Sunday, February 5, 2012

If you are going through hell, keep going. ~ Winston Churchill

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 200:

Wow. Day 200. That's a great number, and it was a good day (Hmm. I think I'm going to have to do something special on my 300th day, don't you think? Get it? Spartan shape-up... 300.... yeahh.).

Today was Long Run Day. I admit, I love/hate these days. I still am not in love with running. Therefore, having to run for over an hour is not *exactly* my idea of a fabulous time. HOWEVER, I do like a) the way I feel after the run, b) the major accomplishment when I get to post the time/mileage after a Long Run and c) the challenge of pushing through to get the distance (more on that in a minute). Do I love running for the sake of running? No... Not YET (there's always a possibility...). But I have reached a solid "neutral" status on it, I think.

There were 7 miles on the schedule for today. SEVEN. That seems ridiculous when I say it out loud. I distinctly remember a pre-Spartan Shape-up conversation I had with my (now) GT, where I was saying that I enjoyed lifting weights and stuff, but "I'm never going to be a runner." I also remember the knowing smirk and the anecdote that followed about how he felt the same way when he started running, but you really "learn" to do it and it gets easier. I then remember laughing and repeating, "Yeah, but I'm really just not made to be a running. I can't see myself ever running more than a mile."

... little did I know.

Today I ran seven solid miles. I should be up to 8.5 by the end of the month. But remember folks... "I'm never going to be a runner." LOL. (Don't you just hate it when your GT is right... again?)

So, today was kind of an awesome day, as I had not just one buddy to run with.... but TWO BUDDIES!!! (Woot! Shout out to Anna and April!) It is a rare event for me to have a run buddy, so when I heard the two of them were willing to listen to me whine my way through a long run, I was totally stoked. Both of them are much more solid runners than I - faster, with the capacity for more distance - which I was hoping to use to my advantage. Honestly, with these long runs, my last few miles start to sag in speed... and I'm not sure it's because I *can't* go faster, but because I'm tired, and I don't realize I'm slowing.

It was a lovely, relatively warm (30 degrees ish!) winter day here in Vermont, when we set out. There was a brisk breeze that followed us, but the sun was shining, and it felt great to be outside. Our path was mostly packed snow that ran on a rolling slow uphill for the way out, and a rolling slow downhill on the way home (thank god.). Somewhere around mile 4 (where I typically stop on my "regular" runs), I felt my legs start to get to work. No problem, just keep moving, one in front of the other. The conversation was delightful, and the miles passed much faster than they do when I'm alone (focusing on the fatigue).

Then we started into mile 6. The last two miles back to the car. Goodbye to my comfort zone. My legs were fatigued from yesterday's CrossFit fun (nothing like running after doing 120 thrusters the day before...), and I was tired. I was also aware that I had not appropriately fueled for this endeavor (huuunggrryyy!). It started to feel like the little rolling hills were mountains.
This is where having buddies became amazing. They kept going. Strong pace. Was I about to lag behind? HELL to the No (I'm competitive. Yeah? so?!).  I pushed. Mile 6, done.... Onto the last mile home.

On this particular path, the last mile is deceptive... you can see the church steeple (at the parking lot) that marks the end, in the distance. You *think* you're almost there, but the path winds quite a bit to get you there. But you just keep running for the steeple (or at least that's my tactic).  And really... at that point, are you going to WALK in your *last mile*? ... I wanted to. A lot. But I didn't. My hamstrings were tight, my hip muscles were fatigued, my quads had decided they were pretty all set with this experience.... but we weren't there yet.

I was proud of myself. I ran to the end. It was certainly a bit slower coming back those last few miles, but I got the job done (with a little help from some friends!).

Next weekend's run: 7.5 miles.

.... but remember, "I'm never going to be a runner." LOL.

OH, HEY! Guess what else is next weekend, BlogLand? The Frosty Knuckle 5K+ in Salisbury, Ma. Half road race, half run on the beach. I'm looking forward to it, so much. AND, I'm going to get to meet MORE Spartans. WAHAHA.... Is the world ready for more of us to join forces...? I'm not sure....

With that, I leave you, to hit my pillow... it's CrossFit early tomorrow, and I intend to stay on schedule and get my ass there. Perhaps I shall make a Spartan of this body, yet!

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