First off, thanks to all my bloggy friends for the warm bday wishes. It was all very much appreciated and made my special day just a little bit more awesomer. Although I didn’t get to run a marathon to celebrate in style like I did last year, I still managed to devise an appropriate running tribute to commemorate the date and jump start the festivities…
More by habit than by personal choice, I had gotten up early yesterday morning looking for a quick and early start to a day of merriment and fun. Since I had already given my all to pacing a brisk 20 miles for the NYRR Long Training Run #2 a day earlier, I was planning for an easy and slow 5 miles in the adjacent park as my recovery run for the day. But as I took my gaze outside my window for the first time that morning and saw the pitter patter of raindrops on my balcony floor and the dark ominous clouds circling like vultures overhead, even a single mile recorded for the day was looking extremely unlikely. I was frustrated, but took some time to prepare breakfast and check e-mail. Every few minutes, I would pull away the window blinds and reassess the weather. The forecast called for rain and thunderstorms all through the morning but I was hoping against hope that I’d find a break in the rain to go for a run. After about an hour and a half, the heavy rain seemed to have tapered to a manageable drizzle and I took advantage of the situation to lace up the shoes and hit the road.
The rain was cumbersome and the humidity a bit stifling as I began my run, but I was happy and excited to be celebrating my birthday with a jubilant jaunt. Although I was a bit worried that my body would mount a mild protest given that I was running so fast so soon after the harsh 20 miler, I was shocked to find no signs of pain, soreness, or fatigue whatsoever even as I pushed the mileage and the pace. As the miles piled on, I became more and more euphoric with each step. At the end of four miles, where I would usually turn around and head for home, my mind suddenly became preoccupied with a single thought… Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to hit 14 miles so we can say we ran 34 miles in 2 days for our 34th birthday? Yeah, it was a nice thought, but given that I have never approached that kind of distance in consecutive days, and oh yeah, it was still raining, I wasn’t sure if my body was in a position to handle that much mileage and adversity. I almost convinced myself to make the turn toward home if it wasn’t for a familiar voice from a familiar friend who once told me... Someday, you will no longer be able to do this, today shouldn’t be that day! So, instead of heading home, I continued on the trail I was on and ran into the heavy wooded trails that I’d never been before. For six miles (three going forward and three coming back), I explored uncharted territory both literally and figuratively and defied both the weather and my age to challenge myself to do something I never expected I’d be able to do. As I was running each individual mile, 25, 26, 27, etc, I thought about where I was physically and emotionally at that particular age and reflected upon the important events of that particular age. I’d have to admit. I got quite emotional on the way back as I counted down the final 4 miles and remembered everything in the recent past few years that has brought me to where I currently am in my running. Luckily, because it was raining so hard by the time I was done, no one in my building noticed that my eyes were a bit puffy and red walking back from my wet run. Final Stats: 14.4 miles in 1:48:25 (7:33 avg pace) for two day total of 34.81 miles! Wahoo!
Afterwards, I went out to brunch with friends, got back for an indoor picnic and then out again to have a big huge barbecue with my extended family. Needless to say, I think I regained all the calories I lost all weekend within the matter of a few hours.
Thanks for celebrating this day with me…even if it was only virtually. Here’s my updated “grid” as promised. On tap this week, a step-back in mileage and my first race in well over a month! Have a good week, all!