Well, I finally got the ten-mile run done. It was a week delayed, but it can now be crossed off the list.
That is a long friggen time to run.
On Saturday I woke up around 8:00 a.m. knowing that it would be relatively cool out and the best time to go run. I also wanted to get used to running long distances in the early morning, as that is what time nearly every race starts. It took me a little bit to get all of my stuff together. I grabbed two kinds of energy foods . . . lemon-lime Clif Shot Blocks and a honey Stinger Waffle. I figured I'd eat only one on the run, and maybe I'd have the other as I walked home from wherever I gave up. With twenty ounces of water, keys, phone, credit card, and ID all strapped to my waist, I headed out into the morning.
I had a vague idea of where I wanted to go. I love being down at the waterfront, running along the roads and being able to hear the waves in the protected inner harbor. I like seeing all of the boats tied up, bobbing up and down. I get pretty seasick, so I think I like to admire them from afar. It seems so much more lively down at the water every time I go there. People are just walking about, enjoying themselves with nothing really pressing to do. It's pretty relaxing.
Pretty much covered all of downtown Buffalo on Saturday's run.
I set out to a street on which I don't typically run. It's a pretty wide road with a really nice bike lane; I figured it would be good practice to run on the street instead of sidewalks, so being in the bike lane worked pretty well. I set out at what I felt was a pretty good clip, nothing too fast. But it turned out, and I hadn't realized it until after it was all said and done, that I averaged a nine-minute pace the entire way. This was way faster than I had intended for, thinking I'd be happy with a ten-minute to ten-minute-thirty-second pace.
Buffalo is laid out in a pretty grid-like pattern, for the most part. There are several north–south passageways that are intersected by a ton of residential side streets. As long as you stay between a few of the north–south streets, it is generally safe and there isn't much to worry about. That being said, running down to the harbor can get a little tedious because you can be on the same street for what seems like an eternity.
I had a couple moments during the run that made me seriously question what the hell I was doing. About 6.5 miles into the run, I thought I was almost done. I didn't have music and I couldn't hear my phone readouts, so I naturally assumed I had been running way longer than I actually had been. When I dug my phone out to check, I was seriously disheartened to see that I still had a good forty-five minutes left to go. I slowed down at that point to pop some of the Clif Shot Blocks. (A side note here, I am not a big fan of the lemon-lime flavor . . . it left me with a bit of a bad aftertaste. I am going to switch back to the black cherry or mixed berry flavor, which were both much better.)
About nine miles in, I was starting to get pretty sore, too. I knew I had just a bit more, and I honestly believe I could have probably kept going to finish the half-marathon distance . . . but boy, am I glad that I was able to stop at just ten.
It was a good run; I felt good about it. But damn, running that long makes you seriously think about what you are doing, what you want to do next, and why you are doing it in the first place. Knowing that this race is in a few weeks kept me going; I wanted to get some good practice in. What I want to do next is a different story. Do I want to push to a marathon distance just to be able to say I CAN do it? Seems silly when I phrase it like that.
The big question, though, that I seemed to find an answer for this weekend is why I was doing it all. I realized I actually liked it. I liked being out early on Saturday morning and seeing all of Buffalo, from the Bidwell Farmer's Market to the 5K I accidentally ran through during Buffalo's Fleet Week at the harbor. I liked working out and burning 1,600 calories before lunch. It felt like I was doing something, that I was accomplishing what I set out to do. Don't get me wrong, I am incredibly sore and I was feeling pretty down at some points during the run. But as soon as I finished and regained some sense, I knew I had accomplished the goal I had set out to do. I liked that.