Today, "L" and I were suppose to go for a run. "L" called me at lunch time and said she wouldn't be able to make it. She offered to bring her amazing grandkiddos to my office so I could play with them for a little while (they are the CUTEST kids EVER!), but I declined in order to fulfill my commitment to myself of going for a run (frankly, I was getting fed up with my constant excuses - see here - which were keeping me from just doing it). I spoke with my running mentor "M" and he said that I just needed to go out there for a 20-30 minute session. Nothing big or hard or fast. I just needed to confront my hang ups of running alone, running in the cold, running as dark approaches, and returning to running after 11 days off. So . . . I did!
Today, I got caught up at work an entire hour longer than I wanted to, but no worries, I was still going to do my planned run. I got dressed (I wore a compression shirt and my long sleeve bright reflective yellow shirt. I wore my compression leg sleeves and my french terry pants. I wore my double water bottle holder (in case I fell and needed to wash off a wound - and because I was worried something bad would happen, I packed an emergency blanket and a flash light - - - I know, there's medicine for this anxiety I seem to be having about falling). I put some watermelon chomps in my shirt breast pocket, plugged in my awesome yurbuds, turned on one of my new audiobooks (Nicolas Sparks "3 Weeks With My Brother"), and set out on the trail.
Wow - was it HARD! I put my 2:2 watch beeper on and walked for the first 4 minutes (maybe should have warmed up a little more). I then did 2:2 nonstop until I finished my trail run. I did the 2:2 interval for exactly (drum roll, please) ONE HOUR!!!!!!! Me! By myself - for one hour!!!! "M" suggested 20-30 minutes . . . . how 'bout double it!
By the numbers:
Distance: no idea - maybe 37.5-4.5 miles (couldn't run the GPS and audiobook on my phone without killing the battery)
Time: 1:05 (4 min. warm up/5 minute cool down)
Chapters listened to: 4
#of intervals walked through: 0
#of times I really wanted to quit: none - REALLY, but I passed a bench that looked tempting
# of times I kind of forgot I was running and could have kept running: 3 (minutes 36-38 seemed super easy; minutes 42-44; and then the 6 minutes I ran immediately after hitting the pavement)
Starting temp/windchill: 27 degrees/27 degrees
Finishing temp/windchill: 25 degrees/23 degrees
# deer seen: 2 right in front of me (we had a stare down)
# other animals seen: 13 (2 squirrels, a rabbit, 10 buffalo)
# gunshots heard off in the distance: 4 (PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME! I'm wearing this ridiculously BRIGHT yellow shirt!)
What helped me complete this planned run?
-Because I started out an hour later than I had hoped, I knew the sun would be setting in an hour so the option of slowing down or walking through an interval really wasn't there.
-Because I was on a loop trail, I had no choice but to keep going. It's not like I could just turn around or quit or thumb a ride - I was in the middle of the woods.
-I had to keep listening to the book, what was going to happen next (okay, it's not really THAT exciting, but still I couldn't just stop mid chapter- that's barbaric).
What are some observations I made?
-I really like trail runs (not a new observation)
-I thought the trail was really hard to run on - 2" snow, thick layer of squishy leaves, 4" grass. I really felt as if I was completely out of shape.
-Between the cold temps (which left me unable to feel my quads so I couldn't gauge how hard they were working), the "noise" in my ears (so I couldn't gauge how hard I was breathing), and the fear of falling on the slippery undulation (which kept me from going too fast) I felt as if I was barely moving at all.
-Once I got to the road (I had to get off the trail and take the road back to my car because the sun was setting - there was no time to do another 3 miles of the trail) running felt completely different. It was EASY!!! It was nothing like running on the trail. I had a crazy sense of joy and gratitude for running on the road. In fact, once I hit the road - I ran 6 straight minutes because it was so much easier than the trail!!!!
Final thought - by doing this alone, in the cold, with the darkness approaching, while listening to something . . . I feel I got the training monkey off of my back.