In which Jen finds confidence on the side of the road

I had a post mostly written and ready for y’all today, but then I went running this morning and came home with a whole new post.  Don’t you love it when you find things like that on the road?

I’m running every other day now and it’s getting a little easier each time.  At this point, my legs have decided to work with me, not against me, which is pretty helpful in these types of situations.  There was a point in April when I was wearing braces on one knee, one Achilles tendon, and both shins.  I was like RoboJen when I ran.  Now, I’m down to just a light brace on my Achilles, because I live in fear of that thing giving out on me again and spending more months in physical therapy.

My lungs, however, still aren’t fully in the game.  Oh sure, they’ll go a mile or so, but then they get a bit pissy, as if they had PMS and there’s not a crumb of dark chocolate in the house.  They decide to work less efficiently and I have to start bargaining with them.  “Let’s just run as far as the next intersection and see how we feel, okay?” And then when we get to that intersection, I ask my lungs to go to, say, the gorgeous brick house from 1840.  “Lungs, you can do it.  Plus, you know how much the Eyes love that house.  Do it for them.”

Eventually, however, I have to give in to the lungs or else they’ll bring the heart into the rebellion, at which point, I have to wave the white flag and walk the rest of the way.  But, it appears that my lungs are finally realizing that this running thing is for real and they’re postponing their hissy fits a bit more each time.

Last weekend I went over to the high school track to run on a flat measured surface.  It had been several weeks since I’d been over there and I had no idea how far I could run if I didn’t have to contend with those pesky Virginia hills, cars at intersections, and the occasional pile of dog poop on the sidewalk.  I was a bit disappointed to find myself utterly winded at the one mile mark and needing a short break, but I took the opportunity to walk a lap (a quarter mile) to catch my breath and reflect on the fact that I had just run a mile non-stop.

Me.  Running a mile.  Without stopping.  Or needing medical intervention.  Four months ago, I would have considered that miracle.

Getting back to today, this morning I got a late start and didn’t head outside until 8:00.  It was humid, oh how humid it was.  I can handle the heat, but the humidity is just the worst — it was like running through a sauna.

As I got started, I was feeling good.  I accidentally hit “play all” on my iPod instead of my usual running mix.  After ABC’s “Book of Love” I came to the Ace of Bace section of my iPod.  It was the right beat and I was feeling fine, so I just ran with it, so to speak.

And I ran and I ran and I ran and I ran and I ran and I ran and I ran and I ran.  I had to stop at a couple of intersections because of traffic, but then I’d run again.  Then I ran more and more and more and more and more.

Finally, after two miles, it occurred to me that I could possibly run my entire route and not walk any parts of it.  However, I still had one final hill to face.  One that I always walk up because running it is too exhausting. It’s not a huge hill, nor is it long, but it’s at the end of my runs and it always kicks my trash.

So I took a deep breath and ran up the hill.  It was hard.  At one point I though I was going to vomit.  I ran s-l-o-w-l-y.  Think capping a gushing oil well in the Gulf slow.  Yes, I was that slow.  But technically I was running.  And I made it to the top.

I just checked the grade of this hill on Map My Run.  It’s 20%.  I’m glad I didn’t know that this morning.

Once I got to the top, I crossed the road and came down my final half mile home.  It’s a long 5% incline which isn’t noticeable unless you’re biking or running it.  Then you do.

As I was coming down the final hill to my street, I almost cried because I couldn’t believe how far I’d just run with only a few brief stops for traffic.  I think I might have even experienced the euphoria known as the runner’s high.  I guess I should thank Ace of Bace for their fine Euro pop music, because that was the only thing that was different from my usual runs.

I checked my running route when I got home.  3 miles.  I walked the first tenth of a mile to warm up and then walked it at the end to cool down, but in between I ran 2.8 miles.

People, I ran 2.8 miles.  I cannot even believe that.

Last Sunday, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to run the entire BlogHer 5K, much less in a freaking tutu.  If that was the case, how in the heck would I get through the 4-miler on September 4?  Now, however, I’m thinking I might be able to do it.

It makes me wonder what else I might be capable of…

~ ~ ~

But do you know what I haven’t done?  I haven’t gotten 20 of you to give a buck or two or five or ten to the Race for Tanner.  You know, the reason that I’m running with the freaking tutu in Central Park in two weeks.  We’re getting closer to me showing you photos of me in said freaking tutu, but we’re not quite there yet.  Please, pretty please, give and let me know that you did.  Do it for Tanner and other kids with muscular dystrophy.  Thank you.

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14 Responses to In which Jen finds confidence on the side of the road

  1. Oh! I was right with you through that run! So great! (I will have to check out Ace of Base for my iPod to see if they work for me, too.)

    Hurrah!

  2. alison says:

    I am in awe, Jen. 2.8 miles is freaking great!

  3. jenn says:

    Wow, Jen! That’s amazing.

  4. nina says:

    OMG!!! That’s so awesome!!! I’m not surprised…you were doing great when I saw you a few weeks ago. :) Whoo HOOOO!!!!

  5. Jen says:

    That is REALLY cool, well done!

  6. *love* this.

    I started running for the first time in my life right after I had Laura (i.e., I was 39). I really relate to your experience described here. I want my toe back so I can run again. Waaaaahhhhh!

    XO

  7. Kirstin says:

    Woo hoo!!!!!! You CAN do it!!! I’m expecting that you’ll be running the entire race in NYC without any problems!!! Piece of cake!

  8. Mrs. G. says:

    What the fock! I walk away from the internet for a few weeks and a sanity check and you are running NEARLY THREE MILES? Woman, that is incredidble! I can’t wait to see the pictures of you in a tutu.

    Hey, hope you Pete, Graceful and Elegant are enjoying your new place this summer. xxoox

  9. MomBabe says:

    That’s awesome!

  10. You go, girl! You are amazing!

  11. Shana says:

    That is fabulous. You can do anything. You just proved it. I am training for a half-marathon next year… want to be my virtual training buddy? I could use a dose of your stick-to-it-ness to counteract my oh-screw-it-ness.

  12. Mary says:

    This is so awesome to read!!!! I got my fat ass back to the gym this week with the goal of running a 5K sometime this fall. THANK YOU for encouraging me. Seriously incredible!

  13. melissawest says:

    YOU GO GIRL!

  14. VERY proud of you. I remember my first 5K — I hadn’t been running hardly at ALL and I made it. You’ll do so AWESOME (and I hope they’re giving out cool t-shirts — I love the races with the cool shirts).

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