I had such high hopes for my 11-miler on Saturday. I was coming off of a great 10 miler in Brooklyn, I was meeting up for the first time with an area running group, and I was eager to show off my mad (slow) running skills. However, somewhere along the way it all went horribly awry.
The day started off like gangbusters, I met with the group bright and early at 8am. They were all truly fabulous and friendly, which seemed to bode well for the run. We started off at a brisk pace, but probably no faster than where I want my marathon race pace to be. It was all going fine until about mile 3. Mile 3 is when the pain hit. My calves had apparently decided that 3 miles into a long run was a great time to seize up and cramp.
So with both of my calves resembling hard balls of excruciating fury, I decided it was probably a good idea to stop and stretch. I thought this would help matters, but no such luck. I started off again, trailing behind the group, and running at about an 11 minute mile pace. I trudged along, but my calves were getting no better. In fact their tightness was cutting off the circulation to the rest of my leg. By mile 4 both of my feet had gone numb and tingly from lack of circulation.
By this point, the group was out of sight, however one intrepid member kept running back to check on me, make sure I was okay, and tell me the route. At this point I could have cried. Not only because I was in pain, but because it was just so freaking thoughtful of her and of the rest of the group to check up on me and make sure I wasn't writhing on the ground in agony.
I eventually made it back to the meet-up location, having slogged my way through the remaining 7 miles. So I got my 11 miles in, but it was painful and disheartening and slow (even for me). I have been running long enough that I know that it’s not easy, and that it’s not lacking in pain, but this was just a bit too much. The only thing that got me through was repeating to myself: “you can do this, only x number of miles left. Come on Diane, you can do this.” I don’t want or need my runs to be effortless. In fact, I would like to push myself to go farther and faster, I just don’t know how I’m going to complete 26.2 if my long runs are this hard.