Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's a funny thing to run 10 miles

My half marathon training plan called for a 10 mile run this weekend. Wow. 10 miles. Who would have thought a few years ago that I would have any interest in running that far? That long? I certainly couldn't imagine it. 

Back in 1999 and 2000, when I did the Memphis to Peoria St. Jude Run, I was assigned to motor home GOLD 1. The people in my  motor home were fantastic! BUT they were runners. I was there for the children of St. Jude. My roommates for the week tried to convince me that I needed to do some marathons with them and I thought, "No way! I am NOT a runner. People who run that much are INSANE!" Well, I guess I am getting close to insanity now.

Saturday was one of those days where I could have easily put my long run off until the next day...and then the next...and then the next. But I knew I would be VERY unhappy with myself if I gave into that twinge of laziness. So, I collected my X-Men: The Last Stand DVD and hit the treadmill. (After a little bit of slushy ice was dropped on us by Mother Nature, I didn't think a run outside was the best decision.)

10 miles...
Do I have to?
Take a deep breath.....GO!

I am not running this 10 miles to win a race. I was running for my physical fitness. For my health. For an additional year or 2 on my life. I set the speed at a relaxed 5.6, incline of1 and took off. I checked my time at 1 mile: That was a 10:45 pace. I was happy with that.

Believe it or not, the first mile or two seems to be the toughest. It takes time to get into a groove. By 2.5 miles, I felt pretty good. My pace was relaxed and I was clicking off the time. Now, I know you won't believe this, but I have a pretty good stride. I've been told by many people that I look very relaxed when I run. Have you ever watched someone run and thought they are working WAY too hard? It happens a lot! So even though I have pretty good form, I still end up with an ache in the back of my shoulder after 4 or 5 miles. I try to stretch it out throughout my run, but sometimes it just won't go away. If you had a video camera on me during my run, you would see me flapping my left arm around every once in a while and wonder, "What the heck is she doing?" Well, now you know.

As my run continues and my body is warmed, I am amazed that I am not having negative thoughts. 10 miles used to feel SOOOO overwhelming. Now? It's 10 miles. Just GETTER DONE!

I've discovered that I really like to watch action movies while I'm on the treadmill. I think it's the faster, more intense pace that keeps me going. I find myself reacting to the action being played out on the screen - and yes, I do worry that I am going to leap frog over my rival and fall right off the back of the treadmill!

Running takes some mind games to keep going. By the time I hit 6 miles, I was telling my daughter, "Mommy only has 4 miles to go!" which doesn't sound nearly as bad as, "Mommy still has to run on this stupid hamster wheel for about 45 more minutes!" UGH! Let's keep the positive energy flowing here!

At some point in the run, I find my legs, especially my hip flexors, go a little numb. Every once in a while I have to consciously tell my legs how to put one in front of the other. That's when it gets scary. Your brain shouldn't have to tell your body how to move, but luckily it only lasts for a few seconds and then your sub-conscious takes over again.

By mile 8, I am thinking to myself. I am almost done! WOW! That's when I start to get cocky and start thinking about racheting up the speed. Naw! I'm just a simple mom of 3 trying to get her athletic mojo back. At 9.5 miles, I step up the speed to 5.8 and at 9.8 miles up to 6. 

After 1 hour, 46 minutes and 42 seconds, and 1410 calories burned, my 10 miler was done. Again, I get to tell myself in wonderment, "I AM A RUNNER!"

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