Sweat was dripping down my face and my elbows were getting rug burns as I desperately pulled myself forward. Grunting, I thought, “This will all be worth it in 7 days. This will all be worth it in 7 days.” Pain seared down my legs. I squeezed my eyes shut and heaved my body forward one last time.
I was having a special moment with my foam roller.
Why so sore you ask? Well, as you can see from the countdown on my blog, my first half marathon is in 6 days. I’ve been pushing myself extra hard at the gym and on my training runs, trying to get those legs in tip-top shape so I can run my heart out for those 13.1 miles. Yesterday was a big day for me. I had been getting jittery and nervous last week as I watched those countdown numbers slowly tick down, and I promised myself I would crank out one last “long” (for me) practice run to convince myself I could do it. I set my sights on 10 miles. 10 miles, I could do it, no big deal. I woke up yesterday feeling good, made myself an amazing breakfast, my Autumn-themed overnight oats:
L’s Autumn Overnight Oats with banana, cranberry compote, blueberries, delicata squash and almond butter; topped with pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and a swirl of maple syrup.
You can find my recipe for overnight oats here: Overnight Oats. This time, I topped my oats with blueberries, banana, almond butter, leftover roasted delicata squash, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, a little maple syrup and a quick cranberry compote. I had leftover cranberries from another recipe and whipped this up:
Quick Cranberry Compote
1 cup of fresh cranberries
1 – 2 Tbsp raw coconut sugar
Directions: Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat, and cook about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until berries start to pop but are still whole. Transfer to a bowl to cool; serve.
Optional: A splash of orange juice and zest of a quarter of an orange, but I had neither on hand. You can also increase the sugar to 1/2 cup if you want something sweeter, I really like the tartness of the cranberries with the other fruits in my oats, so I kept the sugar minimal.
The delicata squash I roasted for a snack on Saturday and put the leftover in the fridge. I scooped out about half of my leftover squash for the oats. (All I did was cut the squash in half length-wise, scoop the seeds out and lightly brush some melted soy butter over the inside. Roast at 450F for ~30 minutes for delicious, soft and creamy delicata squash. Easy peasy).
Roasted Delicata Squash
Anywho, after I chomped that down and did a little tidying up, my “Booyah!” attitude was flagging. The little voice of doubt in my head started up.
– I don’t want to do this.
– You HAVE to do this, it’s the last Sunday before your race.
(etc, etc…I’ll spare you my 20 minute internal monologue – you get the idea)
I laced my sneakers up, picked a good song to start out, and pushed myself out the front door. It was crisp and sunny, and the fall colors were really amping up their game. You got this, I said.
Dude, my shoelaces match the leaves.
I had one of those runs where you surprise yourself, when the choppy robot-lady voice from the Nike+ app interrupts your song: One mile completed. Average pace: nine minutes and fifteen seconds. As I racked up my miles, my pace did not deviate. I couldn’t believe it. It’s only a matter of time before my pace slows down to “normal,” or so I thought.
Five miles. Average pace: nine minutes and twenty-one seconds. (I then ate my mocha energy gel).
My legs were under protest, but I kept going. One foot in front of the other. Up, down. Up, down. I said all of my mantras to myself. I made up new ones. I hummed along to my music. Don’t slow down, I said.
Ten miles. Average pace: nine minutes and twenty seconds.
Let’s make it 11 miles. One more mile, you can do this, I said.
Robot lady: Eleven miles…I ripped off my headphones. I did it! BOO-freaking-YAH!
In the end, I shaved off 42 seconds from my mile split time. 42 seconds: half a minute, plus 12 seconds. I have not had that much of a jump in my speed since I started running consistently. I am walking like I just got off a horse today, and thinking about foam rolling my legs again tonight makes me cringe, but who the hell cares. 42 seconds!! Hells yeah!
Moral of today’s story: Get out there and do it. You might not want to, but you always have the potential to surprise yourself. 🙂
Happy Monday/Columbus Day!
– L (who today, has no legs).