It has been a while since I had a run where at the end of it I was ready to cry "uncle". Today was one of those.
Melissa had to run 9 miles today, which happens to be the distance around the Cherry Creek reservoir if you drive into the park and run from one of the parking lots. So I suggested that she run that run rather than the usual "Wash Park" run. It must have appealed to her more than 4 loops around the park so she took me up on it, really I had only half-heartedly suggested it. I remember not-so-fondly the days of my first marathon training when I had decided to run a long loop and ended up 5 miles from nowhere with nothing left in the tank. On some level I want to "rescue" Melissa from those kind of runs. But I realize that most times those are the runs that make you a better runner. They give you something to fall back on when you are hating life, and you think "well, it can't be worse than such-and-such a day".
Ironically enough, Melissa made out great on her run, while I ended up being the one craving rescue. For most of Melissa's runs I have pushed the double jogging stroller around Wash park, acting as child wagon/support vehicle. I can usually cover 11-12 miles on these runs and I can lay down a wicked pace while doing so. So today I was buoyed up by this confidence and I decided to run out to my 20 mile turnaround point. Without the trip to the parking lot outside of the state park this is a 15 mile circuit and I decided that it was doable in the time Melissa had alloted for her run. I also figured by doing this, that I would end up coming up behind Melissa in the end of her run and be able to offer some encouragement.
So I set about to running, taking a nice easy pace and keeping a relaxed posture on the stroller. I knew there were some hills to contend with and I wanted to make sure I had enough energy to finish. I kept a positive attitude and made it all the way out to my turnaround point (mostly downhill) with no problems. Unfortunately it was then that I realized how tired I was already and how many hills I had left to face me on the return trip. From there it became an attempt to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and tackle each hill one at a time. Finally I reached the top of what I knew was the last hill and I knew that I was going to be able to finish, even if it was slow. Finally I reached the car and was relieved to find Melissa there already and in good spirits. Within a few minutes of realizing that I was done pushing (for it could barely be called running at that point) I was able to regain most of my posture and finish up my day.
Lessons learned: I now have a much greater appreciation for Team Hoyt, pushing a vehicle is not a huge deal on level ground, but is vastly more difficult on hilly terrain. Also, legs can be well trained for endurance, but any chinks in the armor (core, arms, shoulders) can bring you down over the long haul. Finally, kids, while heavy, are great companions and can talk you through some hard times.
I know it has been a while since I blogged, but I have not really had any particularly memorable runs. My mileage has been pretty good, pushing 40+ miles per week for a while now, and building a good strong base to build off for the year. I just broke through 500 miles for the year (which last year did not happen until May), and I'm ready to be building in speedwork to prepare for the races to come.