This morning, my training plan called for an easy 7 mile run. It still makes me smile to see "easy" and "7 mile" in such near proximity to each other when we're talking about running. And yet.
Last night when I was mapping out the route on dailymile.com (such a nice tool, but it's definitely spurring my competitive side when I see the miles that friends are logging), there was no easily recognizable landmark for my 3.5 mile turnaround on the out-and-back route I wanted to take. My brother and SIL's street, however, was 4.58 miles from my house. Hmmm. I noted a spot that was ~4 miles from the start for a turnaround, but I kept thinking that if I ran to T & K's street, it would be almost an even 9 miles. Hmmm.
To be honest, part of the appeal of that 9 mile distance was that a real-life and DM friend of mine who is training for the same HM as I am just ran 8 miles. It's funny. I don't feel competitive at all when I'm reading the running blogs of some of the speed demons, rockstars, and all-around athletes online...but show me what someone I know, who's around my level, is doing, and it's on. On the inside, that is. On the outside, I'm all supportive and "oh, you're way ahead of me".
So...first few blocks sucked, as usual, and then it started feeling ok. At about 2.5 miles I had to run up the first big hill and made it up with a good steady pace. I got to the ~4 mi. turnaround and decided, what the heck. I kept going until the 4.5 mile spot--whoo hoo!--and headed back. Right before I hit 7 miles, I was thinking how easy it felt. I could run the whole half-marathon today. It wouldn't feel great, but I could do it. This is awesome!
And then I hit a wall. I wasn't just tired, I was tired of running. My knee kind of hurt. My toes on my right foot hurt. I didn't want to run anymore. This is stupid. I ran 7 miles. I don't have to run anymore. I'm sore. I'm going to hurt tomorrow. I'm going to hurt later. Screw this. I'm stopping. But there was that other voice: C'mon...it's just 2 more miles. You can do it. You've come this far. At least get in 8 miles. It's ok. Just run to this street...to that street...to the lake...to that street...it's OK...you can walk when you get to your block...you did it!
Thank goodness, it was cooler this morning, and there was a nice breeze. The trail is so pretty (no pictures...I was too busy not dying). I was out and running. And as I ran, I thought back to March, when 5 minutes of running seemed insurmountable. Today, I ran for an hour and a half, and I didn't stop. What a difference 4 months and Couch to 5K makes!