Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WWU - 9 (Mostly) Lonely Miles

My long run on Saturday ended up being a mostly solo run, which is not what I prefer to do, especially when it comes to lots of miles.  We didn't have a big turnout for our half group anyway - I think there were only 11 of us (the full group had 5, but they started anywhere from an hour to 30 minutes before the half group since they were running 19 miles) at the start.  Amy and I began our run together, but pretty early on she said that her knee was hurting, so she turned back when we were close to mile 3.  At that point, we were on our main road, so I was fine, except that it was dark and I was all alone and did I mention it was dark?

I ran for about a mile without seeing anyone, and then the first person I saw was not someone from our running club, but a man walking with a sweatshirt on, and the hood pulled over his face.  I swear, what is it with men in hoodies, the dark, and me??  Two weeks in a row now!  This was a different man, and it was cold enough to need a sweatshirt this time, but I still ran pretty fast to pass him and then kept running for a while to get some distance between us.  I finally saw our runners coming back from the turn-around point; this was nice because I felt less alone.  I hit the turn-around at 4.5 miles and headed back.  I felt fine while I was running, but as I went on, I had to work on my mental game.  Near mile 6, I was supposed to turn into the fancy neighborhood, and I didn't want to...but I did.  Once there, I was supposed to run the entire perimeter, but there was a shortcut that I was approaching, and I seriously considered taking it...but I didn't.  I'm telling you, these were big mental obstacles that I had to work on - my legs felt fine (and I kept having to remind myself of that), but I really wanted to get back to my group.

I kept running - I think because I wanted to get finished, I was running a little faster than I normally do on a long run.  It was also much cooler - 46 degrees when we started, so that probably contributed to my increased speed.  I felt pretty good, although my legs started feeling a little dead toward the end.  Probably shouldn't have fueled the day before with so much Halloween candy, but what can I say - the Kit Kat bars were calling me!

I came around a bend and saw Jeff walking toward me, which didn't surprise me - he knows I don't like to run alone, so I figured he'd show up at some point once he finished his run.  Just part of being married for 30 years - one partner does something like that, and the other partner knows it's going to happen.  Anyway, we connected just as I hit mile 8, and he ran in the last mile with me.  As it turns out, I ran this 9 miler about eight minutes faster than the last time I ran 9 miles - could have been the cooler weather, could have been a bit fear-based - who knows why, really?  I will say that my quads were definitely sore the next day, which was a different feeling for me; I've felt really good after most of my long runs this season, so I guess I was putting out more of an effort with this one.

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I have to tell you about one cool thing that I saw on the run:  it was still very dark, but clear - I was looking at the stars and picking out the Big Dipper, and Orion's Belt, and then I saw a big orange star that was slowly moving across the sky - it had a greenish tint and was like nothing I've seen  before.  When I finished my run and got back to my peeps, it turns out that most of us saw it...consensus was that is was either a shooting star or possibly a comet?  This was a sweet bonus to being awake, outdoors, and aware of the predawn sky.

18 comments:

  1. Good job on your long run. Maybe you should carry some mace or something with you to protect yourself if you ever need it maybe that will help with your fear some. There's nothing wrong with being careful and always listen to your gut instinct it just might save your life someday.

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    1. You know, with mace I'm always afraid of spraying myself (or the wind blowing it back in my face) - gut instinct is best (plus having taken a self-defense class) for me.

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  2. OOOH
    Im always out in the dark and early but in oakland Im usually NOT NOT NOT looking up.
    I need to look up.

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  3. Wow that was cool what you saw! I always look up to the stars on my late night walk with Bella if it's a clear night.

    Applause for you for finishing your long run on your own. I think it's a combination of the things you mentioned that you were faster. And you were mentally very strong for not taking short cuts. Well done my friend.

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  4. Cooler weather definitely makes you faster but what I love most about this is I think you've proved to YOURSELF that you can push a bit more and be faster. Good to know and worth the soreness!

    I was just thinking as I ran this morning that the one consolation in Daylight Savings Time is for a few weeks I'll get to have the last bit of my run as dawn breaks. :)

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    1. I'm looking forward to running tomorrow morning - normally where we run, it's super dark. Thanks to the time change, it should be pretty nice. :)

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  5. I love how you described each temptation to take the shortcut and the decision to go the distance. Its just such a good description of what we do almost every day regarding our exercise and/or food choices. That's how you do it--just keep going, one decision at a time. I'm totally impressed with you, though, that you decided to keep going and get that whole long distance in. Love that you saw a shooting star. I don't go outside often enough at night any more, but when I do remember to look up, LOVE seeing all the stars and trying to pick out constellations!

    Oh. And men in hoodies in the dark? They should be outlawed, I tell you. It could be an addendum to the motorcycle helmet law, don't you think?

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    1. LOL, helmet law, hoodie law. Can you imagine if we were in charge???

      Nice correlation on the shortcut temptation with food - I think we all have to constantly make the "right" choice...or pay the consequences.

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  6. I love mornings like that - around our house there is literally no traffic at all early in the morning so it's like walking in the woods. The brisk air - now that it's light out in the morning because of day light savings, I need to get my ass out there before work!

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  7. The stars at night are big and bright

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    1. CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

      Now that song keeps going through my head. ;)

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  8. Yay you for powering through, mentally and physically. (and I know what you mean about hoodies...there is something really intimidating about some folks wearing them) Glad Jeff found you and all was well. Have a great day Shelley

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  9. I have a running partner on a regular basis but some of my best runs are done alone!

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  10. Men with hoodies pulled up in the dark = creeper. LOL. I actually make an effort to say 'hi' to someone like that as I approach to sort of establish my space and to let them know I am very aware of them.

    Great job on the run and maybe kit kats aren't that bad for fuel :D

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    1. I always greet people when I approach them - and after my self-defense class, I also try to note a couple of descriptive features about them.

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  11. Good job on doing the full run, Shelley! I know those crazy mind games we have to play with ourselves on the long ones.

    I'm still running on the treadmill in the mornings because the neighborhood bear insists on hanging around :-( But when I do run the neighborhood, Orion is right in front of me when I set out this time of year, so I always say good morning to him. I keep dropping hints to DH to get me a custom running shirt with that constellation on it and the caption "Orion is my running buddy!" I'll have to show him this comment later, or do you think that would be too obvious...?

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    1. Honestly, your neighborhood bear sounds MUCH more frightening then my hoodie-men!!

      I love your Orion shirt idea - an excellent gift, indeed!

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