Saturday, January 18, 2014

Running for Meg

It has been a really rough week for me, so last night, I decided a relaxing evening was in order.  I rented Despicable Me 2,  made popcorn and homemade chocolate milk (also known as milk with Hershey's syrup, but this is how my oldest likes to refer to it), and snuggled up with my sweet oldest son to have movie night.  It was much needed!

I also took a rest day yesterday, even though my training schedule called for a 3 mile run.  Have I mentioned that I might be the worst follower of training plans ever?  I didn't wake up early enough to run yesterday, and truthfully it wasn't really even in the forefront of my mind to do so, and I had a lunch at work that precluded a lunchtime run.  I didn't feel too guilty about missing a run, since my game plan was to run 5 miles today.

My training plan called for 4 miles Thursday (check), 3 miles Friday (nope), and 5 miles today (big ol' check but more on that soon).  I wondered if I should do 3 miles today since I missed yesterday, but I decided to go big or go home.  I'm not sure if it was the right call, but I did it anyway.  I have been dreading the 5 mile run on the schedule and I just wanted to get it over with so I could shake out my nerves and it worked.

It was hard to make myself go out for a run today, because I was especially tired and it started to snow as I was getting ready to leave, but I was determined to run today in honor of Meg Menzies, a mother runner who was killed on Monday morning by a drunk driver.

You can't quite tell in this photo, but it was snowing pretty good at this point. Luckily, it was melting as soon as it hit the ground. 
I decided to change up my route a bit today since I knew it was going to be a bit of a mentally challenging run.  I know the length of my normal running route to within a tenth of a mile no matter how many different ways I do my out and back.  Rather than subject myself to ongoing statements of Oh great; I still have 2.5 miles to go or Good grief! I've only done 1 mile so far, I decided to go further on my normal path to experience new parts of the trail that I haven't memorized.  For me, this meant crossing a busy street, which I have been nervous about and I'm not sure why because there is a crosswalk.  After I crossed the street, I experienced a new part of the trail which was kind of a blast from the past.  In my high school days, Matt and a friend of ours would bike along this trail regularly and I can't tell you how many countless hours I've spent on it.  It was fun to go down memory lane and enjoy that part of the trail from a running perspective.

My run was pretty good today; I had a little tweak in my right quad, but nothing too major and my pace improved a bit.  I did 5.02 miles in 1:03:03 with an average pace of 12:33.  My splits were 12:59, 12:24, 12:55, 11:58 (where did that come from?), and 12:54.

I thought about a lot today on my run; part of my rough week involves someone I love dearly going through a tough time and I thought about him.  I also thought about Meg a lot and when my legs started to hurt and I wanted to walk, I remembered her and kept going.  I continue to keep her family and friends in my thoughts and prayers.

At first, I felt weird smiling in this picture, but I have a feeling Meg is smiling down on all of us today as we put in our miles. 
The trail was fairly empty today, but I did come across a few runners.  Generally speaking, the people on the trail aren't too chatty.  Everyone seems to kind of go about their own business, but I'll usually get a nod or smile or two.  Today, though one fellow runner gave me a boost early on in my run and I'm grateful!  I wasn't even a half mile in and still trying to psych myself up for the run ahead when an older lady ran by me and gave me a thumbs up.   It made me smile and I gave her a thumbs up back and said hi.  It was a nice sign of encouragement, so thank you to the nice woman in pink who gave me the thumbs up!

While on my run, I was, as usual, listening to one of the Another Mother Runner pod casts and several things stuck with me.  Dimity was answering a question someone had about which marathon training plan she should use.  She was essentially debating between a beginner's plan and an intermediate plan and she had already completed a half.  Dimity advised that she use the beginner's plan for her first race.  I'm paraphrasing here, but Dimity basically said that the goal of your first long race should be to finish it.  This isn't the race you want to try to PR in.  You want to get to the starting line, healthy (i.e. injury-free), happy, and stress-free.  I love that!  I'm not trying to PR by any means for my half, but I do have a time goal and a stretch time goal.  Honestly, though, I just want to cross that finish line and my time is irrelevant.  There will be other races to try to reach a PR!

The other thing Dimity said (and again I'm paraphrasing) in response to a different question that I honestly can't remember at the moment, is that at the end of the day, you are running 13.1 miles and that doesn't suck.  I might feel differently at mile 8 of the half, but being able to run and push both my body and my brain past the limits I thought they had is a beautiful thing.

Were you able to run for Meg today?  I'd love to hear about your #megsmiles

"The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you."