Sunday, February 21, 2016

Something special about an eight mile run Big Goal for this year is to run a marathon. Yes. The part of me that said "a half marathon is all I want to ever run" is officially silenced. I have chosen the WhistleStop Marathon, October 15, from Iron River to Ashland, Wisconsin, along a beautiful old railroad grade. All downhill. Perfect!

I am also running the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth June 18th. Last year I was kind of disappointed in how I ran it, although I beat my previous half marathon time by one minute. But, I was not adequately prepared. I forgot to take an energy gel before the race, and there were none available during the race. And, I wore some stupid thin socks that resulted in ugly blisters. Oh well, a learning experience.

This year, I plan to be over prepared for the half marathon. If I am running 8 miles in February, I should be running at least 15 once a week by June 18. So, the half will be just another little training run! 

Anyway, I have noticed what happens when distance is increased. Anything up to 5 miles seems like small stuff these days. 6 miles seems to be the threshold. That is when your body starts asking "WTF???" And, starts reluctantly burning fat. Which is part of my plan. 

Today I had a goal of eight miles. And I did it in personal record time. I had to adjust my course, running on ice covered gravel roads was out of the question. So I had The Hermit drop me off at the nearest paved road. The plan was to run down to the end of the road and back. Eight miles. The first mile and a half was all downhill, with the wind at my back. I was fully aware that this would be a difficult last mile.

I felt strong, although I did ask myself more than once "Why am I doing this?" My phone, and Map My Run froze, so I didn't get any split times past 6.5 miles. Which was probably good. That last mile, uphill and against the 28 degree wind, was a challenge.

Now, six hours later, I am basking in a glow. Yes, I am moving slowly, and I will feel it in my legs tomorrow, but here it is: The feeling you get after running eight miles is a high! So much better than if I had not run eight miles, or only three. Like a good yoga session, only more intense. Running is meditation for me, and in eight miles I get to feel everything. And let it go. 

I have many longer runs ahead of me this year. Anything after eight is tough. But, doing eight in February is a good start!