My training planned called for a 10-miler on Saturday. The last time ran double-digit mileage was December 2012 and the pain led me to the podiatrist who performed a four-hour surgery.
Last week I found myself dreading Saturday. By most runner’s standards it was going to take me a long time to cover the distance. I wasn’t sure I still had the mental toughness to do it. I decided to run in an area with which I’m very familiar. I parked my car in the center of the route and created a three leaf-clover course. I never wanted to be too far from my car in case I got into trouble. I define trouble as anything from a blister to a heart attack. The downside of that plan was I was never too far from my car if I wanted to bail and cut the run short. But the three-leaf clover plan allowed me to mentally break up my run into manageable chunks.
I was in a pretty good mood as I ran the first “clover leaf” and got in three miles. The second leaf gave me another 3.5 miles. By then I was ready to hop in my car but I knew I had enough energy to keep going.
As I headed out for the third and final leaf, I ran into (no pun intended) one of my new English as a Second Language students. She had joined my class the Tuesday prior. She was finishing a run with her group and she wanted to introduce me to her other American friends. Each told me they had heard about my class during their run and they were so happy to meet me. After a couple of minutes I told them I needed to excuse myself and finish my run. I have to say the little break did me good physically and emotionally–I was glad to know my student enjoyed the class so much.
Once on the final leaf of the course I decided to add in some walking with the jogging. Again, it’s been a long time since I’ve covered this mileage and my goal is to line up on half marathon day uninjured. Finally, my Garmin showed I’d completed 10 miles. I was elated.
For the rest of the day and evening my feet were really sore (one from post surgery pain, the other from tendonitis) and my legs were screaming. Hubs and my nephew had hatched a plan for us to go to a college basketball game to see my nephew’s and my alma mater defeat hub’s alma mater. I couldn’t believe I would not have time to take nap, but I decided if my nephew wanted to hang out with a 50-something year old couple, then a nap could wait. I walked around the gym with a geriatric-looking limp, exhausted but proud.
I’m using one of Jeff Galloway’s plans which alternates “short” long runs with “long” long runs. This Saturday I only have to run six miles, a distance that seemed impossible a few weeks ago but should now feel easy.
Just a few short weeks ago, training…and the starting over…felt awful. While Saturday’s run involved a lot of pain, it also taught me that I CAN do this.