Monday, December 6, 2010

My 18 Miler: On Auto-Pilot

Late Sunday morning, Ang and I set out to Coronado Island for our 18 miler.  She was only supposed to run 16 but sure enough she finished 18 with me.  Typical Angela.  Mentally strong and super supportive.  The route is a flat bike bath along the Silver Strand with views of the bay and cool winds from the ocean.  Nature's air conditioning.  We've come to love it for long runs.

Most of the time I prefer to be alone on these longer runs.  There is something wonderful about those hours by myself.  It can be incredibly peaceful and therapeutic (as I've said many times before).  I get inside my head and go.  I don't have to talk; I just run.  Yesterday was different.  I wanted company.  It felt really nice to have Angela by my side the entire way. 

We didn't get off to the best start.  I bought several packs of Power Bar gummies at the dollar store a few weeks ago.  What was I doing in the dollar store?  And who buys food there?  Apparently, I do.  They were less than a dollar per pack, how could I resist?  I tried one before we started running to be sure I could stomach them.  Within 5 minutes of running I was keeled over.  It wasn't settling in my stomach.  Ang, the experienced runner that she is, asked to see the package for the expiration date.  Sure enough, EXPIREDNote to self: Never buy anything edible from a dollar store. 

The pain subsided after a mile and a half and it was smooth sailing for the rest of the way.  After mile 15 or so, my body seems to go into auto-pilot mode.  I don't have to tell my legs to move, they just do.  It doesn't necessarily feel easy, actually the opposite.  It feels as though I am moving painfully slow.  In truth, we ran the second half 4 minutes faster than the first half but it felt like slow motion.  Funny how that works.  My body naturally starts to shuffle.  It knows how to move along with the most minimal amount of effort.  I don't lift my knees high.  I move my feet quickly in shorter strides.  I feel like a robot just going, going, going.  As weird as it is, I love this part of the run.  Knowing how far you've gone is such a neat feeling.  Ang and I were talking about how endurance athletes look down at their watch and consider an hour of running the "easy" part.  You're just getting started.  Isn't it amazing that our bodies can take us that far and so much farther?  As always, feeling an intense sense of gratitude for my body. 

I had Ang snap my photo after we got back to the car.  Check out my super sweet compression socks from Rite Aid.  They sell them in the older people section (only $7 and they were pretty helpful!) 

Do you believe in the power of compression? 
What is your favorite brand of compression socks?

Do you prefer to run solo on longer runs? 
Or with a group or a friend?