Monday, September 7, 2009


Yesterday I went for my first trial run to test my new running shoes and the likelihood that I will be able to train for a distance event without unnecessary injury to body and soul.

It was a gorgeous morning, cool and sunny, with a pleasant breeze. My planned route, 5 miles on the nose; starting with a 1.5 mile ascent on a busy road, followed by a nice 2 mile flat on a wide shoulder, 1 mile of rolling hills, and then a nice flat to end. The first ten minutes or so were an adrenaline rush, cars wizzing by me and the breeze at my back. As per usual, around 2 miles in I started having a nagging pain in my left ankle...decided not to worry about it and did a little bargaining with myself that I would stop at the 5K mark if I had increasing pain. The big difference between this run and the many, many others in my past was that somewhere in the first two miles I started (dare I say) cheerleading myself. Given my penchant for self-criticism, it seemed somewhat silly at first and so I started with the bar set pretty low. Stuff like "Not bad" "Keep going" "You can do it" "One foot after another"...after a little while I even mustered a few "You're doing pretty good"s... Somewhere around 2.5 miles I got a nice extra spring in my step and picked up my pace along the flat for a few minutes. When I hit the rolling hills on the back side of the run I was actually feeling pretty good. Cheerleaded myself up the hill and for a nice full out run for the last half mile. Checked my watch and to my shock and excitement my average pace was a full 65 seconds faster than I had set out to keep.  Positivity...who knew?

Needless to say, I had quite a runner's high and basked in it and the nice air conditioned livingroom for a solid half hour before making some breakfast and taking a shower. When James, my husband, got home (he had been out with his parents who are in town for the holiday weekend) I gave him a blow by blow account of my run. I then asked him to guess how long he thought it had taken me. I secretly expected that he would overestimate my time by at least 5 minutes... He, (I shouldn't really be surprised) guessed my finishing time to the second. My immediate reaction was dismay (pathos showing itself here)...if he could guess my time, maybe it wasn't as good as I had been telling myself. It took an excellent showing of husbandly attunement and additional cheerleading to reframe his accuracy as his actually having a better sense of my (totally respectable) capacities than I do.

It never ceases to amaze me the distance I can cover in such a short time: a nice solid runner's high at the starting line and self-induced, hard-fought crash in self-esteem at the finish. Clearly I need to find a new route to run ;-)

Speaking of new routes, and new adventures, with a successful and minimally painful 5 miler under my belt (following 4 shorter runs this weeks), James and I are on for the Spirit of Pittsburgh Relay Half-Marathon on November 1!  48 days and counting... More about that later.

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