Thursday, September 19, 2013

#TBT Throwback Thursday: Grateful for the Trail - 20 miles

Throwback Thursday - December 23, 2012

  • The farthest distance I would go before the marathon
  • The ultimate "enjoy the journey" test
  • Just me and the trail for 5 hours
J and I both had to cover 20 miles while we were visiting my parents for the holidays. They live on top of a small mountain in New Jersey - winding roads, steep hills, no sidewalks - not great even for a short run, much less double digit mileage. So we had done some searching for a suitable running location in advance. We decided on the Columbia Trail. It was perfect. It was mostly packed dirt with a little gravel thrown in for good measure. Despite the trail being an out-and-back, there was plenty to see, and I have the pictures to prove it! Horses, cows, rusty cars, a Christmas tree farm (!), an ambulance (!!), a fairy house, etc.

The day before, I slammed my toe into a door jamb - hard enough that I actual fell down from the initial pain. I thought about postponing my run, but decided I needed to get it done.

Once I got out on the trail, I was feeling particularly zen; there was nowhere else I was supposed to be. My goal was a 15-minute mile, with the hope of a 13 or 14-minute-mile in the marathon. This training run was slow and steady, lots of walking, maybe 2-3 short running intervals per mile. After 10 miles, I was exactly on pace and feeling good. The weather was a perfect New Jersey December day: Partly to Mostly Sunny, 40 degrees, not too windy. Somewhere around 17 miles my knee decided it was done. Even just walking was painful. I stretched for a minute, altered my stride a few different ways, slowed down, sped up, but really just grit my teeth and got through it. It was getting dark and colder as my watch ticked past 5 o'clock. Just a few tenths to go...and done! Twenty miles COMPLETE!

It was challenging, it hurt, but I knew I could complete the full distance.

Two words sum up how I felt about this run: Grateful. Accomplished.

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