Dogging my way through....

I like winging it... A "Type A" personality I am not. I do love to race it up however, and for the last few years I have embraced the lifestyle of an endurance athlete- endless training, lack of a social life, and always, always, always having sore legs...

I dabbled in triathlon back in the day (mid 90's), but it came easy back then, being 16, unbreakable, and a zippy fast xcountry runner. 13 years of smokey bars and rocknroll debauchery had me questioning a return and I am surprised as anyone to find myself in better shape than I ever been, going farther than I ever have, and still being able to sling a guitar and belt out a tune or two...

The musician in me hides when the racing flats come on and the runner in me cringes when I down a shot (or three) of the whiskey... So this will be my attempt to keep a foot in each of the world's that move me to act... writing a song... running 20 miles... there really is no difference. It is what it is!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

About that streak....

  • Started Dec. 31st 2010.
  • Made it through. Still going.
  • The early months were the toughest. Not enough miles invested.
  • Almost forgot only once. That was a hard get out of bed.
  • Nightly routine.
  • The return of the two-a-day.
  • Wore running shorts year round. Always prepared. In addition to it being a cutting edge fashion statement.
  • The run commute. Summertime fun.
  • Get hurt- streak ends, so best not get hurt. Conserve, conserve, and save some for the next run.
  • Serious self- monitoring. Tune in, but also tune out.
  • Brushing teeth while running, twice.
  • Anytime. Anyplace. Accountable.
  • 2 miles a day after 100 miles. Absolute Brutality.
  • Rain isn't so bad. At least you can skip the shower. Scratch that... Rain sucks.
  • Recovery runs do exist. You just have to run slow. Nope... slower than that.
  • Always felt better after.
  • In a 24 hour day, there's always time to run a couple miles.
"with hope in our hearts and wings on our heels”

Why hello there bicycles... Here's to 2012.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

ARK 100... the short version.

