BLOWN AWAY, FOR 6 WHOLE MILES. YIKES!
This is certainly not the type of fall, October running weather I was anticipating all summer.
Granted, I do run some of my best times when it’s cooler out. Still, not a huge fan of the super windy, bone chilling temperatures showing up this early. Mainly, because then I have to decided if my sub par times are a result of lack of effort, just a bad run, or the freaking weather interferring with my performance. Not that today’s run was bad or anything. Just not great. Or record breaking. Or that eventful aside from me nearly falling on my face at the very end. And, wanted to stop about a million different times for a break to catch my breath…even though I wasn’t running that fast today.
For me, 6 miles is a really fun distance to tackle. Even, if I have to tackle it on the treadmill…which is not my ideal running environment. There’s just something about the distance, almost a 10k and pretty much the farthest I have ran on a treadmill (except once or twice when I had a whole lotta luck and somehow ran 6.5 miles on the dreadmill in under an hour). It’s also a distance that used to scare the Hell out of me. Like, an impossibly long distance that I was so not capable of running without a whole lotta walking and complaining.
I can still remember how terrified I was training for my first season of cross country during the summer of 2013. Running distances from 6-8 miles seemed scarier than climbing Mount Everest in a blizzard.
Now, I would give pretty much anything to be able to run those distances on a regular basis (say 4 or 5 times a week with a few shorter 4s and 5s thrown in) without fear of injury. I mean, I do get to try for 8 miles this Sunday, so I’m getting there. It just takes time. Now, back to the story of today’s 6 mile run and much fun it was running in this lovely Iowa weather! I could tell within the first few blocks that it was going to be a challenging run. Both the cold and wind combined made running fast and efficient extra hard.
I almost wish I had someone to film me running that first 2 mile loop, so I could see actual visual evidence of me weaving all over the sidewalk, failing epically to run with any trace of decent form. Nothing super crazy or off the wall happened during those first few miles. Aside from me complaining a lot in my head about how cold it was and how unprepared my legs were for these running conditions. The second two mile loop was a lot harder than normal. The wind seemed to be getting stronger, while I was getting weaker.
There is the one specific stretch of road that I swear lasted for about 5 year. Just like 2ish blocks that seemed to go on and on and on. I was pumping my arms like crazy, but I was not getting anywhere. Having to run past my house for the second time was also a trip. And, about a block or so past it, I could really sense my speed slowing down. I hadn’t even hit the 4 mile mark yet. But, I was clearly struggling to maintain a decent pace, and find my rhythm. So, I didn’t really have a choice but to get all introspection and use a little bit of positive psychology.
What it really came down to, was reminding myself just how strong I am and why I run.
It was like having a conversation with someone, anyone, about why I am so into, so dedicated to this whole running and lifting thing. I cannot tell you how many times during those last 2.5 mile I went over my reasoning in my head. I do it because I want to get stronger. I want to be strong enough, that no one will ever hurt me again. Strong enough that nobody’s word, actions, or absence in my life will bring me down. Or crush my soul. Because, running and lifting and working out take strength. Both, physical and mental strength.
So, my logic behind running, no matter the conditions, distance, or how I’m feeling, is that it’s going to make me mentally stronger. Physically stronger too, but I’m mainly focused on the mental side of things right now. Still, I admit that I would much rather endure a thousand physically painful runs, than have to endure a mentally painful situation/interaction. I’m not saying that I am looking to become an emotionless, cold-hearted person. I just want to develop a strong enough sense of self, that I’m not left questioning my sense of self-worth or who I even am as a person, just because of what someone else thinks or says about me.
This 6 mile run was literally everything I needed in a run.
There were fast miles (1&2) and slow miles (4&5). There were moments of triumph and moments of despair. Like, when I missed getting to wait for a train to pass through and had to climb the mini hill without a break. There were side stitches and moments of self doubt. There, was also a grand finale that I was so not expecting. In my defense, I was running sans glasses because at some point during lap 2 (probably between miles 2 and 3), I had to take them off because I couldn’t see shit. So, as I’m coming up on the 5.9ish mark by the gym, I have to hop from the road to the sidewalk.
I can’t run on the sidewalk in that one particular area because a. muddy mess and b. the creepy scarecrow. It is also still semi dark out, but like I’ve ran these streets like a billions times so that really shouldn’t be a factor. Anyway, rather than being smart and just running to the end of the road and hooking up directly with the sidewalk, I decide to just cut across this path that I though was a flat cement incline leading to the sidewalk. Nope. It was a grassy and very uneven bank. I came so close to biffng it, which most certainly would have led to broken glasses, torn clothing, and blood.