A few weeks ago I ran a mile without stopping. I haven't done if often in my life and I hadn't done it again since.
I read a lot of runner's blogs. One recurring thing I've noticed in all of the veterans blogs' is that they all say the same thing about the first mile ~ it's hard. Then their legs warm up and they find their grove and off they go to have a fabulous run.
I read it. Intellectually I understood it. I just never "got it". It seemed my legs never warmed up. Everytime I ran I was counting down until I could walk again. My legs burned and while I new it was good, and I even enjoyed it, it hurt.
Then yesterday happened. I walked up to the top of my street like I always do. I planned to run my 3.1 mile route along the water like I always do. I hit the timer on my watch and I started running. Like I always do. My legs started to burn and I was thinking of when I could walk, like I always DID. And then I said "f*ck it". I decided that I was going to run for the first mile. There was no reason I couldn't go at least that far. Afterall, I had just done it the other day, right?
I got to the fence post (which is a mile from my street) and I thought "hhmm, I'm not feeling so bad, I can run to the end of the fence." (just about 20 additional yards or so). Then I thought "well, I can run a little further, maybe to our old street." I got there and thought "Well, if I've come this far, I can go the additional quarter mile it takes to get to the park. Then I can walk a bit." I got to the park and a funny thing happened. My legs felt good. Whoa, what??? I was in a grove. So this is what they're all talking about?
So, at the park I thought what the hell....I'm going to run back to our old street and see how I feel. Guess what, I felt great! So I kept going. I got to the fence post...and kept going. In total I ran about 2 and a quarter miles without stopping. I finally puttered out a bit and needed to walk. I'd run about 31 minutes without a walk break. When I was doing the C25K program, the longest it had me run was 25 minutes and I wanted to beat that. I did.
I walked for 6 minutes and then started running again. Again, my legs felt great. I was in unfamiliar territory. I was high. I finally understood what all of those runners had been talking about and I didn't want to stop. I was enjoying my "fix" and I wasn't ready to give it up.
I got back to the street that leads into my neighborhood and I couldn't make myself turn towards home. I just kept running. I ran to the street that leads to the back end of our neighborhood. I was still feeling great and I knew I had that extra distance in me.
I turned onto the street and before me was a hill! My immediate thought was "Oh dear, what have I done?" But I remembered how great my legs felt and how amazing this feeling was so I dug deep and I ran up the hill. Let me say that again, I ran up the hill. Prior to yesterday, I simply didn't do hills. I was intimidated by them. But I OWNED that hill. It's now my bitch.
I ran around the block and before I knew it I was at my street. I wanted to keep going, but I know better and knew to finish while I still felt strong.
I came home wearing an enormous smile. I ended up running 3.5 miles in 51 minutes. My only walking was that 6 minute break in the middle. I didn't stop smiling all day!
I went to bed last night thinking "Now I get it...."