W is for…

Winning!

**warning… this blog may contain some sappy material**

Just like Charlie Sheen would say. Winning! At least that is the thought I kept in my head as I was running up some rocky dirt trail in the hills of Napa Sunday on my long run. I bet you thought (if you’ve been reading this blog) that I was going to say whiner… because that was what I was the last post. And that was the last thing I was going to be on this run- and any future runs. No way. No how!! I was not going to utter one whiney word about this run even though I might have had a few thoughts floating in that direction. Winning!!!

My schedule had me down for 8 miles. I never like running hills, so when we, my coach and I, embarked upon this run with an uphill trail, that is where my mind went… just 8 miles… then I’m stopping. Yes, that sounds like a whine, which I didn’t verbalize. It’s no secret… I hate running hills, but I took my time and pressed on thinking of my friends of the running group I joined (MSRG) and whom I haven’t run with in so long, because they had just run to the top of Mt. Tamalpais the day before. My little bumpy, dusty trail (which my coach said wasn’t much of a hill–um… right!) was nothing. I can do this. And I did. Winning!

Initially, we chatted, but once we hit the hill, I couldn’t think about conversation. I was concentrating on staying motivated. These are the thoughts that motivated me:

The MSRG gang running to the top of Tam.
Andrew running the Miwok 100.
Thinking hills will make me stronger.
Remembering that I ran a marathon this year.
Don’t stop. Don’t.

Those cycled through my brain repeatedly.

I found it funny when my coach said during the climb… “almost there!” Really? I thought, ‘almost as in just 50 more yards’, or ‘almost as in another quarter mile?’ I didn’t ask. No whining! It seemed like it took longer than my version of what “almost there” means. After the hill, we were only about 5 miles into the run.

At 5.5 miles I started getting stomach cramps. Oh no! I thought. I shut down the thoughts that I might have a GI issue. Fortunately it went away. Phew.

I downed a GU at 6 miles. It’s something I would have done if I were alone and this is the only time my coach would allow me to stop. The vanilla GU tasted like crap, I usually like chocolate, but it’s thick gritty substance provided me with some energy I guess. I was also sipping orange Hammer drink mixed with water.

Later, at the 7.5 mark I was thinking cool, we are almost done!. Then, my coach said let’s do 10. I cursed myself for boldly announcing the night before that I would like to run 8-10 miles. Still… I said nothing. I just followed along. We weren’t running that fast and I was happy about that. Running 10 miles gives you a lot of time with your thoughts. I kept the winning thought in my head. I thought about the half marathon that is in two weeks. I thought I’m not ready for it. (although now I think I am). I thought I don’t know if I like racing anymore. I thought about how the ball of my foot is still hurting after 6 miles of running. Which makes running not so fun. I thought about how much I loved running and that now I don’t have the same passion for it as before. Because other things are occupying my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I still love running. I just wish I was running pain free.

It was hot in Napa, especially since we didn’t even start the run til after 11 a.m., but after running in Kona last week, it really wasn’t that bad. There were A LOT of rolling hills. I bitched about them all in my head. I didn’t utter a single word about them. NOT ONE WORD!!! I am not going to go down as a whiner!

My coach was running about 10 yards ahead of me most of the run. I was ok with this. I’m sure running my snail pace is hard for him and I appreciate that he is even out there with me. That’s not to say I wouldn’t mind him being right by my side, but maybe in time that will happen. I remember at one point he said “almost there” again. I thought… you mean like the last time? Which meant we weren’t almost there. Not in my mind. This time it was mileage I could count (not some unknown trail) and so I looked at my Garmin. It was at least another mile. There was a point just before this where we were running next to one of those storm ditches on the side of the street. I was thinking… I’d really like to just lay down in there right now. Really. I didn’t say that out loud either.

Now, close to the end of the 10 miles, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I glanced a number of times at my Garmin. 9.5, 9.7, 9.9. Almost there is what I was thinking, as we were just getting to finish before one last hill. (the last few rolling hills had me saying F-me, in my head of course). So close and then my coach says we’ll stop at the top by the school. I said “no… my Garmin says it’s 10 miles before that.” He said, “I don’t care, mine doesn’t.” I said “I don’t care, I’m stopping.” He said “no you’re not!” Then I said, “I hate you!!!!! (lovingly of course), there’d better be a water fountain up there!!” That was my one and only whine. He turned around and looked at me and in my head I was shouting “DON’T LOOK AT ME!!” just like he would have said to his sister back in high school. Because I was mad. I had it in my head to stop right at 10 miles.

slow and steady gets the job done

We ran to the top and I stopped. I just walked right past my coach and headed to the water fountain and drank a gallon of water. I think he took a small sip. Soooo not fair.

Eventually my red tomato face began to cool down as we started our walk back home. I am happy to say, that I’m really glad he pushed me to run the full 10+ miles. I would have done it most likely if I was alone, but for some reason when I run with my coach I tend to want to wimp out. What is that?? That is not me!

I will say this, my favorite part of this run… walking home, holding hands with my coach (I warned you about the sappy part), and hearing his praise for my efforts, telling me that not many people can run 10 miles. That for me was the BEST!

winning!!
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