I can’t believe there is eight weeks and counting until I will have completed my very first marathon and I will be a member of the marathon club. Summer sure has flown by, but I feel like its taken so long to get to this point.
17 miles in the books today for my long run to round out week 10. I decided to rest yesterday and use this holiday to devote three hours of my day to pounding the pavement. I think the day of rest helped me overall since I felt strong and good for long periods of time during my 17 mile trek.
This past week was also MUCH better than the previous week where I slacked on my weekday mileage and paid for it on my long 12 mile run. I told myself that this past week I needed to put my serious running cap back on and not slack on my daily mileage because I knew it would hurt me come my long run. And that I did. I got in my miles, with the exception of Thursday and spent some time in the gym cross training instead.
Saturday I ran in the North Coast Challenge five-mile race in Westlake for the second year in a row. Its a well organized event with a flat, fast course that always brings out a good crowd. Last year it was cold and rainy and this year it was hot and humid. I pushed through the hot temps and found a woman that I paced with for a good three miles. Around mile four I passed her and picked up my stride. I started to walk with less than a half mile to go to save my legs so I could sprint it out the last couple hundred meters. But when a guy in his mid-thirties came up next to me and said come on we’re almost finished I picked up my pace back into a run and gave it all I got. I was hot and tired from the heat, but I left it all out on the course. I crossed the finish line in under 53 minutes, just 5 seconds faster than last year. I immediately grabbed two bottles of water to begin to cool down and quench my thirst, and then grabbed a hunk of ice from the water bin to put on my body to help cool my body temperature down.
Today’s long run was nice. The temperatures were in the mid-60s and it was overcast-perfect running conditions compared to Saturday’s race. I was nervous before heading out on the roads alone for 17 miles, but I knew I had no choice but to conquer this fear. I felt good for long spurts of time and didn’t have to walk much for the first 10 miles. Around mile 6, the sky ahead of me was really dark and I could see that it was raining about a half mile down the road. The closer I got to the dark clouds it began to sprinkle. A funny, random thing happened moments later. A car pulled out of a driveway and continued down the road in the same direction I was going. Then it stopped in the middle of the road and sat there for a while. As I got closer to the car, it went into reverse and started heading towards me. The driver stopped the car a couple hundred feet in front of me and when I was approaching the car, the older woman driver rolled down her window and asked if I wanted a ride. I politely told her no and thanked her for her offer. At that moment the sky was just spitting on me and it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. But really lady, I’m in the middle of my 17 mile run, not gonna let a little rain make me stop. As I approached the rain-drenched pavement the rain had lightened up to a sprinkle and was tolerable. It wasn’t until around mile 8 when the wind picked up a little more and the sky opened up and just poured for a good 10 minutes. I didn’t let this slow me down and I continued to power through the rain, completely soaked from head to toe. It was chilly at times, but I’d rather take the cold then the sweltering heat. The rain eventually slowed then stopped which I was thankful for.
The last three miles of my run where the toughest. My feet and knees were really beginning to ache to the point that it became more difficult to zone out and ignore. I kept reminding myself to keep running and why I am training. I am running Akron and DC not just for me, but for my aunt and all the other people in this country living with MS. The temporary pain I was feeling at that time is nothing compared to the bodily pain those living with MS experience every day. I knew once I was done with my run, I would be able to go home, put up my feet and ice my legs. Also, reward myself with a nice glass of chocolate milk (which halfway through my run I decided sounded amazing even though any other time I don’t really like chocolate milk). Reminding myself of why I am running really kept me going, along with telling myself that I CAN do this, I CAN finish these last few miles running.
So now my longest run logged is 17 miles. Since I am running the Akron half marathon in three weeks, the same weekend my first 20 mile run is scheduled, I’ve had to do some rearranging so I can get that run in on a non-race weekend. So, next weekend will be a step back week then the following week is the first of two 20-mile runs on my schedule. I would be lying if I didn’t say this run completely scared me to death. I just really hope I can work it out with one of my friends to run that distance together.
I would also like to give a special shout out to all of my friends who have made donations to my fund raising efforts for MS this past week! You’re kindness and generosity really touches me deeply and helps keep me motivated! So THANK YOU!
If you are reading this and have not yet made a donation on my behalf, I would suggest visiting my personal page and learning more about the cause I am raising money for. My goal is to raise $500 by the day of my marathon (Oct. 30). I sent a message out to some of my Facebook friends asking them to consider donating-whatever amount they could to help me reach my goal. So I hope you will consider helping me help Run MS to create a world free of MS.