We were determined to run outside this past weekend and avoid using the treadmill for our 7-mile run. The weather forecast had showed possible rain showers on Saturday and Sunday, but we figured we would be able to sneak in our run and brave the cold temperatures. Unfortunately, we awoke to a foggy mist on Saturday with the temperatures much colder than originally forecasted. Thus, we did what anyone would do on a, completely unacceptable for working out, Saturday. We went to an NHL hockey game with friends. I don’t care if the gym was still open on Saturday. As I said before, Rachel and I were trying to avoid the treadmill at all costs, even if it meant pushing our run back to Sunday.
The hockey game proved to be a great time, but also a test in resistance. The Dallas Stars played the Atlanta Thrashers and of course we were hoping for a great Stars win. The resistance part came after the first Stars goal. The group of people in front of us had bags of candy and every time we scored they would give us high fives and candy. Yes, that’s what I said, candy! I am talking good chocolate candies. Of course we couldn’t deny our joy so all of us ate. Then, well, there came another goal and we ate again. The Stars decided they would score three more goals after that and, although we knew we shouldn’t keep eating the candy, we couldn’t deny our excitement. With a minute left in the game, our bellies full and the Stars up 5-1, we figured we had seen our last goal. But, well, we were wrong. The Stars decided to score again with a power play, which of course meant another piece of candy! Yes, I know we didn’t have to eat them. But, well, you know, there was the crowd and the goals and the candy and the cheering and the high fives and it was good chocolate…Look, we were all doing it so get off my back! Anyway, we had a great time at the game and I figured if the players can skate on ice, get body checked, keep skating, throw a few punches, keep skating, and win 6-1, well, me and Rachel could probably run 7 miles on a treadmill. Plus, we knew we had a few extra calories from of the candy to work off.
We awoke Sunday to another gloomy day filled with rain and cold temperatures. The park would not see us once again. The
hamster wheels treadmills were awaiting us both. Neither of us knew what to expect with a 7-mile run on a treadmill. There was only one thing we knew with certainty; the run would be long and boring.
About a half mile into our run I decided it would be good to run on an incline for every 1/2 mile. I figured it would better simulate outdoor running, strengthen our legs, and make running hills much easier. What I failed to realize was how difficult it would make the overall run. At 3 ½ miles I had pretty much hit my wall when I glanced over at Rachel who was steadily increasing her incline. I thought if she could do it than I sure as hell could, so I forged on. At mile 5 I wanted nothing more than to stop. I was sweating profusely and I knew we still had two miles to go, which seemed like an eternity. I nearly turned to Rachel to tell her to stop doing the incline, but she seemed to be perfectly fine running on it every ½ mile. I was struggling, but I was determined to finish.
When I hit 5 ½ miles I decided to increase my speed. Frankly, I just wanted to get the run over with. The incline was hard enough, but the long run in itself was challenging. I finally hit 6 ½ miles and as I increased the incline I felt so far from finishing. My legs pounded on the treadmill and I ran hard. Suddenly, there it was, 7 miles on the treadmill! I looked down at my time. I had run it in 62 minutes and 18 seconds. Both of us finished under 9 minutes a mile. Both of us wondered how in the hell we ever ran a half marathon.
I know that running long distances on a treadmill is difficult. In fact, it’s more than difficult, it’s grueling and boring. Somehow we made it through our long run, which made us feel like we’re finally getting closer to being ready for the Cowtown Half Marathon. Some days you just have to dig deep and push yourself. When I complained about the incline and asked Rachel how she ran so easily on it she replied, “Are you kidding me!?! I wanted to die! I was wondering how you were doing it. It makes me feel better knowing that you had just as hard a time as I did.” I then asked Rachel how she got through the run and this is what she said, “I just kept thinking that I am an athlete now and this is just what I do. I kept telling myself that I am a runner and days like today make me a runner.” You know what, she’s right. It’s the hard runs that often make us feel like runners.
What has been your hardest run lately?