Running the 11.2

I was scheduled to run 14 miles on Saturday. I told Coach Lynn I wanted to return to Percy Warner Park. The hill training that’s possible there should really pay off on marathon day. Last week I ran the 5.6 mile course without having a coronary. Lynn thought I could handle the 11.2 mile route, followed by an additional 3 mile run in the neighborhood just outside the park.

This was my first time on the 11.2. It’s a lung and leg burner. In fact, I’ve never run on so many hills…ever. Lynn was scheduled to run 9 miles. She agreed to meet me and it was great having her company for more than half of my run, but I was a little sad when she peel off at the appointed mile marker.

While I was slow, I ran every step  of the course. As I finished it, I felt this incredible sense of gratitude and accomplishment. This park is where “serious” runners train and I made it through the longest course there. I was about to leave the park to start my final three miles in the neighborhood when I saw Lynn. I think she wanted to (a.) make sure I was o.k . and (b) cheer me on as I finished. She told me how proud she was, refilled my water bottle with much needed cold water, and sent me on my way.

The final three miles while flat, were brutal. There was little shade, the sun was bright and it’s summertime in humid Nashville. Those three miles were more about mental than physical training.

This weekend I’m scheduled for a 15-miler. I’ve never run 15 miles before. I plan to return to the park for more hill training. I’m going to do my best to wake up uber-early so that I can run four miles in the nearby neighborhood before meeting Lynn in the park.

Wish me luck.

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