After a couple weeks of dealing with cooties, fevers, puking and pharmacies, I finally got more than a few miles in. I decided I should probably ease back into it. I know I have a good base and that all of the fitness I have isn’t going to evaporate over 2 weeks. I did manage a few miles each week, in spite of the circumstances. Maybe not as many I would have liked, but I didn’t register any 0 mile weeks either. Saturday I got out for 6 and Sunday for 5.5 and oh my goodness it felt so good. Saturday was an NVLSD – not-very-long, slow distance run. I listened to the latest episode of Serial – Season 2. I never really pushed it at all, and just tried to time it out so I could get the whole episode in. My lungs are still just a little tight and the Bitch tried to creep in and discourage me, but I shut her down and overall it was a nice run. I wanted 6 miles and that’s what I got.
Sunday I let myself sleep in and I’m happy to report that I had a soul satisfying 8 hours of sweet slumber. I closed my eyes and woke up 8 hours later. It was delightful. I tumbled out of bed, sipped my coffee, ate some hot cereal and enjoyed my husband’s company. I’m still soaking in the fact that he’s not sick as hell. After lounging around for most of the morning, I traded the jammies for running clothes and headed out for a run. We were supposed to get snow, and I was really hoping to get to run in a snow storm…no such luck. I think 26 flakes fell as I was getting dressed and that was it. What I did get to run in was the cold air and wind behind the cold front that deposited my snow somewhere else.
Before I get into the riveting details of my 5.5 mile run, let’s flash back to Saturday afternoon. I ran Saturday morning and then headed into the office for a few hours. While I was working, I listened to the Rich Roll podcast, episode 197, with Jesse Itzler, the author of Living with A Seal, among other amazing life accomplishments. The book is the story of David Goggins, the Navy Seal, living with him for a month. If you don’t know who David Goggins is, Google him. Or check out this video. He is an amazing athlete and person.
Flash back to Sunday morning, with my coffee and jammies. Call me a sucker for motivational shit, but after sharing this video and others like it with the hubby, I was ready to go out for a run. I laced up the Altras, queued up the songs I wanted to listen to, and headed out the door. I got 100 yards from the house and felt that rhythm of my feet on the ground, that feeling that is just indescribable, that feels so natural and second nature and therapeutic – like my feet are making love to the ground. The road belongs to me – the houses that are there and the trucks parked on the street are just guests on my road. I felt my shoulders relax, my arms swinging by my side, my breathing become rhythmic. I watched David Goggins running and it looked so natural…so effortless. And when I hit the road, that’s how I felt. It was only a 5.5 mile run. I ran off the side of the road when I could, over the weeds and snow and mud. I ran up hills, concentrating on my glutes, and felt myself pushing my effort to the crest of the climb. Some of the songs I chose took me back to a difficult time but I felt myself starting to put new memories to those songs. I’ve run this same route a hundred times, but I kept thinking about pushing myself, about not saying, I’m going to TRY to run a hundred miles, but to say I AM going to run a hundred miles this year.
Running down that empty country road, I was visualizing myself running those loops at the Javelina Jundred. I could see myself doing it. I felt myself run a little taller and focus on my form. Just over 3 miles into my run, I came out of the farm road and onto the highway, and decided to run further than planned – to stretch it out an extra mile. As the cars sped by, I remembered driving by those crazy runners in Fairbanks and wanting to be like them and then it registered, I am that runner now. I am that person that other people drive by and they want to do what I’m doing. I’m the one accomplishing things that other people dream about and talk themselves out of doing.
I’m not anyone special. I’m a mom of 4 kids, a wife of 26 years, a reluctant tax accountant, and a runner. So I’ve had a 2 week set back. I have 18 weeks to train and on June 4 I am going to run that 50 mile race and cross the finish line with a smile on my face and my arms thrown in the air in victory. I’m not going to get lost or discouraged or want to quit. I’m going to run when I can, walk when I need to and crawl if I must, (thank you Dean Karnazes) but I am going to finish that race. And then I am going to continue with my training and I’m going to run the Javelina Jundred in October. There will be challenges and it will be hard training. I may miss some runs. I may not run as many miles as I have listed on my very ambitious training schedule. I may not be ready to crank out those 50 or 100 miles yet, but I can see myself crossing the finish line. I am going to train and dedicate myself to this goal and by the time race day gets here, I am going to be ready and I am going to finish the race. I am going to walk away with a Javelina belt buckle.
Unbelievable. I would have never thought it was possible, and yet…somewhere on a trail in Fruita, Colorado on a Sunday afternoon, the realization hit me like a freight train…I am an ultra runner. I am. How the hell did that happen?