Sunday, March 30, 2014

10 miles

Yet again, time has flown by me and I have been woefully remiss in blogging.  I think life will return to "normal" soon, but I guess it's a matter of what "normal" is.  This week I got back into the swing of things at work (somewhat; I had a late night meeting on Tuesday that wasn't exactly me at my "A" game, but I'm getting back in the groove), Nick had his 1st grade concert on Wednesday night and did wonderfully, yesterday, we had a belated birthday part for Jack-Jack (I will have another post on his party soon), and this evening, Nick had his Blue and Gold banquet for Cub Scouts.  It has been a fun, busy week; so much so, that Jack and I crashed last night after his party and slept straight through to this morning!  I had a lot on my to-do list last night, but I figured I must have needed the sleep if I slept so long and hard.

One of the things on my to-do list this weekend, besides the above, was to go for a 10-mile run.  Given the events of the past few weeks and my lingering hip pain, training has needless to say, fallen by the wayside.  Prior to this weekend, my longest run was 7 miles and I wanted to get 10 in before the half next week.  I figure at the point that I can do 10, what is another 3 miles?

Mentally, I have been having a panic attack about the race much of this week and feeling incredibly unprepared.  I knew going into this that it would be hard for me to stick to a training plan, but I had no idea the curve ball that was in store for me with my dad's illness and passing.  I wanted to push myself to 10 miles to see if I could make it through the race; I knew getting through 10 miles would be huge for me.

I am pleased to say that I did 10 miles today in 2:25:28, but I'm not sure how much it did for my self-confidence.  My pace was considerably off from my norm of 12:30 -13:00, in fact, my average was 14:33. I intentionally started out slow to conserve energy, but never got up to speed, even after taking a GU around mile 4.  I have a few theories on why I was slow; I have been eating crap for several weeks (car trip food, eating out a lot as we travel, etc.) and my weight has crept up as a result so more weight to carry equals a slower pace, my hip was nagging me again, although not as painfully as before, and I was incredibly thirsty from about mile 5 on after I finished the water in my bottle.  I thought there might be more water fountains further up the trail, but there weren't.  When I finally found a water source at around 8.5, I chugged two small bottles of water, which was probably not the smartest idea, since it made me a little nauseous.

I felt ok until about mile 8 and then my body felt like it was shutting down.  My legs felt like lead and then they started to cramp on me.  It was strange, though.  Rather than cramp in my calves, it was mainly in my hamstrings.  The charlie horse sensation in my hamstrings lasted long after I stopped running, too, which was annoying.  I ended up run/walking much of the last two miles, which kind of irked me.  I completely let my mind get the best of me and I know I could have run the whole 10 miles.  On the one hand, I don't care, because I did 10 miles darn it and there is absolutely nothing wrong with walking.  On the other hand, I'm competitive with myself and I wish I had pushed through.

At this point, I know I can finish the half next week one way or another.  Although I had a time goal floating around my head for the past few months, I just want to cross the finish line.  With all that has happened lately, that is all I can ask of myself.  Crossing the finish line will be huge and it will be a fantastic feeling.  There will be other halfs (I am already planning for October and the Halloween half) where I can train properly and focus on time.  The race on Sunday is about finishing what I set out to do a year ago after I did the relay.  If I have to drag myself across the finish line, I will.  That medal is mine!

I saw a few fun things on my route today, which makes the time go by faster.  There were so many people out on the trail, so it was great people watching.  I figure 1) it was a beautiful, sunny, warm day and 2) it is the weekend before a huge marathon and half marathon so people were trying to get one last long run in, thus all of the people.  Everyone was really friendly, especially the bikers.  I had one gentleman run past me in the opposite direction near mile 4.5 and he whooped and hollered and said "great job" which was nice.  I also ran past a woman with a shirt that said "Cancer sucks" and I was feeling particularly worn out and her shirt gave me a little extra boost and reminded me to run for my Daddy.  Lastly, about 3.5 miles in, I saw some graffiti on the trail.  I don't normally condone destroying property, but this particular graffiti made me smile.

A little motivation for my 10 miler today
I was explaining to my mom that about a half mile further up the trail, I found more graffiti of the random, childlike nature (phallic symbols, skulls and crossbones, beware danger ahead nonsense) and in hindsight, I suppose my perceived encouraging graffiti was actually a note about what was ahead.  I'd like to think that it was a little sign for all us runners trudging through long runs, though, so I'll stick with that story.

I actually feel pretty darn good even after running 10 miles.  I have very little soreness and we even walked to Nick's banquet tonight, so it was nice to stretch out the legs even more.  I think what today's run taught me is to change my expectations about Sunday.  It is not the end of the world if I have to walk a bit to get through the race and in the end, my one and only goal is to cross the finish line.  I am proud of myself for going beyond what I ever thought possible and today's run marks the farthest I have ever run in my life.  T-minus 7 days until I push myself even farther and accomplish a huge goal of mine. 

"Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world."