Sunday, October 14, 2012

Wind, rain, hills... 20 miles

20 miles, done.

It was not an easy run for either RF or myself. We started off on an exceedingly hilly road and followed it for the first 11 miles. At mile 4 or 5, we hit a hill that seemed to go on forever, and I really struggled. I kept moving forward, but very slowly, and my mind kind of shut down. I couldn't manage to put together coherent thoughts, except a Little-Engine-That-Could type mantra: Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. This first half of the run was more beautiful, but although I did take note of the gorgeous red, yellow, and orange leaves, I didn't enjoy it much. It was a slog. Plus, my knee started to ache somewhere in there; I worried that it might not hold up.

At mile 11, we stopped to have a snack that my husband had cached for us. Amazing: a little extra water, a little Gatorade, an energy bar, some stretching, and I was like new. In fact, from there on out I felt a whooooole lot better. Not to say the second half was easy. It wasn't. But I found a groove and stayed in it for most of the rest of the way. It helped that we a) walked up a couple of the bigger remaining hills (honestly, I think I walk up hills more quickly than I run them - I go into speedwalker mode) and b) took a bathroom break. Plus, I promised myself that at mile 16 or 17 I could consume my beloved Espresso Hammer Gel. For whatever reason, it tasted absolutely divine, even though anything else would have likely made me puke.

At mile 17.5 or so I started breaking up the run into mini-goals: run to that sign, now run to that electric pole, now run to the stoplight. Mentally, it worked wonders.

During the last mile the wind picked up to 20-25 mph, and we were running directly into it. We felt like we were standing still. That part was tough.

It was good, I think, to have such a tough run and get through it anyway. That way, even if parts of the marathon are rough, we'll know we're capable of pushing through.

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Near home, RF joked that "we shall overcome," and suddenly I was swooped back in time to elementary school when we sang that song at nearly every assembly and holiday concert. I remembered all the words and hummed it all the way back. I'd forgotten how much I love that song. And in a way, it was appropriate for our morning. :-)

*  *  *
Got home, iced my knee, ate apple crumble, ate a burrito, ate some chips, drank a lot of fluids, ate some more. Showed my son how to use Q-Tips to spread glue onto paper; ended up with a giant mess on the kitchen table. Showed my son how to make pancakes and roasted potatoes for dinner; ended up with a giant mess on the counter. ;-) I'm surprised at how much energy I had this afternoon. If anything, I had MORE energy than I usually do on days when I do not run.

I love running.

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