I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a hot, humid, super sweaty run like the one I completed this morning. Several times while I ran, I thought “this is why I love running…putting myself out there, seeing what I can do, pushing myself to the limit.”
This run proves that you don’t have to have a perfect run to add a run to the all-time favorites list. Seriously, this run kicked my butt but I absolutely loved it. My clothes have never been so soaked with sweat before. (I lost at least 3 lbs of water weight and that included the 3 bottles full of water, Gatorade and 20 oz coffee that I guzzled before I weighed myself. The water I drank while running.)
It was a good sign when I looked out my bedroom window first thing this morning and saw dry pavement. The forecast called for scattered thunderstorms all day. (It still hasn’t rained.) I am so glad that I did not have to run for over two hours on the treadmill.
Mom and I got out the door a little later than I had planned but that was alright.
We got to the trail and started running. Right away my legs protested a bit to being used so soon after a tough tempo yesterday. I forced myself to ignore them and settle into a decent long run pace.
Mom and I ran together for the first two miles. When she slowed to walk for the first time, I kept going. (In my defense, she told me to. ;)) I didn’t know until later that she wasn’t ever that far behind me.
I knew the day was going to be a scorcher so I took in hydration as soon and as often as I could, usually once a mile.
At the 30 minute mark I slowed to a walk to eat a couple chomps. I learned my lesson in San Francisco. Chewing while running at my goal pace is next to impossible. I’ll probably end up using gels on marathon day.
My first goal of the day was to run all the way to the new end to the trail. I love the new expansion to the Swamp Rabbit. It may not be the most scenic but it was new and enjoyable. The only part of the new section that I didn’t like was a lovely little downhill behind a gas station. When I ran down I mentally groaned knowing that I would have to come back up.
Just a little ways beyond that the trail ended … for now. (That’s what’s on the trail end sign. Love it!) I made the turn around and started the second portion of my run.
That hill? Yeah, it was hard but it didn’t kill me. It actually didn’t seem all that bad.
Soon after that I caught a glimpse of orange up ahead of me. It was Mom. She turned around just before the hill. Smart woman. I put on a little bit more speed than I probably should have to catch up with her.
About a half mile later I caught up with her and ran the rest of the way back to the Duncan Chapel parking lot with her.
Besides my two fuel breaks, I did walk one other time when she slowed to a walk. I wanted to stick with her. On a day like today, it’s so nice to have company on the run. We also made a slightly longer stop than normal at Williams Hardware to fill up our water bottles. (Thank you so much Williams Hardware!)
I felt pretty good throughout this portion, especially considering the weather–75ish degrees with 100% humidity. I didn’t feel drained or dehydrated. I did wonder how I would be able to speed up almost a minute per mile for my fast finish but decided to deal with that when I came to it.
Once we got back to the Duncan Chapel lot near Furman, I was on my own. I had about 15 minutes before I had to pick up the pace. I took my last fuel break with about 3 minutes to go using that minute afterwards to try to pick up the pace.
Word to the wise, 7:40 per mile after almost two hours in super humid summer weather is not for the faint of heart. I didn’t quite make it for the first mile but kept pushing, telling myself to “embrace the suck.” (Yes, I love my new catchphrase. It’s great for those times when you want to quit.)
With 10 minutes to go I did pause to catch my breath, regroup. I needed those few seconds. When I started running again, my new favorite running song (just bought it today!) “Bang! Bang!” started playing. (I’m not a huge fan of the lyrics but the beat is undeniable.) It was just the pick me up that I needed right then. Too bad I didn’t have it on repeat.
When it finished, “Firework” came on and while I like it, the rhythm was all wrong. That was the point where I needed a little external motivation to finish and that song just wasn’t cutting it. With 3.5 minutes to go I stopped again and put “Bang! Bang!” on again. I needed all the motivation I could get to finish. Those last few seconds seemed to take forever!
I finished with a huge smile on my face. Just like that my longest (both in time and distance) run in months was finished and I had conquered it.
Runs like this help me remember why I love marathons (and marathon training) so much. Bring on TCM!