Now I’m happy to say the times they are a changin’!
I had to ramp up my 3.1-mile runs to 6.2 to prepare for the midnight race I’ve run on July 3 the last few years and then I didn’t want to lose that fitness by dropping back to 3.1, so I held steady at 6.2 for most of my runs although the summer heat and humidity were ridiculous even before dawn.
After contemplating if I should attempt a half-marathon in December, two months ago I took the plunge and signed up for one! It was exciting and scary at the same time, but there’s a saying that if your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough. This one scared me so it’s just the right size - big enough to require work to achieve, but still manageable.
I have a good plan of increasing my distance by a mile every 2 weeks. Having a goal race to train for has given me back my motivation! The summer months are just so hot and humid in Florida and I didn’t take that into account when I was feeling so discouraged. I was going through a dry spell and I’m glad I persevered.
Last Saturday was scheduled to be 10 miles, the longest distance I’ve ever run. I ran it and lived to tell about it!
I also run on Tuesdays and Thursdays but don’t have the time for long runs then. They’re less than 4 miles but they keep me in shape so that I don’t become a weekend warrior and risk injury.
This past Saturday was also scheduled to be a 10-mile run. When I got to our meeting point I immediately realized I’d forgotten my fuel belt. It holds four 8-ounce bottles in which I usually have water, juice, smoothie, or protein drink. It also has a pouch where I keep honey for quick energy. My heart dropped. I would have to do 10 miles with only water and I immediately began trying to remember where on the course water fountains were. Also, I usually bring a hamburger patty (protein) and chocolate protein drink for after my run and I had remembered neither. I’m going to have to set my fuel belt on my purse the night before these long runs so I don’t forget it. Or set an alarm on my phone to remember it. Or both.
Then I remembered that when I mapped out our route the night before, our turnaround point would be right at a convenience store. I tucked away my debit card so I could buy something there and decided to make the best of it. I had previously been fueling every 30 minutes on long runs and over the last month or so had stretched it to 45 minutes. I’d really be stretching it now! It would be well over an hour before I refueled. Well, what could I do? We started running and I drank water at the first fountain we came to, about 3 miles in. That wasn’t so bad. I do almost 4 miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays with no water or any other fuel.
We’d had to add about half a mile early on due to unforeseen circumstances so our turnaround point came sooner than I had planned. We hit 5 miles but the convenience store was still about a mile ahead. If we turned back at 5 miles there would be no fuel at all except more water. If we continued on we’d add a mile there and a mile back and make our total distance 12 miles instead of 10. “Oops! We accidentally ran 12 miles,” we’d have to say. J
We decided to go on to the store and get some fuel. I chose coconut water with pineapple and a banana except that they were 2 for $1 so I got two. I ate one right away and drank some coconut water. Then I was left with carrying the bag, the other banana, and the carton of coconut water, which was a little awkward but I had to make it work. I hoped I could find someone struggling and offer him or her my banana. Or a homeless person. I found neither and ended up carrying both items all the way back to the car. Amanda folded up the bag and put it in her fuel belt. She hadn’t forgotten hers. J
It wasn’t until we were about 1-1/2 miles into our return trip that I realized I hadn’t restarted my music. So God was orchestrating it that I ran so long without fuel *and* without music. What was going on???
Here’s what was going on. In the Bible is the story of Gideon, a man who was not great in his family, his community, or his country. Nothing distinguished him. In fact, he seemed rather puny and even cowardly. One day an angel greeted him and called him a mighty warrior. That certainly wasn’t how Gideon saw himself! Later on, Gideon became an army leader. He had gathered 32,000 soldiers to fight their oppressing enemies. God said that was too many and that if they won the soldiers would boast that they had done it themselves and not give credit to God. Gideon told the soldiers that if anyone was scared he could go home. Then 22,000 took him up on the offer! God said even 10,000 was too many and to conduct a test. Only 300 men passed the test and the rest were sent home. With 300 soldiers Gideon stood still and watched the enemy soldiers destroy themselves in chaos and confusion! God had taught him that he could get by on and be victorious with much less than he had thought.
That’s what God was showing me. Having and using a fuel belt isn’t wrong; in fact, it’s a very good idea, but I can’t trust in it. I need to trust in God and His ability to sustain me.
Later Amanda and I decided we could cut out a loop we did earlier and not make the run 12 miles. Then we would decide at 10 what to do. Ten miles came and we decided to go to 10-1/2. At 10-1/2 we were so close to where we started that we decided to just run to that spot and then stop. We ended up running a total of 10.67 miles! More than half a mile farther than we had planned. And we’re both still alive to tell about it!
I had the thought the day before this run to get breakfast afterward and now I *seriously* needed some nutrition! There’s a nearby diner I’d gone to before and is good so I had checked their menu and found steak and eggs on the breakfast part. Oh yeah! Protein and protein! Just what I need after a big workout! I went there but the waitress said they’ve never had steak and eggs and she would have to look at their website and find out why that was on the menu posted there. Sigh. I settled for a 3-egg omelet, home fries, and a biscuit. My running app said I had burned over 2000 calories on that 10.67-mile run so I should’ve been ravenous to replenish some of them. I ate my biscuit, a few bites of home fries, and only half the omelet. What?! How can that be? I don’t understand, but I’ve learned enough over the past 6 years to know to stop when my hunger is satisfied, not when I’m stuffed.
The next two Saturdays are scheduled to be 11-mile days. We’ll see God has in store and what He wants to teach me. This is exciting!