Start of the 22-mile Run
Last week I was convinced that long runs were challenging beasts designed to tear us up and make us feel miserable for hours and hours. Now I want to get up on a soap box and yell to the masses that long runs are wonderful. Long runs are gorgeous. Long runs have the power to make you feel like a million bucks.
I bet you’re wondering what’s wrong with me.
You’d say, “Heather, 22 miles may be many things, but it’s still a long, long, long way to run, right?
You’re right, of course. You’re always right. Twenty-two miles IS quite a distance to cover, and the distance is not made easier if you might be recovering from a night of too many drinks, too little sleep and if you decide at the last minute that the long run might not be such a bad time to break in a pair of new trail shoes.
So imagine my surprise when my 22-mile long run on Sunday, even with all those potential setbacks, got better and better with each muddy mile. It’s true. It was just about a perfect run. Here’s why:
1. I ran with two triathletes.
2. I did not embarrass myself in front of the triathletes. Because quite a few of my long runs involve tripping, falling or debilitating stomach cramps, the fact that none of these happened while in their presence felt like a major personal victory.
3. I started slow. You know what they say in the training guides isn’t half bad. You shouldn’t start out too fast on a long run. I didn’t and it paid off, because I was able to blast through the last two miles like a very muddy rocket.
4. I felt incredibly light on my feet. So often long runs make feel like I’m plodding along, but not on this run. Somehow I just felt good and I felt like I could run forever. (I might be a passionate runner, but that almost never happens to me)
5. I ran strong, controlled and happy. Really, is there any better feeling than attacking a challenging distance and feeling successful and proud at the end?