Last weekend was a busy one; meeting on Saturday morning and evening both, things happening almost nonstop from really Friday night on. Saturday was supposed to be the 'long' run of the week, too, and I really wanted to make sure we got in at least four miles. I wasn't feeling grand, but we had our window of opportunity in the afternoon, and I figured if nothing else I could WALK four miles just to get some miles in. Hubby asked if we were running outside or going to the gym to use the treadmill; it had lightly showered early in the morning and the clouds looked threatening, but it was dry and cool. Af first my reaction was do the treadmill (ugh!) because I didn't want to risk getting caught in the rain with not feeling great. The lure of using my Garmin 305 won out, though--just haven't had that many chances to use my gadget, and hey, we have rain jackets, right? So we dressed for running outside (long pants vs. capris or shorts for me, rain jacket and hat tucked in a pocket in case it started pouring) and headed to our usual trail.
First we drove alongside the trail to figure out how far we'd need to go to do a four-mile run, then just for the heck of it found how much farther an extra half mile or so would be. Parked the car and started our typical warmup walk, me fiddling with the Garmin so it could find the satellite signal and with my phone in an attempt to see if I could get an app on there to do the same; the Garmin found its signal fairly quickly, the phone never did. Sigh; put the phone away and give up on that app once again. Get out the Nike+ and set it up to record the run as well. Then time to start running; get both the Nike+ and Garmin started and begin.
For some reason, I haven't felt the need for music on the last few runs on this trail. Maybe it's because I'm watching the Garmin and listening for the alerts, maybe it's because I'm outside and it's more interesting than on a treadmill, but it hasn't been a problem running sans music. Hubby quickly pulled away and got ahead (he may have started running later than me, but he is definitely faster already), occasionally looking back to make sure I was still upright and moving. My thoughts wandered as I moved along; the first part of a run is usually the hardest for me, but I kept plugging along.
Quarter mile alert, half mile alert, keep going, keep going. First mile done; feeling fine, legs and breathing good, keep moving. We got to the two mile turnaround point and hubby (in the distance ahead) motioned that he was going further, fine, fine, I'm doing okay so we'll go further. As he passed me coming back, I told him (jokingly) that he was brutal, but I kept going and made the U-turn to go back. Okay, if I could keep going, that would mean at least a four and a half mile run, which would be good; I really was hoping to push myself to do at least that much as I need to keep extending the long runs.
In the distance, I could see hubby slow to a walk; ha, maybe I'd catch up to him! That kept me running, until (of course) he had recovered enough to run again. I kept bargaining with myself; heart rate is fine, breathing is fine, legs are fine, okay run until that tree and then you can think about walking. No, make it the next quarter mile. Ah, close to the three mile mark; you can go that far. Oh, come on, you can do a 5K distance. My internal dialogue would no doubt be hilarious if someone else could hear it. There's this constant stream of 'how we doing? fine, keep going; ah go to the next tree/bend/quarter mile/five minute mark' deals I make with myself to keep running. I got to the four mile mark and was still feeling fine, so I kept running . . . a quarter mile . . . half mile . . . we were past the point where we had started running and hubby had long since slowed to a walk, but at that point I realized there was a chance I could hit the five mile mark if I continued to feel fine and run, it would just be a shorter cool down distance, so I kept running. When my Garmin told me I had gone five miles, I finally hit the stop button on it and my Nike+ and slowed to a walk.
I walked (slowly) back to the car, and hubby and I did a more extensive stretch than usual, probably still not as much as I really should be doing. I'm not sure if he was annoyed or proud at me pushing to run a full five miles without telling him so he could do the same; I think it might have been both. I wasn't fast (13:18 mile), but I'll take that--it's only slightly slower than my last four mile run.
It hits me periodically what a miracle it is that I can do this. Less than a year ago, I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to run a block, much less a half mile or a mile--and my 'run' speed was more like a 15- or 16-minute mile. Crazy, but it just goes to show that the Couch to 5K plan works if you listen to your body and keep going. Now I'm working towards a half marathon, and I have no doubt I will be able to get there.