Yesterday I completed my longest training run thus far...20 miles. The run was originally scheduled for Saturday, but the bad weather kept me indoors-- it was about 42 degrees, pouring rain with a 20 mph wind. So, I waited and ran yesterday. A fellow running buddy and triathlete, JD, ran with me the entire way. I usually don't run with him because he's much faster than me, but he offered his services (running with me, that is), and I took him up on the offer.
The weather conditions weren't perfect, but we fought through. During the run, it was about 44 degrees with wind gusts up to 30 mph. Luckily, there was no rain-- just a really strong wind that nearly knocked me off my feet several times. Like all my other runs, I chatted and put one foot in front of the other. I didn't feel great, though, unlike last week's 17 mile run. Yesterday I felt tired and my stomach was uneasy. At first, I just wanted to complete 18 miles, because I was feeling tired. But JD convinced me to push through and cover the 20 miles I had mentioned earlier that I wanted to run. Since JD had a Garmin (running GPS), he decided to keep track of the distance, pace and time.
Around mile 10, we picked up a new runner named Ash. He has only been running for about a month, but he's in great physical shape. Yesterday was the longest run of his life. We chatted and ran like any other long run. But at mile 16, I started to feel nauseated and my right leg was talking to me. But, JD and Nash kept pushing me and encouraging me to be strong. At one point, the wind was so strong it moved me mid-stride. So, JD and Ash got in front of me to create a protective wind barrier for me. It helped with the wind, but made me realize just how wonderful running buddies can be.
So, we ran and ran. At one point I realized I was running faster than normal. I could tell that my breathing was slightly more labored than usual. But, I just ignored it. I thought I was just feeling more tired than normal and that was causing my breathing to be slightly off. At mile 18, I desperately wanted to stop. I was tired, my leg hurt, my stomach was uneasy, and I just wanted to quit, but JD and Ash wouldn't let me. JD would hold his behind him and motion for me to hurry up. It was like he as saying Come on you can do it without saying a word. His hand gesture was pulling me the way. It was louring me to the finish line. But by mile 19, my breathe became loud and heavy. I wanted to stop and walk, but my new running buddies just wouldn't let me. Ash would scream out at the top of his lungs, "You can do it Little Momma!" I'm sure he woke up several sleeping Japanese people along the route. When we had to stop at a train crossing, Ash said these word, "Don't let me beat you, Little Momma...don't let me beat you!" And, that's all I needed to hear. Those words gave me the power and strength to finish strong. At that moment, I decided to suck it up and run it in. I refused to give in the tiredness, the pain, the soreness, and the fatigue. My mind began to take over my body. I took control and turned off the pain. I told myself I was a marathoner and to not give in to the pain. I said about 4 "Our Father's" and about 15 "Hail Mary's" and that's all I needed. I ran it in all the way to the finish. I felt tired but relieved to be done.
When we finished, JD said, "See...we ran 20 miles in 3 hours and 25 minutes...good job!" I realized I had just ran the fastest 20 mile run in my life, and I felt like crap. Then the possibilities starting shooting through my head. What if my leg didn't hurt...what if my stomach wasn't upset...what if I wasn't tired?? Could I have ran 20 miles even quicker?? Come to find out, Ash and JD were lying to me about our pace during the second half of the run. They had me running about 9:45 miles. That's much faster than I normally run. I usually run about 10:15-10:30 miles. I thought we were pushing the pace during the second half, but I was relying on them to tell me the truth, and they didn't. Sometimes the best running buddies are those that lie. They lie to you when you need it. They lie to you to push you beyond what you think you are capable of. They lie to you so you can achieve goals you never thought were possible. For that, I'm grateful.
So, now I sit here at the computer tired and sore. But most of all, I'm grateful for great running buddies that encourage, push and lead the way.
Thanks so much JD and Ash! You guys rock!