As the dreaded 14 miler approached, as usual a wrench was thrown in my plans. Darann my faithful friend and coach had an injury and would only be able to make it 7 miles with me. Lisa, was also unable to make the run.... panic set in; how could I possibly do this by myself. Darann planned two out and back of 3.5 miles each, and she would join me for the last one. I doubted whether I would have the fortitude to start another out and back, and secretly wished to do 7 out and have her dropped off in the middle of no where. After a sleepless night, I verbalized my concerns, and she agreed to it my way. This would be different though, 7 miles out on a country road... what if a dog attacked me, what if I got injured, what if, what if. Yep, I was in full on panic mode. And as stupid as this sounds, I had to run with my cell phone, which was something I had never done before..... so I worried, and worried, and worried, and then worried some more.
The big day came... and the temp was 9 degrees with below zero wind chill. And I faithfully put on all of my cold weather gear -- after all, I didn't want to seem like a wuss right. Even though, I secretly doubted whether this was a good idea. I was just about to leave when I received a text from Darann, there would be no running outside; she thought it was too cold for me to be running that distance outside. We talked, and agreed the ONLY option was the YMCA.
OK, so I have run 10K at the YMCA track, where 11 laps = 1 mile, but never anything more than that. The plan was, I would head out and get started. She would meet me around 7-8 miles and run the rest with me.
So off I started... slowly. I settled in nicely at 1.5 miles and slowly and methodically began to take down the miles. I even added water breaks every 30 minutes and then switched direction to try and stay motivated. the first 20 minutes of every half hour seemed to go fast, and the last 10 minutes seemed to go slow. Every time I went for a water break, it was harder to come back on the track. And of course every lap I ran past the exit door. I saw many, many groups of runners, walkers, joggers come and go during my time. At 7 miles I really doubted whether I could keep going; I was starting to get dizzy and I just did not feel good. At about 8 miles, out popped Darann's head through the door. Now, I am always happy to see her, but today I was elated to see her. She started running with me and my pace instantly improved. She chatted about life, her kids, and anything she could think of to keep my mind off the miles that were ticking away.
At mile 11.5, I remember saying to her "am I still moving" as I was sure that my pace had slowed to a crawl. She reassured me that yes I was moving, and that my pace was doing just fine. Just hearing those words was enough to make me smile and keep going. At mile 12.5 I realized I only had 2 miles to go, and what was 2 miles, that was nothing to me. Interestingly enough, my intervals stayed strong, even throwing in some 6 minute runs along with the 4 minute intervals. With 1 mile to go, I knew I had this. Darann says to me "when we get to 0.5 to go, we can just walk it in." Are you kidding me? Heck no ... I worked this hard to be able to say I ran 14 miles I am NOT walking it in. She just laughed at me and laughed at my stubbornness.
With 500m to go, I felt strong... I switched the song... and off I went... when I finally finished all 14.5 miles I stopped because I could, not because I had to. I think that is my favorite victory of the whole run. At 14.5 miles I stopped because I was done, but I could have kept going!
Yep .... I may be slow, but I am a warrior. And yes... I may not pass you... but I can outlast you!