SWEET 15.85 (Not Quite 16)

I always feel the need to preface these posts with, “I wasn’t fast.”

And, it wasn’t fast, but today I ran great and good and far and wonderfully.

With my oldest son, and his wonderful wife, we set out from our beach house to do one of my favorite long runs – to the Point Pleasant Inlet and back – a solid 16(+) miler.

This is one of my favorite long runs. When I can do this run, I know I am (just about) marathon ready.

I don’t think I have successfully completed this run for years:

  • I didn’t run this far in 2020 (there was no marathon and I was still recovering from Achilles surgery).
  • I tried this run in 2019 (with the Achilles tears) and had to shut it down after 13 miles. My 2019 marathon hopes and dreams ended that day.
  • I ran the 2018 NYC Marathon, but I don’t think I did this long run.
  • I don’t think I did this run in 2017 either.

(I’d have to go and check my running notes and archives, but those are home and I’m not. It matters little. I know it’s been years since I did this as a long run.)

At times today I was painfully slow.

My longest run outside had been 10 miles.

My longest run (period) (on the treadmill) was 11 miles.

I knew 16 was way out of my comfort zone, but with Ryan and Tiffany here, I wanted to try it with them (they’ll be running the Philadelphia Marathon) and push myself.

This is always (or most often) a landmark run for me. If I can do this, I know I’m (just about) marathon ready.

I did it, well, almost.

I was so slow coming back, south, against a tough wind, that I told Ryan and Tiff to go ahead of me. I also said, “When you get back, come back and pick me up in the car. I’ll be done by then.”

After Mile 11, I knew I was at my longest run yet this training season. I knew I’d be setting new boundaries in my training.

After 12, I just hoped that Ryan wouldn’t show up in a car before I got to 13 and 13.1. I’d take a half-marathon as a solid effort.

I hit 14 miles…

(These upper miles were a combination of walking and running… fast walking and slow running!)

Then I just wanted to get to 15 miles. I was sure Ryan and Tiff were that far ahead of me.

At 15 miles, I stopped. I had gone far enough and I knew they’d be there any second in a car.

As I began the walk home, my youngest son Ethan showed up on a bike with a Gatorade. “This is the slowest you’ve even been, Dad, I just want to make sure you’re ok,” he said. What a great son!

I told him I was fine, that I was pleased with my (slow) effort and was just walking back, convinced that Ryan would be by any second in a car. “They’re only half a mile ahead of you,” Ethan said, “Still running.”

Yikes. They were also slow. That wind coming back, for those final 7 miles, was relentless.

I smiled and asked Ethan to go back, get a car and pick me up. “Even if you save me a few steps, I’ll be happy.”

A short while later Ryan arrived in his car. He had finished, seen Ethan, and said he’d pick me up. I had walked .85 miles since I had stopped at mile 15.

I got in the car.

I didn’t mind being just short of 16 miles.

I’ll be back down here in a few weeks. I’ll run the whole thing then. Hopefully Laurie comes with me on a bike.

Today, still, was a gigantic step forward.

I wish I was faster. I wish I was stronger.

But I covered 15 miles well enough. 2:52:29 was dreadfully slow, but I covered the miles.

Each step forward is a step in the right direction.

Today I took many!

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