15 Miles in the Dark…Then Life Happened

2 weeks ago- Friday March 23rd – I did something I’ve never done. I woke up at 4 AM to do my long run on a Friday instead of a Saturday. I had 15 miles to cover and there was a big snow storm predicted for Saturday and I did NOT want to run 15 miles inside. After talking with a coworker who is an avid runner she noted that she and some other runners would schedule their long runs around the weather and add in the shorter runs inside when the weather did not cooperate. Why had I not thought of this before! This was a completely genius idea.

I will admit that 4 AM came fast. But I was up with my alarm, grabbed a bagel thin and peanut butter for breakfast and was at the office by 4:30. I knew it was going to take me about 3 hrs and some change to run 15 miles. I was being optimistic. But I figured if I started before 5 AM I wouldn’t have to miss too much of my work day. I got out of the vehicle and I was amazed at the peaceful calm of the morning. The last time I was up being productive at 4:30 AM I was nursing and that was 6 years ago. I strapped on my blinky lights and started my run.

I didn’t plan my route. Well, I didn’t plan it to the “T”. I knew I needed to add extra mileage to get a 5 mile circle done. I decided to run thru the local Target parking lot to add distance and it worked well. From there I ventured along my usual route in and around the local industrial district. As my father would say it was “O-Dark Thirty”. I had hoped for more street lights but there were times my flashing caution lights were the only light I had and I loved it. I know that sounds creepy but I know my route. I know where the pot holes are located. I know where the road veers. I had a flashlight with me but it just seemed clunky so I kept it in my pocket, just in case.

The first round went well. I kept talking to myself – enjoying the dark calm of the morning. Heck even the birds were still asleep. I saw a few cars as shift change was taking place but it was fairly uneventful. I did notice that as I waved to cars in the dark, I couldn’t tell if they were waving back. I made the assumption that they did and then did a double take as I’m sure a runner wearing what I was wearing at 5 AM was not a normal sight.

The second round felt fast. Not sure why but to me it felt fast. My legs were awake. It was still dark but I could tell the sun was trying to start its morning.  By the time I got to the last round I could start to feel the exhaustion in my body. My stomach was growling and my knees and legs just ached. But the sun was coming up. I had to keep going because I needed to finish. It didn’t help that my husband almost caused a car accident stopping mid-street to say hi as I was running up a hill. I saw several other co-workers as I finished my last mile and that gave me additional energy to keep going.

I finished with a time of 3 hours and 20 minutes. It wasn’t as fast as I thought it was but it was still a good time. I was proud that I finished right around 8:00. I was able to shower and get to my desk by 8:30 and still work a full day.

Now, I tell you that story to tell you this one. That long run was March 23. I’ve run 2 whole miles in the 10 days since. Last week I directed our church’s Passion Drama. It was an amazing experience but when I was working a full day- then spending another 3-4 hours at the church for rehearsals, setup, tear down, etc…no matter how I planned I just could not find time to run. And because of that- I got sick. I am now battling my first cold of the entire training season and it is killing me.  So I took a break. I did not run my weekly total of 32 miles. I ran 2 miles and said “I will be fine” and rested.

This week I will pick up where I left off. According to my training plan my week day miles stay about the same but my long run goes down to 12 miles. I will run 16 to make up for the missed long run last week and skip the 12 mile run. I’m sure this will have some kind of impact on my total training experience, but I keep reminding myself that I’m doing this to FINISH the race. I’m not doing this to qualify for Boston. I’m not doing this to set a record time. I am doing this to accomplish a goal. When I have to walk, I will walk. Others will too. I am not beating myself up for putting my health first. I will still accomplish my goal because, damn it, I haven’t come this far to quit. I have 7 weeks left. SEVEN! I cannot wait for this exciting adventure.  Now- off to run. 🙂

One Comment

  1. awesome keep up the great work so proud of you!!!! glad you took time off while you were sick your a very wise woman!!! love you

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