Speaking of committed--I oughtta be! What am I, nuts!? It's been an arduous undertaking; a physical and mental challenge like I've never faced before.
I've been following a training schedule--no I haven't. That's a lie. I downloaded and printed a training schedule. Following it? Eh, not so much. I'd like to be doing a better job training, but it hasn't been entirely my fault. This winter has been chock full of record snowfalls and polar vortexes which have made outdoor activities nearly impossible.
Instead of doing two "easy" runs of three to five miles a week as well as adding a mile to each weekly long run, I've been taking advantage of any moderately non-snowy, non-freezing day to run as far as I can. A week in which I was supposed to do two easy runs and a long run of seven miles? Too cold and snowy to do the former; just did the latter. Two easy runs and eight miles? Just did the eight. And on and on for the past two months.
Every training schedule I've consulted says 10 miles is the goal to reach while preparing for a half. Last Saturday, against all odds, the laws of physics, and my wildest dreams, I met that goal. And let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. Not unlike my "Before & After" pictures, below:
Then came the hills. Sweet baby Jesus, the hills.
We were in Delaware, running on a new path. There are, like, seven hills in Delaware. We ran up six of them.
I can't fully convey the desperation of the next two hours. I don't want to sound overly dramatic, but it was the worst torture ever endured by any two humans in the history of humans.
I experienced the stages of grief upon facing a long, difficult run for which one is unprepared.
1. Denial: This is okay. I don't feel that bad. It's a little hard to breathe and a couple of toes on my right foot are starting to hurt a little, but it's not big deal. I'm hardly even dying for water and my thighs are only ever-so-slightly on fire.
2. Anger: Another hill? Are you kidding me!? I just freakin' went up a hill! I know that because my lungs are collapsing and hot lava is shooting through my bloodstream. My toes are surely broken. I would bite off my own tongue if blood were as refreshing as water. Why the hell am I doing this? What the hell is wrong with me? I will now rethink all of my life choices up to now. Oh the horror, the horror.
3. Bargaining: I am now thanking the Universe for the pain. I am begging for its help to get me up the hill, to not collapse, to not pass out. I deserve this pain. I'm a wimp. Bring it on. Make me strong. I won't complain, just help me. Please, sir, may I have another?
4. Depression: I'll never reach the end. I've never been so exhausted in my life. I now live in a state of pain from which there is no relief. I have a thirst that will never be quenched. The Universe hates me.
5. Acceptance: Of course the Universe doesn't hate me. I've only got a mile left. I've made it. It will take me 16 minutes, but I've essentially made it. This pain will soon be over, soon to be followed by a new pain of stiffness and soreness for the next two and a half days. But I've survived. And I burned 1200 calories so I can eat all the food tonight.
And I did. Oh, yes, I ate ALL the food.