The Long and Winding Road

Today was my longest run since I began training. The furthest I made when training for a full marathon in July was 10 miles. I hit that mileage last Saturday. Today was the next step – an 11 miler. Usually I would think that an extra mile would not be that big of a deal, but I guess with what all I have on my plate right now, it was a bit more of an undertaking for me.

Last week I took my eldest pup to the vet and was handed some sobering news. Her kidneys were starting to show signs of problems, and the tumor on her leg could not be removed due to her age (13), and that it would take a complete amputation for the tumor not to return. She is on special prescription dog food, and some meds to help with the angry tumor. It is all that can be done. We just have to give her the best life, and make sure her quality of life is happy.

Her appetite was good for the past week and she really took to the new food. After a bust day on Friday, she did not eat her food that night, nor did she eat much this morning. Seeing that, added stress to my mind, because she is my babygirl. I’ve had her since she was only 5-6 weeks old. She has been through a lot with me. Truly the best dog in the world.

Monroe on her 13th Birthday in July

There was a part of me that just did not want to run today. I begrudgingly went though my preparations, and I could tell that I was not into it and almost irritated. I tried to think positive thoughts and coach myself into getting pumped up for the run. I never really hit that level.

I drove out to White Rock Lake, and started my run. It was chilly at first, but I didn’t wear as heavy a running jacket as last weekend. At mile 2, like last weekend, I took the jacket off and tied it to my waist.

The run went well for the most part. I started to get my groove, and my new running shoes felt good. I was still breaking them in a bit, but they were the same model that I have been training with all along, so it was not that big of a deal.

Then things started to change.

Mile 8 felt like more work than I was accustomed to. The legs were starting to feel sluggish, and ever so often I would stumble.

At mile 9 I knew I was in a bit of trouble. I was starting to stumble a lot. My left leg was starting to lose momentum, and that caused my left foot to catch on the pavement. It was as if I had to think hard with each step to get my leg to lift my foot high enough off of the ground so I would not trip.

Mile 10 became more laborious. My legs felt like jelly and now my foot was starting to hurt and get numb in some places. I just had a mile to go, so I walked a short distance, and then jogged again.

I made it to mile 11, but I was just about in tears when I got there. I’m not sure if I bonked out. I ate three Clif Shots during the run, to avoid the bonk but it seems as if it was almost inevitable.

When I hit that 11th mile mark, I realized that I was further away from my Jeep than I had planned on. I ended up walking almost another two miles to get there. My feet hurt so bad. My ankles hurt, my legs hurt, and my spirit was starting to deteriorate. I kept thinking that I had my half marathon in only three weeks, and if I was feeling this bad on an 11 mile day, I was in for a bad run for my half.

I kept walking and tried to keep a good pace. Even though with everything crashing around me, and even though I just wanted to cry I kept taking steps. About a 1/4 mile from my Jeep something strange happened. A stranger jogged by. He was running a pretty quick pace, and I just thought that it was another passer-by. Instead he gave a thumbs up as he passed me, and said to me, “Good job!”

He may never know how much that was needed. He may never know just how much those two words helped me. I wish I could have caught up with him to thank him. His words lifted my spirits, and quickened my step. I finished feeling stronger than I expected.

Thank you random cheerleader man. You gave me the lift I needed in a low point of my afternoon.

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