And only a week apart.
The month of August was simply crazy. I came painfully close to a 200 mile total for the month, had to do the mom/work/train shuffle, and transition from the end of summer to the beginning of fall in our household (oh wait everyone transitions from summer to fall this time of year? Weird.). And then some personal life strife got thrown in right at the end of the month, just to see if I would wave the white flag. I didn't. And here's proof - Caitlyn and I at a end of summer bonfire.
With that, I take you to last week's 22 miler; I was emotionally fragile, and in no mental state to attempt the distance solo. I begged Lisa for company, knowing full well she'd be giving up a peaceful Saturday morning run for a 3+ hour therapy session. She happily agreed (I know, I'm thankful too!), and what.a.disaster. it turned out to be. When you go into a long run already mentally defeated, it's so damn hard to turn it around when the miles get tough. I was the whiniest runner on Earth by about mile oh, say THREE. Throw is complete breakdown at mile 16 that went something like this: "thats it, I'm going home. I suck at running, I suck at life, I don't want to be here anymore, I'm done with this". Complete with ugly sobs and snot everywhere. You're so jealous you weren't there, aren't you? Long story short(ish), Lisa gave me some tough love, we trudged on, and finished before sunset. I fought hard for every step of that run, and was both physically and mentally exhausted by the end of the run.
Today, I decided to head up to Pumpkinman Triathlon, do my long run, and then cheer my heart out for friends. It was finally cool-ish, with low humidity. I was nervous about both coming off last week, and also the prospect of running the distance solo. I shook out the demons, and prepped my body and mind the best I could. However, as I was leaving the house, I swiped my Garmin off the table and it fell on the floor. Yeah, we've all done it 1000 times, but when I picked it up, I had the white screen of death. Nothing. Nada. Completely dead. Super. I cursed for a few minutes, realizing that I was going to have to use the trusty Timex for an uber long run. It would be a unicorn run; one that's imaginary because there's not an accompanying Garmin file. Please tell me I'm not the only lunatic that thinks this way?
After some good luck hugs and some "hey, I know you because you're my Facebook/Twitter friend and you're really fast and why aren't you as excited to see me as I am to see you" maneuvers, I hit the road. I just went. There was no use in looking at my watch, other than for fueling purposes. It wasn't going to tell me my pace, my distance, my heart rate, or whether I was the fairest of them all. It was merely a stopwatch. So I just ran. My legs felt decent, breathing came easy, and I felt relaxed. Instead of chasing the run, I just let the run come to me.
Before I knew it, I had hit three hours, and I didn't want to stop running. I can't remember the last time this happened actually on a run over 20 miles, and it felt damn good. I had nowhere to be, no real time restrictions, and I wanted to keep going. So I did. I ran for well up into the 20's, and stopped only when the 2nd and 3rd place men had turned onto the road I was sauntering down. And there was no running in circles just to get the Garmin to flip to a certain number. There was no celebratory fist pump (don't lie, I know you do them too) at the end of the run, or a big sigh of relief that you feel when you hit the finish line of any run. I simply stopped running. I stepped off the course, walked to my car, changed into my flip flops, and got back on the course to cheer. It's a unicorn run, baby.