In preparation for race day in 2 weeks, our group, all the newbie runners, ran the whole 10-mile course on Saturday. I have had one cold after another for the last month, so I wondered if I would be able to do it, especially since I had only run one day the previous week due to illness. I went out there thinking there would be no shame in walking the last 2 miles. After all, if I can run 8 miles this week, I ought to be able to run 10 miles in 2 weeks, right? I am proud to say, I DID IT! It was hard, but I ran the whole time – really, really slowly for the last mile or so – but I finished. Now, I know I won’t go out there on race day and not be able to complete the course.
The thing that really made the difference was a friend running with me. Most of the time, I like to run alone and just let my thoughts wander, so when Karen started running with me, I thought it was fine because I was sure she was faster than me and would soon get tired of my slower pace. Whether she was running slower just to have a companion or for whatever reason, she stayed with me the for the whole course. She helped keep my mind off the pain in my thighs toward the end of the course. She and I talked a bit, but she, like me, doesn’t have to fill up every minute with chatter. The perfect companion. As we got closer to the finish line, I just didn’t want to let her down by starting to walk. I am so grateful she was with me. I know I wouldn’t have done it without her.
How do I feel now? My quads are sore. My knees hurt just a little thanks to all the hills in Charlottesville. Oddly, the backs of my arms hurt. After having slept fitfully on Saturday night, I slept 12 hours last night, like a brick. So, I guess I feel like a 50-year old who has never before run 10 miles. The flesh may be weak, but it is getting stronger.
Contemplating the 4 mile run I am supposed to do today, I think, “What’s four miles?” Seriously, 3 or 4 miles seemed unatainable back in October and now it looms over me like a walk in the park. A walk in the park is exactly what it will be like with the pear and the wild cherries blooming. The daffodils are bursting with yellow pride. Green things are sprouting up everywhere. I can’t wait to get out there.