16 miles!


Marathon training has been going well, despite the crushing humidity. There’s a lot of negative self talk that goes on at 5:30am in the dark, with humidity pressing down, as unidentifiable animals make spooky noises. Thankfully I have connected with some great running buddies who actually go run at 0530 of their own volition. I’ve looked back at my old running logs, and my running is so much more consistent than it was 9 years ago, training for my first marathon. Even though I had only one child and a much more running-friendly schedule back then, I didn’t have weekday running people, and many of the roads I run on now didn’t exist, or weren’t runnable back then.

This morning I had 15-16 at AHR on the schedule, and got unexpectedly nervous about it last night. I knew the group would be very small, with the holiday weekend, the Four Miler yesterday, and the switch to Sunday. I wasn’t sure I’d have company for the run, and ultimately decided to show up early and do 2-3 miles before the group met up. This would both mentally break up the run, and would have me finish 30 minutes earlier – not an insignificant difference as the heat and humidity build in the late morning.

As luck would have it, I pulled in at the same time as another runner friend, and we ran to The Park and back, for just over two miles. A jog to the porta potties and back meant I had almost 2.5 done as the group coalesced. The plan was to run to The Park again, then to Bellair for a loop or two, then back to the track and to The Park. Several little chunks, repeated as necessary to get the mileage.

My running buddy dropped me about mile 5 as she started pace work at the first Bellair loop, and I actually enjoyed that first loop. It was shady and peaceful. I stopped at the end of the loop to add Skratch to my water, intending to do one more loop. The second loop was less fun, but I discovered that I could turn a podcast on my phone speaker, put the phone in my vest pocket, and have something to listen to without earbuds. I was pretty consistent about taking 3-4 Honey Stingers gummies every 30 minutes, and my body approved of the Skratch. I finished my second 2.5 mile loop with just 10 miles on my watch, and realized that it was either another loop, or I’d be running laps in the baking sun on the track.

That third loop was tough, and I clocked my slowest mile of the morning on the uphills on the second half. There was more walking than running. But I got it done.

I cruised past the water stop, froggered back across 250 and headed up Old Ivy back toward the track, and took a left down to The Park. I did a big loop around the perimeter – now there were softball practices and trainings going on, and a friendly dog ran with me for a few steps. A welcome distraction. I was pretty well out of steam, with only 14.5 on my watch.

By the time I got back to the track, I was over 15 miles, and decided that I might as well do the full 16. One lap on the track, and just over a lap on the magic carpet. Beeeeeep! I’d officially completed my longest run in almost nine years. Bad hip? What bad hip?

Some stretching, a roll with The Stick, and I was off to Bodo’s.

This being a work-heavy weekend for The Supportive Husband, there was plenty of child wrangling for me at home. I managed a catnap face down on the sofa. After that, it was off to the pool, for pizza supper and enjoying the dregs of summer. I’ve discovered that I can effortlessly float on a pool noodle while the kids wear themselves out. It was delightful, and just what my tired legs needed. My legs probably needed the post-swim bike ride less, but now that the big one is permanently connected to his bike, and the little one has finally made peace with hers, I can’t say no when they ask me to cruise around the neighborhood.

We ended the night with crafts on the porch, admiring the sunset. This is the good life.


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