A few years ago, a coworker friend of mine started organizing long runs on Saturdays. As a somewhat avid runner at that point in time, I joined up and was fairly consistent with my attendance. On an exceptionally nice day, when I was feeling not as adequate a runner, I joined the Saturday crew for an 8 mile run. I had fallen off the “runner” wagon, and had not been running as frequently, so by the time we had started our return leg of the out-and-back, I was really hearing my knee pain talk. My brain was shouting to take it easier, my mind was set on keeping up, and the pain in my knee finally caused a limp I could not control. I was surprised by a screaming tendon and frustratingly uncontrollable tears and was forced to walk the last 2.5 miles to our starting location, where my friends awaited my return.
Ever since that day, I have been afraid of running more than eight miles. I let this one event become my crutch, and clung to that experience as if it would not alway haunt me, but that each run exceeding 7.99 miles would undoubtably achieve the same result as that single, excruciating experience.
Then something amazing happened. After doing a solo experiment of 6.5 miles the last weekend of December, I chose to go for a long run – 8.3 mi with my Saturday Run pals the first weekend of January… and I had no pain. I was ecstatic! Not only did my knee not hurt, but I was able to sprint the last couple of blocks. I have signed myself up as a regular part of the Saturday Run crew again, and after last week’s run of 8.5 mi, tomorrow we’ll conquer 9.5 miles.
Last weekend, the run was so well planned, and the scenery so diverse, it felt much shorter than 8.5miles. We started in Willamette Park and headed across the Sellwood Bridge (last weekend before they move the bridge). It was a beautifully foggy day.
After a short jaunt through the neighborhood we made our second crossing of the bridge, back up to the road and into River View Cemetery. Up, up, and up the hill we went!
After cresting the hill, we cheered for each other as we ran through the gate at the top as if we were finishing a race. Turning back toward the hill, this time pointing downward, we passed the bagpiper who was warming up for a ceremony, and headed back down the hill at a nice clip toward the Park. The combination of cool foggy air and the ease of downhill running made many a finger turn to ice despite our accelerated pace. In the end we came around the bend, and it was once again a delight to have finished a long run with a great group of ladies.