I reached a couple of exciting milestones this week. The first milestone was that I ran the longest distance of my life and am still upright to tell about it. I ran 18 miles on the Marathon route, from Pete’s Coffee in Wellesley to the Chestnut Hill Ave T Stop and back. My mileage this week ramped up to 36 miles from last week’s 29 miles. This is the first week that I am coming off a "step back" week, where the mileage is reduced to allow for gathering strength for the next push upward. I had been playing catch up all of this time – trying to do an 18-week training program in 14 weeks. I had been continuously increasing my mileage for seven weeks straight without ever having been a runner prior to that. I never felt like I had an easy run, as I was always pushing it further than I had ever pushed it before. I keep reading everywhere that rest is an important component of any training program and now I know why. I really felt the difference this week. I ran two runs during the week where I actually felt wonderful and got a taste of runner’s high – my second milestone. The runs were on the treadmill, which I usually tend to find very tedious and they were back to back at nine miles and five miles respectively. I found that I could have easily done a lot more!! Thankfully I am finally starting to feel some true progress.
After having run 18 miles total during the week, I set out for my 18-mile run on Saturday. Truthfully, I was a bit nervous about it. I didn’t think I could do it. But the miles passed by without too much effort. I did the first half with my dog again. She held up wonderfully once again. She is getting better about being a good running partner, only two barks the whole nine miles. That is saying a lot for a Border Collie, as they like to bark when they “work.” I am starting to see her as my personal mascot – Rowen, the Marathon dog. She then retired to the car and I set off for the hills of Newton. I started to fatigue around mile 16 and by the time mile 18 rolled around I was VERY grateful to see my glorious blue car sitting there waiting for me. I praised my car for being there to carry me home when I needed it most. Though exhausted at the time, I did recover well the next day without too much hobbling. I even did the run faster than my goal of 12-minute miles. I now know that unless I have some unforeseen injury, that I will be able to get to the end of the Marathon. Pretty amazing for someone that couldn’t run more than three miles nine weeks ago.