I was near tears because I was so terrified to head out for this run… an 8 mile training run. My longest training run since April 2011. After 3 years of horrible running. Two and a half years dealing with a severe nausea issue. A year of fighting to get my running back on track… a fight that I was still fighting…
I was beyond freaking out… a sentiment I shared with someone. Then my phone rang… Telling me I have this. That I am a runner. That I am capable.
I wasn’t entirely convinced but the phone call served to get me out of my head… it calmed me
My running shoes were on so I headed out…
As soon as I walked outside I felt the mist that was falling… “You have got to be F&cking kidding me!” I said allowed. Everything was as stacked in my favor as it was going to be. I was coming off of three solid days rest. I ate pizza the night before. My breakfast was the same meal that I have had success with. It was nice and cool out. Except for the damn rain and the intense head wind I knew I would have going north… I wasn’t going to get a more perfect chance.
And of course this is a day where my watch wants to be fickle… It took at least 10 minutes to locate satellites while I paced back and forth under my buildings awning. I hate running when it is raining but I knew if I walked back inside I was not going to walk back out so I kept pacing.
My watch finally located the satellites and I took a deep breath and thought… Here goes nothing…
I had about a half mile to get to the path and I kept debating my course. Part of me wanted to just run 4 miles north so I could turn around and have the tail wind for the entire second half but I decided against that quickly. I wasn’t running with water and my fear of this run going badly meant I needed my safety nets. I needed to know that my water fountains were only half a mile apart and I needed the loop that meant at any given point, I wasn’t more than 1.50 miles from home.
I reached the path, took a quick sip of water and started to run north. Holy Hell… This wind is BRUTAL… I have at least 3.50 miles of dealing with this today… DAMN!
Running north I was gulping too much air which was causing my stomach to cramp a bit… well this sucks. It also forced me to spend a little more time than I wanted at water fountains to get my breathing back on track.
When I finished my first lap, a route that is about 2.10 miles per lap, I started my second… going north again. Damn this wind! The demons are telling me to stop… to run a different day. Telling me that I don’t really want to deal with this wind.
They were right, I don’t. But wind isn’t a good enough reason for me to bail… Not today.
And hey, at least it is no longer raining…
The second lap now complete and more than half way to my goal… Ok… my nerves are calmed but I still have a battle. I can feel my drive slipping away. The wind going north is quite miserable and it is not helping to silence the demons… the demons telling me I can’t do this… that I have failed before.
Grrrrrrrrrr… SHUT UP
I spend the rest of my trek running into the wind trying to figure out the best way to avoid the headwind but all of my options aren’t the greatest. It is a lot cooler out and finishing the run more than half a mile away from home (as per my plan) would mean being very cold by the time I get home. There is just no easy way to do this… But at least I distracted myself enough to push the demons out of my head.
I finish the third lap and check my watch… 6.75 miles
Ok… my next water fountain is just over half a mile away… north… with that damn wind. But if I run to that water fountain then turn around, I will have the tail wind. Then I should be able to tac a little extra on by continuing south in the zoo parking lot if I need to. Alright… Good game plan.
I start running again. The wind is punishing. I can tell I am fatigued. The wind is also causing my muscles to cool too much which is not helping my fatigue. I start telling myself that I am too damn close now. I am stubborn enough to finish this damn run
I hit the water fountain at 7.35 miles and do some quick calculation… Running back to the water fountain I just came from will get me to 7.85/7.90 miles. Then I can just run to the next water fountain on the way toward home and I know I will have it.
After another quick sip of water and a check for bikes on the path, I head back. Thrilled that the wind is at my back now. But the fatigue is there. I feel so close yet so far away. I want to be done with this run. I briefly consider stopping once I hit the water fountain but my desire to complete the full 8 miles is stronger now… I am telling the demons to go home. I am getting the full 8 miles.
I promise myself that I won’t look at my watch again until I reach my water fountain. I know I will be just shy of 8 miles at that point but I am hoping it is one of those weird days where my normal route is suddenly longer. I notice that I am really thirsty and I am no longer sweating… Grrrr
I reach the water fountain and check my watch… no such luck. I have exactly a tenth of a mile left.
Now I am sort of laughing at myself… Who stops with only a tenth of a mile left? Yea… I do… I really needed water. I take a sip and tell myself to just run to my next water fountain… my on the way home water fountain. I know that is at least a tenth of a mile away but I also promise myself that I won’t look at my watch again until I am there.
I take off again…
As I approach my water fountain I can feel emotions getting the best of me. Years of running issues all coming to one point… a point of success. I know this run is mine. I fight off the tears until I am at my water fountain and stop my watch….
I look down and see 8.04 miles. I bend over and allowed myself to cry. I did it… I FINALLY did it!
I take a few sips of water and start my cool down walk home. I keep feeling the emotions though…. I feel them for the entire half mile-ish walk home.
Today, I fought the demons and I won. I still have a few long training runs on this cycle and I hope those demons will stay away. But if they don’t I will continue to fight back… I will continue to win.