Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Double Digits.

Remember your 10th birthday? I do...though admittedly, I have to go further and further down memory lane to get there. But it seems like such a big deal to go from being one single digit in age to double digits. It's not like you're really that much older than you were at age 9...but it somehow feels like a bigger deal. Just a tiny bit older, you know, but way cooler. And anytime during the whole next year when someone would ask how old you were, you'd hold up all ten fingers and hear the predictable response, "Oooh...double digits!"

Which brings me to today's training run. I've been taking time off for the past few weeks because of some pretty significant left leg pain, a.k.a. a suspected stress fracture. My only two runs during that time (both pretty short distances) prompted me to stretch the legs a little more today, especially since the Disney Half-Marathon is now somehow only 10 days away. Still not sure where those last four months went...

When I set out today, my previous long run, which was just a few days before Thanksgiving, had been 9.5 miles. I knew that I wanted to try to move from plain old single digits into the double digits of distance on today's run, but I wasn't sure if I would feel good enough to go that far. Still, at least from a mental standpoint, I felt I needed to know how it felt to go further than before. And I hoped it would build my confidence to tackle my milestone race. I believed I would probably hit some sort of wall along the way, but walls are made for busting through, full steam ahead...right? Well.

Sure enough, the first two miles ne sais quoi. But 'terrible' is really the first thing that comes to mind. The temperature was just below freezing, and my lungs were really quite displeased with my decision to forego watching the bowl game on the couch in exchange for this. Fortunately, the next few miles felt much more tolerable, and before I knew it, I was trudging up some ridiculous hill on my way to crossing Mile #9 off the list. I say 'ridiculous' because it seemed never-ending. So the next mile required some real effort, both mentally and physically. But if you notice, the next mile after Mile #9 would technically be Mile #10. And you don't have to be a math expert (thankfully) to realize that would put this particular training run guessed it. Unfortunately, I was too fatigued at that point in my run to fully appreciate the double-ness of anything, save for my vision. But mercifully, my finishing point finally loomed in the distance. And while I'm sure I was limping a little (okay, a lot) on my cool-down walk to our house, I started to feel like I might be able survive my race next weekend. Might.

Who knows? Either way, I guess today's run made me think back to that (not so) long ago time when celebrating my first double-digits birthday seemed like such a big deal. And while I didn't eat cake and ice cream or take a spin on my new 10-speed Huffy (circa 1989) this afternoon, it still feels pretty cool to say once again that I finally made it back into double digits.

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