I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the runner I used to be.
I was a runner who did 8:30 min/miles; finished a 7-mile speedwork sessions before work; didn’t think it was worth going out if I wasn’t going to do at least 5 miles. Ten miles was a comfortable distance and I would do it in the rain, sleet, snow, in a middle of a heat wave.
That girl seems like such a distant memory as my pace hovers around the 10-minute mark and I’m happy with any run over 2.5 miles. All runs are still a challenge, whether it’s a mile or 5. And when it comes to weather, I’m sad to say, I’ve become a total weenie.
I’ve been afraid that I might never be that runner again but, yesterday, I got to visit with her.
I had 10 miles on the schedule, my last long run before the Dec. 17 50K Huff relay. It was a bleak morning, with rain and wind gusts in the forecast. I was seriously considering doing 10 miles on the treadmill when Mark encouraged me to get out there and get it done.
I threw on my new Pearl Izumi tights, YMX top and Under Armour hat and headed toward downtown. Large portions of area trails were closed because of flooding or anticipated flooding after heavy rain and snow last week.
Despite some large puddles, the first few miles were relatively uneventful as my legs and body warmed up. I was listening to “My Fair Lazy” by Jen Lancaster (love her!) and enjoying that settling in feeling you get on a long run.
Then the rain came. It started about mile 4 and came down harder as the miles progressed.
I was miserable. The once comfortable 45-degree air became blustery and the wind made it difficult to keep a steady pace. My hands were cold and I could barely hold my water bottle (which I tossed at mile 6). My clothes clung to me like an icy bath.
I hunkered down, turning off my iPod and focusing solely on getting it done. I lowered my gaze and put one foot in front of the other. Put one foot in front of the other. Looked at the Garmin. Cursed. Foot in front of the other. Cursed. Looked at Garmin.
At mile 7.5, I realized that I could keep doing what was I doing – the cursing and constant “Is this over?” dialog - or I could do what I used to do. I could run with dedication, passion and no fear.
I chose the latter. And, in that moment, I found a piece of me that I had been missing.