Sometimes it utterly escapes my comprehension that I actually ran an entire marathon. I say this not only because marathons are notorious for being the creme de la creme of the running world, but because some days I think running one mile is a chore.
I’ve started running again and running for serious, not just getting around the block, gasping only to turn around, go home and drink coffee instead.
It all started with running that 5K a few weeks back. I felt so astounding after the race that I was instantly voracious for more.
A few days later I thought, heck if I can run 3.2 miles surely I could run four. I set out on a four-miler, refusing to let myself stop for anything—even the Coast Guard hunks milling about in uniform who I wanted to salute and then kiss for good measure—I just kept running until I saw that I’d achieved four miles.
This was why I loved running. There were moments where I felt so impressed with myself and so drunk on endorphins that on my way back when I again passed the Coast Guard men, I did have to hold back from kissing one of them. I had the mistaken notion of over-confidence thinking my running high suddenly made me capable of getting away with things only Kim Kardashian could.
This emboldened me. I got heady with goals. I decided I would start running again. I would start training for a marathon again! I settled on something in between running again and marathons. I would start running every other day. And I would work heavily on my distance running.
On Saturday I awoke to a balmy day that promised to be warmer rather than cooler. I despise running in the heat, however. Instantly I could feel my running resolve already beginning to waver. Until I went on Facebook and saw that a friend had just posted that she finished a five-mile run. I took it as a sign and knew that if I were to beat the heat, I shouldn’t dilly-dally and maybe beat my previous four-mile run.
After three miles with the sun blazing down on me while my pace slowed to something a snail would sneer at. I saw a hill of impressive ominence on my running path. I was faced with a couple options. Go around it or go up it and die at only three miles in. Or, walk it and admit defeat that I couldn’t get five miles.
There was, however, secret option Number Four: Walk up it … but, turn off my run tracker so as to not count that as part of my run. I mean, it was still five miles with a break in between.
Naturally that was the option I chose.The next mile wasn’t so bad, and neither was the next half mile after that, but by this point I had rounded the bend to my house and still had a half mile to go. I was very tired, very hot and very thirsty and stared longingly at the windows to my apartment. I remembered how I feel about oaths to myself and I continued on right past my apartment and around the block. That brought me to 4.7 miles. I heaved past again and I was at 4.9. By now I was mostly limping and heaving and could hardly classify what I was doing as a run, but I pushed on. I started running up and down my driveway and then in circles. This way and that and around the sidewalk like some prison escapee who had spent so much time digging a hole outta the clink that there was no energy left to make a mad dash for freedom.
Finally, I reached 5 miles on my run tracker. At this point I was on the side of my apartment. I no longer had the energy to even walk around the corner and up the stairs. I collapsed and sat in blissful leg-twitchy relief that I was done with my challenge. I ran five miles.
The last time I ran five miles was during my marathon training two years ago. My legs being twitchy and my brain refusing to assist my body in moving a few more feet into the house seemed warranted. But I had pushed myself. And then two days later, in the chilly misty evening I did it again. Another five miles. Except this time, I felt like I might barf, have a heart attack or just go to sleep on someone’s lawn. But still, I persisted with thoughts of marathons keeping me warm every mile.