Today for my endurance run I decided I would try and run 10 miles on the Monon Trail with the option to walk if it became too much. I left the house with a protein bar in my pocket and a water belt and began my warm up walk to the 10th street entrance of the Monon. The run started well but the rain was determined to fall and I was not prepared - but I had decided I wasn't going to let this stop me. The first 2.5 miles were undoubtedly the hardest. I think just knowing I had a long journey ahead of me made it that much harder to get moving! I started very slowly knowing I would need to conserve some energy for the latter part of the run.
Somewhere around mile 3 it suddenly became much easier - everything just seemed to start falling into place and I had to think less about what my body was doing and more on keeping a steady pace. It was pretty cold and grey out and I only saw 2 other runners but there were plenty of cyclists out, wrapped up against the cold breeze that had started to blow following the rain, and so many overweight squirrels that would probably have fared well from a jog or two themselves. By the 38th street bridge I realised that I would manage 7 miles no problem and if I could just get to 56th street, my turning point, then maybe the ten miles would also be achievable. The whole run I kept looking for things to focus on in the distance and as soon as I reached them I found the next tree, lamp post, mile marker, building to run to. This pretty much seemed to keep me going. Every so often I would have to adjust my running gait as I got more tired and lazy so that kept me present - no opportunity for the mind to wander too far.
At 56th street near the small park I made my turn and began the 5 mile journey back to the start of the trail. The wind had picked and not in my favour : (( I managed to pick up the pace to try and compensate - which surprised me but I was still feeling pretty strong. The rain really started to come down and I was finding it increasingly difficult to see, luckily navigation isn't an issue on this trail.
Somewhere between 28th and 25th streets I saw what looked like 3 dogs cross the trail and head into some shrub land in front of me and something told me all was not right. These 'dogs' looked odd, stray, like a cross between foxes and wolves. Coyote? Downtown? Hmm I wasn't convinced but something told me to keep an eye on them. I slowed as I passed them - watching them as they watched me from the shrub - and as soon as I was passed them I picked up the pace not looking back but really wondering - "could there be coyote this far down town?" Not knowing anything about them and as it was starting to get darker and colder, I just kept on going. They could have been stray dogs?? Hmm I'll never know.
The last stretch - I knew I'd finish - and my legs kept moving faster and faster! I was getting really cold and hungry! I was already wet from the rain and the temperature felt like it had dropped 10 degrees from when I left home : (( But the end was in sight - and I was watching the clock every 10th of that last mile - desperate to be able to stop! My watch gave me that 10 mile alert and the sense of relief was immense. I kept on walking - my warm down walk home. Something was hurting but I couldn't work out what it was. It was like everything below my waist was one and pinpointing pain wouldn't be possible without poking and prodding every muscle and joint. I polished off the protein bar and the remaining water and made it home in record time.
I opened the door to 2 furry faces wondering where I'd been and where dinner was??? No clock needed in their world!! I bent down to unlace my trainers and ouch!!! I found the pain!! My hamstrings were tight and angry and bending wasn't an option without some serious stretching. I managed to drag myself upstairs and into a too hot shower to try and warm up then spent half an hour stretching and using my foam roller to ease off any muscle tension. Finally with hands touching feet again we all ate and crashed out!
Wow what an afternoon. 10 miles! Mini marathon here I come! It really surprises me that I'm running at all. 15 years ago after a rugby accident I was told running wasn't an option! It's amazing what you can accomplish if you're determined!