Fourteen… Times Two

Happy Easter Eve, my friends!

As I sit here reflecting on the Lenten season, as we are taught to do, I am mostly thinking about how grateful I am. Grateful for my beautiful boys. Grateful for a wonderful father and sister who love me unconditionally and have been there for me in tough times. Those tough times that, at least in some ways, made me a bit of a stronger person. Grateful for friends who have been patient with me through the tough times I’ve had the last couple of years… and have listened (or at least feigned interest) in my constant blathering about running and the 50 states goal (part of the reason I started this blog…I know you guys are listening – and I’m grateful for that). I’m also grateful for the gift I’ve been given to run. To be healthy enough to run. To have the ability that, although I work hard at it, seems to fit me naturally.

I just *knew* my disproportionally long legs would be a benefit to me one day.

I write this tonight as I close out my first week of April, meeting the goal I set for myself of attaining at least 22.5 miles. Yes, I set a big goal for the month: 90 miles again. I had overcome a slight setback in the beginning of March (physically, at least) that had me worried about setting that goal – partly the reason I set the audacious goal in the first place (some call that tenacity…). Another part of setting that goal was that, when I find something that works, I tend to stick to it until it no longer works. 90-mile months worked once for me feeling alright after the dreaded mile 10.5 (my personal bonk point) as did running 14 miles as my last long before that half. Because worked before, let’s see if it works again… so yesterday I set out to do another 14-mile run. I’ve only hit that distance once before in January and I really didn’t want that to be a fluke. I had friends with me then – cheering me on, encouraging me not to quit, making me slow down so I didn’t burn out too quickly (as I have tendency to do). But, with the Easter season upon us, all my usual running friends were busy readying for their Easter celebrations. I was alone for this trip. I had to make it to 14 on my own.

I picked one of my favorite trails that was one of the flatter places I could think of for this run. Sick of my own library of music (which happens occasionally), I was delighted to discover that my local library actually “loans” out MP3 files of audio books (by the way, I’ve made quite a long wish list to keep me entertained on these drives and long runs for the 50 states quest), so I downloaded a book about Ann Boleyn and set out on my trip. It was a perfect day for a long run, especially considering the weather the last few weeks. The first 7 miles seemed easy, but I was going too fast. After I stopped to take fuel, I tried to focus on pace, but, on occasion when the book got interesting, I lost my focus. I can see from my splits where I was concentrating on it and where I was not because the splits are all over the place for that period in the run. Ironically, last three miles felt much easier to me than miles 7 through 10.5.

I finished the 14.

I finished the 14 strong, in fact, just under my goal pace of 9:30, shaving off about 8 minutes from the last time I did 14 miles.

I was sore, a little, but by this morning, mostly recovered from that run. I’m also grateful for that, as quick recoveries from longs are relatively new to me.

Regardless of the apparent recovery, I didn’t intend to run today. I could barely sleep last night so I was pretty tired and I moved a bunch of stuff around the house… not to mention that I was just kind of in a bad mood. I thought a good spin ride would be what I should do – nothing hard, something to just shake out a little of the left over lactic acid build up. It was not to be… due to maintenance on other equipment at the gym, I ended up running tonight because treadmills were all that were free. Normally, I roll my eyes at the mere thought of being “relegated” to the treadmill, but tonight, I saw it as an opportunity to run uber flat and controlled pace for exactly 40 minutes, so I took advantage. Maybe I was just pissy enough that a good run is what I needed… dunno. I ended up with another 4.22 tonight, bringing my total week to 26.9.

I am happy to announce that my attitude has officially changed 🙂

Happy Easter to all of you and your families. Bless you!