Average Jane Runs

I'm just like you. And that's okay!

St. Jude Marathon 2011 – Training Days 14 & 15 – 7 Miles/REST

I’m not sure I can quite put into words how yesterday’s run made me feel. But I’ll try.

I was supposed to run 7 miles outside on Saturday morning but wasn’t nearly rested enough. I couldn’t face 7 miles on the treadmill…I just couldn’t. So I vowed to go to bed as early as possible Saturday night in order to snag every bit of sleep that I possibly could. The weather forecast was promising and come Hell or high water, I was running outside Sunday morning.

I got to bed around 9:30PM hoping to get at least 6 straight hours of sleep. I didn’t actually fall asleep until around 11:30PM. The tragic irony in all this is that the boy was sleeping fairly well compared to weeks past. He was sleeping and I couldn’t. I’m pretty sure I cried. I felt like I was in Hell.

But…as mentioned above, not even Hell was gonna stop me from running the next morning. Once I settled into sleep, I didn’t wake up until my intended time of 5:30AM (6 hours straight!). I was somewhat groggy, but the excitement of getting to run outside in nice weather was enough to get me moving to prepare for the endeavor. Did my normal morning stuff plus getting my body and gear prepped to go and realized I’d need my Garmin.

Then I realized I hadn’t charged my Garmin in about two months. Crap.

I plugged it into the wall – hoping upon hope that I could get just enough juice to last for at least half of 7 miles. While the big G was charging I finished getting my various “running junk” together. Spray sunblock? Check. Wristband with zipper pocket? Check. Lip balm? Check. Gatorade? Check.

I took a few sips of Gatorade and ate a serving of pretzels (I can’t stomach much before a run) so I wouldn’t bonk toward the end. Planned on taking the rest of the Gatorade with me so I wouldn’t bonk toward the middle. I was counting on the weather to at least get me to the halfway point.

At 6:30AM I decided that the Garmin was charged enough and if it wasn’t, well, life (and my run) would most certainly go on. I ran down the stairs to the car like a giddy Kindergartener on her first day of school. I started the car and flipped stations until I found a dancy happy song.

Then I realized I left my Gatorade upstairs. Crap.

I ran back up the three flights of stairs to our apartment and grabbed the goods. At least I would be nicely warmed up by the time I started my run.

The weather was magnificent. It was in the low 70s, clear, and breezy. This is almost unheard of in my neck of the woods in mid-August. I drove (yes, sadly I have to drive somewhere to run) to the neighborhood I was running with the windows down and a huge smile on my face.

As soon as my feet hit the asphalt and I felt the cool breeze on my skin (it was actually almost chilly) I began to remember why I run. Yes, I run to stay fit. I run to challenge myself. I run to support charities. I run to stay mentally sharp. But that morning…that absolutely glorious morning…I ran to feel alive.

The sound of my shoes on the pavement was a soul-calming metronome behind a beautiful score of green, dewy grass, perfect blue sky, and heavenly sunshine. The wind was at my back and made me feel like I was floating. For the first time in two months I didn’t care how fast I was going, wasn’t thinking about how much time I had left, and didn’t feel like I wanted to crumple to the ground into a ball of fatigue and stress. I was running. I was going somewhere.

Where was I going? I wasn’t sure. I knew I could get 7 miles out of this area but I didn’t map it out before I left. Part of the fun of running outside is exploring new routes. I happened upon a few paved running paths as well as about a mile stretch of perfectly shaded road. Though it wasn’t oppressively hot, the shade was welcome mid-run (and since I ran an out-and-back course, it was a nice 2 miles of shade).

As I left the shaded stretch of road which began the second half of my 7 miles, the wind was suddenly in my face. Normally this would be a nuisance as I have terrible allergies and dry eyes. Not this run. Not this day.

I literally opened my arms to embrace the air, the sun, the sky – I wanted to drink it all in as much as I could. I inhaled deeply and let the breeze push the air into my lungs. I felt like the wind was saying, “Hey, leave the breathing to me, friend. You just run.” And I did. And it was freedom.

Still smiling like an idiot during the last half mile, I couldn’t believe how great I felt. Sure, my legs and feet were happy to see the car, but I didn’t feel like I was struggling. And that was another thing – my legs got fatigued before I did. For some reason this isn’t how it happens on the treadmill.

I’m not going to kid myself and think the weather has finally broken for good this year. It likely hasn’t. I will probably be back on the dreadmill once or twice before it’s all said and done. But next time I’m on the conveyor belt I’ll remember that as much as I hate it, it’s taught me to appreciate being able to run outside more than I ever have before.

It reminds me why I run.

I run to feel alive.


7 Miles – 1:34:09 (asphalt+grass/13:27 pace)*

*edited 08/16/11 – noticed on my Garmin this morning that I added 10 seconds to my finish time…trust me, every second matters! :)

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