Monday, August 24, 2009

Attempt at Your Own Risk

Before you ever venture out on the grueling task of your longest training run there are three things most people usually have:

1. A solid base of training

2. A decent hydration plan

3. And a healthy dose of courage mixed with a dash of crazy

Saturday morning was THE morning. Twenty-two miles. I ran the Disney Marathon this past January. The longest training run I ever did was 20 miles. And I only did it once. (I was supposed to have gone that distance twice in training, but honestly – my iPod died by mile two and I about died by mile three – so that was that!) But now I am a veteran of training and I felt well prepared to go 22 miles. We’ve been doing, 17, 18, 19, 20 for the previous month - what was two more? Nothing too crazy about that. But here is where you need to heed caution…

Imagine going that distance – when 13.1 is the furthest you have ever gone. And that was nearly 5 months ago… Meet Rebecca.

I haven’t mentioned Rebecca before – because while she is part of our Chicago marathon group, she has been MIA. Each week we’d wonder if she was going to start training… and with only seven weeks to go, the window of training was closing fast. But here she was Saturday, perky and armed with instructions from our coach: DO NOT GO MORE THAN EIGHT MILES. So, she would run with us for four and turn around. That was the plan – a plan that never saw daylight. Because by the time we got four miles out – it was still too dark for her to run on her own. And she was feeling good – runner’s high had kicked in. We stopped for a picture at 13.2 – this was the first “FIRST” of many on this run. Around mile 18 we asked her how she was feeling – and she was a bit less perky and the walk breaks were getting longer. But so were mine. But mile after mile, she kept going. And here’s why: Rebecca had nothing to prove to us – we know she can finish 26.2. She had to convince herself. Like many women, she is her toughest critic.

We spoke Saturday evening. I was on my way to EPCOT, after spending a day at Chuck E Cheese – and she was on her hands and knees collecting a thousand Splenda packets that her soon-to-be two-year old dumped on the floor. She sounded happy and was even talking about next week’s run! But I still wonder, after she hung up the phone, was she was ever able to stand back up again? We’ll find out next week!

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