It was a beautiful day today, and likely the only nice one suitable for gardening left in the week. So, I had a choice to make: Run early alone, while I had the energy for it, then do my gardening work, or do the gardening and wait for Romie to run with me when he got home. He had wanted me to wait.
I tried to pace myself in the garden, so that I didn't completely exhaust myself, but I had a shrub to plant, sod to remove, soil to amend, other plants to plant, deadheading, weeding, applying fertilizer, mulch to spread, and so on and so forth. To add to things, I hadn't slept AT ALL last night; I only had gotten a few 10-15 minute naps in, as I tossed and turned all night. It wasn't looking good for the running. Again.
I revisited that nagging fear that I was too easily going to slip back into my recent bout with not running, before I'd even gotten back into running on a more regular basis. Before I knew it, Romie was home and gave me the choice: gardening or running. I needed his help with some things, so once again, running got put on the back burner.
Around 7:30, we started putting the tools away and headed into the house to get cleaned up for the night and find something to eat for supper. It was nearly time for American Idol, which I didn't want to miss, so I didn't have time to get a shower before it started, and I waited.
As I sat there watching Idol and eating grapes, I thought to myself that I could run after Idol was over. It wouldn't be that dark, the temperature was perfect (65°), the earlier wind had died down, and best of all, I knew if I ran tonight I wouldn't have to run tomorrow, when we were expecting rain.
So while David Cook wrapped up his final song, I stretched. As the credits rolled on the TV screen, I strapped on my watch and headed out the door. Romie had already showered and eaten, so he didn't run, but he accompanied me on his bike.
I headed north, which meant there would be not a single thing to occupy my mind except counting the telephone poles along the way. Farm fields on either side, a few road signs ... just the straight road ahead of me, with no end to it in sight.
I quickly got into a rhythm of breathing (which was back to normal, thank goodness) and concentrated on keeping my core stable and pushing off with my thighs while relaxing my calves. I'd discovered a few weeks ago that I could run better and farther by doing this, which is what Jamey had been trying to teach us all along. But as I get tired, I find myself relying more on my calves for strength and have to concentrate harder on using my thighs. Bigger muscles can handle it better.
I passed the second stop sign, which meant I'd run about 1.4 miles without stopping. I looked at my watch and was surprised to see what time it displayed. I kept going nearly half a mile more, until I thought it best to stop and walk a bit. I'd skimmed the road a couple of times with the toe of my shoe as I brought my right foot forward in my stride and I knew that I was tired and in danger of tripping.
My watch read 17:00.
At this point, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I turned around to go back towards home, walked for two minutes, then took up running again. It was hard. I felt like I wouldn't make it more than a few minutes, but soon got into a rhythm again. Setting a goal of six minutes, I made it to ten. I walked for another minute, then ran for another.
It was at this point that Romie cautioned me not to push it, and I knew he was right. I walked the rest of the way home, which was about half a mile, and immediately went upstairs to a hot tub of water. I did some of my stretching in the bathtub and by the time I was done, I seriously could have fallen asleep and spent the night there.
This was the longest continual run I've ever done outside, this 17 minutes. Not even during the 5K had I run that long without stopping to walk. It felt pretty good, too. I remember what Roger had said to me last night at training, "You look like you could just run forever." Tonight, I almost felt like that.