Four Hours Later

Seriously. I didn’t know if I had it in me. Sometimes you just have to face the doubt. And head out the door.

So that’s what I did. I hit the road at 8:50 a.m. with 19 miles to go. It was super sunny, hot, and yucky humid. I headed north. Up Sheridan Rd. To Tower. On to the Green Bay Trail.

Trudge, trudge, trudge.

I felt ok. But not great. Ahh yes. The mental training that goes along with the actual running when you’re preparing for a marathon. That is. Unless your body tells you that you absolutely should not be running today. You run. Even if you don’t feel like it.

My plan is to keep it as simple as possible.  I will head north for 9.5 miles, turn around and come back south for 9.5 miles.

But when I hit Lake Cook Road at about 8.5 miles out. A light bulb lit. Head west. Take a little respite and check out the Botanic Gardens.

What a genius idea! Why not stop and smell the roses? Why not?

Well. If you know my past history. You understand that this used to be a simply unthinkable thing to do. Stop and walk around some gardens in the middle of your long run?  Never!  Running was work to be done. And a training run should not be interrupted with any sort of pleasure.

Happily. I discovered. That I no longer think this way.

And so.

I took my time strolling through the gardens. Appreciating the swans, the lushness, the roses, the calm. I got some water. Looked at the sky. Took in the beauty and the crowds in all my sweaty smelliness. And finally determined it was time to head home.

10 miles to go. Ugh! I was so stiff from my pleasant stroll!  And in the meantime. The season turned from summer to fall.There was now a chill in the air and it started to pour. Which felt great! But I did not.

Trudge, trudge, trudge.

Back on the trail south toward home. A little walking. Some doubts about my slow pace. Considering running vs. walking. Calculating the time it would take to get home walking. Forever!

Trudge. Trudge. Trudge. I keep on running. Feeling just a little bit sorry for poor tired old me.

I follow a guy down the trail for a bunch of miles. That helps. We chat at the water fountain. Turns out. He is feeling way worse than me.

Did I mention it is raining?

Finally I am off the trail and on the road to home. I have covered 17 miles. Thinking I must look like a sorry sight. Thinking, maybe I’ll take the shorter route and only run 18. Thinking I feel like sludge.

Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Trudge. Trudge. Trudge.

Then.

Crash!

I turn around. There is a women 15 years my senior, splayed out in the middle of the road, her bike tangled beneath her.

Without a thought, I run the half block back. Easily. To help her.

Thank god she is wearing a helmet. Her head took the impact. Thank god for that. Because she would have been totally scraped up otherwise. She is ok. We talk for a bit. Thank god she is ok. She gets back on her bike and is good to go.

Amazing.

I’m back on the road. 2 miles to go for 19. A switch has been flipped.  I’m no longer tired or sore or stiff. My pace is recovered completely. I am energized.

Run. Run. Run.

How did that happen?

The sun is peeking out of the clouds. The rain has stopped without my noticing.

It’s 1 p.m.

I am home.

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3 thoughts on “Four Hours Later

  1. By far my favorite post. You should have 30 likes by morning. I was with you every step of the way! Even my eyebrows touched the roof of my head when I read the word “crash” and I envisioned what you saw. Great writing. Great run! You are amazing 🙂 What marathon are you training for? Keep up the great work.

    Ironically – I had my wallet stolen this past weekend and instead of being upset about it, I “enjoyed the distraction” .. much like your mind/body needed from the cyclist. Never pleasant but a distraction is a distraction. 🙂

  2. Thanks Katy! I am running the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7th to raise money for Girls on the Run 🙂
    http://www.active.com/donate/gotrcsolemates2013/ahonzel
    I’ve run more than a dozen marathons over the past 25 years – but – it doesn’t get any easier!
    Isn’t it amazing what we can accomplish and ways in which we can deal with life’s “lemons” when we just allow it to happen and enjoy the distractions 🙂 Love that turn of phrase! Keep on Keepin on! Good luck with your Tri!

  3. Wow! I knew none of that about you. Good luck! October is my favorite time of year for running. And no, it doesn’t ever really seem to get easier. Maybe we recover faster, or we accept pain better.. but easier? Not really. Your blog reminded me of the book “There’s a Monster at the End of this Book” (Grover). I think it was because my mom was so good at reading it to us.. I’d have her read it over and over again. And I was so engrossed in your story that I probably gasped out loud when you told us about the cyclist “splat” .. I really do enjoy good writing and story telling. Good luck at the marathon 🙂

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