So normally I begin these race reports with a brief description of my preparation involved leading up to the race, but because I wanted to get right to running for about two weeks beforehand, I’m gonna skip it. Let’s just say I brought EVERYTHING. Except arm warmers… forgot those and I wish I hadn’t. Oh, and extra headlamp batteries… even more terrible. Although to my credit, I did put in new ones before leaving. Anyways, on to the running!!
Balmy 40 degree weather greeted us. I hopped out of the van pretty much ready to go. I’d been anticipating this start for about 6 months now and the idea of rolling an ankle or catching a cold in the last minutes before starting… well, it was all I was thinking about. Every breath measured for pure smoothness and every swallow of the throat a little mini physical checkup. Check in the five drop bags that we were allowed and it was time to go.
A quick countdown and then a deafening gun-blast destroyed the morning calm. Most of us running hesitated. I do know everyone jumped. 6am is much too early to be firing guns and there are no false starts in a 100 miler. We were off.
I won’t even begin to explain why I decided to take on this challenge, but I’m sure if you asked every person running, they’d have their own unique reason. These mostly unspoken reasons unite and bond and the fellowship of the runners participating in an event like this, as well all others intimately involved: volunteers, support crews, pacers, significant others, is unparalleled.
I ran by myself for the first 9 or so miles. I chose to just do what I do and not get mixed up in the early conversations and pacing strategies of others. Plus I liked the early morning slow wake up on the feet thing. I am NOT a morning person. NOT. At all.
So after the first couple hours of running, I entered the only real section of 100% trail single-track. I LOVE a good single track so I was definitely going to enjoy it. A nice climb up, running under a great forest canopy, the sun shining without being warm, made for one of those perfect views. I also came up on one guy I know I can run with. Jacob Evans, the character at the root of my ultra running business, was just up ahead running easily. He too was attempting his first 100 miler. We hooked up and began our usual back and forth
You know you’ve got it bad when you start talking about the next 100 you’ll do, with 90 miles left of your first 100. That’s Jacob. We ran through the some really gorgeous terrain and came out of the single- track section at the first of 5 drop bag aid stations. Kota and Jen were out there and would greet me at all of the aid stations where crews were allowed. I do think I was the only whose crew was half pup. At these aid stations I could get stuff I’d brought; new socks, shoes, foodstuffs, etc. These aid stations were the bright beacons throughout the course. I’ve got myself a good team. Just get to the next drop bag aid station and all was well. Keeping them 10- 17 miles apart kept that running pace honest.
           A lot of people talk of just letting the miles roll by without thinking. I think those people are telling fairy tales… because no matter how hard I tried, I kept the most rigorous tally of my distance, both miles already covered, and miles to come. I wasn’t paying any attention to time at all, but I knew exactly where I was on that course. The race directors did an amazing job marking this course. A blessing at night! Every five miles there were signs reminding you of where you were and what was coming. Before I knew it we were hitting mile 31, and the second drop bag aid station, Lake Winona. I took some time to switch shoes here.
I ran the first 31 miles in my Montrail Rogue Racers. My favorite shoe. (Although, to be honest, I’ve got about four favorites.) It’s good and light and just perfect for my feet. It is lacking in a good toecap and I tend to slide my feet a lot, especially as I get tired. This sliding, while great for road racing, means I kick rocks, and we were going to be running on either kinda rocky jeep roads or very rocky stream beds for the rest of the 100. I’d also be running at night, where those rocks reach out and grab ya. I’d be kicking many a rock. So on slid the Montrail Masochists. Yes. That is the name of the shoe. It’s as light a shoe as “real” trail shoes come and it has great toecap protection. Back on the road with less than 70 to go.
A few miles on I decided to get back to doing my thing. Jacob and I had come upon a few other runners and each time we did, the pace seemed to push up a tick. Not much, and to the casual observer, it would have been impossible to notice, but I could feel it each and every time. I had a pace and I liked it. Plus I’d run out of stuff to say since, and for those that know me, I’m a man of few words.
 Back to being alone, the full weight of the day’s events hit me and I went through the worst of both the physical and mental suffering. I seem to have a battle with miles 35-45. It happened in my 50 miler and it happened again this day. By now all the little things were bugging me and I started to wonder just how much walking I’d end up doing before the day was done. I never felt like quitting but I was seriously considering walking the next 50 miles. As luck would have it, the second 50 would be much more bearable, and actually, unbelievably, more enjoyable.
I figured I’d get some sort of motivation knowing that I’d be running further than I ever had once I crossed that 50 mile mark, and it definitely came about. I weighed in at the 47 mile aid station, and had lost a few pounds. I addressed this immediately with a nice full bottle of good stuff. Apparently I’d been slacking on my hydration, my mind on all those small things. There had been a nice long section of uphill climbing and it coincided with the highest temps of the day, and while I was drinking, I wasn’t drinking enough. After that wake up call, for the rest of the run, I was much more on top of my hydration and surprise surprise, felt much better. I’d finish the run only a pound off my start weight.
             The turnaround for this odd out and back course was actually at mile 57. We had completed a 17 mile loop before heading out on the out and back section. At the turnaround I received my first reward. Joyous music!! I had my little ipod shuffle waiting and I got to kick out the jams the rest of the run. Music has the power to move the soul, so I figured asking it to move the legs would be easy. Music did her thing and now we were cooking.

