It’s actually pretty shocking to me that on Saturday, I wrote this bleak, helpless post. Then by Saturday evening I was feeling better. On Sunday morning I went one of the first area launch meetings of the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus Program (try saying THAT ten times fast) which was like a HUGE PARTY and by Sunday afternoon I felt ready to put my sneakers on and try and run ten miles.

And guess what? I did it.

It shocked me. It really did. I’ve been struggling with running in one way or another ever since I did my first 5k back in 2009. I often end up getting dehydrated and sick, or hurt in my ankles or feet. So I was feeling trepidatious. But I really felt like I need to get this 10 miler down to see if I could really manage the half marathon in Las Vegas next weekend.

And I learned some stuff! Some really important stuff!!

  1. I need to start out slooooooooooow. This is the complete antithesis to what usually happens during a race. There is so much adrenaline, and people are bouncing up and down, and the gun or the bullhorn goes off, and it’s like… WHOOOOSH! Everyone takes off. I always have started out every race way, way, way too fast. Like crazy fast. And what happens? I end up feeling really bad very quickly.  On Sunday, I decided to start slowly, ie walking. Walking briskly, but WALKING. And I told myself I would not run until I felt like running. Which did not happen for a good half mile. Now during a REAL RACE, this means a lot of people – I mean HUNDREDS of people – will be passing me by. And I have to just not let that get to me.  I have come to realize that I am really a loner when it comes to running. When people want to run with me, it generally makes me kind of nervous because I lose my natural pace. So I am going to have to really hunker down into mySELF during the Las Vegas half because that is what is going to get my through.
  2. I need to be well hydrated but not TOO hydrated. Duh. I have been dehydrated so much it’s embarrassing. But I finally realized that what I need is a sports drink, like sugar-free Gatorade or Powerade or some such, and those little Gu chomps. (ie giant gummy bear things) And just a little bit of water. That’s my combo. That’s what I used on Sunday, and it worked better than any other long run I’ve had.
  3. Slow, slow, slow. I just told myself that I would lope along at my turtle pace and stay comfortable at all times. I never got short of breath or otherwise strained. I just wanted to be comfortable. This is a good thing.
  4. My feet and ankles had a few Moments of discomfort, but weirdly enough, the 10 mile run around the lake felt 100x better than a ten MINUTE run on the treadmill. Go figure. So.

So that’s it. That run on Sunday was just… amazing. It was as good or better than the 9 mile run I did a while back. It amazed me. And when my Runkeeper app hit that 10.01 mark, I just about cried. I could have gone on. I wasn’t wiped out. I knew then that I would be able to finish the half, and that I could probably stay within spitting distance of my 15-minute mile pace. Which is glacially slow for some people, but just right for me.

I was so in love with Oakland when I ran this run. I started out in the late afternoon and by the time I finished (2.5 hours later) it was dark. The necklace of lights turned on around the lake, and I saw the runners, the hobblers, people of every race and age and size and ability, all circling around. It was a beautiful thing.