A Tale From The Trail: Pushing Through

This morning’s workout was a tough one. First, the morning didn’t begin as planned. I was to meet one of my cycling buddies at her house and together we would ride to our usual location and connect with the remainder of the group. I normally drive to the meet-up location, so I was looking forward to this extra challenge. I was to arrive at my friend’s house at 5:20…in the morning…on a Saturday. I set my alarm for an alarming 4:15. I awoke just ahead of it to the sounds of rolling thunder. Then rain. I called my friend who agreed that it was storming. I went back to bed.

I re-awoke at 6:45. It looked like the storm had passed. I made my coffee and had a light breakfast. After piddling around the house for way too long, I talked myself into going to my Y. If the weather was bad I would do cardio inside. If it was still clear I would run.

A light rain shower fell as I was in route. But the sky was blue and the sun was out. I wanted to get in an eight-miler. So off I went, about two hours later than my usual start time.

The rain and heat made everything very humid. I’ve run in some serious heat and humidity this year, but it was always earlier in the morning. Today was my most brutal outing.

I ran in a neighborhood near the Y. I’d taken this route before. It has some good hills and I chose it because I’m going to be running a hilly half marathon in October. I was cruising along thinking about nothing in particular, when I noticed that none of my surroundings looked familiar. I’d missed a turn. I’d just completed four miles.

I turned around and after about a half mile I found the turn I should have taken. By this time the sun was moving on up in the sky. Sweat was pouring off my face and into my eyes. I squeezed my pony tail and water ran out of it. My face felt like it was touching the sun. I wanted to quit.

It was at this point I started making deals with myself. “Running six miles in this humidity will be really respectable.” “You can quit as soon as you get back to the parking lot, even if you’ve only run five miles.” “Just run until this song is over, then you can walk.”

By the time I got to the parking lot I had run 6.25 miles. There was a green way trail across the street from the lot. Just as I was planning to quit a light breeze kicked up. It was as if the Running Angels were encouraging me to keep going. I picked up the trail, knowing I had another 1.75 miles left in me.

I guess the Running Angels were just kidding around because the breeze died as soon as I got on the trail. I was carefully monitoring myself, taking water and Gu energy gels on schedule. I was fine physically, just hot and wilted. I made up my mind to push through the heat and humidity.

With a quarter mile to go, I ran out of a wooded area and into a clearing. A lady who appeared to be about 70 was standing around. When she saw me she looked like she’d seen a ghost…or a runner with no common sense. “No way! I can’t believe you’re out here. No way would I be running today.” I assured her I was almost finished and fine, regardless of appearances to the contrary.

As soon as my Garmin showed eight miles I stopped and walked the 50 or so yards to the Y. I refilled my water bottle, returned to my car and headed home, hot, drenched, tired, and incredibly proud.

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