Week 3: Part 3

The 10 miler. This is it. What I have been waiting for. It’s double digits.  From the first time I hit 10 miles, I felt I could get anywhere.

However, there were many many many years where I never even dreamed of running 5 miles much less 10 miles. As a junior in high school I did my one and only season of cross-country. It was probably the best thing I ever did for myself. It was the first time in my life that I specifically trained for running. And I thought 3 miles was hard and an exceptional achievement at the time. It showed me what running could do for my mind, my fitness and my body (unfortunately, what high school junior girl hasn’t become acutely aware of her body shape/type). I had always played soccer. And that was the reasoning behind joining the cross-country team that fall – stay in shape for the spring varsity soccer season. As a sophomore I was playing the entire junior varsity soccer game (40 minutes on the field) and running most of it. That summer, cross-country training began at 6 am (it was also my first experience with getting up at 5 am for a morning workout) and lasted an hour. And I thought it was hard. That fall I wasn’t the last female to finish the races but I was always the last female on our team to finish. And yes, there was a first, second and third place. Everyone was not given a medal just for finishing and I survived just fine.

I went through other periods of regular running after that through college and pharmacy school. But it wasn’t until I was approaching my thirties that the idea and bug of distance running got planted. And then it became a challenge to be accepted and conquered. My mission started in November 2013 with a deadline of June 27, 2014 – my 30th birthday.

I had this idea about how I wanted to enter my thirties. I wanted to feel strong, confident, healthy. I was also pre-baby with the thought that babyhood was close on the horizon and I had certain ideas about the shape I wanted my body in before babies. I got up early and hit the pavement and I did the dang 10 mile thang. I was so proud of myself. I had done what I never even dreamed possible for my-self. I felt unstoppable.

I have achieved this distance and beyond 3 times now. Once as I turned thirty. Again, when I decided to train for my first half marathon post baby #1 in 2016. And now, a third time as I train for half marathon #2 post baby #2. In between all of these, running has taken a back seat to other major life events (like pregnancy!), but so far I’ve been able to come back despite being told if I stop I’ll never start again.

What I’ve learned is that no one decides what I am or am not going to do but me. I get to choose. Choice is a gift and one that shouldn’t be given away. Other people can make you feel like you can’t or shouldn’t. But the only thing that matters is what you think. And the only person who can make you can’t is you. Now applying this wisdom to all areas of my life…well that’s what living and learning is for, right?

So I did it again. And I did it after an early morning of more puking kiddos. Not sure what virus when through them this time, but the 1 year old started at about 3:30 am and went until about 7 am with the 3 year old hot on his heels until about 9 am. A teeny tiny nap on the couch and some food later, I hit the pavement that afternoon. Running in the afternoon is an anomaly for me since I normally run first thing early in the morning so I don’t have to arrange for anyone to watch sleeping babies. If they wake up, my husband is in the house. It was also abnormally warm for February in North Carolina – not that huge weather swings in NC are abnormal or anything. But, it did change the gear I wore. I took along a 16 oz water bottle in my flip belt and a chocolate RxBar that had been a free sample from Walmart (210 calories, 24g carbs).

I had decided to split up my water intake and carb intake to see if it helped decrease the impact on my split time. I had about 8 oz of water around 4 and 8 miles and I had half the bar around 3 miles and the other half around 7 miles. Splitting up the food and water did help reduce the impact on my splits.

The chocolate RxBar tasted like a tootsie roll to me (which I’ve never been a big fan of – fake chocolate if you ask me). It also had a similar, sticky consistency which made it harder to chew quickly. Since I tend to breath in through my nose and out through my mouth when I am running, having to keep my mouth closed for long periods of chewing (which as you know, you should always do) really complicates my breathing (sort of like the jelly bean situation a few weeks ago).  So, on to other fuel options.

1:42:27 – 10.02 miles. I decide, I choose, I do. I did the dang thing – again.


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