Part of what makes writing here fun is that my running and goals and challenges are constantly changing and my experiences tend to be somewhat unpredictable. Sure, sometimes (like yesterday) a post is really just a recap, start to finish, but the more I run, the more I learn stuff that I’m eager to share.
With this month’s Pile on the Miles Challenge, I’m learning about accountability and also, that I might just be more capable than I’ve thought in the past. Strangely, that’s a scary prospect. It means I need to live up to whatever it is I’m capable of.
Yesterday, as I looked at the monthly training calendar where I write in my daily workouts, I was daunted by the prospect of running 32.5 miles this week, especially with my sore knee. I penciled five miles in for Monday night and started calculating what else I’d need to do to reach my goal. I had a ways to go.
On the train ride home, anxious about my knee, I decided that instead of a slow 5-mile loop, I should go out for 8.5, to chip away at 32.5 a little bit more. I got home and changed quickly, suiting up in all of my warmest, most reflective gear. You could probably see me from space.
The first few steps were hesitant, feeling out any pain, and then became comfortable. It was quiet, dark, and cold. So quiet, actually, that my 2-mile alert literally made me jump from surprise. As miles clicked by, more comfortably and quicker than my effort implied, I really started enjoying myself. I made my way up one long, lingering hill and another steep one without a real dip in pace. I saw another runner, who waved, scared a woman bringing in her trash bin when I said hello, and laughed when I passed a man walking down the sidewalk, who exclaimed, “that’s cool!” when he saw me coming in all my blinking-lighted glory.
By the time I reached mile 8, where I was to take a right and turn home, I decided to extend my route through one more neighborhood to reach 10 miles. Endorphins are the real deal.
I reached home in 1:46:50. 10 miles at an 8:40 pace.
Five miles would have been fine last night, but I was absolutely capable of running 10 and at a decent pace to boot. I’ve written before about getting comfortable and stuck (a 9 minute pace for 3 miles or 10, for example) and talk regularly (and ironically, I guess, as a marathoner) about how much I dislike being uncomfortable. I really hesitate to move beyond my comfort zone on the road. This challenge, and putting a real number down for the month, has helped me to step up, shoot down my own excuses, and demand more from myself.
Oh, and one more thing. My hair froze. And I have got to start using a better camera. You deserve better.
Pile on the Miles Challenge Update: 87.5/110 miles, 26/30 days