There aren't really words to communicate how triumphant I feel after my long run this week. I was out of town Friday and Saturday (back in Yakima for a baby shower and some Grandparents time) and came back early Sunday morning with my head full of ideas for how to fit my long run into my very full Sunday. Here's what my schedule ended up looking like that day;
5am - wake up, dress, pack & eat breakfast... oh yeah... with a toddler
6am - leave Grandparent's house in the dark, in search of coffee and a gas station
6:30am - finally leave Yakima, still in the dark
9:30am - arrive in Portland, debate about running to coffee shop to get my run in... decide to drive
10am - begin reading book for Life Work class preparation, drink horrible coffee (throw it away)
11am - facilitate a meeting
1pm - end meeting abruptly to pee (2 coffees, three bottled waters later...), race home
1:30pm - get home and let hubby pack up for band practice
2pm - try to find running clothes and pack up Ethan's stroller and warm clothes
2:15pm - let buddy Kaylee in, wrestle giggling toddler into clean clothes and head to park
2:30pm - deposit sleeping toddler in stroller, wrapped in warm blanket - head out for 6 miles
nearly 4pm - get back to van, race home (church starts at 5)
4:15pm - wrestle giggling toddler into another round of clean clothes, chase said toddler around and try to wrestle him into carseat
5:10pm - arrive to church late (BOO!), miss opening worship (double-boo!), check Ethan into kids club, sit just in time to hear the start of sermon (YAY!)
6:30pm - retrieve toddler (now pajama-clad and hyped up) and head for van
8pm - finally get to van after catching up with friends from church
8:30pm - home and conked out in bed with sleeping toddler
10:30pm - hubby arrives home, send him out again to borrow/find computer cable (so I can work on class) and a bag of sugar so I can bake.
11pm - change mind about working and baking - sleep.
So that was my big long day on Sunday. And somewhere in there I managed to run 6 miles, and to do so faster than I've run so far. (Wait... there were 2 miles during the Portland marathon where I tried to keep up with Kaylee at a 10:20 pace... I think... but I almost blacked out so I'm not really counting that... ha!)
Kaylee was a dear and pushed Ethan in his stroller for the majority of the run. I'm thankful that she was willing to do that, as I was having a really hard run. I made it about a mile and a half in and the "walk negotiations" started in my head. It sounded like this;
"So, we haven't discussed how much walking we'll be doing today, self."
"That's because there will be no walking today, self."
"NONE!? But it's cold! And I've had only fluids so far today... 'cept for the muffins... and I'm tired!"
"You'll be okay... you can do this, you've done it before"
"But what if I NEED to walk... what then?"
"Well... if you start blacking out, we'll walk. But we're not going to walk just because your butt/legs/arms/back hurts."
"Really... now stop whining and just run"
So that was my little conversation that I had in my head every few yards. I'd talked myself into running the entire first stretch (along the Springwater) with the promise that I could either walk right before the big hill, on the big hill, or perhaps after the big hill. Then I just kept right on running up to the hill, and over the hill. I tried convincing Kaylee that I needed to walk a bit as soon as we got up on top of the hill, but she distracted me and told me how to breathe the right way to stay focused. And before I knew it, we'd passed what has been my "walking zone" - a stretch a couple blocks long between the end of the hill and where I usually started running with Sheri. It's sort of been my "off the record" zone for catching my breath after the hill. But somehow, Kaylee tricked/encouraged/talked me into pushing through it and keeping pace. I definitely had one of those... "uh oh, we're really going to pass out now!" moments... but just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. By the time I got to where I usually start running again my body had clicked into gear and I was feeling stronger and more confident. I remembered that feeling from the long run previous, and I just went with it and tried to dig in and enjoy it.
As the run progressed, I felt my body getting warmer and warmer, and feeling increasingly "in gear." I felt strong and capable and excited to keep running. When we hit our last 1.5 mile - right around where the back-roads connect with Powell and the atmosphere changes from nice residential running to loud traffic-filled crazy running - I was feeling like I could fly. As we rounded one of our last corners, Kaylee reported (thanks to her fancy-shmancy Garmin watch) that we were only 2/3 mile away from being done and only at like 1:10ish. I was shocked! We were on pace to blow my last PR out of the water! So we dug in a little and finished that last piece with more enthusiasm and were able to complete the 6.01 miles in 1:14:50. Which translates into an average of 12:27 mile.
This run was full of blasting previously held limits out of the water. I have a feeling that long runs will continue to be that way. I really felt like I was hitting an actual physical/mental/emotional wall when I was climbing that hill. But I managed to run right through it. I'm trying to log that feeling away for the next long run... this weekend I'll be doing 7 miles. The longest I've ever run... EVER. And more than half the distance of the half marathon. I'm stunned to find myself honestly thinking... only 7? We'll be okay. It's only 7. Becca Sue from two years ago would be telling me to "shut your dirty little mouth... I'm not running 7 frickin' miles you clown!" HA! I'm just stunned. And I can't wait to see what else I learn and all the ways this process is going to make me grow up. And I am especially excited to see how the Lord uses it to discipline my heart and mind for facing the challenges that I'll face in my spiritual growth as well. Sometime you hit walls, emotionally and spiritually, and all you can do is keep your eyes on the final goal and take one step at a time - ignoring the voices in your head that are telling you you're on a fool's errand and should just stop and eat a taco.
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Running is a way for me to practice - with my body -the spiritual lessons that I'm encountering in Scripture and learning with my heart. It's a way for me to learn things experientially, and to be able to grasp abstract concepts in a really concrete way. Each run that I do creates a memory and experience that I'll have stored in my mind and heart for when I encounter a spiritual or emotional parallel.
Here's to trusting Jesus to complete His work in me in whatever means He chooses to use - including running. :) Woot!