The oddsmakers keep revising the betting odds for whether or not I will run the marathon on November 10, a mere six weeks away. I had pretty much resigned myself to bowing out of the race due to plantar fasciitis, but then a devilish little birdie whispered in my ear. “Come on. Just take a look at your training plan. Let’s think about how you could juggle the long runs and get back on track. See how you do and then decide.” I listened to that little devil and ran 12 miles last Sunday, a three-mile aqua jog on Monday, followed by another six on the trails on Wednesday. Those runs felt okay, not great. Good enough to continue. So this Saturday morning I watched the sun rise as I started out for what I hoped would be 15 miles, a new personal distance record. I jogged along the dirt path, shunning the asphalt trail, all the better to pamper my delicate feet.
An internal debate started. Should I just go out a mile and then turn around, so I could easily bail at any point 2 or 4 or 6 miles into the run, or should I commit to the full 15 and go out 7.5 miles? I committed. I know, I know, you’re thinking I should be committed for this crazy push to continue the training. I too questioned my sanity at several points along the run. One of the first things I asked myself was why I hadn’t gone out to buy some KT Tape yet, or some Superfeet Insoles. Then I answered myself, well Self, probably because in the 45 minutes before school on Thursday morning alone, you did the following:
- Made breakfast for three girls and myself
- Ate said breakfast
- Dressed a preschooler and made sure the other two were appropriately dressed (even at this stage it’s necessary to check that my free spirit 7-year-old isn’t going commando under her dress)
- Hair brushed? Teeth brushed? Sunscreen? Shoes? Remind remind remind children eleventy-billion times until the answer is yes. Remind 7-year-old to get out the laminated “Good Morning Checklist” we made last year so I can stop reminding them!
- Packed three lunches (usually the older girls do this themselves but sometimes I surprise them and myself by doing it)
- Made sure three girls had their school bags with all the necessary papers
- Ensured that all the necessary papers were signed in all the necessary places. That sounds easy enough but for two elementary school children, that meant no less than FIVE signatures. (1) Homework for 7-year-old, (2)-(5) agenda, practice spelling test, reading log and pass-back folder for the 10-year-old. RIDICULOUS.
- Helped 7-year-old practice her poem recitation one last time.
- Remembered it was picture day and remembered to (finally) log on the computer to choose portrait styles and pay for them and print the receipts for the girls to take to school.
My point to myself being, I have some things on my plate that shove “extraneous running gear shopping” to number 95 on my to do list. So I stopped berating myself and got on with the run, which actually felt great.
At one point I saw a sign from the universe. You all know how I feel about signs, given the one before I ran my first half marathon, and the one that inspired me in my training for my first Olympic distance triathlon. This time, the sign looked like this:
Well, oddsmakers, what do you think now?
I continued on the run and hit 7.75 miles before I turned around. I was more than happy to turn back at that point, given that the view from the trail looked like this:
I started to get tired toward the end of the run. I’m pretty sure no one saw me give the finger to the hill I faced 13.5 miles into my run. As my preschooler would say, “I remember not doing it.”
It was all downhill after that, and I finished the last two miles strong. 15 miles in 2 hours 20 minutes, for a pace of 9:22, ahead of my training goal pace of 9:26. I stretched, ate a PB&H sandwich on whole wheat, hurried home, became intimate with my foam roller, soaked in an Epsom salt ice bath, showered, put some arnica gel on my feet and iced them for a bit. Whew! 15 miles in the bag!
What’s the longest distance you’ve ever run?