Adam runs with our Garmin so all of these are approximate guesses.
Yesterday around 3:00 p.m.: I realize that I'm not going to fit a bike ride in and I email Adam to see if he wants to run 5 slow miles on the Katy Trail for a tune-up as we are racing a 5 miler this weekend.
Mile 0: When we start talking about distance and turn around points, Adam lets me know that it "hurts his hips and knees" to run as slow as me so he'll be going on ahead. He'll let me know where the turn around point is when we pass each other on the out and back. GRRRREAT.
Mile .3: I have taken off ahead of him because it takes him nine years to put on all of his running equipment and we all know he'll pass me at the beginning anyway.
Mile .5: I can no longer see him in the distance. Boo. I am slow.
Mile 1: Ok, I've been running for a little longer than 10 minutes so surely I have made it a mile. 1 down, only 4 to go. I've got this.
Mile 1.2: I see a girl I recognize from somewhere and spend the next few minutes trying to figure out where I know her from. Was it high school? College? The sorority? I never figure this out despite passing by her again on the way back. Maybe high school? I vaguely remember not liking her all that much then and wonder if I'd like her now.
Mile 1.5: Finally get my breathing under control. I feel like I am running very fast (spoiler alert: I'm not). This is one of those brief moments in a run where I feel like I own this run and could go on forever.
Mile 2ish: Pass Katy Trail Ice House. Internally curse the smokers on their patio. Seriously? YUCK. Think for awhile how awesome the trail is and how nice it is to be surrounded by a community of bikers, bladers, runners and walkers. Also see a million cute dogs out for their evening walk.
Mile 2.3: See Adam and he tells me to just go all the way to the end of the trail and turn around at the American Airlines Center entrance where there are two silver posts.
Mile 2.5: See the AAC, the silver posts and turn it around. Look at watch, 26 minutes, which is a little slower than I want to be running. Proceed to climb hill and take sip of water from my Camelback and then almost choke. Have trouble getting breathing back for the next couple of minutes.
Mile 3: This is where things get really tough. My legs start screaming at me more than my lungs and I realize that I haven't run a distance of note since the last 5K, which was October 1st. Start feeling angry at myself for not running more since it's not bringing me any back pain and I was feeling so good about my running during the last race. Spend some time in a general malaise. Feel myself slipping into a slower pace but not really able to do anything about it. This isn't going to be an out and back with a negative split (running the second half faster than the first).
Mile 3.3: See probably the third black cat on the trail and start wondering if there is a feral cat problem in Uptown Dallas.
Mile 3.5: Think about how awesome Dallas is. See some of the same people over and over since Katy Trail is so short, you have to turn around at the end points a couple of times to put in any serious mileage. Look for Troy Aikman, who is supposedly a trail regular. Think about dinner. Think about wanting to finish ASAP. Think about how happy I am that my back isn't hurting!
Mile 4: COMPLETELY MISJUDGE where I am and think I've crossed over the last main street and pick up my pace for what I think is the home stretch. It's getting darker so every time I see a streetlight I think I'm coming to the end. Luckily, Tom Petty's "Running Down a Dream" comes on (BEST RUNNING SONG EVER) and I keep pushing despite thinking "I should be done now. I should be done now." over and over in my head.
Mile 4.5: TOTALLY cursing the fact that I've never ran this route before. Looking for Adam around every tree and every corner. Pushing through all of the pain in my legs and starting to wheeze pretty bad. Actually, I think I might have been wheezing since mile 1. I don't think there was any need for me to say "on your left" to the three people I passed, I'm sure they heard me coming.
Mile 4.9: See Adam, practically jump for joy. He meets me at the stopping point.
Mile 5: Turn off heart rate monitor and spend the next few minutes being pissed off that it took me 56 minutes to run 5 miles. I so desperately want to be a little faster but it might just be time to accept what I can do and be happy and proud of that. Spend the next few minutes hacking up a lung and wheezing like a smoker with emphysema. Complain about feeling decrepit but deep down, feel good that I can go and throw down a solid five miles after not running (and mostly slothing around with my back problems) for the last 18 days. Know that I can get better and will get better about running again. Secretly hope that it's a tad bit warmer on race day because my lungs much prefer it.