Mile 60 something… It was dark and I’d been running the uphills feeling stronger the longer I went. This was not expected at all and I was worried if I stopped I’d feel terrible again. I was hurting quite a bit and everything was sore but in a muted way, like sound through water or light through dirty glass. The presence was one step removed and the energy continued to flow. So up the hills I’d go. It was getting chilly again and I decided to race light so I dumped everything but one bottle. I’d been eating potatoes the last couple of aid stations and when dipped in salt, reminded me of french-fries. Like manna from heaven! Potatoes, along with a couple candy bars would be my fuel for the rest of the run.  
By now most runners had pacers helping them out. They were allowed somewhere after 50 miles, and I think I only saw a couple lone runners the rest of the race. While some racers may have been running together (aka the guys chasing me the last two miles), most were paired up, one racer, one pacer. You can tell a pacer from a racer by the amount of bottles, packs, lights, etc that they are carrying. They kind of reminded me of little, cute donkeys. That’s what I was seeing anyways… Once a pacer enters this pacer/racer relationship… Man, racers are not shy about putting a pacer to work! Pacers can be quite helpful and I was debating my choice to go it alone.
So, why did I forgo running with a pacer? In a word… Old man rocking chair syndrome. I can get pretty grumpy on my long runs. It’s a familiar part of my routine on nearly all runs over 15 miles, and I’m ok dealing with the “everything annoys me” me. Even though it is an amazingly thorough cathartic process for me, I do not necessarily wish anyone else to be forced to suffer while I go through it. This was my main reason for deciding to forgo having a pacer for this race. I knew I’d have more than my fair share of ups and downs and I was just fine keeping that part of me to myself. I really would of enjoyed someone’s extra light and carrying support, but the 75 some odd miles run solo was pretty fun too. My other reason for running solo was purely selfish. I wanted to do this first one myself. However, thanks to all those offering their pacing services, I will probably take ya up on the offer when I’m looking to crack 20hrs. Just so you know… you have been doubly warned. You’ll be running “fast” AND dealing with a sourpuss.
Mid 70’s the mileage. My one and only big scare. Not an animal, not a hunter (opening day for bow season). Just my headlamp. My brand new, fully tested, got new batteries, purchased because my last headlamp couldn’t cut it headlamp. At first I thought my eyes were getting fuzzy, a result of staring into a 6 foot wide beam of light. I couldn’t make out the little rocks anymore. Then I couldn’t make out the big rocks. Hmmmm… The trail seems to be much narrower. The trees closing in… I run through the three settings and nothing changes. No red light, no super bright light, just the dim beam. New batteries + two hours of usage = this light better be working. And into an aid station I run. I’m about to ask for batteries but I run through the settings again and they are working just fine. The smart guy would still ask for a new set, but I skip it seeing that all’s well in the aid station. Ahhh such is the way of things. The serenity of an aid station.
A mile out of the aid station, at a bottom of a hill, the light goes completely out. Pitch black middle of the darkest forest I’ve been in quite some time. No time to panic… Sometimes the coincidental absurdities of life hit just right. All I could see at the top of the hill were three lights shining. People!! Salvation!! I was going be running with some folks again. I push up the hill, fastest hill I’d run all night, running up what happened to be a straight line, over the grassiest part of the course (luck going my way!!) and catch up to John and John. Probably the two nicest guys on the course. John the racer, lends me his extra penlight and John the pacer tells me to get back to it.  Two quick miles to the next aid station, a roaring campfire, some chicken soup, and fresh batteries await (oh that aid station serenity again). My headlamp and inner light shining. I only briefly ponder on what could have been.
I hit mile 80 at right about midnight and I begin the longest series of math equations I’ve done in awhile. 20 miles in 6 hours = 24hr finish. 20 miles in 360 minutes gives me 16min per mile… (hold onto that) 4 miles an hour = 5 hrs to finish. 4 miles an hour = 15 min mile… something is off. I’m doing fuzzy math. For easily 3 miles (about 45mins), I work that problem back and forth certain of each answer but knowing something is not reconciled. I quit doing the math and get back to running. I hate math anyways.
Mile 88 to 90 were probably the two longest miles of the day. Not the worst. Just super long. I must have hit the last big climb or two cause I kept running and hiking, running and hiking, waiting to see that mile 90 marker. It never came… I must be past it… I must have had my head down, past it, and I easily could have missed it. Right?? RIGHT?? I know… I know… I’ve seen every single marker since 50... but I HAD to have missed that one. I’m in the 90’s. DEFINITELY in the 90’s… There’s an aid station at mile 91.4. Gotta be close…. Annnny minute now. Any second now. Maybe at the top of this rise…. Or this one. Gotta be close… definitely in the 90’s… definitely in the… Mile 90 marker. Ugh…
6.3 miles to go. No more aid stations. Just me, the trail, and a little more than a 10K. Hands down the most fun 10K I have ever run. I flew out of the aid station and let the legs fly. I didn’t care about the consequences. (Oh yeah!! 20 miles in 360 mins… 18 min miles. That’s it!!) I was amazed I could still be going and moving quickly. Did 1.3 miles in less than 12 mins. 5 miles to go and all the best songs started playing. Since its my playlist, theoretically all the songs are great… but you know… the best BEST songs started rolling through. I was running hard to the finish No walking, fast hiking, trundling along. I was running. And even better, I was being chased.
Within the last two miles, I took a on-the- go pee break (I gotta technique. I can teach ya), and while I wasn’t stopping for anything I did slow down. Mid release, twin light beams spotlight my happenings. The idea of being passed so close to the end reminded me that sometimes I am a competitor. These aren’t just battles of wills against the self. I do like to triumph over others. Press down. Shut up legs. Embrace. Accept. One true thing.
The last half mile was on the road. Uphill, but on the road. I can run some street races. Let the legs go. Got over the finish line run, run, running. Later when going back over the race splits, I ended up covering those final 6.3 miles quicker than all but first and second place. Two minutes separated the three of us over those 6 miles. Small victory. 5 hours separated us over the entire distance. Man I have my work cut out for me. 22hours 27mins. Speed is relative.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A real live actual race report!!

