Sunday, March 8, 2009

Double Digits

Today marked a milestone in my running career: my first double-digit run. Ten miles.

Throughout the week, that number had been staring at me every time I opened my planner. It's appearance matched my feelings for it: it seemed large, but attainable; I was uncertain I could actually complete that distance, but something kept telling me I was ready.

I planned my route a few days ago. I would run two laps of the four-mile loop in the Park, combined with a mile each way to and from the entrance on 90th.

I set out around 9:30 AM this morning, feeling light and airy in just running shorts and a short-sleeved top. Today's weather was perfect for running: low sixties, partly cloudy with a light breeze.

I entered Central Park and began my first four mile loop. It was a bit intimidating, especially on the hills, to think I would be back again, facing the same challenges, only with an extra 40 minutes of running behind me. I felt strong when I finished the first loop; five miles down, five miles to go. I was only half-way finished?

I passed the exit and began to get a bit worried. Suddenly I wasn't so positive I could do the ten miles. But I needed to do it, I was too sick to run last weekend. I tried to think about how rewarding it would be at the end. I still have seven weeks until the half-marathon; to know I would only be 3.1 miles shy of that distance with so much time remaining would certainly be a confidence booster.

So I trudged along, very slowly in some parts, taking advantage of bursts of energy in others. I tried not to worry too much about my pace; my biggest concern with this run should be my distance. Shortly after I crossed-over to the West Side, I felt my body become completely focused on the task at hand. While during my first five miles I enjoyed the scenery and taking in my surroundings, the last half of my run was focused only on the distance I could see directly in front of me.

At about the seventh mile, there was no way I would let myself stop before I finished all ten miles. I felt the power in my legs, my core and upper body had kicked-in to sync and the bottom of my feet were surprisingly blister-free (thanks to a lot of Body Glide and two pairs of socks).

I finished the ten miles (10.08 miles technically) in 1 hour 27 minutes 50 seconds. I felt amazing; I felt like I could really be considered a runner now. That time breaks-down to an average split time of 8 minutes 42 seconds, which is about 20 seconds higher than my training program calls for. But I was not upset in the least - I was too proud of finishing my first-ever double digit run.

The windows have been open in the apartment all day. When I was younger, I could never figure out why Mum and Dad were so excited to open the windows when the winter chill had finally disappeared from the air. But now that I am cooped-up indoors pretty much all day, I understand that excitement. I understand wanting that fresh, pure air to blow through your house and overtake the staleness of the winter months.

Between a wonderful run, a replenished tummy and the breeze, I enjoyed an hour nap on the couch this afternoon. Afterwards, Mike and I ordered lunch from our favorite Thai restaurant. The afternoon was just as relaxed as the weather.

My muscles have felt a bit sore throughout the day. But combined with the fresh air in my lungs, it has been that feeling of soreness you get after a day of hiking or an afternoon swimming in the ocean. The type of soreness where your body seems to be thanking you for taking care of it and using it for something other than the grind of everyday life.

1 comment:

  1. Again I will try to make a comment, as it usually kicks back. That was a great personal rewarding to you. Just proves what you can do when you are determine. After last week this is just waht you needed. I am proud too.
    Love Grammie


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