Monday, July 28, 2008

Here I go, it's my shot. Feet fail me not.

Katherine lies. Or rather, she lies by omission. In addition to running the Seacoast Half Marathon with me in November, she recently signed up to run the Boston Half in October. So on Saturday, we decided to meet up downtown for a long run. I got there a few minutes early and waited in the early morning sunshine for Kate. The only other people around were window washers.

"Welcome to your future," Kate said as she handed me sunscreen, "waking up before everyone else in the world to run."

"I don't sleep late anyway," I said. Which is true. But there's a difference between not sleeping late and getting up at 6am on a Saturday. By choice.

I told Kate I'd follow her lead since after training for the Nike Women's Marathon last year, she was familiar with the distances of the loops along the river. "We'll do the Museum of Science bridge to the Anderson Bridge and loop back around," she said. "That's eight miles."


So we started running. We talked about all the kinds of things you talk about when you're running including the new phenomenon of girls running in tube tops, (Why? A lack of tan lines is not worth boobs you can tie around your waist), recent doctor's appointments and the various relationships between our friends. I observed that runners talk louder than normal people because of the heavy breathing, etc. and as such, they always seem to be sharing something personal when someone, inevitably NOT wearing headphones runs by in the other direction.

"Yeah, runners are oversharers," Kate said. "It's part of the whole deal."

And so we kept running, stopping only once or twice to get water at one of the water fountains along the route and to soak my grungy, salt-stained camo Red Sox hat in cold water.

After a while, we reached the bridge and Kate made as if to turn.

"You said the Anderson Bridge," I said, "that one up there is the Anderson." I pointed to a bridge a quarter mile or so in the distance.

"Oh, okay," Kate said, and we kept running.

A few miles later, Kate checked her watch.

"So I have a confession to make," she said, "and you're too tired now to hurt me."

"What's that?" I asked.

"That bridge that we were gonna turn on? That's eight miles. The one we did turn on makes this route at least nine."

"Nine miles?" I said. "I'm running nine miles?"

"At least."

I'm not sure if she thought I was going to be upset, that I'd stop running, or that I'd collapse right there and die, but really, the opposite happened. I'm not sure if I said it, but I definitely thought, "awesome."

Because nine miles is a mile and a half longer than my previous long run. Or at least, that's what I thought until I got home and mapped our route on Gmap Pedometer.

I sent Kate a text message. "Gmap says we ran 9.7 miles. That is madness."

"Holy crap!" she said when she called me later, "no wonder we were tired."

Which, yes, we were, or I was. But it was the good kind of tired. The "I smell like a gym locker and I'm covered in enough salt to season a roast pig and my feet are sore and I have blisters and probably a sunburn but I kind of feel like Superwoman right now." That's the good kind of tired.

Because the thing is, six months ago, I couldn't run a mile. I huffed and I puffed and I sweated and I swore and I kept running. And on Saturday, I ran nearly ten miles. My goal a few months ago was to be able to run five miles without stopping. And now, I've nearly doubled that. And I'm not done yet.