|Me looking very cankley about 8.5 miles in to|
my run while the 7:35 AM sun still hung low.
Let me set the scene . . . Sicily. 1928. I kid.
The first mile flew by. The second didn't seem to take much longer. Before I knew it I was 3.5 miles in and was sweating just enough (the air was cool, the breeze soft, and the sun shaded) to remind me that I was running but my breathing exercises are finally to a point where I'm not afraid of suffocating anymore. I crossed the four mile mark. One path down.
I started on to the second path (just 50 minutes in to my run (yes - I was setting a personal speed record)) and ran right past my Start2Finish buddies who were just congregating for the morning. I zipped through mile five. In mile six I realized I had YET TO STOP RUNNING . . . I had not yet broken stride for a single stride . . . no walking. A record in and of itself. Also - my iPod (randomly enough) - had repeated Ya Hey thrice to my great pleasure.
This was my greatest run to date and I knew it. I was present for it. I was ENJOYING it. I started mile seven realizing my days of fearing running were probably past me. I was still not good at it. I'll never be "a Runner" and I'll never love it but I was at peace in the status that some good weather, a good set of songs, some comfy shoes, and some fresh asphalt could all combine to make me enjoy the process. I could do this. I was doing this. I finished mile seven. Sooooo close, I thought (nearly 25% of the run left, in reality). Then, it hit me. I had to pee. Really bad. I wondered how long I'd had been just ignoring the urge.
I made a silly choice. I stopped to pee. It could not have been more than a minute or so and it was at about 7.5 miles. Upon my first stride (always the right foot, by the way), I felt a burn in my right calf. Is this a charlie horse? Am I cramping? Is this real life (David After Dentist forever, fools)? Uh oh.
I'm just 1.5 miles from running NINE. I've yet to walk any distance not in a public restroom (I literally ran to the door and ran my first (right foot) step after opening it again). I realized in that moment that I had made just one, simple, foolish, HUGE mistake . . . I had not had anything to drink in two hours and nearly eight miles of running. My body was dry and I think the pee took the last of my fluid reserves with it.
I took the next half mile with nothing more than a limp - it was as ugly as the first half mile I ever tried to continually run. I turned the last turn (at the end of mile eight, start of mile nine) for the homestretch. I made it a quarter of way and my left leg started bitching at me too. I was running like a person that had stumbled upon a bee's nest. Arms and legs just thrashing about. NO calm to be found. Posture was garbage. Focus was gone. Air sucking and blowing. NO way to behave. I pulled out my cellphone (no - not to call 911 - but to check my stats). I was less than a mile from finishing the longest, fastest run of my short running life. Noooooo!
I feel more running confidence now than I ever have. I'm more ready for the half marathon than I thought I might with THIS much time still to prepare and improve. I am finally at a point where I can say to people "If I can do it - you can probably do it" without feeling like a fraud. I can't WAIT, candidly, to try my hand at TEN miles NEXT Saturday (we have a perhaps too easy (Is this a trap, Kevin?) SIX on the schedule this week). I'll live in the glory of nine miles for 14 full days. I wonder how long the glory of 13.1 will last?