ONE BLOCK AT A TIME // A TOUGH 9 MILER
This is the first time I have ran 9 miles since June 6th.
It may have taken me an extra 2 minutes today, and a whole lotta struggle...but I got it done. And, for once, didn't give a damn about the time. Or the unplanned stops to take out my shitty earbuds and reshuffle my playlist. All that mattered to me this morning was going the distance and not giving in to that little voice inside my head that said it was okay to stop at the 6 or 7 mile mark. That, my left hip was hurting pretty bad and playing it safe might be a good idea...especially with how muggy it was today.
I'm not sure, nearly 4 hours later, that I even have the right words to describe today's run. Or, just what a relief it was to finally be able to go that distance again and not feel like running 13.1 miles is really all that impossible. In fact, if you were to give me a quiz right now on everything that happened/that I saw during my 1 hour 29 minute 40 second run...I'm not all that confident that I could pass it. My mind was so focused on the actual running aspect of things, that everything else seemed to go by in a blur.
Lap one was actually pretty decent, the real trouble didn't begin until the start of lap two.
Thankfully, I did get to wave at a few people I knew so that made me feel a little more confident in terms of actually covering 9 miles without passing out or tripping or whatever. That was probably the biggest game changer for this run compared to pretty much any other long run I have done this summer. I knew that there were going to be way more people out and about because of the fishing tournament that was going on. So, while part of me was like OMG that's just too many people to see me out really struggling to push through the pain while running in a sports bra...Another part of me knew that that was exactly what I needed. More eyes. More waves. A bigger audience (if that's what you wanna call it). Another reason to not give up on myself when things got sucky.
I will admit, when I took my gel stop at mile 4 during lap two, I couldn't help but get a little discouraged and overwhelmed by the fact that I had another 5 miles to go. In that moment, all I could think (while slurping on my espresso flavored Clif energy gel), was that there was no way in Hell I was going to be able to run for that much longer. Heck, I didn't even think I could make it back up above the tracks to the gym at that point, let alone go through another lap through 11th street, a lap around the twisty trail, and then a lap wherever until I hit that magical 9 mile mark.
I really failed myself in a major way from the 4 mile mark on.
When I should have been using all of my mantras and pretending to be running with my best friend (or pretending that Thomas Rhett was at the finish line and I just needed to pick the pace up so I could get there ASAP), I was instead hyper focused on just how much farther I had to go and how much pain I was in. It seemed like it took my forever just to cover a few blocks. And, on top of that, I was continuing to rationalize in my head why I couldn't run 9 miles.
Over and over I told myself, you're just not ready. It's too hot/muggy out and do you really wanna take your chances with getting heat stroke or heat exhaustion? Maybe after your chiropractor appointment on Monday, later on next week when it's cooler out. That will be the perfect day. A better day. The truth is, THERE'S NEVER GOING TO BE AN IDEAL DAY TO RUN 9 MILES. Sure, I thought Friday would be "The" day to get my 9 mile run in. Until, I hit the 5-6 mile mark and realized that I just couldn't stand to go that much farther in the heat. So, I pushed it off to today.
And, as I took a brief pause at the 7.21 mile mark, I couldn't help but think about how this was turning out to be a whole lot harder that I thought it would be.
I didn't know which way to run to get the rest of my miles in or why on earth their just had to be so many damn hills in this town. CAUSE RUNNING A SHIT TON OF HILLS THAT LATE IN THE GAME WAS JUST NOT MY IDEA OF "FUN." So, I obviously decided that now was going to be the time that I would finally get my shit together and actually use my mantras to climb some not so steep, but very long hills. And of course pretend that I wasn't running alone, because that's the only thing that I could think to do to keep myself from just throwing in the towel altogether.
You're almost there. I bet I repeated that phrase to myself at least a couple dozen times during the final miles of my hellish, hot mess of a run this morning. Yeah, my watch may have been beeping at me for not running fast enough for pretty much the last 5 miles or so. But, at least I was almost there and it was almost time for my heavy leg day. Because, who wouldn't schedule a heavy leg day immediately following their long run? The minute I hit stop on my Garmin watch, I got a little pissy at just how long it had taken me to run 9 miles. Like, how dare I let the weather and my messed up hip+pelvis slow me down!!
However, I didn't have long to be upset, because I had to get my butt in the gym and lift.
It may have taken me a minute or so to get cooled off and muster the energy to change out of my running shoes and put a shirt on. But, before I knew it I was fully caffeinated and hitting new squat PRS. And, of course trying to relive every second of my epic 9 mile run and figure out how exactly I was able to stop myself from quitting at the 7 mile mark when things were looking pretty blah. And feeling VERY blah.
Maybe it's almost better that I don't remember every minute, every struggle of those 9 miles. I mean, if 9 miles is that hard, what is on earth is 13.1 going to be like on a completely foreign route with a whole lotta people? That's certainly going to be a challenge, one I feel like I'm up to after this morning.
I don't know what these next 1.5ish months of training will hold. I still don't know how to taper or what I'm going to even wear on race day. Or, if my body will be ready to conquer 13.1 miles that day. All I do know, is that I'm finally back on good terms with running and pushing past my limits. And, despite the look on my face mid run and all the f-bombs that I'm silently dropping in my head, I'm having the time of my life.