My Saturday mornings have become no drinking Fridays to ensure group run Saturday attendance.
I fight it since a glass of wine, post-shift Friday night, is always welcome. But, I have realized that the likelihood of me running a solo 16 mile run is not going to happen. There are way too many opportunities to go later, not go as long, or walk during said run. Believe me, I have had this internal conversation numerous times.
So, I woke up at 5 am to stretch and drive to Louisville. Yes, it was north of Denver and unpleasant to consider. I had hoped that they would switch venues due to the fire damage in Boulder. It was a concern of many members of the group but the leader said that we should be fine and in all fairness, we were. I just didn't want to drive for 30 minutes to get to the location. I would have preferred an additional half hour of sleep.
Nevertheless, I joined my pace group and listened to my ipod the first 8 miles. I heard random chatter, but I didn't want to engage. I was focused on how the run was going and listening to The Stones. Plus, I thought about the significance of 9/11 and what it represented in my life.
At mile 8, I headed back with Grady. He insisted on me referring to him by his last name, since he has a common name and I would remember Grady as opposed to his first name. I was thankful for Grady since even a solo 8 mile return run seemed difficult. I had my ipod, but having to be accountable to someone is what got me through the return.
Grady didn't like his new shoes and so he ran 6 of the 8 miles barefoot. I thought he was insane, but he has been running barefoot for awhile. He has read books on how it helps with your natural form. He explained, that he, personally, had completely improved his form from running barefoot. He used to run with knee braces on both legs and now is free of those confines.
I found him refreshing in his views of life and his perspective of running. He equated his decision to run, barefoot, with feeling every impact of his feet, as opposed to absorbing the impact in his legs, knees or hips. Similar to life....in how if you do not recognize unhappiness within yourself or your relationship, it festers. He likes the impact of feeling alive. I guess running gave him a new opportunity to excel or be a better person.
Yes, 16 miles was fantastic. The last three completely sucked and had I been alone, I would have stopped. Completely walked for a part of it. I know this.
But, since I was with Grady, I kept going and felt so much better to have achieved the full 16, running. I need to work on my mental training. During the Park to Park, I had a similar experience. I wondered why the last mile was so long. I wanted to walk, but I didn't. However, I really slowed down. I need to keep going strong the last few miles and get through it.