I’m gonna be honest with you all – last night, I wasn’t feeling a LOOOOOONG training run this morning.
So I’ve been lax in my Marine Corps Marathon training this year – what with all the new business excitement and such – in fact, I’ve been pretty lax about running in general lately (it happens). My best guess is that I’ve been averaging approximately 1.25 days per week of running for the past 5 weeks.
I looked at a calendar recently and realized that I had 3 weeks before it was taper time; a realization which was followed closely by a few moments of panic. Even though I wasn’t feeling optimistic, I decided to get up at the crack of dawn anyway to see how many miles I could squeeze in before 9:15am.
Well the crack of dawn came very early this morning.
But I dragged myself out of bed and reluctantly went through the whole “long run ritual” – energy gels packed, Camelbak filled, electrolyte capsules, LOTS of Aquaphor, and my Wonder Woman shoe bling. At 5:45am(ish), I set off for my run around the hood…with very not-high hopes that I’d reach the ideal mileage target of 16-18 miles.
But the strangest thing happened.
The first mile felt awesome – VERY odd for me since the first 3 miles of every run I’ve ever done just plain suck (more on that HERE).
The second mile felt easy too which had me thoroughly confused but I figured it’ll kick in eventually so I just kept cruising.
When the third mile felt like a breeze, I knew this run was going to be different – perhaps even legendary.
SPOILER ALERT – today was my most awesome training run ever.
By 9AM, I’d completed 17.4 of the strongest training miles I’ve ever run. I felt fabulous, focused, and comfortable for more than 3 hours and still felt great after. Aside from these feelings of awesomeness, I also had several epiphanies – as we runners often do on these long solo runs – that I’d like to share with you now.
- These were the same streets where I’d trained my dear friend, Lauren Nazelrod, to run her first marathon early this year and they’re filled with some of my most treasured life memories. From sleet stinging our faces as we laughed uncontrollably like school kids, to frozen hair, to wet socks from stepping in not-quite-frozen puddles, to insane non-stop barking German shepherds, to almost biting it on these innocent-looking yellow sidewalk hazards over and over and over. These streets hold more memories than I can count or list. And even though Lauren wasn’t physically sharing these miles with me today (she is “with child” YAY!), she was definitely there in spirit and these streets will never be the same for me.
- I can’t stand road running anymore – must stop signing up for races that require me to train on anything other than natural surface trails.
- If you try very hard, you can actually squeeze EVERY single horrifying uphill of Clarksburg, MD into one delightful 17.4 mile route. For the locals reading this, I ran the Muscadine hill twice, the Skylark hill, the Snowden hill, the Burette Forest hills (all of them), the Foreman hill, the “bad
direction” of the Timber Creek (including all 3 of those nightmare hills), the Shawnee hill twice, and what I affectionately refer to as the “Dodi Lambert” hill. Check out the elevation profile! BOOM! Why would I do this?? Because I can! I ain’t scared of no hills. My philosophy has always been – don’t pray for a flat route, work on building the strength to endure the hilliest one imaginable.
- I’m really REALLY strong. Since I’m uncomfortable accepting praise from anyone including myself (workin on that), I tend to downplay this very obvious fact about me but F*** that! Dudes – I got up this morning, decided to go for a run, and logged over 17 miles like it was nuthin! Who does that?! It took me years but I (and I alone) built this impressive and insanely powerful body. Yes, that’s right, I freaking rock!
- Clif’s Vanilla Shot Gel is still the best damn energy gel flavor out there.
- I really do have the ability to endure anything. I’ve come through some really tough stuff (more on that HERE, HERE, and HERE) and even though my life is far from “perfect”, I’ve never been happier than I am right now. Sure, there are things and people that I miss from the past, but I truly have never been this at peace with myself and my life. It’s really nice and well-deserved. A great reminder that the darkest days of our lives can lead us straight to the light.
- I’ll be done running 17 miles before most people finish their first cup of coffee.
- Autumn is gorgeous – like breathtakingly stunning.
- I’ve missed running solo. Since I started my running group in January of 2014, I’ve rarely run alone. The peace and quiet today was therapeutic and I realized that I need the alone time periodically to work at my own pace and hear my own voice for a change. I was completely alone but I wasn’t lonely – quite the opposite in fact – I was perfectly content to be in the company of the most awesome person I know and have her undivided attention for more than 3 hours.
- Oh yeah…and I write some of my best blogs in my head while on the run as the rest of the world sleeps.
Here’s to my most awesome training run ever!
May there be many more like it and always when I least expect it.