Steve issued me a challenge about six weeks ago: run 10 miles before my birthday (December 19) and earn a new pair of running shoes (actually, at the time he said a 2nd set of running clothes, but I’ve since decided to get shoes instead), or I’d have wait until Christmas to use the rockin’ awesome running outfit he’d just bought for me at Blue Mile.
At that point, even though I had run 6.2 miles in September, my long runs were more like 5 miles. So, I started doing 3 on Mondays, 2 on Thursdays, and long runs on Fridays. Every Friday, it was like I was discovering new powers I didn’t know I had. I found out that I could run 7, 8, and 9 miles. I found out that running in the mid to high 30’s wasn’t that bad as long as you have a hat. Even snow wasn’t really an obstacle. Amazing!
My schedule was to do the 10-mile run on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. But I got socked with an awful stomach bug right before the holiday that really took it out of me. It took about four or five days for me to feel completely well again. I tentatively got on the treadmill on Monday to see how I felt after taking an entire week off, and found that I was pretty much where I was before my week of sickness and holiday madness. Sweet! I decided at that point that Friday, December 2 would be The Run.
This sport is really so much more mental that I ever would have dreamed. It’s hard to articulate sometimes, but it’s almost as if my body can only do what my brain tells it I can do. As I mapped out my route the day before my run, I was constantly reminding myself that I can do it, that it’s within my abilities.
So, on Friday afternoon, I took off from my house to run to the Gas City park and back. Here’s my route:
1. I found someone’s car keys on Meridian Street. Did you lose them? I left them on a guardrail on the east side of the bridge.
2. A massive Alaskan malamute dog came running at me on 54th Street. After initially freaking out, I relaxed when it did that apologetic head-down thing that good-natured dogs do. Still, it apparently had decided that it would be super fun to run with me, and wouldn’t leave me alone until its owner came and grabbed his collar.
At the 8 mile mark, as I was returning to the IWU area, I hit a wall. My pace slowed and my energy dipped, despite having eaten a couple bites of granola bar at the 6 mile mark. (Still experimenting with what kinds of fuel work best during a long run) My toes hurt, knees hurt, hip hurt. Oh, and the legs, too. Definitely the legs. But I kept going, knowing that I just had to get it done. My time was 2 hours, 5 minutes, but I made it!
Geez, what kind of crazy would run for 2 hours?
Two days later, my toes still ache a little. But I feel awesome! I feel like I won a bet. 🙂 I’m excited about getting my new shoes sometime soon. I feel very confident about being able to run a half-marathon in the spring. Or two.