Like I said, I’m not a runner. I’ve never really been a runner. I’ve only participated in two organized races in my life – a 5K that I was woefully unprepared for and another 5K that I was moderately unprepared for.
A few summers ago, I started running with a neighbor/coworker. In the beginning, we were exhausted after what was probably 1/4 mile. I live near a neighborhood where a little road winds between fancy ponds and a branch of Beargrass Creek. Few cars take the road, which made it ideal for our slow, erratic plodding. There is a flat, straight length of the road that we called “The Stretch.” It was our goal to run that entire length without stopping. After a couple of tries, we made it. We gradually added more landmark indicators to our course – a dead duck near the side of the road, a daycare we called Tater Tots. Gradually, we were able to run a decent part of our two-mile route.
And then one night after work, my neighbor wasn’t available to run. So I ran alone. I ran from our starting line through The Stretch, past the dead duck and Tater Tots. Before I knew it, I had completed the whole course. So I kept running. I finished 1 1/2 laps – or three miles. It was probably the longest I’d ever ran nonstop.
We kept running that summer, eventually logging several miles under our belts. Then one hot, muggy August evening, we hit a wall. We were trying a 5-mile route I had mapped on Google. Right away, everything was off. The temperature was in the 90s, and the humidity was unbearable. We pushed on, though, making it about halfway through the course before I gave out. I just couldn’t take another step. I’d never felt that way before. Looking behind me, my partner was nearly a 1/2 mile back and struggling like I was. I waited for her to catch up, and when she did, we walked home and never ran together again.
She eventually moved, and I took up running at the gym. It’s not the same, though. I’m eager to get back out on the route when it warms up. Until then, I guess I’ll focus on training indoors.
At least there won’t be any dead ducks.