19 Miles And An Attitude Adjustment

I now know what it feels like to run 19 miles. The final miles hurt.

Yesterday I met coach Lynn at an incredibly early hour for a Saturday. She would accompany me on foot for the first half or so of my journey and would ride her bike along side me until I had covered 19 miles.

The temperature was mild and the humidity was somewhat low. When we’d covered four or five miles a light rain refreshed us. A few miles later I saw a friend of mine. I actually didn’t recognize him until he got my attention by yelling “Go, Pam!” It was nice to receive encouragement from an unexpected source.

A few miles after that another rain began to fall. This time it wasn’t a light shower but a downpour. Lynn and I stopped under a tiny shelter long enough for me to deal with my electronics. The phone holder I wear on my fuel belt didn’t have enough space to hold my phone and Ipod. So like Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice I had to make a decision. I put my phone in a plastic bag and returned it to it’s non-water-proof pouch.

When the rain stopped I checked my Ipod, hoping against hope it has survived. It didn’t. That bothered me for the rest of my run. I’m not one to upgrade electronics, cars, or husbands for newer models. My Ipod was in perfectly good condition and I was angry with myself for not taking better care of it. Lynn offered to let me borrow her Nano as she wouldn’t use it while cycling. I decided I’d rather pout so I declined her offer and ran sans music, which made the journey more difficult for me.

As the miles wore on the temperature started to climb a bit. It never got as awful as during the 18-miles-of-hell I ran two weeks ago, but it was hot enough that my last three miles were not much fun. I managed to grind them out without swearing at Lynn when she asked how I was feeling. I suppose that’s a small victory.

When all was said and done my 19-miler was only three minutes slower than the above mentioned 18-miler. That was due to the Ipod-killing rain which kept me cool during the first half of the run.

Last night and today my almost 50-year-old body is remarkably pain free except for my feet. The muscles, tendons, ligaments…whatever feet are made of…are killing me. I’m scheduled to run five miles tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be in less pain then than I’m in now.

I’m not happy with the time it takes me to cover such high mileage sessions. Yet I am reminded of what running coaches tell marathon newbies: “You can’t run your long runs slow enough.”

I spend too much time dwelling on my perceived faults: I’m too slow, my form isn’t good, etc. I need to adjust my attitude and focus on the positive aspects of my fitness journey. Ninety-seven pounds ago I couldn’t have covered 19 miles. In a world where so many people are lonely, I have a friend who will give up half of her Saturday to make sure I’m never alone on the course. I have other friends who continually cheer me on and encourage me. I have a husband who doesn’t make me feel guilty for the amount of time I spend training for the marathon. I can afford to buy a new Ipod and will do so this afternoon.

Regardless of my pace…regardless of my form… I have a lot for which to be grateful.


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