After last weeks Half Marathon struggle I was apprehensive about my 20 miler today. A group of friends had invited me to run 20 with them but hell, I didn't know if I could. I haven't felt that way in years.
Topaz and I went to the trails at the park yesterday and they were in dismal shape. Lots of snow and ice, it took forever for 8 miles of running on snowshoes. I didn't want to run 20 there. Sadly that meant I was taking it to the roads and Topaz would have to stay at home. The asphalt is without snow now and it is just too hard on his joints.
It probably seems ridiculous to some, but I really hated leaving him behind. I told him first thing this morning "No run for Topaz" so he wouldn't get excited as I dressed. He was dejected with sad ears and tail.
Troy had a few friends spend the night, they were still sleeping of course. I didn't want to wake them by opening up the big garage door. I was going to try to leave without Topaz seeing me run down the driveway. Well, the lock on the side garage door was froze shut. I came back in and had to go out the front door, Topaz whining and probably waking up everyone anyway.
I have run almost every trail mile in the past 9 years with Topaz. I purchased him a week after I ran trail for the first time. For him the trails came easily and naturally. For me, a struggle, but one that I have come to enjoy and honor.
As I ran out of my neighborhood and turned onto the County Road I felt exhilaration. It's been so long! I felt myself enjoying the act of running: taking in the clear air deeply, feeling the frost upon my face (8F this morning), feeling the blood pump through my legs, warming up. God how I've missed it. I felt myself come back from wherever I have been. I felt my soul open up and take it all in.
I took my first sip of Hammer Heed out of my bottle. I haven't tasted that since Tuscobia 50K. I sang to myself "It's been a long time since I drank Hammer Heed, It's been a long time since I've felt any speed. Let me get it back let me get it back let me get it back..." on and on I went to the old Led Zeppelin tune. Hilarium.
I ran down the County Road into Big Lake, stopping at Cobornes to refill my bottle and use the bathroom. A heated aid station! Off to run around the lake two times, another stop at Cobornes and back up the County Road heading for home.
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed running this route. It's been a long time.
No dizziness, no cramping, gasping and wheezing, no panic. I don't know what happened last week but I am so thankful that it isn't going to be the norm. Today was sweet.
I ran into the road leading to our home and there was Topaz sitting at the end of the driveway by the mailbox. He bolted toward me and almost knocked me down. Oh man. Steve told me he sat there for 3.5 hours.
After I changed into dry clothing I was going to drive out to the state park to take Topaz to get his run on. I asked Steve if he wanted to come along and amazingly he said yes, for the first time. I showed him the snowshoe trail I've been running each day. We hiked the 4 miles as Topaz herded us along. The sun warmed the trail even melting the snow a bit.
I feel fabulous. Next week I'll run 25. I'm hoping for trail but if the snow is still thick it will be another road run.
It feels good to be the person I've missed.