The week, in running:
Tuesday: 4 miles, easy (+stroller)
Wednesday: 4.5 miles, hilly-ish (+stroller)
Friday: 6 miles, tempo
Sunday: 14 miles, long run
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The sky was still dark and the green flashing light from my clip on LEDs broke the twilight. I headed north toward one of my favorite neighborhoods, which I only get to run stroller-free, as it was guaranteed to be safe and quiet. My legs, like the rest of me, were still tired. I glanced down at the MOTOACTV and grimaced when I saw that those tired legs were carrying me at a 10-something pace.
The 10-minute mile pace is somewhat of a benchmark for me, and it was such a big deal to me when I ran my first 9:xx mile. Later, I was happy to see paces only in the 9:xx range. When I returned from pregnancy, I made it my goal to see those numbers again.
But as I turned down the main drag, I resisted the urge to speed up. I was only 2 miles into a 14-mile run and if you can nearly poop yourself during a 5-miler, the distance is nothing to sneeze at. It deserves - no, it needs - respect. And it was that - "respect the distance" that looped in my mind as the 10 continued to pop on the screen, and I assured myself that it would all catch up later.
And it would. Because my husband is a big, fat jerk.
After 6 miles, I swung by the house to pick up Mark, who was waiting with Miles in the BOB and a leashed up Denali. We made our way down the block, heading to the park for our usual 4-mile loop.
"Take it easy on me, OK," requested Mark as he hadn't run in nearly two weeks.
Yeah. No problem. And I continued to slog down the street.
Just one thing: Mark didn't slog. After his legs loosened up a quarter-mile in, he made a silent choice to push the pace. He would later tell me it's because we have a 4-mile race in two weeks, and I needed to get ready. Get ready in the middle of a 14-mile run.
Definitely something a jerk would think of.
Maybe it was the weather (a brisk low 50s) or the glories of the closest thing to fresh legs I've felt in weeks but I managed to sort of keep up. Sure, my labor was breathing and I felt a bit tired but I was hanging in there. It almost felt good. So much so that when Mark got to turn off after 4 miles, I felt like the effort was sustainable.
So I kept it up. Till I didn't have to anymore. And it was glorious.
I finished the 14 miles with nine at or below goal pace. I mean, you know, if I had a goal pace. Which I don't. Because I think the goal of a first marathon should be to finish.
Because I'm not a jerk like my husband.