Well, here we go. I’m getting into big fat milage now. There’s less than 50 days to the marathon. Time for a big fat 16 mile run.
I wasn’t sure I was ready. The prior week’s runs were challenging, and the week itself was an overachiever’s dream. 5 miles + 5 strides on bizarre run on Tuesday, a killer track workout Thursday, and 6 miles on Friday night just for sh*ts and giggles. And I’m not saying that because it was impromptu but because by the end I felt kind of sh*tty and wasn’t giggling at all.
But 16 miles- as much of a mind game as anything. When I did 14 last Sunday, the mental hurdle was low-ish. I knew that if I could do 13.1 (which I’ve done 4 times, including here and here) then 14 wasn’t such a stretch. But 16? My usual Yeah! Let’s do this! was a little more like Sure, I’ll try.
I had the butterflies. I’ve also got a sore left hamstring and an index toenail that’s hanging on for dear life. But I also have friends that will relay this run with me, and they are just about the awesomest group of gals ever. I just…keep…moving…forward…
6:30 AM – dawn. Laced up. Hydrated up. Dorked up with my fuel belt. Inhalered up. (Cool dry air – YAY! Asthma trigger – BOO!)
Ready for the 3.5 miles by myself. Man I was babying that hammie, going super-super slow, like almost 12:00/mile slow. But I knew I needed to save all my energy for the whole of the run.
I hate getting up early, but I like getting runs done early – therein lies the rub. But then, some mornings, I get rewarded with view like this:
Nice and zen-like, eh? I just plodded along, waiting for the stiffness to ease, the creaks and twingies to go away. Usually it takes about a mile. It was taking a bit longer this time.
I saw some creatures along the way…
Running by concave driveway mirrors is a great way to startle yourself like a fool in dawn’s light.
Right around mile 3.5, I picked up these two troublemakers.
Amy and Mary were aiming for 9.5 miles today. We’re all going to run the Ridgefield Half Marathon on October 7th. Read! Write! Run! Teachers representin’!!
My hammies finally started loosening up at about mile 5, just in time for this fairly large hill:
So, we ran up into Main Street. I took a brief walk break at the top of the hill (I’ll admit I dislike walk breaks, but it had to be done). We started up again after a minute or so and we started talking teacher talk as only teachers can do (if you know of or are married to a teacher you know whereof I speak, and speak…and speak…) and before I know it, we’ve reached mile 6.5 which is the pickup point for this gal…
Our fast friend Jen-with-one-n always has a smile waiting for us! And she should smile – she had just completed her first triathlon the week before! Yes, first-time triathlete! Give it up for Jen, ladies and gentlemen!!
Jen’s a little faster than us, but the route flattened out a bit and we picked up the pace. The miles ticked by as we continued the teacher talk (Jen’s a teacher too) and I just kind of fell into what I call Run-Forrest-Run mode. I just kind of tune out of what my legs are doing, and let my mind roll with the conversation or just mull things around a bit. It’s a nice place to be, kind of like a pre-runner’s high stage for me. Then, of course, I had to pee. We’re on a semi-rural road that I run regularly, so I hit the “pee spot” – a lovely patch of pines in a small field. YOU GOTTA DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO, PEOPLE.
Then Jen’s 4 miles were over, we air-kissed her goodbye, and headed back into town. Back into Run-Forrest-Run mode. After a quick pitstop for one of the other gals (I wish I could’ve held it that long), we are back down the hill heading to the drop-off point. The pavement flattened out and I high-fived my buds. The sun got higher and I’m at mile 13. Just…three…more…!
Now it’s just me. All things considered, I felt ok. The pace hovered around 10:50 for much of the last few miles – perfect for a long-ass training run. I felt my toes getting squished and pummeled in my shoes, but it was tolerable. The evil hammie was making its presence known but it was cooperating. Off I go.
There’s more traffic at this point, so I concentrated on making eye contact and being alert. I had one earbug in, so I could rock out that last three. Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop…thank you Foster the People. Here’s the home stretch…
The last mile I started feeling really, really…good. You know what that means…Hello Runner’s High, I’ve missed you. You haven’t been around much lately. I know, you appear in small doses here and there, but you haven’t shown me the love lately…until now. You were waiting until I had Coldplay on my ipod, weren’t you? You snuck in during that boppy Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, just when you knew I couldn’t resist. You make me feel like I love everyone and everything and life is fine, oh so fine. Work that magic. Don’t ever leave me, R.H.
16 miles…DONE. The afterglow: