Yes, 28 miles. Yes, that is farther than a marathon. Since we signed up as a team, each of us committed to running 14 miles. At least I had enough sense to know that I could never run 28 miles. When I agreed to run 14 miles, it was right after my last marathon and, frankly, 14 miles just didn't sound that far. 14 miles? Hey, I can crank that out any old time. No big whup. Oooh... I deserved something bad for getting cocky about my running.
As I've been lamenting all summer, my running since the marathon hasn't been the best. Only in the last few weeks have I been able to put together some 6-7 mile runs at a reasonable pace. I was starting to panic that about the 14 miles. Since the event was a run and not a race, I knew I could walk a lot of it, but that was just not appealing. I'm getting ready for my next triathlon in just two weeks and I was counting on this week to get some good training in. Hobbling around for several days recovering from the run just wouldn't work for me.
As any good mother of a 14 year old son would do, I talked him into running 7 of the miles for me. See, teenage boys are good for a lot of things: mowing the grass, reaching things on tall shelves, and running for their old lady. I was off the hook. I could stay in my comfort zone and our team would still get their 28 miles. Problem solved. Until... his best friend invited him over for a birthday party/sleep over. No matter how desperate I was to avoid running the whole way, I just couldn't ask him to miss that. Now I was on my own.
Did I jump into the run committed to running the whole way? No, are you crazy? I asked our friend/run organizer if I could drop after 7 miles and catch a ride to the finish. Seriously. She very nicely said yes. Now, keep in mind that many of the other people running were doing the whole 28 miles and some were even tacking on more mileage as training for marathons and ultras. This was an impressive group. Was I embarrassed that I was going to be the only quitter? No. I was committed to not overdoing it and doing what was best for my body.
It was a beautiful, cool morning with a breeze. It was a point to point run on a flat trail, the Luce Line, so the wind was at our backs the whole way. I ran the first 6 miles with a great group and we went at a leisurely pace, even for me. None of us was in a hurry and we were just enjoying the day. The rest of the way I ran with my friend and she very nicely ran my pokey pace with me and we chatted non stop. We reached 8 miles and I totally forgot that I was going to drop. Now I would have to wait until the next stop around 10 miles to catch a ride. I got to mile 10 and I felt really good. On to mile 12. At mile 12, I was tired but doing surprisingly well. Heck, now we are only 2 miles from the finish. Might as well go the whole way.
Despite all my worrying and planning for the worst, I made it! I had been in this funk lately, and I had it in my mind that I just couldn't run more than 7 or 8 miles right now. This run showed me that, if I take it slow, that I can still run long. I felt fine yesterday and did an easy bike ride. Today was the official start of my TC 10 Mile training and I did a tempo run. I hit my time goals and got the training off on the right foot. I really feel like the 14 mile run has gotten me over a mental block. On Thursday I'll do my first long run for the training cycle, 7 miles. I'm looking forward to it now and know that I can do it if I just do it at my own pace. I'm even more excited about the TC 10 Mile and am even thinking about signing up for a half marathon for the late winter or early spring. I hope that is the last I see of this running funk for a while... it was stinky.