I’m two weeks away from another half-marathon. That means today I was due to run 12 miles. I had plans to wake up at 5 a.m. and be on the route by 6 a.m. After running 12 I planned to wash my car and do very light yard work. A shower would follow yard work and then it would be on to my niece’s dance team fundraiser. So much for plans.
I awoke at 5 a.m., no problem. Let me rephrase. I got out of bed at 5. But I just couldn’t get moving. I drank my coffee, ate my oats, surfed the Net…I did everything but prepare to run. By the time 7 a.m. rolled around I was about to head out the door when I realized my cell phone wasn’t charged. I’m won’t go on long runs by myself without my phone. So I plugged in the charger and waited…and waited. Finally, I had a 70% charge and I hopped in my car and headed to the YMCA where I run on a green way. By the time I got on the course it was 8 a.m. and I was not in the mood.
I ran anyway. There have been many times during my fitness journey when I didn’t feel like working out. I’m learning that unless I’m dealing with fatigue or injury, not feeling like it isn’t a good enough reason to skip. Plus, when training for an endurance event such as a half marathon, the long-run two week’s prior to the event is important, at least it is for me.
A funny thing happened during today’s run. After clocking two miles I began to enjoy it. It’s a beautiful Fall day here in Nashville. There were other added benefits. On Thursday I received a work assignment that frankly has fallen victim to writer’s block. But during my run the creativity started flowing and ideas came to me that I never would have thought of while sitting behind a desk staring at a blank computer screen. I said a little thank you prayer for this. I believe my Higher Power has hard-wired me in such a way that to do my best work I have to take care of myself first.
Usually during long runs, I’m over it by the time I get to mile 9 or 10. Completing 12 miles means I put one foot in front of the other grind out the last two. But today, after 10 miles I realized a had a little more gas in the tank. More than needed to run two more miles. When I reached my last fork in the road, a left turn would have taken me to my car which was parked a mile away. For some reason I turned right instead. I little voice inside me was asking for a gut check. Could today be the day I run farther than ever before?
While running an extra loop my Garmin showed I’d completed 12 miles. I kept running, slowly, mind you, but I was running. A few minutes later and I’d gone 13.25 miles, the equivalent of what I actually run by the time I complete a half marathon (Half marathon courses are marked according the the absolute shortest distance. I weave all over the course which adds a smidge to the total milage). By this time my legs hurt and my right arch was cramping pretty significantly. But I really thought I could put in 14 miles. And I did.
During the last half mile I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. No one out on the course knew how far I’d run. Nor would they have cared. But I knew and I cared. It was my personal moment of victory.
I plan to run my first full marathon next year on the day after I turn 50. Secretly, I’ve wondered if I can really do it. I’ve been fearful that the half marathon distance is my limit.
By running higher mileage today, I pushed through an invisible brick wall I built a long time ago. Today I taught myself that with proper training, I’ll be able to achieve my goal.