Ever since my two failed attempts at running eight miles last weekend, this week I made sure to take two full rest days, stretching every day. I had two short, but quality, runs during the week. I got a foam roller from Target on Thursday, so after using that on Thursday and Friday nights, I felt rested and ready to go today. After sleeping to a shamefully late hour, I got up and had breakfast, only to fall back asleep while reading. I lazed around for a few more hours, then finally got myself dressed. I did my plank a day (I’m up to 1 min, 24 seconds!), stretched, and headed down to the riverfront to run. It was an absolutely beautiful day today! 70 degrees and clear. Down at the river front, there were families, frisbees, fishermen, skateboarders, other walkers and joggers, some picnickers (who knew that was spelled with a k?!), cyclists, little girls on glittery bikes, and a man who was impressively running with a baby jogger, using only one hand.
I decided to run without music today. I did that for my shorter runs this week, and discovered that I liked it. I’m usually too lost in thought to listen to the music anyway, and without my earbuds in, I can hear cars, bikes, and other runners better. I wore only my watch to keep track of time and walk breaks. I got a new running belt this week, so that was perfect for putting my car key and iPhone in. I did start the RunKeeper app on my phone as I put it in the pocket, just so I could have exact mileage and overall pace.
And so I started off! The first mile felt really good. I was pretty surprised at not having any soreness in my legs, because that’s usually the case. The next two miles went just as well, and I stopped for an extra fast water break at the one fountain along the trail. My mouth gets “clammy” sometimes, so I needed a little water to clear things up so I could keep going. Mile 4 seemed to stretch on for-ev-err. (Name that movie quote!). This was uncharted territory for me on this trail, which I think is part of why it felt so long. I reached the Mile 4 mark at just under 50 mins, which was today’s goal. Even though I had the RunKeeper app running, I couldn’t hear it, so I used the markers on the path to know when it was time to turn around. It’s marked every 1/4 mile, which means my number-loving self was able to set little, mid-run goals. Once I headed back for the second half, it was a little tougher. It certainly got to the mind-over matter point, because my legs were certainly feeling it at this point. I took a few more walk breaks during this stretch than I should have, but felt I needed it at the time. I did get to help this adorable little girl back on to her glittery bike and helped her get it up the hill. Mile 7 was tough, but by the time I had just a half mile left, I got a second wind and was able to finish strong! It felt great.
I would love for my pace/overall time to be faster in future long runs, but I am in no way, shape, or form disappointed in today’s run! This is the farthest distance I have ever covered by 1 1/2 miles! Today was the first time I ever thought that maybe I’ll actually be able to run this half marathon in seven weeks. I’m not there yet, but now, I am more confident that I’ll actually be able to finish this race. That little voice of doubt is finally gone. I’m not doing this for anyone else – I’m doing this to beat genetics and not be overweight or have diabetes later in life. I’m doing this to glorify God with the one body He gave me. Today’s run showed me that I am able to do more than I ever thought possible! Rock’n’Roll New Orleans, here I come!
I leave you with some pictures from my drive home, post-run. They were taken while at red lights, promise!