Official…Like a ref with a whistle!

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!

One Comment Add yours

  1. SybilRSmith says:

    Yay for you, you RUNNER! I remember the moment I finally felt like a "runner." It was about a month after finishing my first marathon. Yes, I trained for a year and a half and ran an entire 26.2mi BEFORE feeling like a runner. Still working on the "athlete" identity. Hoping I don't have a finish a full IM before I feel like a flippin athlete. ha!

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