Doing 15 miles

I reached a huge milestone  yesterday, y’all. 15 miles! I conquered my fear of running longer than a half marathon (13.1 miles) and did it! It helped being in a different town and running on unfamiliar territory.

A humbling sight also helped keep me going. About mile 3, I passed a man training on his wheelchair cycle used for marathoners in the wheelchair category. We did the obligatory runner’s wave and went on our own ways. I immediately thought, “How ever tired you’re about to become during this 15-mile run, be thankful you have feet to run on and legs to guide you.” If he could do it, I could it. I tried to smile as big as he smiled at me when I passed fellow runners.

I continued on, enjoying the sunny winter day. I stopped to smell the roses and snapped photos of interesting sights.  Like usual, my body spoke to me at mile 8. I was feeling tired, my legs were a little achy, but the image of the wheelchair marathoner popped in my head and I pushed through the pain. Right about that time, I was greeted by the sight of beautiful horses in the horizon. Of course, I had to stop and take a pic.

I quit thinking about any discomfort I was feeling and simply enjoyed the moment. I have trouble enjoying the moment in my day-to-day dealings. Running reminds me to slow down and do that, both in and out of my running shoes. I can’t speed up the process. Sure, I can pick up the pace and try to finish that day’s mileage faster, but I can only do so much. So many variables play into how fast I run on a given day … my mood, whether I’m sore or feeling tired. And I’m really trying to focus more on my endurance, not my speed. For that will get me through my first marathon.

Reaching mile 13, 13.1 to be exact, sent goosebumps over my body. By this point, my legs were very tired, my left knee particularly achy. When I reached that number, I experienced an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I had just completed a half marathon! Wahoo! Oh, but I had two miles left … “I’m gonna have to run another 13.1 miles come March, so 2 miles would be a breeze,” I told myself. Those last two felt more like five. I pushed on through and felt pretty badass when I finished, opened my car and grabbed my other supply of water to gulp down.

I did it. That’s the important thing. How and how long doesn’t matter so much. Completing the task is what counts. I’m fortunate these journeys that lead to another marathon training milestone happen to be full of poignant moments.

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8 thoughts on “Doing 15 miles

  1. Thanks for the inspiration. I am a random walker, any attempts to run always left me out of breath after less than a minute. I am in great health at 51. Any suggestions on the best way to get started? iphone apps???? Thanks…….

    • There is an app from active.com and I believe they have different training programs/tips you can follow. I also love Runner’s World magazine and their online version is great, too. They have many discussion boards you can join. When I first started running more religiously, I frequently got online to discuss questions/concerns/advice with fellow runners in my category. Hope that helps! Also, there’s probably a local running store in your area that fosters a close-knit running community. Mine is very encouraging and offers running groups and events that help motivate everyone, from beginners to elites!

  2. Congrats on the milestone! What a huge accomplishment! I remember running my first 15-miler and thinking ‘13.1 is nothing now!’

    As for the shin/calf/knee pain, foam roll the muscles and stretch every day. If it hurts to run, don’t! Cycle or swim instead. No need to risk a serious injury so close to race day!

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