It was a big day for this running mama. I ran 17 miles, my longest training run ever despite the fact that I have one marathon under my belt. I both dreaded and anxiously anticipated this long run because it represented a huge not only physical but psychological hurdle for me, one I wasn’t entirely sure I had the strength or stamina to cross.
Here’s the back story in case you are new here: When I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2011, I never made it past 16 miles in training due to an injury. I managed to finish the race despite my lack of adequate training (it’s incredible what adrenaline and crowd support can help you achieve), but I wasn’t particularly pleased with my time. Running the Portland Marathon in October, for me, is about seeing what I can do in a healthy, injury-free state (I’m frantically knocking on my particle-board desk as I type those words).
With that in mind, I have approached training entirely differently this time around. I feel as if I have found a good groove in terms of balancing running with cross training, stretching, yoga, resting, etc. I’m running much faster than I was in 2011, thanks to finally giving up smoking (duh!). I feel as if I’m starting fresh this time and have a second chance to prove myself. Each long run brings me a step closer to knowing what I will be capable of on race day.
I am proud to say that not only did I finish today’s 17-miler, I rocked it. My average pace was just a few seconds shy of my goal for Portland. I owe much of the credit to a fabulous — and really fast — new running buddy who inspired me to keep pushing forward today. Training without my hubby, who was supposed to run Portland but suffered an injury, has been tough. I am so thankful to the local ladies running this year’s Chicago Marathon who have welcomed me into their training fold. Let’s face it: Long runs kind of suck when you do them alone — at least they sure do for me. I want and need that kick in the butt from someone else to keep moving. I was extra grateful to have it today.
Reaching the 17-mile mark felt like a major victory. It means I’m 65% there. If I can run 17, what’s another mile next week or even an extra 9.2 (gulp) on Oct. 5? I made it past the milestone that scared me most, and I am reveling in my runner’s high right now.
I could also really use a nap.
Happy Friday, peeps! And cheers to the running community at large. What an awesome group of positive, supportive and inspiring people! I am lucky and proud to be a part of it.