long run

Only Shootin’ Stars Break the Mold

Occasionally, you do something in running, or in life, where you challenge your own perceptions of what you think you can do.

My little story begins Sunday morning at 5 AM. I woke up to prepare for my long run, a scheduled 14 miles.

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Through the window of our bedroom I saw intermittent flashes of light so I rolled out of bed and checked the weather. A fairly heavy thunderstorm was brewing but thankfully it was in another county. I started my pre-long run routine. I fed the baby, pumped, drank a cup of coffee, ate a banana and got dressed. I got in the car and drove a bottle of water out to my turnaround point. Once back home I parked the car and walked down the driveway toward the street to begin my run.

I was just about to push the start button on my Garmin when…

*flash* BOOM!

Eeeeeek! I scurried up the driveway to the covered area of our patio and realized that my run was officially cancelled. Bummer.

This left me with quite the dilemma. I really wanted to get this 14-miler done before the half. It was my last long run before the taper and I didn’t want to miss it. I could always do it on Monday but I had the kids with me. How could I run 14 miles with the kids? The furthest I had ever pushed the double stroller was 6 miles, there was no way I could push them the entire 14.

I finally decided to split it up and do two 7 mile runs – one in the morning and one in the evening.

Monday, I left for my morning run with an open mind, so open in fact that I threw a packet of Gu in the double jogger…just in case.  A mile into my run I felt great! I began to think about attempting the unthinkable, pushing the kids the full 14 miles. Just about then Smash Mouth came on my playlist and All Star came blaring through the speaker of my phone.

Didn’t make sense not to live for fun
Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb

So much to do so much to see
So what’s wrong with taking the back streets?

I started thinking a little harder and evaluating the day. The weather was warm but not too humid. A slight breeze came in from the coast. It was overcast which means I didn’t have to worry about the sun zapping my energy. Both the kids slept well the night before and the baby had a great feeding before we left. I had rested legs and a positive attitude.

You’ll never know if you don’t go
You’ll never shine if you don’t glow

I slowed my pace and allowed my heart rate to settle around 150. If I completely ignored my pace and just focused on maintaining my heart rate I could do this. I COULD DO IT.

Hey now you’re an All Star get your game on, go play
Hey now you’re a Rock Star get the show on, get paid

So that’s what I did. At mile 3, I committed. I made a left turn to get on my long run route….and I took this picture.

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The baby slept most of the time and Evie just watched the scenery pass. At mile 4, I got a text message from my running partner asking if I’d run yet. I told her what I was doing.

She told me I was nuts.

At mile 6, I took the Gu and drank some water.

At mile 9, my running partner met up with me and she ran with me the rest of the way.

Sometime during mile 11, Evie started to fuss so I surrendered my phone for her to play with. She proceeded to take 15 pictures of our run…and three videos of her legs.

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A half mile from home the baby started crying but I didn’t care. I was sweaty, exhausted and had blisters between my fingers but I did it. I challenged my own perception of what I was capable of doing and I learned that you never know what you can do until you try.

All that glitters is gold…
Only shootin’ stars break the mold.

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Marathon Update #4

Sunday, I successfuly completed my longest run, a 22 miler. With that victory the hardest part of marathon training is officially behind me! I am in the beginning of my taper and I am thankful for the mileage reprieve. Last week, I ran 48 miles! Yikes!

I’m not completely unscathed. I have some pain in the ball of my left foot and some sore toenails which I believe are bruised. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you’re thinking…

She’s complaining about sore toenails?

First of all, you don’t fully appreciate not-sore toenails until they are sore. Secondly, I don’t have much else to complain about and for that I am extremely thankful. My toenails are the sorest part of my body. So there you go. My toenails hurt.

It’s amazing how a little perspective changes things. This week my long run is 12 miles. Am I worried about this? Not in the least.

Our longest training run for the San Antonio Half Marathon was 12 miles. I remember that day. I dreaded it. Ugh, I have to run for two whole hours! This is gonna suck!

But now, oh how the tables have turned. Wow. I only have to run for two hours! Sweet! I love easy days!

Though I have grown accustomed to the long mileage, I am not taking it for granted. The human body is an amazing thing! With every run I am in awe at the things the body can do; it can run 22 miles on Sunday, take a day off on Monday and then run five miles on Tuesday with little more than sore toenails.

Wow. Just wow.

Rocky Road

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I’ve been doing all my long training runs at my parents house. It works out great for us both, they get their grandparent time with E and I get to run sans jogging stroller.

Mom and Dad still live in the house where I grew up on a short, dead-end road in the country. It’s a 3/4 mile long street where little traffic means stress free runs. Generally, its just me and some cows…and the occasional car. It’s quiet, scenic and peaceful.

Before I start my run I always hang my water bottle on the fencepost, put my GU in the mailbox and grab a handful of rocks from the driveway. Yes. Rocks.

Since each round trip is only a mile and a half and my longest planned run (next weekend!) is 22 miles you can understand how easily it would be to loose count of exactly how far I’ve run.

I pick up a rock for each lap I need to run and put the handful of rocks on top of a fencepost in the driveway. As I complete each lap I stop and move one rock at a time to a second fencepost. I always know exactly how far I’ve gone and exactly how far I need to go. It’s quite effective…until I forget to move a rock and then I end up running too far. That hasn’t happened…yet.

This picture represents my run today, 12 miles…8 rocks.

I like to leave the rocks there when I’m finished. They say, “Joni ran here. She ran hard. She went home tired.”