I had planned to just do 4 miles, because that's what I needed in order to reach the 100 mile mark, and Emily was going to run with me. I should have known better. Emily doesn't "just do" things. She does things ALL THE WAY.
So when she said, "we'll meet at the park and run the whole way," I sort of thought she meant, "we'll run the whole 4 miles with no walking." This was enough to reduce me to a nervous wreck. I got to the park and was practicing every therapist trick I know to rid myself of the anxiety. Could I really run all four miles without stopping? I mean, really? I say I'm a "runner" but what that means is "I run a bit and then I walk a bit, and then I run a bit, and then I walk a bit." My 4:1 ratio has been my lifeline to the running world.
She pulled up beside me during my deep breathing, and when she got out of the car she said, "So we're going the whole way!" And it suddenly clicked that she intended to run the ENTIRE GREENWAY. Not 4 miles. SEVEN miles. Not run a bit and walk a bit. RUN.
So we took off. She set a nice pace, and I fell into it easily. We started talking about the stuff women talk about, and the next thing I knew I was passing the first trail head. Then the second. Before long, we were coming up on the 3.5 mile turnaround point with a great big hill. And I ran up it! We stopped at the trail head long enough to get a quick drink and catch our breath. (Very thankful that the city finally got those water fountains working! Woo Hoo!) As we started back, she asked if I wanted to walk a ways. NO WAY! I wasn't about to waste my easy "down hill" on walking! So we took off running again.
I took a quick walking break about halfway back, and she stopped at one of the trail heads to use the port a pottie. At this point I was singing God's praises for her having a tiny bladder! As we crossed the next street, I realized I was approaching the...
MOTHER LOVING HILL.
This hill feels ginormous. It's long. And steep. And terrible. I've never run all the way up it.
Until yesterday. :)
I was praying the whole way up it, but I made it. I could have thrown myself a party right then and there, but I still had another mile to go to get back to my car. We ran the rest of the way back, and it hit me that this run, where I ran almost the whole thing without my sacred 4:1 ratio, was almost easier than when I throw in the walking breaks. I don't know if that's because I was distracted by our conversation, or because it was the perfect temperature, or what...but I plan to try it again to see just how much of a fluke that was.
I still can't believe I'm a runner. Sometimes I look at my life in comparison to where it was just a small handful of years ago, and I think surely it must be two different people. I'm not at all sure how I got here.
I just know who to thank.