I dreaded the four miles I had before me. It was my long run day in preparation for the upcoming 10 Miler here in Lynchburg. I was missing my running partner, Joy. Our schedules were not aligning this week for the first time in the 12 weeks we’ve been training together. Three years ago we had gotten together to run the 4 miler, a shorter but still challenging part of the 10 Miler events. It was a miracle that we even finished because we had not done any kind of preparation whatsoever. On the course we talked about how next time we were going to do the 10 so our t-shirts that said, “Virginia 10-Miler” would be legit. But life got in the way, she had her first baby and then another. I had a running injury and by the time I was ready to get started again I was pregnant with Abigail. It was one of the best days of the summer when the surgeon finally gave me the stamp of approval to run again. I immediately went to get some new sneakers, and Joy and I began the tedious process of building up our stamina. What started out as run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes has become 13+ miles a week. The days I look most forward to are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays (or Sundays) when we get together to follow our “Hal Higdon” 10 mile training plan. The running seems easier with all the talk of babies, life, and reality TV. We have laughed and cried our way through miles and miles of running together. So the run today felt lonely. The weather was perfect, though, and we’d just run 6 miles last Saturday so I knew a mere 4 shouldn’t be too bad. I am my own worst enemy, as most of us are. When I got out of the car in the Glass parking lot all I could think about were the many hills between me and the 4 mile marker on Rivermont. Joy and I have a joke we use any time we are feeling like we want to quit on the course, “WWED?” or “What would Emily do?” (Emily is my younger sister and is the strongest person I know. She ran her first marathon last November.) So naturally we have used her as our inspiration and all we have to say is “WWED” and our feet pick up the pace a little. I ran up the first hill thinking WWED, WWED, WWED. It was right about then that a very fit woman whizzed by me in her perfect running attire complete with running skirt and iPod. I’m not a competitive person usually, but there is something sort of discouraging about being passed by someone on a hill. Well, I kept on, and as I did I passed the two mile road marker, then the three. As I ran up the Rivermont Terrace hill who should appear but the perky skirt runner extraordinaire on her way back. She looked me dead in the eye with a big smile and goes, “You’re doing great!” I smiled back, said a quick “thanks,” and she was gone. It was all I needed to keep going. I ran on with a much stronger sense of focus and pride in what I was accomplishing. In a couple of weeks I will be running THE Virginia 10-Miler. For those of you who aren’t from Lynchburg you should know that it is a pretty big deal. http://www.virginiatenmiler.com/
The course is challenging, and I still get intimidated when I think about that final 1.5 mile “Farm Basket Hill” But I know I will be ready – especially when I think of Emily, Joy, Colleen, and Heather who have all played a part in getting me to this point and who will all be running in this race. The next day I will be heading to the west coast. I can’t think of a better way to end my time here in Lynchburg.