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.
* * *
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.