Thursday, June 9, 2016

Give me 20!

A couple of weeks ago, I headed out the door for a "long run".  When I headed out for my run, I wasn't sure just how many miles a "long run" meant.  I'm not officially training for anything right now.  I just like to say that I'm training for life.  I have a half marathon coming up later this month, another in July and a half and full marathon in the fall.  But, I feel so fortunate that I am able to run when it fits into my schedule, rack of the miles while coaching several classes in one day and do what I can, without putting the pressure of an intense training program on me right now.  Life is busy.  And running is still a constant in my life.  I'm just fitting in the miles when I can.
When I headed out the door, I wanted to run at least twelve, maybe fourteen to fifteen miles around town.  It was a beautiful morning, but it was also going to be hot.  I didn't get out as early as I had planned, because I slept in an extra thirty minutes and enjoyed a couple cups of coffee with my husband. 
My handheld water bottle, my tunes and I headed out shortly after 7:00 am for a "long run".  I ended up stopping a total of four times to refill my water bottle, because the sun was intense and I was feeling it.  I mixed some old favorite running routes with some exploring on paths that were new to me.  I ended up on the other side of town and had the option of taking a left and heading back for a total of fifteen miles, or taking a right and completing twenty.  Could I do it??!!
I opted for twenty.  I knew that there would be more opportunities for water along the way, and I took advantage of that.  Each time I drank, refilled and squirted water on my head and neck to cool down.  At mile seventeen, my legs were starting to buckle, which was a familiar feeling from all of my previous marathon training.  It had just been awhile since I felt that.  I was pushing myself.  My last couple of miles would be bringing me to one of the busiest parts of town, and a big hill.  My pride had me take an alternate, flat route that took me on a less-traveled path.  I was feeling rough and must have looked even more exhausted and my pace slowed from a 10:15 to a 10:45 to just over 11:00 minute miles.  I was fine with that, but I didn't want my death march to be documented by every car that drove past.  The flatter route was a better option for me as I brought in my final two miles towards home.
I was hurting afterwards.  I stretched a lot.  Took a nice, cold shower.  And refueled with a chocolate protein shake.  Most importantly, I kept moving for the rest of the day, so that I didn't cramp or tighten up.  Taking the dog on walks, pacing and rocking the baby during my son's baseball game and working a little in the yard that afternoon really helped me feel less sore the next day.
So, I proved to myself that I've still got it.  I can just go out there and log twenty miles.  Twenty miles??!!  Sheesh.  It sounds a little insane when I type that and read my words.  This girl who hated running the mile in gym class.  She just ran twenty miles around town.  For fun.  They weren't twenty fast miles.  But they were mine.

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