I hit a major running milestone yesterday when I completed my first double digit mileage: 10 miles on the River Trail. When I arrived home afterwards, I was sore but feeling good and smiling, and barefoot- nothing feels as good as bare feet after a long, hard run on concrete. I walked in my front door and found myself abnormally chatty with my husband, who was searching for my tell-tale signs of hunger/exhaustion/fatigue that often sets in- I figured I was just a little loopy from being on the move for nearly 2 straight hours.
A few weeks ago a friend introduced me to interval running with a sweet free app for my iPhone. I can program in any interval I want, and for long runs I have been using a "run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute" interval throughout the entire run. Mentally it has helped me overcome my anxiety about the amount of omiles I have yet to cover- I know I just need to get to that 1 minute break and I'm good to go. Physically, the intervals have allowed me to maintain a faster overall speed, and I don't get as sore and tired during hte run itself. Thei ntervals have been so effective, actually, that I started wondering how far I could run if I just kept increasing mileage...probably pretty far...meaning only one thing: Marathon.
My first half marathon is 6 weeks away, and it is a 13.1- mile race. I ran 10 miles yesterday, and have been adding 1 mile to each long run a week, meaning I will easily surpass the 13-mile mark before my goal event. So then what? I've heard lots of athletes can fall into a depression after a big goal race, since they lived and breathed training for so long...we just don't know what to do with ourselves if we're not training! I don't want that to happen...but all of a sudden a half marathon that once seemed utterly impossible has become, well, so attainable it seems kind of easy. Well, not easy, but attainable. This whole thing just further supports the theory that runners are freaks of nature, and all a bit insane.
Either way, insane or not, my Double Digit run was pretty awesome. I felt good and strong at the end, and I was still smiling, which is how I plan to cross the finish line in Traverse City at the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 26.