This past week has been quite the ride! I bumped up my mileage a bit, which was long overdue. It was not an auspicious start, as the first couple runs of my week maxed out around 2 miles and sent me running to the chiropractor. After cutting short last week's 14 I was hoping to break the bad luck. I hadn't gone for ART since May and my body was telling me that was a mistake. I had two sessions this week and I believe that it made all the difference. This was especially the case on Saturday, where I was slated to run 12 miles in the morning for marathon training and another 5 at night at a race in Rockville.
I've never done a double before, and quite frankly been intimidated by the thought. Regardless, it was time to put on my big girl panties and give it a go. This is all part of the Ragnar experience and I don't want to look back on it and think I wasn't pulling my weight. Saturday morning didn't have the best start, as I was up at 4 to drive a friend to the airport and then over to the marina by 6 for the first run of the day. I was absolutely nervous but once the run began I had a pretty good feeling that it would go smoothly.
The ache that I usually experience in my calves and shins did not make its regular appearance. I even felt like we were moving at a pretty decent clip for a change, which I attribute to the new company I had. K was with the group last year but we didn't get to know each other much because she was coming off injury and therefore at a slower pace. I wasn't sure how we'd hit it off but it was good and made the miles pass nicely. I was pleasantly surprised and look forward to future runs with her.
When the run came to an end, I finally felt what I'd been wanting to feel for months. It was a combination of pride and relief. I was a runner again. I took that feeling with me to the 7 hour training I sat through for the rest of that morning and into the afternoon. It abated a bit as the evening approached and the second run of the day began. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was nervous. I met up with a Ragnar teammate, Sue, and then had unexpected company for the warmup. After quick introductions all around, we hit the pavement.
I have to admit, the warmup was more like race pace to me but there was a perfectly reasonable explanation. Turns out that the two other runners Sue and I ran with were none other than Miss Zippy and Racingtales themselves! I didn't find out until after the fact, of course, but it was still really great to meet these ladies in person and see what incredible runners they are. Warmup over, we split up and headed to our respective places in the hoard of the start line.
I made the amateur mistake of lining up too close to the start but for some reason I didn't want to leave Sue and head back to where I should be. Once the race started, I was passed countless times for well over a mile until I settled into a comfortable pace with the runners I should have started with in the first place. I don't feel like it effected my race, as I made it to the first mile at my planned time. The course was hilly but great and I would definitely run it again. I caught a break with the weather and aside from the humidity the racing conditions were great.
I'm not saying that this first double was easy by any means. Far from it. My mental strength was definitely tested during those five miles and my ego was taught another lesson in humility. My quads were very vocal after the first mile but I just tried to hold steady through to the end. I wasn't sure I'd have anything in me once I reached the final mile but I was able to pick it up quite a bit, making it the fastest mile of the race. The added bonus of chicking one last guy as we surged for the line helped too.
Again, that pride and relief. I couldn't wait to tell my friends that I'd done it. It gave me back some of the confidence that I'd lost and took away some of the nerves I have about my upcoming 16 miler on Saturday. I took Sunday off, aside from a 2.5 mile walk around the neighborhood. I did a short recovery run yesterday and will be braving the heat and humidity very shortly for another few miles.
I've been experiencing a lot of stress lately and I'm glad that, at least for now, running can be a pleasant experience. Several of my CAR teammates raced in Rockville this weekend and totally killed it. Congrats to you all! I'm not ready to show my face back at the track yet and resume the practice of being passed, but I will be soon. How has everyone else been doing? I confess to not being up to date on blogs so a comment here with an update would be lovely. I promise I'll be operating at full capacity again soon.
Time to stop avoiding a sweaty run and get my butt out there. Wish me luck!