Can I run 10 miles? Should I be running 10 miles? I don’t need to run 10 miles. I just ran 10 miles. For long distance runners, 10 miles is just a medium distance run. For a perpetually injured former long distance runner, 10 miles is more than what I can imagine being able to do. Heck, I’m not even training for any long distance race. So why did I run 10 miles? For the simple reason of being with people who enjoy the same thing I do.
I was very wary going out on Saturday’s run. Two years ago, the last time I ran 10 miles, I injured my right calf and was laid off from running for weeks. Last year, I didn’t even make it to 10. After running 9 miles, my ankles were shot and didn’t recover for awhile. After last week’s 9 miler, I felt some pain behind my left knee which migrated to the front a couple of days afterwards. It felt as if my knee had gone off track. Although I didn’t feel any pain during my sole mid-week short run, it still felt wobbly all week. Saturday’s run was going to be another test of my new strategy of not pushing the pace with my altered stride.
I wore the singlet (tanktop) that I bought last week and ran in it for the first time. There were seams in the chest area and I was hoping that once the sweat starts flowing, it would lubricate the area and not cause chafing. It did not. That was one less thing to worry about. Before we started, I told Jennifer that we should pace with Bhavanna but she took off at the start and by the first mile Jen and I were already at least 45 seconds off her pace. We didn’t catch her until mile two and that was not because we picked up the pace but because she slowed down. Perhaps she just started out too fast. Ah, these young'uns are gonna learn pacing soon enough.
I hadn’t eaten anything substantial since 4 p.m. the day before so I felt I was not fueled adequately for the run, so I resolved to at least take some energy drinks at the water stations. Meanwhile, Jen was training herself in consuming energy gels while on the run. She is training for her first half marathon but she is already following the full marathon training distance (half marathoners were only supposed to do 6 miles). Her husband Mike who is supposed to have arthroscopic knee surgery in a month’s time had to make do with a 6 mile run/walk. Jen told me he usually runs around 8:40 pace. So we chatted about running, work, mom, life in general, while I gasped for breath after every other sentence. Oh, I shouldn’t forget to thank Tam P. and Jaymi C. for doling out water and Powerade at the 7 mile water station. I partook of their offerings coming and going. That helped a lot in refueling me. I don’t know the name of the lady at the 3 mile water station, but thanks to her too. It was about 7 miles that I felt my left knee hurting a little (the one that was not tracking properly all week), and a mile thereafter I started feeling the strain of the extra distance on my bad ankle tendons. I began to question my sanity for even thinking of attempting to cover 10 miles. With Jen providing a steady pace, I pressed on somewhat comforted with the fact that in slightly over 20 minutes, we would be done. I’ve done this course countless times in the past and I know for a fact that it’s slightly short of 10 miles. We had to rely on Jen’s new GPS watch at the end and ran another 2/10th’s of a mile past the finish line to complete the full 10 miles. On one hand it’s exciting to be able to run that far, on the other, a concern arises on what further damage it may have done on the ankle tendons and the left knee. We shall find out how I recover in the next few days. In the mean time, please allow me to revel in my unforeseen achievement. Next week it’s supposed to be 12 miles. Oh my…
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