Getting to the Starting Line

Running over the Pali to town a few weeks ago. I live in Fern Gully. (photo cred to Mike Flartey of Windward Endurance Training)
Running over the Pali to town a few weeks ago. I live in Fern Gully. (photo cred to Mike Flartey of Windward Endurance Training)

This Sunday’s run was much easier to endure than the last one because the trade winds have returned to our island and have blown the oppressive heat and humidity away- hopefully far, far away. Technically this week’s long run was supposed to be more challenging than the previous week’s because it was longer (only a little, it didn’t quite end up being 18 miles) and had more hills, but the temperature drop made all the difference for me.

I think, with the extra loop my running buddy Mel and I walked at the end of our run, that we ended up going just under 17 miles on Sunday. This weekend, we will tackle our longest run before the marathon- 20 miles!- and I’m shaking in my sneakers at the thought of it. I think the scariest thing about these really long runs is the sense of the unknown. Each time we jump in distance, I worry that it will be too much for me and I won’t be able to finish. I wasn’t sure I could actually run for 10 miles before I did it, and now that I have done it, I have that sense of accomplishment as reassurance when I feel too tired to continue, but I don’t have that reassurance when we increase our distance. I find that lack a little bit exciting because it feels good to conquer new challenges and a lot terrifying because- what if I really can’t run that far?.

20 miles is a long, long way to run, and the marathon is even longer. I’m nervous that our longest training run still falls 6.2 miles short of the final destination because I feel like a lot can happen in 6.2 miles, but I also understand that it is important to not overdo it while training and if you’re going to get within 6 miles of running a marathon, you might as well just run the whole damn thing-  let’s face it, I’m not going to do that unless I’m getting a medal, a t-shirt, and free doughnuts.

I know that at the end of our 20 mile training run, I’m going to feel tired. I’m going to feel sore. I’m going to think that I hate running and it was stupid to even sign up for a marathon when the farthest I’d ever run before was 6.2 miles and that felt really REALLY hard to do and why would I ever think that running an extra 20 miles on top of the 6.2 that were really REALLY hard to do was a good idea for me because I hate running, and I’m tired and sore, and I’m really, REALLY not a fitness freak.

I know this because it is how I’ve felt at the end of every run longer than 6.2 miles- I’ve been both delighted to have finished and also filled with doubt about my ability to go farther and actually accomplish this goal of running a marathon, but I’m doing it. So far, I have been able to answer the challenges put in front of me, and I may not be fast, I may get a red tomato face 5 miles in, and I may be wearing a dorky water bottle belt, but I’m doing it and I’m getting faster and less tomato-faced with every run (there is no cure for the dorkiness of the water bottle belt, I’m afraid. C’est la vie.). So, I guess, bring it, 20 miles; show me what you’ve got. (I really hope what you’ve got is friendly and gentle and accompanied by temperatures in the 70s with a light breeze and slightly overcast skies).

holeIn addition to my first run longer than 16 miles, I reached another milestone on Sunday- I got a hole in my sneakers. It’s not that I’ve never worn a pair of sneakers until they had holes before- anyone who’s  known me since my early twenties knows that I will wear an article of clothing (shoes included) until it is more hole than article of clothing- but I’ve never worn a hole in my shoes by RUNNING in them. It’s only a small hole in the toe of my left sneaker made, probably, by my big toe pressing against the fabric, but it’s there and I made it by running.

I’m nervous the hole will continue to grow, so I headed to Be Fit to get a back-up pair on Monday so that they could be properly broken in before the big day. I bought the same shoe, the Topo Fli-Lyte. I really do love them and I think that, at this stage in the game, the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is probably a good one to live by. While my feet and knees are a little sore the afternoon after a long morning run, I don’t think that is an unexpected experience when regularly running double-digit miles, and I usually don’t feel any residual soreness the following day. I’m going to stick with what seems to be working: plenty of water, lots of stretching, and my trusty Topo sneaks. That starting line is getting closer with each day.

There's a new shoe in town... same great sneaker, different color.
There’s a new shoe in town… same great sneaker, different color.

 

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One thought on “Getting to the Starting Line

  1. Great job, nice post! I used to get holes in my shoes and turns out they were just a size (or two) too small. Now I just get a size or two bigger than I normally wear, and problem solved. I do like the looks of your shoes! Happy running 🙂

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