My cousin-in-law, Michelle, was visiting this past weekend and she is also running the 2011 NYC Marathon so we decided to do our long run together. She needed to run 10 miles and me 9 so we worked out the “rules” before hand. I was going to run the full 10 miles with her and she would run at my slower pace which I thought was a big concession as she’s about 11 years younger and one heck of a lot faster.
The night before our run we went through my standard preparation, making Kool Aid with half the sugar and a dash of salt, filling our water bottles about halfway and then freezing them. Then we were ready to tackle a whole 15 minutes of TV and then bed.
The next morning we were up bright and early to start the run before the sun was too hot. I was so excited to have a running partner. It was the first time I’d run with anyone on my long runs and it was going to be awesome. As we started out we were going a little faster than my normal pace and slower than her pace. I felt good. It actually felt awesome to be able to talk comfortably at a pace faster than my normal run.
Soon we were hitting the one really big climb over the “bridge to the beach” hill and we started up. I’m happy to report that we both climbed it like champs. As we coasted down the other side I still felt great. Then we hit the long flat road along the dunes and it took my legs a little while to adjust, but they did. I felt really good all the way out to our 5 mile turnaround spot.
As we started back though I started to feel really tired at about mile 6. It didn’t take long for me to start falling back a bit and when we hit the big bridge hill again I really didn’t want to climb it, but I did manage to get up it, just much slower than Michelle. She was kind enough to wait for me at the top, but I felt a little bad. I knew I was holding her back.
I loved coasting down the other side of the bridge again, but soon we were on the part of this run that I dread, the long, flat, incredibly sunny part where all the momentum is gone from the downhill and my legs have to work of their own accord again. Now I was sucking pretty bad! I realized I’d gone out too fast and that was why I was hurting, but I still had about 2.5 miles to go. I couldn’t quit even though, truth be told, I really wanted to.
Slowly Michelle started pulling away from me and soon I told her to run her own pace. I’d meet her back at home. It was then that I started really digging deep. I told myself that I couldn’t quit. I haven’t quit in a race yet and I wasn’t going to quit this run. I would finish. I started singing to myself silently and then started going over the list of my marathon sponsors in my head. I always remind myself of how many people are helping me on my marathon journey when I want to quit.
When I reached about ½ mile away from my house I just kept telling myself over and over that I was strong and I could finish. Slowly, with glacier-like speed, I made it up the one last little hill and down the last 0.2 miles to my driveway. I can’t remember the last time I was so happy to finish.
I checked my time after the run and to say I was disappointed is well, a MONUMENTAL understatement. My time was SO awful, that I can’t even bring myself to type it.
I was thinking before this run that I’d skip my 10.5 mile scheduled run and just jump to the 12 mile one. After my slow-as-dirt run though, I re-thought that ridiculous idea. I know I need as many long runs as I can fit into my training schedule without hurting myself so the 10.5 mile run will be up in 2 weeks.
It still amazes me how sometimes running can be so humbling and how other times you can feel like you’re Superman. Maybe Superman can make an appearance again soon. I can always hope!
I’m almost halfway to my fundraising goal. If you can help me get to my dollar goal and at the same time help me keep running when I want to quit please click here.