I suffered. I fought. I hurt. I held on. I let go. I conquered. I believed.
I DID IT.
Total Miles: 22
Total Time: 3:18:39
Average Pace: 9:02/mile
Miles 1-7: 8:31, 8:53, 9:03, 9:00, 9:10, 8:53, 9:12
When I woke up this morning after a horrible night with two of my three kids up from 3:30-5:00AM, my husband was amazing and let me go back to sleep for another hour. I knew this would mean I would begin my run later than originally planned but because of rain and cold temps (“felt like” 38 degrees according to the weather man) I wasn’t worried about beating the heat. And since I was on my own and didn’t have any running buddies to meet up with (they all ran yesterday with our training group), I had even more flexibility. Sleep was important and one more hour makes a big difference.
So I hit the trail around 8:00AM and It. Was. Cold. And wet. But I had to get it done.
I have run two 18 milers and one 20 miler this training season and all three of those runs have been at just about a 9:00/mile average pace, so that was my goal again for today. The first mile was too fast, but I was cold and just wanted to get moving. These first seven miles were okay for me – I found myself occasionally a little overwhelmed thinking about how FAR I had to go, so I decided I would run 7 miles west, turn back for another 7 to my starting point (where I left more water and refilled my hand held) and then go east for 4 miles and turn back home for the last 4. This worked well for me both logistically and mentally because I could just focus on the chunk of miles I was currently working on, not the big picture. I stopped at mile 5 to eat my first gel and sipped my water the whole way.
These first 7 miles were very cold and very wet and pretty lonely – there were not a lot of people on the trail today.
Miles 8-14: 8:57, 9:04, 9:00, 8:46, 8:53, 9:08, 9:37
After turning around I was still really cold and wet and the wind started picking up. I was running right into it and it was just making me colder. I tried not to think about it though and powered through. I ate another gel at mile 10 and continued to drink my water. I was wearing capri pants and a long sleeve shirt today and was kinda wishing I had worn shorts or a running skirt instead. My pants were so wet that they felt really icky. I don’t think my legs would have been any colder in shorts or a skirt.
Just as I was starting to feel pretty cranky, I looked up at the sky and was so happy to see a rainbow painted across the gray clouds ahead of me. It was so beautiful, and such a peaceful reminder. A gift. It was symbolic to me of how all this suffering is worth something – that whenever I have gone through hard times in my life God is watching over me and taking care of me. I began to think about times in my life that were particulary hard for me and I felt so comforted in that moment. I did not feel alone.
These were some of the most difficult miles of the run for me today – the wind was really hammering right into me, pushing on me, slowing me, chilling me – yet mentally there were not so bad, because of that rainbow.
Miles 15-18: 9:27, 9:04, 9:15, 9:22
This was tough. I stopped at the end of Mile 14 to fill up my water bottle and my legs felt tight, cold and a little crampy. I hate stopping for too long, but my hand held was empty and I still had 8 more miles to run so I really needed to fill it up. Once I started moving again, I was feeling pretty DONE with the wind, but it just kept pounding at me. My rainbow was gone. If I thought about having to run 8 more miles I felt UNmotivated, but when I thought of it as just needing to do 4 miles until I could turn around, this was much better. I ate another gel at mile 15 and pushed on through the wind.
Miles 19-22: 8:55, 9:05, 9:14, 8:02
After finishing mile 18 I actually said out loud to myself “Time to go home, Jess.” I was ready to get there! Only 4 more miles to go. I tried to eat a couple of Power Gel blasts here but they tasted really sugary and chewing was an unpleasant experience – everything in my body felt tight, including my jaw. I don’t think I really *needed* these but brought them with me just in case. For the marathon I plan to eat a 4th gel at mile 20 to get me through the final miles of the race, but that wasn’t necessary for today. Mile 21 was hard for me – I was starting to feel like I was dragging, but I wanted so badly to finish this run feeling strong. Music was playing in my iPod and just as I began the last mile of this run, Eminem “‘Til I Collapse” came on. It could not have been a more perfect song for me at the moment:
feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
and just pull that sh** out of you and get that motivation to not give up
and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.
|i am in a tub of ice water!|
|being read to by my 6 year old = happiness|