Monday, May 16, 2011

Setting a P.R. (5/8/2011)

There's nothing like Sunday long runs. There's just a certain something about them that make me want to hop out of bed and throw on my running shoes and hit the trail. Add an early morning wake up to that and you'll get a bonus of getting to watch the sun rise up over the lake. And while these things are all well and good there's something more to my Sunday runs that has me pushing out the door and that's the hike in mileage. I've been pushing for the past few months to increase my mileage and I've been pretty successful up to this point. A month back and I had just accomplished a 10 mile run and couldn't have been more proud! But it was about time to push past that for myself both physically and psychologically. Running has become a bit of an addiction because of how competitive it gets. Right so obviously I'm not referring to the kind of competition that comes with playing a sport like football or basketball but the kind that is internally evoked and suddenly there's just this drive to want to go farther and faster than the last time.

So this week in particular I had my mind made up: I'd take on the 13 mile challenge. I hadn't run 13 miles since last September when I participated in my first Half Marathon. Despite waking up 6 minutes before the start of the race, not getting to eat, stretch or even wash yesterdays makeup off my face before I was hustled to the start line, I finished in 2 hours and 53 minutes. I knew before I even went out that I could beat this time but by how much? This was a challenge I knew I wanted to take on.

Lucky for me it was a nice day, you know the one where it's warm but not too warm, I think the word is comfortable :) So I threw on my zip-up, and threw a pack of "honey stingers" in my pocket. I bought these when I got my new shoes figuring I would need them for long runs and I wasn't as enthused about the "gooo packs" (even though I bought one anyways haha). I also picked up another trick...well actually it's not anything special and I don't know how I didn't think of this before BUT if you tie your apartment keys in with your shoe laces you don't have to put them in your pocket and risk loosing them. DUH SAM! haha.

I finally make my way to the lake path and my start mark has me at the 2.5 mile mark...which means in order to do a 13 mile run I need to get up to the 9 mile mark before I can turn around (2.5-9=6.5(2)=13...yea I can do math!) Lately I have gotten into the habit of running south and then running back up north only to turn around and go back south. It sounds complicated but really going south first chops off how far I have to go north by like 4 miles, but this run, this Sunday morning was too nice to complicate my route so I just went straight up north. So the last long run (10 miles) took me up behind McCormick Place and just within site of Soldier Field and Museum Campus. Well, the 9 mile marker is actually much farther than that, in fact it's right around Grant Park! So as I saw the 7 mile sign, and as I passed it a new excitement of running into new territory. If I can remember right I started to feel a bit of knee pain and my hip was hurting a little but I pushed it out. The hardest part about long runs is getting to the turn around point because getting past the psychological barriers of wanting to turn around takes discipline. But once you're there you have to go back so you might as well run right? At this point I reached the Shedd Aquarium and was running around the back of it only to come up to the site of the other Museums. Wow what a site for a Sunday morning! And what do you know, I was approaching my half way point.

There it was! My sign! I remember being filled with a sense of accomplishment as I whipped out my phone to snap a quick pic while still in running motion just so I had some kind of visual to commemorate to when I got back. There I was at Grant Park, and to think that was only 6.5 miles away from home. That doesn't seem like much but when you're running it you all of a sudden remember all of the little markers along the way that you have to get past in order to finish. Getting to the Shedd means reaching McCormick, means passing the skate park, and then coming out of the "woods" and along the beach until you get to the park, which signifies the 4.5 mile marker. Then there is this really big hill, some more of the lake and a nice sprint back along the point and your done. Not too bad right? Well I enjoyed that run back, although I do remember my body protesting a bit as I felt pain in my hip slightly. (This would come back to kick me in the butt later!)

If I remember anything clearly it was that last mile. I knew I had just enough left in me to push really hard. I had to so I could be proud of the time I came in at! So I turned on a more upbeat song and I puuuuuuushed! I was in my head and I had this. "Run, run, faster girl! You got this! Don'tchu crap out on me now!!!" I could see the finishing point and I bolted for it............FINISHED! Official time? 2 hours.....8 minutes! Not bad! Well not bad in the sense that it was 45 minutes faster than the time I had back in September...WOW! I felt good, no I felt great! I just set my first P.R. for a long run! The whole rest of the day went by pretty smoothly, I had enough energy to even go in a do some weights afterwards. Maybe that makes me slightly crazy but I guess the runners high will do that to you. :)

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to turn that last picture and I got frustrated and just said fuuuu.....well you know :)