Saturday was a wonderful day for a run. Sarah and I planned to meet at Crabtree at 7:15 a.m., as I needed to be on the road to Winston-Salem by 10 a.m. We discussed doing between 4 and 5 miles. The original half marathon training calendar showed Saturday as a 5 mile day; the modified (stretched out) calendar showed Saturday as a 4 mile day. So, we set off on our somewhat eager goal to complete 5 miles. We settled on running a 3:30 run/1 walk interval. I have discovered over the past few weeks that somewhere between 3 and 4 minute runs are my "sweet spot"; Saturday I discovered that 3:30 is the perfect spot for me. Anyway, I think we were both a bit anxious to go 5 miles. But, we were gonna do it! We were off - we didn't care how long it took us, but we were gonna do 5 miles.
The beginning was a little cold. I was glad that I didn't wear anymore clothes than I did, but I sure needed my jacket to start things off. After 3 or 4 intervals, the jacket was promptly tied around the waist. I checked my Garmin and we finished the first mile in 13:55. While that's a pretty good clip, it kinda slowed us down on the second mile (15:00). The first two miles were definitely learning moments for relatively new runners. The last three miles were completed at the perfect pace (14:40 average pace).
While we were out on the run, somewhere on the trail headed to Shelley Lake, we ran into two volunteers from our running program. I know that one of them was Megan, but I don't remember the name of the other. It was great to see them! The best part was that they weren't that much faster than us. Penguins unite! :-)
After we finished we both felt so great! It was just amazing, electrifying, exciting, thrilling, and so many other synonyms. We finished 5 miles! I mean, seriously, on July 22 I think we both had difficulty even doing 1 run/1walk intervals. The deal for both of us isn't time, it is distance. Sarah and I both kept telling each other how awesome it felt. Again, back to the penguins - we did the run in good 'ole John Bingham/penguin fashion, but we finished 5 miles.
After our run, I felt so good. I did learn one lesson though - do not run any relatively "long" distance for your body and then get in the car to drive about 2 hours. It was not good. I wasn't necessarily sore or hurting, but my legs just felt a little "wonky". Other than the little bit of funny feeling in my legs, I was so energized for the day. Of course, the minute my head hit the pillow on Saturday night, I was out. Considering that I am not normally one to sleep well in hotels, I think it was the great morning run that helped me sleep like a little baby.
Now that I have run 5 miles, I feel like I can do anything. I think each new mile makes me hungry for the next. I am on my way to complete my goal of a half marathon in 2011/2012. Each new mile is an adventure and I am ready to go!
Two quotes that are relevant for me right now:
"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." - John Bingham
"It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination. We have a better chance of seeing where we are when we stop trying to get somewhere else. We can enjoy every moment of movement, as long as where we are is as good as where we'd like to be. That's not to say that you need to be satisfied forever with where you are today. But you need to honor what you've accomplished, rather than thinking of what's left to be done." - John Bingham (No Need for Speed: A Beginner's Guide to the Joy of Running, page 159)