Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 27) – TEN!

I didn’t really think I could do it this quickly.  I mean, ramp up to ten miles.  My longest run just a little over a week ago was six miles.  Then last week I did seven.  That was HUGE!

Up until the moment I decided to do a long run today, I wasn’t even thinking ten miles.  That seemed just too far.

Way too far…

And then, this morning, I thought, “Why not just do ten?”

That is the way I used to think.  That’s the way a long-distance runner thinks.  That’s the way a marathoner thinks.

“Why not just do ten?”

“Why not?”

So I did.

And I crushed it.

So much of running is mental.  It’s having the right frame of mind.  It’s thinking (and believing) the idea that you can achieve something and then working hard to make it happen.

This morning I believed.  I believed and I achieved.  I ran the ten miles, but not only that, I ran negative two-mile splits the whole way.

Miles 1 and 2, I ran at 5.1 MPH…

Miles 3 and 4, I ran at 5.2 MPH…

Miles 5 and 6, I ran at 5.3 MPH…

Miles 7 and 8, I ran at 5.4 MPH…

Mile 9, I ran at 5.5 MPH…

and then I went for the Gold.

For Mile 10, I picked up my pace with each quarter mile –

9.00 to 9.25 was at 5.6

9.25 to 9.50 was at 5.7

9.50 to 9.75 was at 5.8… and then I threw caution and sensibility to the wind and ran the final lap at 6.1 MPH.

Total time = 112:44.

Yeah, I know.  112:44.  That’s slow.  I get it.  I used to be able to run 10 miles in under 90-minutes.  Big deal.  I was younger then…

And I wasn’t coming off Achilles surgery.

215 days ago I had surgery on my Achilles.

Today I ran ten miles.

Each time I reach a milestone like this, I feel more like myself again.  

I used to wake up each day and believe that I could fly, literally (almost, at least).  I used to feel like I could run as far and as fast as I wanted.  I felt like I could do anything.  I was young and strong and indestructible. 

And then I wasn’t.  I went through years of starts and stops hampered by the Achilles injury and other problems that probably came as a result of that.  Sure, I still ran races, even a marathon or two with the pain.  And there was something in that – being able to defeat pain… but it wasn’t running.

It wasn’t me.

I didn’t feel like the wind.  I felt like something else. Something heavy and unmovable and slow.  I battled.  I pushed.  I gave it everything I had.  

But it wasn’t running.

And I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to run like that again – to run free and far and carefree…

To just be able to run.  

I missed this.  I wondered if it was part of middle-age, of growing older, of not being young any longer.  

But part of me didn’t believe it to be true.  I still thought that maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to be the runner I used to be…maybe not quite as fast, but equally as strong.

To get there, I first had to spend a few weeks on crutches…

***

I was indestructible, until I wasn’t.

But maybe, just maybe, I will be again!

 

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