So, what exactly is life like post 10 mile run?! Well, for starters, you wake up the next morning at 7:30 a.m. itching to hit the pavement. WHO EVEN NEEDS REST DAYS WHEN THERE ARE STREETS TO RUN AND GOALS TO CRUSH. But, you are smart enough to know that running 7 days a week will only lead to injury...so you end up settling for a 3ish mile walk instead. Surprisingly enough, your legs don't feel that bad considering what you put them through the day before. And then all of a sudden it's Sunday morning and it hits your body all at once that HOLY SHIT I RAN 10 MILES.
So, you do what any sane person would do and run 7 miles...followed by a 90 minute leg day. From those very first few blocks, I knew I was going to be in for a challenging run. Which, kinda pissed me off. You see, I just kept telling myself on Friday when things were really shitty and there were about a billion cars on the road that Sunday was going to be soooo much better. Easier even...FUN. No time or distance goals, just enjoying being physically being able to run (and of course do so in my favorite place).
Easy was clearly not even in my vocabulary for those 67 minutes that I was out and about galloping around good 'ol Belle Plaine. At least I was able to start out sort of slow, so I didn't completely burn out by the end of lap 1. And the temptation to quit early as I passed Total Body Fitness at the start of lap 2 was strong..but like I wanted to at least get in 30 miles last week, so I had to at least get in 5 miles.
For some random reason, I caught my second wind as I was passing the standard station and heading towards the mini hill after the railroad tracks. I actually got to cross the road while going down the min hill and felt like such a rebel. YAY FOR LESS TRAFFIC ON SUNDAYS. I was legit skipping down the sidewalk as I turned onto 11th street. And for one reason or another I decided to stay on the sidewalk instead of running on the road and risking falling (which I know sounds dumb because I can literally fall anywhere, any time of day!). I was so in the zone, I forgot for a minute just how much pain I was in and how much I wanted to quit just moments earlier.
By the time I had gone past the sale barn and rounded the corner...it was a completely different story. My hips/lower back were just like NO. Running is awful. Running outside and having to worry about all the obstacle that go along with it is THE WORST. Who would do this for fun. Oh yeah...me. I opted to skip running past the Nursery to tack on extra miles and headed towards the four lane. The minute I was able to get back on the sidewalk I took full advantage of that...although by this point I am not quite sure that it made things any more bearable.
As sweat poured down into my eyes, stinging and fogging up my glasses I was thankfully able to cross the road without stopping. I sure as HELL was not going to climb the mini hill to get across the railroad tracks...so I headed for the underpass (even though that is normally a big NO NO because like cars and getting run over). Luckily, I made it through unscathed and headed up main street...doing my very best to focus on using my arms because my legs were just not about running at this point.
The rest of the run passed by pretty much how you would expect. Cussing out the add on hills at the end that feel entirely necessary given the fact that I have no idea how the course is going to be laid out for my half in September. I have no problem admitting that I shuffled up those last few hills and most definitely did not look like a "runner" out enjoying an early morning adventure. The one saving grace was that the tunnel thing in front of the hotel is open now...so I got to run through that for the first time in like FOREVER.
At a certain point, I glanced down at my watch to see I was at 6.5 miles...that is when I made the call that 7 miles was going to be the stopping point. Which, was a real bummer because I wanted to at least get in 1 lap around the twisty path and try to avoid stepping on that dead squirrel on my way there.
I tell you all this, all the not so fun moments that accumulated to 7 miles, not to brag about how bad ass I am or anything like that. I'm mainly trying to get the point across that their was a time in the not so distant past where I would have scrapped the run within the first mile or two because of the pain. Or would have slacked majorly pace wise and not ran a semi-fast 9:32 average pace per mile. This "strength" (both physical and mental) if that's what you want to call it, didn't happen overnight. I didn't just wake up one morning and say to myself, "I am no longer going to take the easy way out or give anything less than my best."
It took months upon months of getting through some of the hardest shit (both running/fitness related and life in general) to realize that I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for. It took running that first 7 miler back in the fall or finally getting back in to squatting for the first time since my freshman year of college to realized what I'm capable of. I have only been squatting (when I'm back in BP) since like November. Back then 95 pounds felt like having the weight of the world on my shoulders. On Sunday, I was able to back squat 135 for 2 reps (no spotter either) and front squat 115 for 2 as well.
I was so dang nervous to attempt to do so much weight for both of these exercises. Especially since I hadn't squatted in 3 week and had no one there to spot me. But, I told myself that I could do it. That I was strong enough. I mean I RAN FUDGING 10 MILES ON FRIDAY...I CAN FREAKING DO ANYTHING. And that's exactly what I did. I slapped a 45 lb. plate on each side of the bar, and was able to back squat it with zero problems. No pain or wiping out. And that's a victory that meant the absolute world to me. My previous PR was 125 for 1 and was several months ago.
All I can think of during these moments, when my body is able to accomplish things my mind couldn't have possibly fathomed, is that I really must be getting stronger everyday...at least a little bit. Whether it's doing a few extra reps, or just being willing to push to a place of discomfort in my runs that flat out sucks...I'm getting there. Step by step. Breath by breath. I can finally see all my hard work, all those early mornings, all the sweat and tears paying off. And that only makes me want to push harder, see just how much stronger I can get.
Week 6 half-marathon training: 32 miles. 0 falls or disasters while running out in the wild ONTO WEEK 7.