Ch-ch-ch-check it out! Kept it below a 10-minute mile pace the entire time! Speed and hill work is paying off, because this felt so comfortable to me. In fact, a few times when my app chimed in to say “Distance XpointX miles” I would guess my pace in my head, “10 something” or “11 something” and she’d say “nine minutes, fourteen seconds” and I was like “whhaaaaa????” That sht cray. I can’t tell you what a relief this run was, and the sense of redemption I felt when I reached my destination. I knew a decent 10K was in me, that I’m capable of running it in good time. Proving it to myself today was exactly what I needed to get me back in the saddle. I’ll admit, this week I questionned whether I was losing my mojo a bit again. I just didn’t feel like running. I ran, but more because I felt like I had to get it in. I was glad I did afterwards, of course, but that gusto just kind of dissipated mid-week. Happy to say my running mojo is in tact, the gusto is restored and if the legs are feeling good in the morning I’m heading out for an easy 3-4 miles before work on my rest day.
This run was a test of many things: pre-run snackage/nutrition, a new-ish route, my endurance level, pacing, and the first long run in my Nike Free Runs. I was kind of nervous embarking on a long run in my new babies, because I’d only run with them once outside, and twice on a treadmill. I have to say though, they felt amazing! I did develop a bit of a blister on the bottom of my right foot, but other than that it was just pure smooth sailing. I can’t say enough positive things about these shoes and what they’re doing for me already! I can feel my form getting better, I don’t strike the ground as hard, there’s a pep or bounce in my stride, and I really feel it in my shins and calves now, as new muscles are being recruited during the run to compensate for the minimalist shoe. It’s been fantastic, I can’t believe I hesitated this long to buy these shoes! And they’re pretty, so you can’t go wrong there. I crossed paths with another runner who was also wearing my exact shoes and I smiled real big - girl had good taste. I’m so in love with these shoes.
The verdict on the PB+Banana Rice cake sandwich: Good! Not great, but good! The first 2 miles were run without any tummy issues/discomfort whatsoever and I was thrilled. I felt like I could just go on forever. And then as I approached mile 3 there was slight discomfort, but no sloshing or anything close to what happened Saturday, just a slight pressure in the lower abdomen, the kind where it’s like “this jostling running is pushing things along”, but not “I NEED A TOILET NOW” kind. And there wasn’t too much pain, if any at all. It was something I could deal with, even ignore for bits of time here and there. It’s just pin-pointing what it is that’s causing the slight discomfort that’s tricky. I had a good hour and a half or so to digest, so I don’t know if it’s the food or the coffee. Next time, no coffee. I’m trying to think of other things to try out pre-run too, so any ideas are welcome :)
The detour: I had a general route in mind when I set out today. I was going to loop around the neighbourhood, a loop that’s becoming my usual course, then hitting up the new trails I discovered earlier this week since they seem to go on forever, plus it was new to me which is nice on a longer run. But, there was also this nagging itch inside me, one that’s been there for a while, and as I made it down the road and hit the one mile mark, the nag grew and I just had to do it, I had to scratch it. For weeks I’ve been saying I want to head out for a run to the cemetary to see my Nonno, to spend some time there with him alone. I mapped it out once to see how far it is, and it’s about 3-ish miles away from my house. The one thing that always kept me from going was the fact that I’d be stopping dead in the middle of a run, and we all know stopping mid-run is such a btch. Plus, I’d hate to have a pause in a long run like that, so I kept putting it off. But today, it was like fate that my mom decided to take the day off, meaning someone would be home to pick me up if I needed it. I decided to run the first half of my planned route, which was a little over 3 miles, then ran the rest out to the cemetary. It ended up being 6.3 miles to the gate of the grounds, then another 0.2 to where my Nonno is. A perfect 6.5 miles.
The closer I got, the more excited I became. Especially when I veered into the neighbourhood I had to cut through to get to the road the cemetary is on, I could feel a lump in my throat and the tears threatening to flow already. In my head, I kept telling my Nonno I was coming, that I was close. The song from the Nike Free Run commercial was popping into my head, “I love you so much that I would run to you”. Ever since I saw that video and heard the song, it made me think of that very moment, of when I’d run to him, when I’d go see him all on my own. You can see when I was only 0.3 miles away, how my pace quickened. I couldn’t wait to get there, to finally be there. It got tough between miles 4 an 6, as the sun got higher, it got hotter and the breeze stopped flowing as freely. The blister was burning at the bottom of my foot, and mental images of pictures I’d seen of runners’ popped and bloodied blisters flashed through my mind, but I didn’t care, I would get there.
When I did, I broke down. I cried a good cry, something I hadn’t been able to do before when I went with my sister or my mom and Nonna. It was the first time I really just let my emotions out since he passed away. I finally had my one good cry, and I got to talk to him one and one, and have some time alone there with him. It felt so good. I’ve been, well, kind of a raging bitch, to be frank, since he passed away, and for the longest time couldn’t figure out why. After that cry though, after finally being able to just let it out, I felt this sense of calm and joy wash over me, like that grey cloud I’ve been walking under since February had finally been whisked away. When I was ready, I called my mom and told her “I talked to Nonno and he thinks you should come here to see him”. She thought I was kidding. When she realized I wasn’t, she couldn’t believe I’d actually done it. She hopped in the van and came over to see him and pick me up.
While I waited, I realized I forgot to ask her to bring water. In the car ride home, I looked down and noticed a bottle with a bit of water in it. I grabbed it immediately and drank it. The water was crisp and cool. I asked my mom if she just filled it and she said no, that it’d been there since yesterday. I kind of just stared blankly for a second, because we park our car outside and it’s been hot, it gets to be like an inferno in the van, yet this water was chilled to perfection. “Nonno chilled the water for me”, I said, “this water is cold”. My mom couldn’t believe it either. Thanks, Nonno!
All in all, it was just a beautiful run. I had fun, I felt good, I finally ran to the cemetary to see my Nonno, I got to really grieve and let it out after all this time, I restored faith in myself, and caught the running bug even more.
Afterwards, I came home and made an awesome green smoothie, then went to the gym to use their foam roller. I did some back/chest strength training, but nothing crazy. When I realized I was bonking and couldn’t do any more sets, I called it a day. As I was leaving, I stopped into the general manager’s office for her to sign my work out card (every 6th workout you get a ballot to win $1000 - I’m there everyday, bring on the ballots!) and we got to talking about personal training. Long story short, I told her about my story and interest in personal training and girl is hooking me up with the instructor for the CPT course and all the info and everything. My fleeting dream of getting certified as a personal trainer this summer could very well be a reality!!!! I’m so excited!
Today, I’m realizing more and more how much running has enriched my life. It’s brought my mom and I even closer, and she’s just all into it after coming to my 10K, she’s so interested in running and the events and everything now. And at work tonight, I kept running into acquaintences and each one brought up running, commending me on it and recognizing me for it. It’s the coolest feeling, when people see you and see a runner, that it’s not just all in my head. It’s the best feeling in the world when your dreams start becoming your reality.
All of these great things today, all because of one run. How amazing is that?