Tuesday, February 21, 2012
A Marathon Week
Sometime around Friday I started to calculate how many miles I would be running with this new schedule of running over my lunch hour. I was shocked when I realized that if I ran my normal 8 miles on Saturday, I would have completed approximately 26.2 miles of running for the week! I was awed by that calculation; to think that in one week I will have done a full marathon! To those who have run and/or trained for a marathon, I am sure that this does not seem too impressive. To me it seemed monumental!
The lunch hour runs went really well. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I ran 3 miles each day and still had time to talk to Katie and eat a full lunch. The route is fairly simple and the most difficult challenge has been the wind coming out of the south. Champaign is a little bit more hilly than Monticello and on Friday when I altered my route and ran on St. Mary's Road, the terrain was much hillier than what I am used to. But I took my time, kept my form, and had a good run. My Tuesday 4-miler went well considering that I had run on Monday, and played basketball on Monday night, and my Thursday 5-miler went without much incident.
I was a little nervous when I went out to run on Saturday. I knew that my legs had been feeling the extra miles all week, but when I hit the road everything felt pretty good. The first 3 miles clipped by quickly. I was even running at a faster pace (7:35) than I had been in some time. My fourth mile takes me along a packed gravel bike path over the Sangamon River. It was still pretty early in the morning, about 6:30am, and the sun had not fully risen. I looked down the path and saw a couple of objects moving down the path towards me. At first I thought it was a couple of squirrels or bunnies. Then they looked a little too big and I thought they were dogs. As i got closer I said to myself "Oh, they are foxes." Not a completely usual sighting in our area. But then I thought to myself about how foxes don't usually roam in groups; they are almost always solo. Then it hit me, "Oh shit, they're COYOTES!" Having never come across a coyote in the wild, I was praying that they were more afraid of me than I was of them. But when you think about coyotes preying on the slow and the weak, a slow, middle-aged runner nearing his twentieth mile for the week might just make the perfect breakfast. Thankfully the former turned out to be true and the coyotes scittered off of the path.
I continued on with my run, but by the time I finished mile 4 I was feeling the extra miles that week. My legs began to burn on a few of the smaller hills, and I slowed my pace quite a bit just focusing on finishing the run. I was mindful of the difference between sore and pain, but thankfully was able to avoid an sort of real injury. When I finished, I was extremely pleased with myself. I stretched really well and as I showered up before breakfast, I started to formulate this post. I ran a marathon last week and I feel damn good about it!