Thursday, December 9, 2010

Falling in love with the long run

The next race would be the The Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis on November 20, 2010.  But before this race would come around, Shane had already talked me into signing up for the Frostbite Festival, a 10 mile race in December.  Just a few weeks before this, I would have said no way, not possible.  Remember, I thought I could only run three miles, maybe four?

We started training for the 10 mile run.  We'd have to adjust our training schedule around the 5k race.  Each weekend, we would do a long run, progressively getting longer for a couple weeks and then tapering for a week.  Longer for a couple and then tapering again.  Yes, we were certainly full-speed ahead with our running plan.  I was glad though.  The scheduled races each month would help me keep focused and give me motivation to keep it up as the days got shorter and the temperatures got colder.

I was happily running four miles in the evenings and long runs on the weekends.  I rarely had a run I hated anymore. I felt wonderful before during and after.  I found myself really looking forward to the weekend long runs though.  I enjoyed pushing to new distances.  I enjoyed the time spent with Shane doing something we both enjoyed.  The sense of accomplishment was the best.  Not everyone can say they can run six miles or more.  I liked that I could.

Then a setback happened...stupid Daylight Savings Time ended on November 6th!  This launched me into a period of readjustment. I'm pretty sure I'm still readjusting.

A few weeks earlier, we bought a used treadmill for winter emergency training.  It had been propped in a corner of our living room since we brought it home.  No one wanted to use it.  As we headed home that first weeknight after the time change, I was sure that I could still run outside.  It was still fairly nice out, and I couldn't yet stomach the thought of the treadmill in the basement!

I head out that evening and it's DARK--I mean pitch-black--in our neighborhood.  We live out in the country in a small subdivision that doesn't have street lights.  I begin the run, hoping and praying that I won't step down on an acorn or fallen branch that I can't see.  I'm not too worried about traffic since I've changed my running route to stay near the houses instead of heading out by the cornfields.  It was rough.  I was worried about twisting an ankle or tripping over something nearly the entire run.  I shortened my evening runs to three miles instead of four.

After a week of bumbling through the dark, I gave in and hit the treadmill instead.  I hated it, every second of it.  Watching each second, each tenth of a mile, tick by on the control panel was excruciating.  It dragged out for an eternity.  I tried different speeds, different inclines, changing it up a bit.  None of it felt natural.  The TV also annoyed me since I rarely watch commercials due to the DVR.  Not only was I a rat on an exercise wheel, I had to watch the commercials on top of it!  Ick!  Running after work went back to a means to an end:  to keep a decent weekly mileage up while waiting for a great weekend run outside!

This made me love the long runs even more.  I even loved the run where, for the first time, the wind and temperature really threatened to be uncomfortable.  Once we got into the run, it wasn't bad at all.  The wind was howling at our faces for the last two miles of a seven mile run, but we pushed through it fine.  At the end of each long run, I felt like I could go even farther.  I felt great, and I recovered quickly it seemed. 

That's all it took, I was hopelessly in love with the long run!  Now THIS is what I'm talking about!!

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