Last week, I hit a personal milestone in my running. I ran 5 miles without stopping.
5.03 miles, to be more specific, in fairly humid conditions, with cloud cover and a temperature of around 70 degrees.
I set out to do 2.5 that morning. But when I hit that mark and found that nothing hurt and I was breathing within acceptable limits, I just kept chugging along.
I was testing out a new running mix during this run. I wonder if the novelty of it also contributed to my decision to keep going? I know that "Everlong" by the Foo Fighters made me run faster, and that "Root Down" by the Beastie Boys made me grin through the sweat, and that "Anyway You Want It/Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'" by the Glee cast made me feel as though the run was just beginning, as opposed to hitting Mile 4.
I just kept winding through my St. Paul neighborhood waiting for the Nike+ disembodied voice lady to tell me I'd hit that magical 5 mile mark.
And after 55 minutes, she did.
I'd like to be very clear about my running.
Number one—I am not fast. You will not mistake me for a former high school track athlete who's rediscovering her love of running. Occasionally, I manage to run under 11 minute miles, but that's according to Nike+ and not some high tech Garmin watch (and yes, I am secretly coveting one for accuracy's sake). There are no flames erupting in my wake. Dan can speed walk and keep up with my clip, if that tells you anything.
Number two—I don't really look like a runner. I know this, because there is a church I run by during most of my runs. It has big glass doors, and at the risk of sounding vain, I always watch myself as I run past it because I'm trying to work on my form. It's only good for about 4 or 5 strides and every single time I catch my reflection I'm floored at how bubbly my butt is. Even though I feel like I'm gliding, it's really more of a forward-leaning lope while dragging a large butt-shaped duffel bag at the base of my lower back effect.
Number three—#1 and #2 don't really matter. Why? Because I absolutely love how this is making me feel (minus the foot pain, which I'm fairly certain is the start of plantar fasciitis, and yes, I am taking precautions). I love that I am doing something that I never thought I would do, or even would want to do. I am sweating and smiling and rocking out and wearing cute hats and covering myself in sun screen and blowing my nose on tissues I stash in the lining of my jog bra. And I'm out there doing it.
Yes, there is a part of me that feels a little less than at times, wishing I was one of those fast girls clipping around the lake. It's that wanna be athlete in me that wants to hang with the real runners.
Yes, there is a part of me that is really afraid of both injury and taking too many days of rest, lest I lose this strange desire to lace up and head out.
Yes, I am able to do other things besides run, but they just aren't quite as sweaty or euphoric.
For now, I'm just going to remember how I felt all day that day: pretty much invincible and amazing.
Who'd of thought that when I set out to drop some pounds I'd get that as a by product?