I have officially started training for the 2011 NYC Marathon! I kicked off my official training on Sunday by running 7.5 miles. This run was a turning point this year as it is the first time I’ve run over 6.2 miles since I finished the NYC Marathon back in November. I was a little nervous at the start as 7.5 miles seemed like a long distance again even though I know I will run much farther in the coming months. I wasn’t sure how I’d hold up.
As it turned out I should not have been worried. The run was a really good one. I ran my usual 6 mile loop and tacked on an extra 1.5 miles at the end. The weather was pretty good for the run at about 75 degrees, but the humidity was high. I could feel the heat about 1 mile into the run. Miraculously I was still able to push forward at a good speed and conquered my now favorite hill like a champ. It was so great to reach the top of that hill and look back at the long climb and then fly down the other side. (I still love doing that!)
Usually I spend the last mile or so of my 6 mile loop really trying to push it. There are a couple medium sized hills in that mile and one lovely downhill right towards the end. This run I had to remind myself not to push too soon as I still had an “extra” 1.5 miles left. My goal was to push it for that last 1.5 and finish strong with my legs turning over just as fast as I could manage.
As I reached the end of the 6 mile loop, I turned around to run out .75 miles from my house and then back. I know this route like the back of my hand so there were no surprises. I picked up the pace a bit and told myself over and over that I could maintain it for the last mile and a half. As I reached my turn around spot, I kept telling myself over and over that I was almost there. I was almost done with 7.5 miles. Don’t quit now.
At about a quarter mile left I picked it up even more and was really working to get my legs moving faster. I kept saying, “Under 5” in my head to remind myself that my goal is to finish the marathon in under 5 hours. As I turned the corner onto my street I was tired. Luckily, I saw my daughter’s best friend outside setting up a lemonade stand in front of her house and that gave me a new goal. I told her that I’d be back for some lemonade soon and focused on running home as fast as my tired legs would carry me.
I reached my house and was dead tired. I really didn’t have much left after that last 1.5 miles, but I felt great! I love that feeling of knowing you pushed yourself and did your best. It is such a great feeling of accomplishment. I know I’m not the fastest runner, but that’s the great part of running. It doesn’t matter! Just finishing and doing your best makes you a winner.
I entered my house with a huge smile, grabbed a couple of bucks and headed back down the street to buy myself 2 HUGE glasses of lemonade. I can’t tell you how great that lemonade tasted!