On Saturday, I had my last long run before I start tapering for the upcoming half marathon on March 3rd. This was an 11-miler. Jeff didn't run it, because he had his half the next day, so Julia, Amy and I set out on our "Tour de Copperfield" - we decided to run the side streets in a neighborhood where we normally would just run the perimeter. It was going to be a little crazy, directional-wise, but we had a couple spots where we knew we needed to reach a certain mile point, and as long as we did that, we would be on track to get the entire 11 miles in.
It was 32 degrees when we started, but it wasn't windy, so it didn't feel too bad. We did the usual 2:1 intervals, and it was interesting to do a different route...sure, we hit a couple of dead ends along the way and got turned around a few times, but all in all, it was an adventure. However, my back, which had been bothering me all week, was really hurting during the run, and I was not able to get into the groove of it. In fact, when we reached mile 7, I considered turning back toward the start, but Julia said "it's only 4 more miles" and that sounded like nothing at that point, so I kept going. Still, I was hurting - back, ankle, foot, toes...just one of those runs where nothing feels good. I ended up taking some longer walking breaks, which I haven't done since I started doing the intervals with the Gymboss. We finally finished, but man, I was hurting. I smiled for the camera - part of participating in Lori's Healthy Heart Weekend was that you had to send in a picture after you'd completed your workout - but all I really wanted was to go home, take some Motrin, and lay on a heating pad.
That's Amy's finger adding to my hands, so we could show 11 miles. I'm beginning to think that running more miles than I can count on two hands is just plain crazy!
After I got cleaned up, we stopped for an early lunch on our way out of town. We usually split a cinnamon twist pastry as a treat, but got there too late and they were sold out. So I got my next favorite, an oatmeal cookie. Dang, it was GOOD. I took a bite before Jeff could take a picture:
And yes, I do look tired. I WAS tired!
So to recap: Long run, everything hurt, why in the hell do I do this to myself?
Then yesterday happened. I had such a great run that there aren't enough superlatives in the world to describe it. The weather was perfect - 45 degrees, sunny blue skies...the kind of day that makes you happy to be outside and participating in life. Backstory is that last week, Jenny and I had a long talk about how good we ran back in 2010, and tried to figure out how we could do that again. We decided to try running quarter-mile intervals, as quickly as we could stand it, followed by a quarter-mile recovery walk...our thoughts were that this would build up our endurance and speed for a 5K. We settled on 2 miles of this, and I set my Garmin accordingly...or so I thought (math+Shelley=disaster).
Anyway, we set out and ran the first quarter mile fast - we were breathless by the time we got to walk. But we recovered pretty quickly, and kept at it, for a total of 4 miles! Oops - obviously I didn't work the Garmin right. Now, we (OK, Jenny) realized fairly early on that the count was off, but we decided to keep at it - and I can't tell you how awesome we both felt when we finished! We pushed ourselves just enough to feel like we'd really worked hard, but not so much that we were hurting. The endorphins were surging, and we couldn't stop talking about what a great run that was...and that's why I run. And why I keep running, even when I feel as bad as I did on Saturday - because when these great runs happen, that makes it all worthwhile.
However, I have to say that I really am looking forward to not running longer than 5 miles at a time in the very near future - my body needs a break. I'm going to my orthopedist this morning for another set of lidocaine injections in my ankle and the top of my foot - yes, they hurt like crazy to get, but it's worth it considering the relief I had from the first round of injections. I'm hoping that the next few months of running will not only be really fun, but fairly pain-free. I'm ready for both!