For an average recreational runner, I sure do have a lot to say about the subject, right? I've been running a lot recently. The Plattsburgh Half Marathon in April energized me and built up my confidence enough to send me on a training plan that calls for long runs each weekend plus three workday runs of varying lengths. Every week, in most weather conditions. I've been sticking to the schedule, changing it around, abandoning it completely on vacation but still fitting in the most beautiful runs of my life. (Redwoods, Golden Gate, Big Sur & PDX.) Sometimes I curse it, most of the time I love it. I love checking off boxes and adding up mileage and looking back at my accomplishments. Even when I'm not on a structured plan, I've always loved keeping track of my running and other workouts. Because on bad days, I can look back and remember all of those bad days I've pushed through. I've gone on absolutely terrible three-mile runs, short runs that I thought I wouldn't be able to finish. Ones that could easily toss me into a deep slump. But then I remember that Hey! I've had great eight-mile runs and even twelve-mile runs! It's ok to have bad days and awful runs! I like seeing it all add up, creating a foundation for reaching future goals.
So I've been running a bit. Chris is always running a bit. So two weekends he found a rare summer half marathon in Lake George, the Camp Chingachgook Challenge, and we decided to sign up for it on a whim. At the beginning of the summer, we decided we wanted to make running a part of it. To be content with taking hours of our weekend and giving them to running. To sign up for races and have fun with it. I'd like to play it cooler than this, but I can't: I'm so excited that this half marathon was as close to "no big deal" as 13.1 miles will ever be to me. It was a little blip, a pit stop run before heading up to Plattsburgh for the weekend. That it wasn't a huge deal is a huge deal, ya know?
The race was small and hometown-y. Winners won homemade pies and candied apples. Chris was an age-group winner and won a cookie. (I ate most of it.) The course was incredibly hilly. Constant, consistent, rolling hills. Up, down, up, down. It was tough and I ran a really good race still, but about six minutes slower than the flatter, cooler temp Plattsburgh race. We stuck around afterwards to enjoy the BBQ and lake views, soaking in the sun and the summer moment.
And just this past Sunday, I ran farther than I'd ever run before. I ran 15 miles, by myself, around my city, with just my thoughts to keep me company and two water bottles strapped to my waist. The first ten miles felt great. (I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.) Legs, lungs and mind were strong. Around 11 miles my feet started hurting just a bit and some clothes started rubbing wrong. Around 13 miles I actually got a little hungry. But overall, I felt pretty great. Sure, I showered, ate and then napped for an hour; I still have some work to do on my post-run productivity levels. I stretched and used my foam roller and ate gelato for dessert. Every time I finish a long run or race, I'm always astonished. "Did I really just run 13.1 miles?!" I always doubt it. But it's true! I've been getting my run on this year and I'm feeling great.
Yep, my hair is even shorter now. So it looks extra crazy when I'm running, but what can you do?! Keep running, that's what.