Out a big check mark next to 7 miles. Because it's done. And I now know I can run 7 miles without dying.
I have plans for tomorrow, so I had to fit in this week's long run was a day early. I admit, looking at my training calendar, "7 miles" kind of freaked me out a bit. Especially after last week's slacking and the do-over week. And the fact that the do-over week didn't go so well either. Just a 4.5 mile run on Tuesday and a 2.6 miler that I snuck in last night while at my parents' house.
So waking up this morning and knowing that I had to cover 7 miles first thing this morning? A bit scary.
I eventually talked myself into it though and made it out to the trail. Temperatures were in the mid-70s and it was overcast, meaning no sun! It was actually quite pleasant running conditions for early August. I wasn't going to complain.
So I took off. Mile 1 went pretty well. Since I've been running farther, I've noticed that it takes me about a mile for my legs to quit feeling like bricks or full of lead. It was no different today. For a brief moment or two I was worried. I'd never run the day before my long run before, so I was a bit worried that my short jaunt last night was going to make it difficult to get today's 7 miles in. But after the first mile, the lead feeling went away.
Unfortunately, that was replaced by a slight aching feeling in my right knee during Mile 2. But I wasn't going to let it stop me. I had plans today. Plans that included 7 miles and it was going to get done. So I kept putting one foot in front of the other and the achy feeling disappeared by Mile 3. Which is when I had to venture off into new territory. I took a detour down a country road for about a half mile, past a farm and some cows that barely glanced at me the first time I passed them, but looked at me like I was crazy when I passed them again.
Then it was back to the trail for Mile 4 and the trip back to my car. Up until now, the run was going pretty well, I even had added in a few short bursts of speed. And there was still no sun. I knew I was getting to the point where I might want to take a short walk break, but I pushed myself for as long as I could go.
All of a sudden I realize Mile 5's done and I'm pretty close to the last road crossing before the final 1.3 miles of my run. And I still haven't walked. And at this point, I didn't want to walk. So I kept running. Putting one foot in front of the other. I crossed the first little bridge, which oddly doesn't go over any water. Then it was past more trees. All of a sudden the trees disappear and I'm running alongside the lake and there's a nice breeze. The second bridge, one which actually spans a good chunk of water, appears and I'm on the home stretch. I can almost see the parking lot where my car's park. I realize I've been running kind of slow the last three-quarters of a mile. But since I still felt pretty good, I decided to kick it up a notch. I'm running faster. And the parking lot is getting nearer. I pass the last sign and before I know it I'm done.
My first 7-miler took me 1 hour, 23 minutes. Not the fastest, but also not the slowest. I'm just happy to say that I ran every step of it, felt good afterwards and lived to tell about it.
In fact the worst part of it? The sweat running down my face that mixed with my sunscreen before running into my eyes. Ouch! I don't recommend trying to drive while barely keeping your eyes open because it hurts so bad. But if that's the worst part of a 7-miler, sign me up for the 8-mile journey that's on tap for next weekend.