I woke up this morning to thunder and rain, but it had mostly cleared off where we were by the time we met to run. I had seen Leah (an earlier runner in my series) at the coffee shop Wednesday and learned she and Carmen were planning to do a long run today, and since I was planning to do a long run as well, I jumped at the chance.
Carmen is one of the group of ladies in town I look at as running role models - the ladies in their group have all qualified for Boston at one time or another, some several times.
Carmen started running in college because she had a friend that did, and the rest is history. She's run nine marathons so far in her career (three of which were Boston), and lots of halfs and other races. She and her husband and two kids live outside of Fairmont.
As we ran down the road together, lightning flashed occasionally from a storm off in the distance. It was beautiful really.
I knew this morning would push me, and it did. I looked down at my watch at one point during the run to see that our average was a good bit faster than my normal pace, even more so for a long run. What surprised me is my perceived effort - moderate, but not unbearable. Even so, it set off alarm bells in my head, and as I backed off to let them go (my fast was still slow for them), I ran the last two miles of the first leg back to my house. That was the end of my run for today - six miles of a planned 16. It was a struggle to make the decision to stop - it wasn't out of exhaustion but out of desire.
This streak has taught me so much about running, about other local runners, about drive, about struggle, but mostly, about myself. Running today with Carmen showed me again what I can do if I stop listening to my watch and listen to my body instead - today in the form of pace, not mileage. Had I decided before I got to my turnaround point that I was only going to do six this morning, I would've stuck with the girls and think that I could have. So much of running is a mind game. These runs have filled my mind with inspiration and hope and courage and joy and today was no different.
Thanks for the run Carmen, it was fun to finally spend a little time with you! ⛈💦🏃🏼♀