Saturday, November 30, 2013

Finish Strong

Its Scenic Route Saturday!

Today's location- Pocahontas State Park. Trails traveled: Bright Hope, Outer Lick (yes, its ACTUALLY called that), Fendley Station, Mosely Forest, Old Mill Bike, Muddy Buddy.

Today's mileage- 13.1. (The cheapest 1/2 Marathon EVER, just missing the fanfare and fun swag bag)

Avg Pace- 10:03 min/mile

Time- 2:11:49

The onset of hunting season has made me expand my exploration at Pocahontas, which has been mostly fun and only occasionally frustrating or confusing.The areas of the park that are the most convenient for me to park & run are also the only areas of the park that are open for hunting. (Well isn't that just SUPER?!) I know I could run on Sunday when the hunters are at home skinning and gutting little Bambi and eating beef jerky like a bunch of hoodlums, but some of us gotta work on Sundays, yo. So, for the past few long runs, I've been exploring trails that I've used little to never in the past. That's one of the great things about a long run...if you get lost, its all good! You need those miles, anyway! 

Today I went over to the equestrian side of Pocahontas, which I very rarely do. Other than the big frozen piles of horse poop along the way, it was pretty nice! I'm reading The Hobbit right now and all the pine trees reaching way up into the sky and dropping pine needles to cover the path totally reminded me of Mirkwood Forest. (Dork alert!!) Anyway, it was a nice change from the leaf-laden trails I normally run. Twisty roots and rocks like to hide under those pretty fall leaves and twist your ankle in a hot second. I even stopped to snap a pic on Outer Lick because it was so pretty. Of course a photo is never as good as real-life, but it was worth a try!

My sense of direction is FINALLY improving a little (woohoo!). I was able to run on some new trails and pretty much knew exactly where I was and where I'd come out (most of the time). My husband is the navigator in the family and since he's what you might call an "anti-runner with his wifey-er," I'm on my own, folks.

The first 5 miles of my run today were pretty awful. I'm not sure why, but the longer my runs get, the longer it takes me to get into a good rhythm. Today, I was freezing, then I was sweating, then the sweat made me cold, then my pants needed re-adjusting, then a bad song came on that I could NOT listen to, then the pull-strings on my jacket were flip-flopping everywhere (that HAD to be addressed),then I thought, "Well dang, I might as well stop to take a picture." That was the first 5 miles, in a nutshell. I got myself together, gave myself a little pep-talk. It went something like, "MOVE your butt, you sissy!" Just as I'm shaking it out and regaining my composure, my Pop Fitness channel on Pandora saved me. Nothing gets my arse moving like some teeny-bopper music , and I'll admit "Call Me Maybe," is my JAM! Popped 2 Power Bar Chews (the lemon kind are YUM), and was on my merry way.

Miles 6-10 were in the sweet spot, felt great and even threw in a few dance moves along the way. (People I meet on the trail probably think I'm drunk, which is only true about half the time).

Miles 11-12 were the toughest for my legs. I'll have to make note of 2 GIANT hills on Fendley Station that I had forgotten about until I saw them in front of me (Fancy seeing YOU here, Mister Tiny Mountain).

Mile 13- Its all about the finish, duh!...As long as you finish strong and do what you set out to do, it doesn't make much difference how ugly certain parts of your run were.

For me distance running has been a great teacher of patience, determination and commitment. Today, for the first hour of my run, I felt like there was no way I was going to be able to finish the distance I'd planned for. But, with a nice stubborn attitude and some really bad pop music, my legs and I ran a nice little 1/2 Marathon and got over all the mental and physical hills along the way. I'll take it!