Ok…people may read that and think “long run? Fun?”. Yup. Fun.
Actually…I was getting nervous with the long runs. I was setting down paces and Laura was setting intervals that surprised me. I kept wondering when this streak would last.
Mostly, in training for IMWI and in general for the past year or so, I ran alone. I have gotten to run with speedy people on long runs a few times in my IMWI training though. And enjoy it…a lot. And end up runner better that I thought. For a 15 miler I got to run with my friend Chrissy….she’s a regular Boston Marathon qualifier, but she had a slower run after a long ride in preparation for Roth. We ended up running faster than either of us anticipated. And to show Chrissy’s strength she had ridden 110+ miles the day before and was feeling the effects of antibiotics and we still cruised along at a good clip. She’s one tough lady.
For my first 18 and only 20 miler I was alone and would see Sang running with others as I set out. Sang is the “one great guy” that joined an otherwise all female group in the Gaps for a ride. I have ridden with him before, and done a couple of t-runs. Eventually he asked if I wanted company for my next long run. I was nervous (he’s a speedy marathoner too), gave him my plan and paces and he said it was perfect. And considering I had been going too fast for my pacing, I jumped at the chance to let someone really good at pacing join me. And so for my second 18 miler I had company. And I let him pace so I didn’t even look at my Garmin which was wonderfully liberating and fun :).
My next run was a bit more complicated with a warm up, 3 loops of 5 miles and a cool down. Sang was game though. To me it is a huge compliment if someone I’d willing to go with a plan of someone else to run with them. I was stunned he was up for the crazy run, but the pace was agreeable to him and he is great company and I push a bit when running with someone. Sang and I meet up and while standing there two other people say hi. I though get Sang randomly knew them and they hung out and chatted with us. Sang introduced me to John and Jesica. I actually know Jesica as we are both on Team Podium and we have emailed several times…I just hadn’t met her in person. So, we all started running. I then thought they would part with us when I turned around at the half mile mark for my warm up. Nope…they turned with us. It was then, and no sooner, that I realized Sang had invited them to join us, and it wasn’t a random “hi.”.I am quick, huh? I smiled and had to laugh at myself and my naiveté. Oops. I have nothing against running with people, and we had a great time chatting, and we all ended up running a slightly faster pace than the pre-planned 8:30 mile pace average. I was amazed they were up for the mile loop followed by three 5 mile loops. It turned out Jesica enjoyed it as it broke the run up in to segments. Easy segments actually. In my brain (and apparently Jesica’s too) it becomes 3 independent segments. And a chance to refuel easily. We chatted throughout the run…various conversations. I hadn’t run with this many people at one time for probably over 2 years. I used to all the time.
Jesica kept asking “do you know so-and-so” and every time my answer was no. Guess I have a lot of people yet to meet in this world. Granted Jesica writes a blog and is pretty connected in the running and tri community at large but still…every person she brought up I didn’t know. Hmmm…
The run went quick and we actually descended pace for each lap. The last one Jesica and I were pushing each other. Those are the most fun parts of a run….when you can both push just a little harder because the other is there. Those always rank as my favorite runs. And I love having fuel in the tank at the end to be able to do that.
Saturday was my last long ride and I had a long brick – 8 mile run. I did not like that run. I haven’t felt that defeated/slow/blah in a very long time. Lesson learned about dehydration. And you know I will be vigilant at IMWI! But, in a redemption run, Sang and I met today for a 1 hour 50 minute run, and we nailed it. My Heart rate was where it was supposed to be (versus the high zone 4 of yesterday for a much slower run). Hydration is awesome! I told Sang as we were coming down to the last 20 minutes…”This is what I love about the runs. This is what I love to feel with a run. This is what my goal is for Wisconsin.” I had it at IMCdA…..so I know it is possible.
So overall…I have had a fantastic running experience for this event whether running alone or renewing my enjoyment in running with others. And even the bad….well…lesson learned, and I still love it. Whether running or biking or swimming….the big stuff is the hard stuff but it is also the “oh so much fun” stuff. It is where you grow and learn and realize what you can do.
It is where memories are made and friendships grow through the adventures (good, bad and hard). It’s a chance to just become comfortable in the moment and when I am able to talk comfortably about what ever comes to mind. And sometimes in that dialogue you share experiences and fears and goals, and hear the experiences of others, and can grow in your own experience and confidence. But that is the topic of another blog. For now….I just love the big stuff…the fun stuff.
Note: Maybe at some point I will learn/remember to take a picture at some point to to make my blog a little more interesting. But don’t hold your breath