it meant I would be unsuccessful in my attempt to soar. Nature was telling me to fling myself through the bushes and plunge into the easy stream of my pre-running life.
Or maybe, just maybe, I was reading too much into things.
Sometimes, ducks just fall into your path.
I read messages in nature: they are the Creator’s sticky notes, attached to the massive calendar of my life. Some notes challenge me, in order that I might grow. Other messages encourage me to press on, to stay the course.
At mile nine, I saw the swan.
Blog Neglect: high.
Family and training neglect: low.
Miles: last week 26. Monday 5.
Total Miles (since training began): 222.
Weather: Last Tuesday I did the treadmill, and subsequently vowed to do the treadmill only if tornadoes were actively ripping up my running paths. Otherwise, I had good weather. Saturday was gorgeous (though a little too hot), and today is also sunny and in the 60s.
Something New: I began doing pace training. 200 meters fast, 200 slow, 400 fast, 400 slow, etc. I did that for the first two miles of my four mile run, and while I thought I had slowed down for the last half of the run, I was actually running faster than ever. I ended up averaging a 9:16 mile (on the roller-coaster route), which is a personal best.
Some things I Never Thought I’d Say:
“It was too sunny on Saturday.”
“After the first five miles, I was ready to really run.”
Something Funny My Six Year-Old Said: “You have a LOT of muscle! I can’t even feel your bones!”
Aches & Pains: I was fairly rubbery-legged after the 12 miles. I discovered muscles I never knew existed. Also, my fingers swelled up like sausages after my long run. I quickly pried off my wedding ring. The swelling was most likely from the way my water pack had been pressing on my shoulders. Nothing serious—just weird.