Summer Solstice 6hr Race Report:
So considering this was the second farthest I have ever run, and I had such a great time doing it, I figured it deserved a little write up. So here it is…

I was chauffeured in style out to Abilene by Jacob Evans, my buddy and fellow competitor who pulled me through my first 50 miler (which he also drove to- thanks!) and as we drove, the temperature outside kept climbing. By the time we got to the race site at 8pm it was 107 degrees with a nice blowing wind that felt like a hairdryer set on full blast. Luckily we were racing at 9pm and it cooled off to about 102... Sweet!!

The race course was a mile loop around a little city park with just enough light see a paved path, with a little dirt trail next to it. I made great use of the dirt path throughout, finding relief for my feet and taking those curved tangents nice and tight. An aid station right past the mile marker made it easy to race light and carry very little. We set up our own little aid station with chairs and everything we could possibly need. We stayed right next to the “official” aid station which was probably wise since it forced us to get around the whole mile before taking a break to pick up stuff. I decided to race in my Brooks Green Silence racing flats since they served me quite well in an earlier marathon and my Bicycle Path socks cause they are the best.

At the starting line, Jacob and I were clearly the most restless ones out there. It was noticed by others. Jumpiness at an ultra is almost odd to me but being the newbie I am, I just want to get started running and quit thinking about how long we would actually be running for. A weak horn started the run and we were off. Jacob set the pace and quickly settled into a rhythm. We were both expecting a couple of the 3 hour racers to go out quickly but the heat of the day was making people cautious so we ended up leading it out. That made me a bit nervous… like we didn’t know something everyone else did, but Jacob had raced it the year before so I went with it. We went through mile one at 8:10 which I figured it was a little too quick for me so I backed off a bit. Jacob kept on churning out slightly sub 8min miles, while I stayed in the 8:10- 8:20 min range, depending on the length of my drink breaks.

After three miles (just breaking a sweat) I was running pretty much by myself with one other guy hovering sometimes in front of me (ok) and other times slightly behind me (not ok.... at all...) so, with noone to talk to I plugged in the ipod and let my play list dictate my pacing. Looking back at all of my mile splits, I had a ton of splits within a second of one another, and quite a few that were exactly the same time, so my pacing was spot on. We went around and around clicking off miles and I decided early on, I would forgo walking until I absolutely had to, rather than interspersing random walk breaks to forestall the terrible feeling of fatigue. This was exactly opposite to my plan going in but that’s the fun of these long runs… too much time to change your mind about such things.

I was feeling great in spite of the heat so it seemed the way to go. I carried myself quite well for 18-19 miles and somewhere in there caught up to Jacob who was having some stomach issues. We chatted a bit and then he let me go and after and little more than 2 and half hours, I found myself in the lead for the first time of the day. I was not expected that at all and I enjoyed the feeling for quite awhile. A few miles later, I past him again, putting one mile up on him. I kept moving, getting a bunch of great songs all in a row and then came across Jacob sitting on a bench and breaking the rule of no stopping while feeling good, I pulled over, sat down with him and we started chatting. From a competitive racing standpoint, this was probably the worst thing I could of done for myself, but it was a decision made with no thoughts to victory, something I really like about ultra running. I helped talk him out of his funk and we got up and started going nice and easy. As soon as I stood up I knew I was gonna be in for it since every bit of me protested mightily. Jacob and I clicked off a bunch of miles together, running some, walking some, and on one of those walk breaks, I went for some watermelon. The devil’s watermelon.

 Due to a slower pace, I was consuming way too much beverage and water, and while it comfortable in the run walk mode, it would prove to be fatal for to ever get back on a good pace. I’d gone through the half marathon in 1:47 and the marathon in 3:49 and could see where I was headed. At mile 28, we stopped and check where other competitors were on the course. Jacob had 26 miles, as did another competitor. This became the phantom runner, since we had never seen the guy. I’m not sure I ever did until the awards. As soon as Jacob heard someone was on his heels he clicked back into racer mode and was off. Skipping the aid station, putting his head down he went for it back to his old pace, just a slight bit slower. I followed for about a mile and realized it was a lost cause, I was going to be doing damage control for the rest of the night.

