All These Things That I Have Done: Ending 14 miles on a high note.

jenny running

14 miles.

14 miles.

14 miles.

14 miles.

Do you know how many times I have repeated 14 miles in my head? A zillion. Why? Because it was the source of great anxiety and stress for like the past 6 weeks. I would go to bed at night just hearing my heart beat to the quiet sound of: 14 miles. I knew that I could run 13.1 miles and you may be thinking, what’s the big deal? It’s like .90 more. Well, for some reason, this has just tortured me.

Until I did it.

Sunday was my very first real long training run and somewhere, it got lost as a training run, as I went a little faster than intended (9’52” average pace). But who cares, for the bulk of it, I was having a moment. I signed up for the Mid-Winter Classic 10 Miler before I knew I was doing Boston, also, before the toe incident. But once I found out about Boston, I deemed it as the perfect opportunity to break up a long run as well as have some lovely company. (i.e. lots of strangers that I would be embarrassed to walk in front of) So Allison and I came up with the plan to “warm-up” with 4 miles and then run the 10 miler at training pace. My goal was 10 minute miles. Mostly because a) my foot is still bothering me and b) I needed to just make sure I could finish while still feeling good. Lucky for us, Mrs. Jan came along for the first 4 miles and her fabulous energy (as well as Allison’s ALWAYS happy energy, which is why I love her) really set me up for a good run. There is something about good people that just sets me right before a race. We took it slow and I was grateful for that. I wasn’t interested in pushing the envelope. These runs are all about finishing. NOTHING MORE. I’m not looking to be fantastic. Just to look like less of a serial killer that got caught in a drain once completed. (Although, that seems to happen regardless) We finished with a smile. Jan went off to run a little further. We jetted for the bathroom, a quick change and then off to the start, where I saw all my Roaster friends (LOVE YOU GUYS: Susan, Betsy, James, Dave, Cynthia, Terry, Kristin, Alan, Jan, Meg, David, Dave #3 (there are so many Dave’s), Bill, am I missing someone, how could you not be excited with all these fine people!!!!) And they were so smiley, I mean, it just made me elated.

At the start, I could tell Allison was gunning for it, which is totally fine. I have no problem seeing my training partner whiz off, in fact, it makes me really proud and it inspires me. I used her as my rabbit. And as long as I could see her swinging ponytail, I felt good. I was really proud of her, as this was her first 14 miler too and she’s not training for a marathon, she’s just doing it out of the kindness of her runner heart. Anyways, I settled in easy because the first 2 miles were no joke. I’m not messing around when I say, that shit was challenging. But, coming from an all flat course in Florida, I was happy for the 10 miles of rolling hills. With the ups, come the downs and that’s where I gather myself. Not to mention, this course had some really beautiful landscape to it. I had plenty to look at and plenty of moments where I felt my soul just being enriched. Up to mile 6 of the race (which was actually my 10th mile) I was feeling really great. Then I received a phone call (I use my phone for music) which kind of broke my concentration, after that, I kept seeming to strike my foot the wrong way and received awesome surges of pain in my foot. However, it felt better than it has in weeks and it was completely manageable, as the miles ticked by, I knew I was close and I just kept dreaming of that finish line.

At mile 9.25 (Mile 13.25 for me), I spotted Dave, an occasional Roaster (he’s only come a couple of times, but I connected with him quite well, he gets all my jokes, which is a definite plus) and apparently, he came back down the course looking for me. At this point, I was having a rough time and knowing that this wasn’t a coincidence, made me feel really special. I knew that he wasn’t feeling well. I also knew that he ran a great race (as he always does) so to come back and put in an additional .75, just blew my mind. We said a quick hello and I placed my headphones back in, I pressed play on my favorite and only finishing line song (more on that later) and made a jet for the finish. (my jet was probably like that snail in Monsters University that is doing a lot of work but really isn’t moving).

So here’s my question to you, before I go on, have you ever finished a race listening to “All These Things That I Have Done” by the Killers? I’m not even a fan but there is something about this song that just taps into my soul, every, single, time. It conjures up all the memories of people telling me I couldn’t do it, I shouldn’t do it. Memories of my heart doctor saying: “No more 13.1’s of you.” It just kicks up all the dust. All of it. And on this day, at this 13.75 miles, with Allison’s ponytail long gone (again, so proud), Dave running beside me and then a group of faces, so familiar and wonderful (Roasters, obviously) cheering for ME, MEEEEE, I nearly lost my shit. WHY CAN’T I KEEP MY SHIT TOGETHER???? I have no idea. In my ear I could hear “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier…” and I see Jan SCREAMING my name……phew, I put my hands to my face to hide it, but the tears came down. And at the finish, there was Alan clapping for me and Allison ready to take me in her arms.

14 miles.

14 miles.

14 miles.

The relief.

I fucking did it.

I dare you to play that song and not get emotional.

It’s powerful shit.

You know what I was doing last January? I was at the Winter Warriors group at Maine Running Company in Portland, where NO ONE would talk to me, never the less run with me, listening to all these people get excited for the Mid-Winter Classic 10 Miler. And I thought: WOOOOOWWWW, I could never do that, that’s amazing. One year later, I’m running this race as a training run for Boston, go figure.

Go figure.

One thought on “All These Things That I Have Done: Ending 14 miles on a high note.

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