Last week I managed a 6.6 mile run the day before family arrived for the long holiday weekend. I wasn't sure I'd get another run in for a while, but truly surprised myself by getting out both Saturday and Sunday mornings for short 3.25 mile runs. Good. This meant I could take Monday off from running.
Tuesday morning I was committed to being a prompter for rehearsals of an upcoming stage production put on by our little local Players group. So no run for me that morning. This meant my next long run must be done - rain or shine or hot temperatures - on Wednesday morning. Today. Eight miles. Okay, let's do it!
The alarm was set for 5:30 AM, a ridiculous time of the day to be getting up. I'm trying to beat the heat, but it didn't matter. It was already 75 degrees outside, with heavy humidity, and while the sky was light, the sun was not yet up over the horizon. Argghh!
Suck it up, girly-girl! As my good friend Steve always says, "that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger." And, boy, I need this high-temp training, too! Half marathon in Milwaukee the end of June. Another half marathon in Pennsylvania on Labor Day Weekend. Both of these could be potentially hot races.
I was determined to make the most of the early part of the run, take advantage of the still-shady stretches of roadway, push hard knowing that later in the run I may be doing some walking. Lots of dogs and their owners to greet and say good morning to as I worked my way through the first miles in my neighborhood. One dog in particular - a giant bear of a Golden Retriever - always gets an extra bit of my attention and a few pets and hugs before I move on.
Mile 1, mile 2, mile 3, mile 4...all the way out to the turnaround at Cullen Road. Along the way I ran past hole 10 of the golf course, with its extensive water hazards. Always lots of avian wildlife to admire along this stretch. And as I neared Cullen Road I spied a very large brown rabbit sitting in the grass alongside the sidewalk. He just sat there watching me as I watched him, and he just hopped a little bit further away from the sidewalk as I drew near. Cute guy! When I turned around and headed back the other way, though, he was gone.
Now the long slog toward home. The sun was getting higher. Stretches that were shady earlier were now in full sun. Not fun. But I kept reminding myself of why I do this. For the mental benefits, the physical benefits and, oh yeah, the bragging rights, too. And then I remembered the motivational poster I found and posted at Facebook: I don't stop because I'm tired. I stop when I'm done. So I pressed on, counting down the remaining miles in my head.
Now back in my neighborhood. Now in mile 7. Around the bend to where there's more shade. Now in mile 8. Around another bend and into the sun and into the last mile toward home. Here the mental games must take over. Run to that next small patch of shade. Walk a bit in the shade. Now run to that next patch of shade. Take a little walk break. Run to that next intersecton. And then, finally, Turn right onto my street and just a tenth of a mile to go. 8.1 miles...done!
And for anyone who is a runner, you'll know what I mean when I say:
"It feels so awful until I stop...and then it feels so good!"