Sunday, September 13, 2009

Running and enjoying it again

Last year I didn't know if I'd ever be able to run again, let alone run any distances. First the knee injury, then the back injury, then the depression and the ulcer and the rampant insomnia and it hurt to run. I didn't have a single good run over ten miles all year and I canceled the only scheduled marathon I had planned. This year was going to be different.

But it didn't start that way. At the turn of the year I was training for a century and had no time, let alone energy, to run. I thought I could ride and run distances at the same time and was sadly wrong. After I rode my 100 miles I decided it was time to get serious and see if I was still a marathoner.

When I set our training schedule I planned many mid-teen distance runs. I wanted it so that running 14 miles was our standard run. I wanted our 18, 20 and 22 milers to feel good. I had planned to run 3 times during the week but hahahaha. Due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to get in much more than the long runs on the weekends. But it seems that the training I did, worked.

Our 18 mile run didn't go well but that was because it was a gazillion degrees outside. We had other bad runs due to the weather or the air quality but if it was nice out we ran well. Saturday morning didn't start well. I left home with lightning flashing, lighting up the pre-dawn sky in blinding white. There were only a couple drops of rain but I was scared of getting electrocuted if we ran in it. We lucked out and got near perfect conditions.

Our first few miles, in the dark, were highlighted by lovely flashes. When the sun started to rise we saw gorgeous colors from the clouds. As we got toward the bird sanctuary we paused to watch the morning take-off flights of a squadron of pelicans, a skein of geese, and a congregation of egrets. The ducks continued paddling around the lake, glad to have the space to themselves.

Throughout our run we had some rain, some wind, some sun, some thunder, some lightning. The temperature remained in the mid-60s, the humidity high, but it was such a relief after the horrendous heat of our last long run that it didn't matter. We refilled our bottles at each fountain and took way too many gels. We managed our 4:1 run:walk for 16 miles, then switched to 3:2 for the remaining 4 miles. We finished strong and although tired, we felt good. Better than after the hot run, better than after the smoggy and smoky runs. We enjoyed ourselves! It was incredible.

I'm glad we have one more long run before the marathon and hope it goes as well as this one. A day after the run I have only one sore toenail; my legs feel as if I only ran a couple of miles. I still feel weary but heck, I always feel weary these days. I'm still not counting those chickens before they hatch -- er, the marathons before they're run -- but I think I can safely say that once again I'm a runner. Yay!

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