Saturday, March 9, 2013

Harder than 2 More Miles

Let's start with the positives for today.
  • Running friends rock (not just today of course)
  • Chocolate Milk
  • Beautiful, peaceful wildlife at the end of a hard run
  • Finishing 18 miles
And now let me get the "not positives" out of the way. It was harder to finish 18 miles than 16. Much more than I expected for only 2 additional miles. Two weeks ago I never doubted during the run that I would finish 16. I was super glad it was over when it was but I knew I would. My mental focus faltered a few times but only in a minor way.

Today, I lost focus at 13. I had a terrible time trying to get back into it. I couldn't find an easy rhythm of running. I could chalk some of that up to the terrain which switched back and forth between mud path to big rock gravel but that can't be all of it. At mile 16 I was berating myself for even thinking I could do another marathon. I had to do some serious talk to get out of that funk. After 15 I broke my intervals into half miles at a time. I finished mile 17 as whole though.

At 18, I pushed the button on the watched, stopped running, looked to my left and saw this -

This photo is blurry but s/he was beautiful
and so peaceful standing there in the water
And with that I started to come back to the reality that I had finished and that's what matters most.
Back up with me to the beginning of my run...actually earlier in the week. I decided to run at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge. I could piece together 2-9 mile loops there. Maggi told me earlier in the week that she and Russ were going to meet me for the second loop. YAY! . This morning I got a message from Julius that he would meet me for the second loop. YAY again!
At 8 AM Julius and I took off. We made a few 'wrong' turns as you will see on the map of this run. There a few loop-de-loops. Julius was a great partner for the first loop. We more or less ran 1 mile and 1 minute walks. I don't think he was really up to 9 miles but he stuck it out with me and for that I am so grateful. My friends are the awesomest.
We arrived back at the parking lot with 2 minutes to spare. I unloaded my gloves and jacket in the car and took off with Maggi and Russ. By the way, Russ is the 5th person I've run with this month. 25 to go! Maggi and Russ and I had a very pleasant run at 3 min run/1 minute walk intervals for the next 3 miles. That's when they were smart and turned back so they could keep their total at a reasonable 6.
I continued on and finished my 18 miles as I told you above. At 16.5 I turned around and went a half mile in the opposite direction before turning around and heading back to the visitor center. I wasn't sure exactly how far I was from the parking lot but I remember that Julius and I were actually short of 9 miles on the first loop. I did not want to get back to the care with mileage undone. So I had about a quarter mile walk back to the car after I hit 18. And that allowed me to see the Egret.
I arrived at the parking, tired, drained a still a bit sad about the finish. Then I see Maggi and Russ! They waited for me. AND they got me chocolate milk. My mood took a 180 degree turn!! I told you my friends are the awesome awesomest.
18 done. In three weeks 20 miles. Stay tuned.

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