Hopefully, this doesn't get lost amidst the Savory Sunday posts...
Saturday, I had what was easily one of the best runs of my life. it also happened to be the "longest run of my life" but that's not the only reason why it was an outstanding run.
Before heading out this morning, I was nervous. I had thought about the run all day Friday and through the night. It was the first thing I thought about this morning and I was a bit of a wreck while making my Saturday morning muffins. But around 7 or so, I started to get ready and before long I was stretching and figuring out what music I wanted to run to.
I left around 7:30 and the sun cooperated with me. It was not raining but rather sunny, not warm but just a bright morning. Still, I went out in long sleeves and gloves because it was still chilly. A little bit. But I've gotten used to wearing my gloves while running and my hands get cold so easily.
I didn't really have a route mapped out. I kinda sorta did, but I wasn't thrilled with it. The first mile was on a somewhat busy street outside my housing tract, but Mile 2 started out at the beginning of a lonely road that runs parallel to a freeway; no houses, no dogs, no people, few cars. It was nice. I got the four-mile mark and was supposed to hang a left, go back over the freeway and take a busy street back home, but decided against it. I liked the serenity of the lonely road so I stayed on there. I eventually got to 4.88 miles when I decided to turn back around.
I got to mile 6 and felt great. I remembered how a year ago, on my anniversary in fact, I'd ran six miles and my heart rate was in the 180s, which meant I was gassed. And that was just after breaking the 5-mile mark. My heart rate on Saturday hovered around 170 for much of the run, as I averaged 168 during the run.
For the next mile or so, I thought about how great the intervals had worked for me. That is a great exercise for my heart, since I work it a lot during an interval run. Here I was, in the seventh mile of a run, and I my heart rate was at 167, when not even eight months ago I would have already hit the wall.
Before I knew it, I was approaching the intersection to get back to the busy street near my house. I looked at my Garmin: 8.25. It's funny how a week ago that was the long run, and on Saturday it was a milestone that was forgotten almost as quickly as it had been reached.
I got past nine miles and felt great. I was in a groove, didn't feel any pain (save for the usual nip pain, argh) and wasn't tired or breathing heavily. Eventually I got on my street and was at around 9.9 miles or so. I hung a left instead of a right, ran down to the end, turned around and headed back home. I looked down and saw 10.0. I extended my arms out to my side and said "Yay!" to myself. I really had to control myself there because I wanted to keep running, keep going past my house and get to 11 or 12 miles, or longer.
Those runs will come in time. Saturday was about reaching a milestone, tackling the "longest run of my life" and checking off another long-distance run from my list
It was a rite of passage, and a run I'll remember forever.