I may not have had a Sweet Sixteen party as a teenager, but trust me, after this weekend I know how SWEET 16 really is.
Before my run on Saturday I felt nervous. This is so abnormal for me it was almost confusing. Why the heck would I be nervous to run? The truth is, I was doubtful that I would be able to finish 16 miles, especially alone and feeling fatigued lately.
I picked a route called the 'Tour of San Diego' which is one giant loop around the city. I wrote the directions down on an itty bitty piece of paper and stuffed them in my sports bra along with my iPod. It is truly amazing how much one can store in a jog bra (especially if you don't have much boobage taking up space).
It was chilly and overcast, perfect for a long run. I made my way from Mission Beach to Ocean Beach which is filled with hippies and free spirits; I love it. I continued along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard where monstrous waves crashed against the jagged rocks. Eventually I was in Point Loma and running along the calm bay.
Miles ticked by without notice as I followed my handy-dandy directions to places I have never seen. It was more like an adventure than just a long run. I had no idea where exactly I was going, making each turn a surprise. Although I was alone, I was not lonely. I wasn't able to complain to anyone about how hard the run was getting. By not saying negative thoughts aloud they weren't able to come into existence. I feel as though once I start complaining of aches, pains and tiredness it makes all of those things more real. I was forced to say nothing and keep focused. This turned out to be a huge advantage.
I felt strong, smooth and increasingly confident. I started off doubtful and realized about halfway through that I can do this. It is all about whether or not I want to do it; and trust me I wanted to run 16 miles. I was gaining momentum with each stride and energy as each mile passed. I was sure I would be exhausted by the end, but I felt exhilarated by mile 15 and finished fast.
Looking down at my watch and seeing 16.00 miles was more gratifying than I expected. I was completely alone and had nobody to share my excitement with. I stretched quietly with a slight smile on my face basking in that post-run bliss. It is funny to think that I didn't have faith in myself, yet I ended up completing the entire 16 miles in less than 2.5 hours.
While it is great to have company on long runs, accomplishing a distance for the first time on your own provides a special kind of satisfaction. I did it...