I’m a planner, or a strategizer, or maybe just a dreamer. I’ve been thinking about this challenge for months. Seriously. In the beginning it was just an idea. I tossed it around in my head. I was looking for something. Something I could sink my teeth into. Ironically, at the time this challenge was merely a thought I was barely running. I was coming off an injury from another challenge and pressing through to run some races that I had already signed up for. You know, once you pay, you run. Regardless. But, I knew I needed something. Something big.
And then the idea took on a life of its own. It became real to me. And, I knew it was a bit out there and I didn’t want to leave anyone out. So I figured out ways that other people could do a version of the challenge.
And then I started telling more and more people. Yes, got some flack. Yes, got some eye rolls. Yes, got some “you’re crazy”. But I could visualize myself doing it. I could see me run the roads, run the tracks, run on the mills. I knew I would get up early to run, stay up late to run, adjust my schedule to run. And I waited. I waited for September. Every month I participated in some sort of challenge. All geared to set me up for success. All geared to make my core stronger, my legs sound, and my mind ready. I knew this would be a challenge that would test me. Physically, mentally and by the grace of God, emotionally.
I know there are other runners out there that could do this challenge and not even think twice. I know there are runners who could run circles around me, faster and longer. And I know there are runners out there who wouldn’t even give it a try; not any of the levels. But, none of them are me.
So, day 17. Day 17. I was already thinking about day 18 and day 20. I’m dreading day 20 actually. Not because I don’t think I can run 20 miles, but because I need to get all 20 in before 11 am. But, that’s a whole other post.
I had planned out day 18. 3 runs, 6 miles each. One in the morning, one around lunch and then one with either the high school or the Cheetahs. I got ahead of myself. I didn’t properly plan for day 17.
Day 17… I got another late start but it wasn’t too hot and I figured I’d hit the road. I plotted out a course that was originally about 7 miles long. I knew I was running with Team RockStar later that night and I figured I’d probably have to finish on the mill. I was feeling good the first mile or two. Not my best pace but better than the latest runs. I’m getting slower, which sucks, but rather than beat myself up about it, I simply go at a pace that I think I can go for a long time. On a gimpy leg? That’s slow. Anyway, somewhere during that run I decided to do a bigger loop so that I could maybe hit 10 miles. I hit mile 5 and out of nowhere my legs just shut down. I was coming up a hill and I literally slowed to a walk. If I’m close to the crest (and I’m still running) I try not to walk, I try to pull myself up the final incline but not today. And, gradually the mile times got slower and slower. And, finally I was walking up all the hills.
My legs were sore. My ankles were aching. But the pain wasn’t the same as before. I’ve run through the whole “muscle being pulled from the bone” pain. I have that weird ability to just overcome. It happened when I did my 1000 miles challenge and well, I guess, no I know, prayers work.
Anyway, I was beat after those 10 miles. Seriously beat.
I didn’t run with the XC team. I stayed back with two of the runners and we did some drills and core work. I was saving my legs. I really wanted to run the stairs and hills with Team RockStar.
The second run was all that it was meant to be. Its a challenging 4 mile run loaded with hills and stairs and it didn’t disappoint. Coming down the hills was brutal on my ankles. I had to walk down some of the hills cuz the pounding was just too much. But I really enjoyed that run.
And, then I finished the day with a run on the mill. Watched some Netflix and put day 17 in the books. It was weird. I should have planned it better. I shouldn’t have forced that first 10 miles. About 8 miles is my max right now. Anything over that, and I’m toast. But, I was so ready for day 18 that I let day 17 get the best of me.
I know better. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you run 465 miles in September? One day at a time.