It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end." Ursula K. LeGuin
Of all the runs I’ve done so far, I think this was the hardest to get out the door for. I really, really didn’t want to run today. I had a wicked stomachache from stress over a decision I need to make and my running buddy, Amy, is still sick. She called and croaked an apology to me this morning. Fortunately, it was a pretty nice day. Temps were around 50 with a cloud cover and only a slight breeze, so I had no real excuse not to go and I knew the run would do a lot of good towards the stress.
I decided to run from the house instead of driving to the base to run alone. At least from home I could take the dog with me for the first 5 mile loop and then drop her off to finish. Granted, this meant I would be tempted to end my run early, but I decided to chance it and go. The first 5 miles went well. At the turn around, we paused for a moment to let Lucy play in the water. She is a big chicken and startles at the ripples as they roll up the sand, but she is getting more brave with each visit and is up to slapping the froth with her paws as the ripples collapse in miniature waves around her toes. I wonder if, by summer, she will be ready to plunge in with glee, getting in touch with her water retriever roots.
We stopped twice on the return trip to visit with neighbors, pausing my Garmin so I could keep track of my running pace, and made it back to the house in just over an hour. I had 4 miles left to go, so I made a pit stop, grabbed a Power-gel and some water, and headed back out. Running without the dog is definitely less complicated; I get to focus more on myself and don’t have to worry about tripping on her or reminding her not to pull on the leash. I started thinking that I really could do 10 miles, and spent a few minutes on one of those internal dialogues where good sense battles with ego about whether to do what is smart, or what would be fun to brag about. Fortunately, smart won out and I turned around at the appropriate place. I was glad for it as I started into mile #8.
We really need a good word for the feeling one gets in a joint or muscle that tells you it is working hard, and pushing its limits, but has not yet crossed the line into uncomfortable. That is how my knees were feeling. They didn’t hurt, but I knew they were nearing the end of their tolerance for the day. I frequently get these little twinges. It captures my focus for a while and makes me wary, but so far I have never crossed the line and pushed anything into painful. Often, the sensation goes away and I don’t think about it again. This was another one of those times. As I came into my last mile, on the final stretch home, all the twinges went away and I settled into a comfortable gait. I definitely could have run one more mile, but since home was where it should be, at the end of a 9 mile run, I stopped and cooled down.
Next week I will conquer the 10 mile beast.