Wow, it’s Monday again already? This weekend was so full, I’m at least a little surprised that today is only Monday. I mean, what a weekend! My parents made the nearly 3 hour drive here and brought frozen Pirrone’s Pizza with them. If you go to the St. Louis area, try their pizza and you might get hooked like me. That isn’t even the best part, but I had to mention that I got a favorite treat in addition to the rest.
Saturday morning was rainy and gloomy. I set out earlier than usual to drop my teenager off at her school to ride a bus to her cross country meet, then decided to put gas in the car and head out to the half marathon training early. I got there and a few people were already gathering to start out earlier than the group. I chatted for a few minutes and went through the warm ups with them before seeing them off and waiting for the rest of the group. This meeting was 2 weeks ahead of the goal race we’ve been training for and a preview of the course. Many of the people in the group were running the longest they’ve ever run and their first half marathon distance. I got to witness this and cheer for people in their accomplishments. The clouds cleared away and the sun began to shine. Then, the other mentors who have been training for the marathon set out for our additional 3 miles. The fresh sunshine brought with it heat that seemed much warmer than the rest of the morning. I started to feel tired and worn. At one point, I started walking. Jane told me to at least jog instead of walking. I really tried and Jane was reassuring and positive despite my brain and I arguing. She told me that it was impressive what we were doing and that it wasn’t easy, but that I’d been doing so well and really putting in the work. I started feeling chills on my arms and no more sweat trickling down my face or body. It was no longer a mental battle. My body was not going to cooperate. When we were about 1/4 mile from completing the additional 3, I stopped and got my water refilled and an electrolyte drink. We had run to Chris’s house (he’s in the marathon training with us) with the intention of having him drive us back to our cars. Once I felt less woozy from running, we went bac to the cars where I had my ‘recovery shake’ in a cooler. When I finally got home, I couldn’t let the 1/4 mile hang out there despite 15.75 being the furthest I’d ever run. I set back out on the sidewalk and ran .13 miles and back to my house to ensure I’d have my 16 miles in. I iced my legs and I rested for later.
So three of us from the marathon group: Jason, Jane, and myself signed up to run a 5k that evening at 8pm. Chris had run the 16 with us, but was a race volunteer instead of a participant. It’s a Glow Run put on by Fleet Feet and we get to run through a golf course on the cart path in the dark using flashlights and glow sticks. Jane and I agreed to not go all out for miles 17-19 of the day. We stuck together for the race and ran the uphills and downhills and shone our lights on the marked hazards on the course to ensure an injury free race. We talked about the pasta, cookies, and beer waiting for us at the finish line. We got away from a group of young people that were having a really boisterous time. Then, we were behind 3 young ladies on the course and I was at a comfortable speed. They were kind of blocking us from being able to pass easily on the path, but they started going erratically fast and slow. Jane asked me what I wanted to do and I said we’d hang back. Then, they slowed down and I said “forget it, let’s just go,” and I pulled myself next to one of the young ladies who looked directly at me, then at her friend and said “oh, I’m filing that under nope.” I was like….”Hey….” (but in my head). I opened my stride and pulled far enough ahead to clear the distance and ensure that her “nope” was clearly contested. Jane was right there with me and seemingly amused by my reaction. We finished the race, grabbed our water, and went inside to wait for our after run food and drink. Jane insisted that I’d placed in the race and I shrugged it off thinking it was hard to read a cork board with bibs tacked to it. We posed for a picture to show we’d completed 19 miles in one day. I filled my plate without realizing I couldn’t actually fit that much food into my stomach. It all tasted good. Award time came. They called my husband for 1st place in his age group, then moved on to females in that age group. 3rd place….me! What? YAY! It was surreal. I’ve NEVER placed in a 5k race before and I finally did it! Jane placed 1st in her age group. Jason placed 3rd in his. We’d all run 19 miles that day. That 5k was hours after we’d run 16! So, if “nope girl” happens to read this….I’d also run 16 miles earlier that day and still came out ahead in the end. Hard work and determination are my secrets if you want to use that next time you’re in a race.
So we got up and ran 4 more miles in the morning. Well, Jane and I did. This time, we ran to a house because it was Julie’s long run day and she left an important part of gear at her home that was only 2 convenient miles from our parking and water stop. We got to see different scenery, pass the 4 miles by doing it to run an errand, and realize we weren’t too bad off for having run 19 miles the day before. Dare I say it was ‘fun’? It was fun, though.
Less than 2 weeks left until the half marathon training group is over. I’m more than halfway through training for a full marathon. I feel like I’m embracing running. There are moments where I’m digging to find a sliver of reason to go on. That’s certainly a bonus to having a partner to run with. It is much harder to give in when someone else is there. Especially when they’re cheering you on and they count on you for your company and cheering when they need it. While I am looking forward to finishing a marathon in November, I look forward to each experience I get to have running. I just keep trying to make sure I’m really enjoying the experience (and I am).