There’s a 3 mile route I often run around my neighborhood. I decided to do this route 4 times, totalling 12 miles.
Yes, I am insane.
Kevin had come up with a brilliant idea: put a water bottle in the mailbox. I upped that idea with also placing a bag of chews in there. This way, whenever I passed the house, I could stop, drink some water, and eat some chews when needed.
I left the house at 5:45am. It seems when I’m running, the rest of the world sleeps. It was so quiet. I on the other hand, was running low on my sleep tank. I always get revved up the night before a long run. I get excited. Anxious. Nervous. When you first start jogging, you feel as though the task ahead is daunting. I try hard to do long runs like this in sections. 12 miles seems impossible, but 3 miles, done 4 times? It sounds doable.
My first lap is always slower. I try to warm up, so I take it easy, and survey the scene around me. I notice the little bunnies that barely notice me, until I’m right on them. Then they go darting this way and that, and who doesn’t like cute bunnies? Cute bunnies were interrupted by an incredibly large spider web looming ahead of me. This thing was massive, attached to a mailbox and tree hanging over the sidewalk. Did I run into the spider web? Oh hell yes I did! I was too late in my reverse reflexes, and I screamed as this thing smothered me entirely. A rather large spider had been sitting there too, smack in the middle. I don’t know where he ended up. I spent a quarter of the next mile working on removing the spider web, as I continued running.
The second lap carried me through- no stopping for water, or chews. I started to feel a burning sensation in my left knee. This knee has always given me trouble. I blame it on my youth. I jumped out of a two story window when I was 4, and landed right on that knee, Elvis Presley style:
That’s another story, for another day.
This three mile route has 6 hills involved, and the extra work means extra strain on my sensitive left knee, but I tried to work through it by going slower, and reducing my speed to more of a jogging pace.
Before the start of the third lap, I stopped at my mailbox and chugged some water, deciding against the chews. I knew going in I would need to really listen to my body, and slow it down to a walk if needed. I was able to keep the pace and only had to walk up one hill, the devil hill leading up to my house. This hill is so steep, you feel like Rocky when you finally reach the top of it.
Kevin and Nolan were waiting for me at the top- he had noticed I was consistently hitting 10 minute miles, and wanted to come out and wish me luck on my last and final lap. It felt good seeing the two of them. If I wasn’t drenched in sweat I would have hugged them both, slobbering them with goobery kisses.
Before the last lap, I decided to dig into the chews. They weren’t bad at all.
I had a few, had some more water, and continued on my journey. I was getting tired. I kept reminding myself it was the last lap, and I could be done. I kept imagining a large glass of chocolate milk. Also, I start to get this rather euphoric feeling when I’ve run that many miles. I feel a tad light headed, and my body feels as though it’s floating on clouds. It’s a very bizarre feeling. I also get a little emotional at this stage. I start to think about my loved ones, and how wonderful they are, like how Kevin was there waiting for me while running.
I know, it’s all a natural high. My body is completely doping itself up. Who needs wine, when all you need to do is strap on running shoes and get yourself drunk on seratonin and dopamine?
The last stretch is amazing. I always look for a white van that’s parked right at the top of the devil street. It’s my finish line. I suck up as much energy as I can that’s left in my body, and I try to race up the hill as fast as I can. I don’t know where this burst comes from- but it’s there. My legs are shaking, but I keep going. I reach the van, and I want to just collapse right there behind it! Instead I slowly walk to my house, where I see Kevin again in the front yard, holding Nolan. They were there to see me to the end.
But it’s not the end.
I’m halfway there.