What a day, what a day, what a day...
As Sarah said in her previous post, I did my 18 miler today. I don't think I need to explain just how crazy that is. 1 8 m i l e s. Enough said.
Before I get into the details of this morning's run, I need to backtrack and describe my week. I ran Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and the nicest way I can say this is that running and I did not get along. At all. My slowest paces EVER, and I cut out short on 2 out of 3 runs. After my Thursday run, I sent Sarah a text that said something along the lines of "I hate my Garmin. I hate the music on my ipod. I hate my routes. I hate running!!" Like I said, I was a real peach this week. ;) She called me within seconds, and after letting me whine and complain, she worked her magic and had me cracking up about I don't even know what in no time. I hung up feeling such an overwhelming appreciation for her...a feeling I've had countless times! Sarah Jean Green...no one could ever compare to you! I am so, so blessed!
I didn't officially decide to do my long run this morning until pretty late last night. I mapped out my (ridiculous) route, plugged in my ipod and my Garmin, set out my clothes, and went to bed. I woke up at 5:40, wrote my route on my hand (the list had 2 full columns this time!), got my gear, and headed to my starting point. Once there, I strapped on my water belt, turned on my Garmin, and set across the first street. Then I noticed my ipod was dead. WHAT?! My computer must have been in a weird sleep mode or something when I plugged it in. Whatever the case, it had nothing. I stood on the sidewalk contemplating what to do. I thought about running without music. But I knew I would die having nothing to listen to for 3+ hours. I thought about skipping it and going Monday instead. But I had gone to bed early, missing out on an in-home movie night with my hubby, and had already missed the chance to sleep in. I didn't want that to be for nothing. So I decided to head home and plug in my ipod...again...for a quick 30 minute charge.
Finally got back to my starting point just before 7:30. Once again, I strapped on my water belt, turned on my ipod (now working), and started up my Garmin. Immediately it started blinking at me: "Low Battery." I STILL don't understand this one, as when I plugged it in last night, I watched as it said "Charging" and saw the little battery icon filling up over and over again. Maybe these things were signs that I should have headed home and rested for a few more days after my crappy weekday runs, but if so, I didn't listen.
As I started to run, I was amazed at how great I felt. Sarah had given me so much encouraging advice that morning as I was waiting for my ipod to charge. One of my favorites was when she said not to think about all of my training as being just for the marathon, but to remember that all of my training got me HERE. To the day of the 18 mile run. That thought was eye-opening to me. As I ran my first mile (9:24), I remembered the first time I ran a full mile straight and what an accomplishment it was. When I hit mile 3 (9:01), I remembered my first full 3 mile run, and all the pride I felt as I came home and told Josh that I did it! My Garmin lasted me 6 full miles before dying, and my average pace for the entire 6 miles was 9:17. My fastest 6 mile run ever. I felt incredible, and I was SO excited to see how it would end up!
All was good until about mile 8. After my Thursday run, I had complained to Sarah that my body was hurting for the first time since my foot injury in July. My shins and knees were mad at me, and I didn't know why. We talked about how running such a slower pace the past 3 days could have thrown off my muscles, as I had been literally dragging my feet, running with completely different form than my body is used to. At about mile 8.5 this morning, my left knee started to ache. It certainly wasn't unbearable, but it was annoying. I really didn't think much of it, and I continued on my way. My mile 11, I was walking quite a bit and stopping to stretch for extended periods of time. My mile 13, I decided that I absolutely could not run another step. It didn't hurt to walk, but one stride of running and I would wince in pain. It was KILLING me. It felt like my entire knee was on fire. Although I wanted so badly to run this whole thing, especially given my strong start, I knew that I was bordering injury that would put me out for good, and there is no way I was going to let an 18 mile training run rob me of the joy I will feel when I cross that 26.2 mile finish line.
I thought about calling Josh to come pick me up. But I remember Sarah telling me to "finish strong," so I did. I walked every single step of my course from there on out. Yes, I made one wrong turn and actually accidentally shortened my run by about .4 miles, but after 3 hours and 40 minutes of moving, I finished what I started. And I did it with pride. When I texted Sarah to tell her I was out for this run, I told her that I wasn't upset about it. And I really and truly wasn't. I was happy. So happy. And so, so proud. I had trained so hard to get to this point. It was a gorgeous Saturday morning, and I was walking down the beautiful streets of Lake Oswego with the sun shining down on me and a perfect breeze. I felt like a "real" runner because I now had the wisdom to know that "strong" can mean different things at different times. Some days it means giving it your all no matter what comes your way. Other days it means bowing out of something that could have been good in anticipation of something so much greater. I may never remember today's run. But I will always remember finishing my first marathon. It gives me goosebumps just to think about it!
I never would have made it through today's 17.54 mile "run" if it wasn't for Sarah. Thank you, bestie, for giving me the encouragement I needed to lace up my shoes this morning, and the inspiration I needed to keep them tied until I finished the whole darn thing. I cannot wait to cheer you on Monday morning as you rock that run for the both of us! I love you so much!!