A year ago Saturday, I went out with the big boys – Shawn and Garmin Graham – for their long run. I clearly remember the caveat: we’re running at a 7:50 pace. The night before they emailed the distance: 18 miles. By the magic of the moon, though, the distance somehow changed from 18 to 21 miles and I fought to keep up with the boys; at 19 miles, I let them go ahead and I struggled to get back with a sore ankle that stopped me from running for the next month.
Being as crazy as I am, though, I e-mailed Garmin Graham, or GG, to see if I could run with him during the March Break. I wanted help with pacing and he is the best guy to help me out with that. With Shawn still out of commission and Renaud away, I figured the chances of his agreeing to run with me were fairly good. So Saturday morning at 6:20, GG picked me up for a 30K run.
With clear memories of last year’s traumatic ankle incident, I was nervous about running and played the “What If…?” game the day before and even during the run. What if my ankle starts to hurt? What if he misjudged the distance? What if I can’t keep up? What if…? I was starting to feel like a girl on her first date.
When we started, I reminded GG that I wanted to run at a 5:00K pace, my marathon pace and a bit faster than what I’ll be running Around the Bay in on March 25th. Sure enough, we started out at 4:50. “Too fast,” I told Graham. We slowed it down but quickly had it back at 4:50. By the time we got to 13K, we had our feet synched to a comfortable pace at 4:53 and, 28K later, ended at 4:53. That seemed to be our pace.
“Really? 4:53?” I asked surprised. And then I realized that the quicker pace also meant that I didn’t run as long as the 2:25 that I had in the books. “Oh, I think I’ll run home then so that I can tack a few more kilometres on.” And I did – this time picking up the pace considerably. When I got home 13 minutes later, I was thrilled with how I ran.
Saturday’s run has given me a huge burst of confidence in my running. In the past year, I have grown from the “tag-along” running mate to one who can carry her weight, keep up just fine and still be able to push ahead at the end. For the first time in months, I am a feeling strong.
What a difference a year can make.