Crossing the Half-Way Point
Monday, March 05, 2012
Yesterday I ran my first 14 mile run. I had been pretty nervous about it. Something about crossing the halfway mark makes it all feel more real, and I was worried that it would not go well or that I would have to walk. I chose a different route this time. It has more rolling hills but nothing massive like my usual route. It was a really beautiful run that took me through a couple small villages, and on the run out I had Jay Peak (a gorgeous mountain) in front of me.
My ankle has been a little sore lately, and it was acting up a little in the beginning. I decided to wait and see if it improved, and it did for a while. It started aching again around mile 11, but I kept going and made it the entire 14 without walking. I felt pretty good about finishing it and even better when I realized I had done it in only 10 minutes more than my slowest 12 mile run. I didn't feel like I was going that much faster, but I think the smaller hills helped with that.
Normally, I would be a lot more ecstatic about this accomplishment. This is big for me, and I'm feeling even more confident about being able to finish the marathon. But, I was struggling with something worse than a sore ankle on this run. My grandma had a major stroke on Friday morning and has major trauma to her brain. Things are not looking good. We were basically waiting for her to die because she did not want feeding tubes or anything put in. Even if she pulls through, she has lost her ability to speak and her motor skills. I'd spent the weekend crying randomly, and I knew that a nice, long run was just what I needed.
It mostly worked. The thing I love most about running is the meditative quality. I know I've said it before, but it really is like meditation. Sure, it can be a great time to think and sort out problems, but I often find myself not thinking and just running. It's a wonderful, peaceful time. There is no need to worry about anything except the road and where I am at that moment. I love it. For most of my run, I was able to turn off my thoughts and just go. There were a couple times when I started thinking and cried, but they were short-lived. It's hard to run and cry at the same time.
I was really glad I went running. Not only did I achieve a new distance and another goal in this long training process, but I had some time to escape life. And, I really, really needed it. I'm proud of what I accomplished, and part of me wants to celebrate, but it also felt like an emotional test. I guess what I can take from this run is that running is a far better and more productive way to deal with emotional stress. Much better than comfort eating or drinking.