When did you start feeling like a runner? Swimmer? Cyclist? At what point did you actually label yourself according to what you do? I always thought I was a “runner”, even though most of the time I felt like an air sucking jogger. I’ve been an athlete my whole life. I have spent most of my life training, practicing and working towards some sort of sports related goal. I guess I never thought about the moment I BECAME a basketball player…a volleyball player…a softball player…a snowboarder. Those things were simply just part of my life and what made me…well…me.
Yesterday was my longest run EVER. I had only run 9 miles twice in my whole life. I must admit I was slightly intimidated. I started the day by failing my megacode in the first 4 minutes. I felt like ass. Spent a good 45 minutes crying…don’t judge me…I’m a crier. When no one is watching I cry. Don’t act like you’ve never done it! I had made plans to run with Marcus, a fellow athlete and medic. Again, someone who is a much better runner than myself. In the past, I always trained with the better athletes. I played with the better ball handlers…rode with the better snowboarders. You don’t get better if you don’t meet challenges along the way. Marcus agreed to run around a 10 min pace and I thought I would cruise right through it in spite of the intimidating number 10 hanging over my head.
Off we go! Downtown Kingsport felt a little hotter than I had expected. I thought it was going to rain, so I wore a hat. Mistake number 1. Everyone thought it was a great day to mow and trim trees. I didn’t take anything for allergies. Mistake number 2. I borrowed Jamie’s fuel belt and failed to fill up both bottles. Mistake number 3. I wore my notorious spandex booty shorts…WINNING!!
After we climbed Konnarock and made our way down Warpath, I realized it was hot as shit. We were coming up on 5 miles and I knew I had to eat my GU before we picked up the pace. This is something I suck at. When I had a road bike, I had no issues eating GU. I could eat a basket of french fries on the bike…it didn’t bother me. I still haven’t mastered the art of eating a GU while running. I breathe heavy as it is…and the heat made me breathe harder. I nearly aspirated and got my rhythm all out of whack. “BEEEEEEEP!” That was mile 5…time to pick up the pace.
My head was telling me NO. I actually spent a lot of time yesterday trying to overcome the asshole in my head that frequently tells me to stop. My legs felt ok. My lungs were manageable. I felt like the heat was sucking out my energy. It was frustrating because I actually felt good…just hot. We made it back to downtown Kingsport. I latched on to a couple downhills along the way…love those little descents that pop up in the midst of agony!
We had a 5K remaining. That’s easy, right? It felt like the longest 5K of my life!
To make the last few miles short, we finished at 1:39:30. Success was mine! I completed my run and beat my goal by 30 seconds. I survived. I felt like dying the last 5 miles but pushed through the pain. I had virtually no ITB issues and my right foot didn’t go numb at all. My calves cramped a little but I’ve been working on my gait and expected some discomfort.
I don’t think I could have done that run alone. The recent addition of running partners has really made a huge difference in my training. I feel so fortunate to have these people in my life. I’m stoked to see the improvements from week to week. While my short runs haven’t been spectacular, I have seen the hard work payoff during my long runs.
Yesterday I crossed over. I had that “Ah hah moment”. I finally “felt” like a runner. I felt accomplished. I felt like I could do anything. It’s amazing how much a little 10 mile run can impact your whole life!