Now that school has started and I have to drive my daughter to school in the morning, I’ve run out of morning light for my weekday runs. Although I was tired after working all day and picking my daughter up from school, and I was hungry for dinner, I ran Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. My runs felt slower, but it turns out they weren’t.
I would get home from work and change into my running things, thinking about my upcoming long run on Saturday of 11 miles. I was nervous about it because it had been 2 weeks since my 10-mile run. I thought of the weekday runs as necessary preparation for the longer run, and I suppose they were.
My Saturday run was in a college town a half hour away and we were supposed to be there by 7 a.m., so I was up early. I figured it was good practice for the race in two weeks…I knew I’d be nervous about oversleeping, getting lost, or any number of things that could make me miss the start. I left at 6:15 to give myself a little extra time and it turned out I needed it as the running store was not visible from the street and I had to use the mapping function on my phone to find it.
I got there just as my friend arrived and we went into the store together. The run was planned out very well, with routes mapped out for the various distances that each runner needed. My friend and I decided to run the full ten-mile route then just run an extra one-mile loop at the end to get our eleventh mile.
The group of about 20 runners started out together, but pretty soon we were spread out. My friend is faster than I am, but she wasn’t used to all the hills; as it turned out, we were well-matched as running partners. She kept me moving on the flats and I had her running the hills faster than she probably liked.
We ran along a running and biking trail for about four miles, then we were on city sidewalks where I was more familiar with the route. We ran past another branch of the store and crossed the Main Street towards a more residential area. That’s when I tripped on the uneven pavement and went flying forward; half-way through my run I was bruised and bleeding, but thankfully I hadn’t twisted or pulled anything. I was also grateful to have a friend with me to make sure I was ok.
We had completely lost sight of all the other runners by then, but we managed to make all the proper turns with the help of the printed directions they’d given us, and at the end with my mapping program when we weren’t quite sure we were on track. I did more stopping and walking than I’ve done on a run before, but in the end we finished eleven miles in 2 hours and 8 minutes.
Back in the store, I got some bandaids for my bloody knuckles and elbow and washed off the remaining scrapes on my palm and knee. I grabbed a snack and some water and listened to a fitness nutrition specialist tell us the best way to train and eat for the last two weeks before the race. I started to realize the benefits of treating running as a group sport rather than a solo exercise.
I had been given a gift card to the store for Christmas, and now that I was finally there, I decided to use it to buy a pair of shoes. After discussing my aches and pains (the ones not caused by my fall!) and watching how I walked and ran, the shoe expert fitted me in a new pair of shoes. I really like the Saucony’s I’ve been wearing, so we stuck with that brand. He put me in a half-size larger shoe and one without “guidance”…apparently the shoes I’ve been wearing make my foot roll outward and that has been the cause of my hip pain.
I drove off energized, proud of myself, and sporting my new shoes.
Find the Joy in the Journey…I never would have dreamed that running could be part of that journey for me!