Saturday, May 4, 2013



That's the word that comes to mind when I think of the following sentence:

I just ran 18 miles.

This morning marked the first of 2 what I deem "major" runs in my marathon training.  Everything up until this point, it has been fairly reasonable.  Today is the first run that makes me feel like I will be able to conquer the 26.2.

The run itself wasn't that eventful.  The first 3.5 I ran with the team, but when they stopped for water, I kept going.  I have trouble stopping and starting - it usually makes something tighten up or get tweaked.  Stopping exposes pain.  So I kept going on.  14 miles is a long time to run alone, so I got lost in the beauty of the run and in thought.  Miles 3.5-8 were uneventful.  Just one foot after another, trotting my way along the trail.  Mile 8-9 was tough, because it was all uphill to the top of a dam in the blaring sun. The temperature was perfect, but the sun started feeling hot.  But I made it to the top and hit the halfway point.  I turned around and started back down the hill.  After a little bit, I passed my team and said hi to them.  I knew all I did was get through the easy part.  Miles 9-12 were pretty solid, and I had some welcomed company keep me encouraged over the phone.  Then it got tough.  Miles 12-14 started to get a little hard.  At the 14.26 mark, I raised my fist in the air as I was passing the farthest I had ever ran.  My pace was slowing and legs started feeling heavier.  One foot in front of the other.  Mile 15.  I had the last bag of Sport Beans, popped my last salt tablet, and took a couple bites from my Clif Bar.  Mile 16.  I started breathing heavier.  Running became jogging long ago.  Jogging became trudging.  I just had to make it.  Mile 17.  I could see where I could run to.  I smiled.  But I was tired.  So I kept stomping along until I got closer and closer until... 18.  I did it!  I waited in the parking lot for the rest of my team and we stretched and shared in our accomplishment... exhausted.  We are one step closer.

When I started running 2 1/2 years ago, I would have called you crazy if you told me I was going to run 18 miles some day.  It was an incredible experience, and I am thrilled that it went as well as it did, but I know I still have a long way to go.  But for me, today was surreal for another reason.  As I was running, I was reflecting:

The route that we ran today was extremely familiar to me.  It was the area that I ran most weeks to train for my first half marathon.  A half marathon that happend exactly a year ago this weekend.  I was thinking about those runs and the last time that I was running on that trail.  The first time out, I struggled to hit 5 miles.  Then I hit 6.  Then I ran the farthest I ever had in my life - 7 miles.  Then I hit 8.  I remember the feeling that I had the first time I ran a double digit mile run - it was on this trail.  This trail has seen some of my biggest running milestones, and here I am with another one.  Before today, the farthest I had ever ran was 14.26 miles.  That was 2 weeks ago.  Today I crushed that.  As I looked around at the mountains, the river, the beauty of this place around me, all I could think about was where I was at a year ago.  And where I am at today.  When I think about that, my heart smiles.

I can't wait to take on the challenge of 20 miles next weekend.

And the thrill of 26.2 less than a month from now.

It's going to be incredible :)

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