Four Miles is More Than Three Miles

12 Nov

Today was my first group long run. We ran four miles. Four miles is farther and longer than three miles. I mean, I guess I should have known this. It wasn’t long ago that one mile seemed like an accomplishment. But my body has gotten used to three miles. It’s not always easy and comfortable, but most days it feels okay. But four miles. Four miles is hard.

I was extremely nervous for some reason before heading out to meet the group. I wasn’t nervous in my head, but I could tell that my body was having nervous reactions. My stomach felt weird and I felt restless. My head told my body to stop being silly. What was there to be nervous about? The absolute worse thing that could happen is that I wouldn’t be able to run the entire four miles and would have to stop and walk. And where is the shame in that?

When I got out there our coach was going over some stretches to do after our run. We stretch every day at bootcamp, so I didn’t pay too close attention during this part. Instead I was fiddling with my phone trying to find a good 8tracks mix to use. Then, the coach looked around and said “I see a lot of headphones. For today, just use one ear bud, but try to do without because they aren’t allowed during the race.” That was kind of a bummer. I knew that some races didn’t allow headphones, but I thought that my little old hometown half marathon would not be so strict. It turns out that it is an insurance issue. Fair enough, but I do like being able to zone out for a couple of miles. This is something I will have to get used to. For today, I already had my phone and earphones (I don’t use earbuds, so the one-ear thing wasn’t really an option for me) so I carried them for awhile, then put them on and listened to Casual Vacancy for the middle two miles, then took them back off for the last mile.

I tried to start sort of in the middle of the pack. We were encouraged to run at our half marathon pace. Usually when I run I feel happy if I keep to a 10 minute mile. I know that’s not anything to be super proud of, but according to my runkeeper app that is about average for me. About a third of the way into the first mile one of the coaches ran up beside a group of us and said, “Watch your pace. You’re running at about an 8.5 minute mile right now. Slow down if you need to.” That was me. I needed to slow down. I’m not used to group runs and didn’t like all of those people passing me! But I knew that since I wasn’t very comfortable with the distance I needed to slow it on down. I fell in beside a girl, and we spoke briefly and then just ran beside one another for about a mile. At some point she fell behind and I started trying to keep pace with a different girl. We were never beside one another we just kept passing one another. On the last little leg of the run I stopped trying to keep up with her. I wanted to stop and walk so badly at about mile 3.5, but I knew that I could run the whole way so I kept going. I have no idea what my time looked like, but I was happily not one of the last people. (I also was definitely not one of the first.) I was probably somewhere in the last third of people.

So my first long run was a success! Next week’s is also four miles. I think I am going to have to miss it though, because I have to go to Atlanta for the weekend. I will be on my own having to figure out a four-mile route. I am definitely glad to have the group to do these longer runs with. Especially when we start getting up into scary distances. Having the group there forces me to be a little competitive and push myself, which I might not be able to do by myself.

To celebrate my first long run I gave myself the chocolate Zico I got at the grocery store earlier in the week. Yum! 🙂 I also tried my hand at cauliflower-crust pizza for the fourth time this week. I’m getting better at it. This was yummy, even though it didn’t look too pretty.


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