I'm to the point in this short training plan for the half marathon where I'm up to double digit miles on the weekends. Double digit miles is a big deal when training for a half. Normally I run up to five or six miles when I'm not training, so hitting 10, 11, and 12 miles always seems like a major feat. Even though I've done it before it still seems crazy long. But this past weekend I hit a turning point - my 10 mile run didn't feel long at all. And I CRUSHED it - something I've NEVER said before about a long run.
This past Saturday morning was a run I had been dreading. My first 10 miles in over two years. At least two hours of non-stop running. A 5k short of a half marathon. I went into it apprehensive about how it would go, but I also tried not to think about it as much as possible on the days leading up to the run. 10 miles is hard - its a long time putting foot after foot on cracked pavement. But it was time and I had to do it.
Bailey came along with me for the first six miles. Around three miles in I glanced down at my Garmin mainly to see the distance, but caught a glimpse of the time gone by. For a second I thought I was running 12 minute miles and instantly thought,
'I'M RUNNING 12 MINUTE MILES! UGH!!', but immediately after that moment I thought,
'WHO CARES?! I FEEL GREAT!'. And I just ran. (I wasn't running 12 minute miles, my pathetic math skills failed me once again, but this mistake ended up giving me a little boost.) Suddenly I was amazed at how good I felt and then thought,
'So this is what it feels like to just go for a run!' Meaning, I wasn't out of breath, I wasn't cursing a blister on my foot, I wasn't bending over with a side stitch - I was just running. Like going for a walk, but faster.
Bailey was a champ and I dropped him off at home after about six miles (much to his chagrin) and set off for the last four. Mile six to seven included a hill halfway through and I put my head down and just pummeled my way up. Then, at mile seven, as I reached the top of the hill, my runner's high kicked in a little early and I felt spectacular with a new rush of thoughts screaming through my head:
'I AM SO GOING TO RUN A MARATHON!'
'I FEEL AMAZING! I NAILED THAT HILL!'
'I HAVE TO TELL MARCI - WE'RE SO GOING TO RUN A MARATHON NEXT!'
'A MARATHON! ME?!'
'WELL, IF I'M GOING TO RUN A MARATHON AS MAY AS WELL TRAIN FOR A HALF IRONMAN!'
'YEAH, I'M TOTALLY GOING TO DO A HALF IRONMAN! AND A MARATHON!'
All in caps because in my head I was shouting with joy.
Miles seven to nine were a bit of a blur and suddenly I was in the home stretch for mile 10. That last mile was tough and I put everything I had into it. The last .25 miles were uphill (of course) and I did something I've never done before on a hill - I passed a fellow runner. Feeling incredibly proud of myself I slowed to a stop as my Garmin buzzed at the tenth mile. Then my fellow runner flew past me and up a ridiculously steep hill that I always have to walk up. Ego - CHECKED.
But all in all, it was an amazing 10 miles. The best 10 miles I've ever ran. I'm hoping this new streak stays strong through this upcoming Saturday's 11 miles, and then for the next two weeks until the half marathon. Regardless, I've just been enjoying the run more and more and who knows, maybe a marathon is in my future.