Time: 4 hours 45mins. The next 3 miles were absolutely the worst for me but I kept moving. I quit eating or drinking anything since the stomach was having none of it. I knew I was in for a miserable last hour, and as I came up to the aid station, I saw my girlfriend Jennifer and my pup Kota hanging out. She had driven down from Denton after flying back from China (thank you!!) and as I hadn’t seen her in two weeks, I decided one more mile and I’d be good. Worst mile ever but I finally got rid of that watermelon in epic style. I had a bit of double vision and some serious thundering in my ears- not emanating from the music. I got through that mile and at 5 hours 11 mins I sat down in the most comfy chair ever, took off my shoes and put my feet up.

Sometimes I really think I start a run just so I can stop running, because that is the best feeling ever. I was more than satisfied with my run for the night and I had no problem watching Jacob come around a few more times solidifying his overall victory. About 30 mins to the finish, Jacob came up and took a break, where I decided to test his Redbull theory- slam an ice cold Redbull and just GO!! (not for the faint of heart, or the sensible). I went with him for one more mile. I actually felt pretty good again but coming around the mile clock I decided 33 miles were plenty. I pulled my chip and waited out the last 15mins. My 33 miles ended up being good for third place, Jacob getting 1st, and the phantom runner getting 2nd. They both completed 36 miles. The temp got down to a brisk 92 degrees and it actually felt pretty cool. We all hung out a bit before going home… I slept in the backseat most of the way. Not sure what I’m going to do when I actually have to drive myself to one of these!! Thanks Jacob for running with me, and thanks Jennifer for making it down there. It made stopping that much better!! More running to go. Countdown to my first attempt at 100 miles.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Still waiting for that Texas heat...

So this past weekend I knocked out the first semi- long race of the season. A triathlon taking a bit over three hours. I found myself dipping a toe in chilly waters much too early and wishing the day was hotter. Much hotter. It was much too comfortable of a day. Not enough suffering... No excuses not to be faaassstttt!! For some reason... I really enjoy the intense, blistering heat that only Texas can muster up. There's something about burning up from the inside out I look forward to. Doing everything possible to cool oneself and failing miserably. Running at 3pm with absolutely no possibility or thoughts of maintaining some “speed” or “pace” When temps hit 100, I’m just thankful to be moving forward at all. Coming in from tonight’s run, wearing a long sleeve to ward off a rainy chill… I’m seriously missing those days, but the pup is shedding profusely so it won’t be long now. August plodding will soon be upon us.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

100 days of truckin...

So its been a while, but i didn't want to break my running streak by talking about it. I decided a couple of weeks into january that I was going to attempt to run every day through 2011. I figured I had already come close last year with how much I have to run the pup and had already gone 20 some odd days and like many things, it seemed a good idea at the time. 

 First off, to qualify as a "run" I have to go at least a mile. I went with this distance because a mile was a huge obstacle that hung over us kids (runners or non) in elementary/ middle school... the day you had to RUN THE MILE. Many kids developed mysterious illnesses around this time. Some days this mile still seems like an impossiblity. It also happens that my shortest pup run route is 1.2 miles so it works out well. Today I hit a first with a hundred straight days of running. It came with the successful defense of my USAT Collegiate Nationals Sprint title so it was a nice 100th run. I've had a few tough days- running when slightly ill is no good fun, but as always... as soon as its over, I feel better. Lacing the shoes being the toughest part. It has become part of the daily routine, which was the point, and at this point only injury will bust this streak up... so we're crossing fingers and icing often! It finally feels like race season has begun.

Day 100... 

Monday, January 10, 2011

When Colorado calls... I answer... 2010 all sewn up.

So I would have gotten to my 2010 wrap up a little sooner but skiing in Colorado came first… and  going from one snowy wonderland into another, (I love Denton snows) here’s a bit of a summation for the past year. And what an excellent one it was.

2010 was a year of travelling a ton, getting to race, run, and lounge in some very beautiful places: New Mexico, Kansas, California, Washington, Alaska, Canada, Maine, Missouri, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and of course, good ol' Texas. Driving through the night, counting down the miles, and eating delicious "road" foods (airplane flights still a luxury to be savored...) brought back many memories of previous rocknroll tours. Fellow racers replacing band mates, amps and guitars giving way to bikes and transition bags. Bikes usually end up being more annoying to pack. Amps kinda stack up nicely and if you’re good at Tetris... piece of cake.

Some yearly highlights: Taos, New Mexico, Switching jobs… being back in a bike shop has been excellent, Overall win at the Nationals Collegiate Sprint triathlon, going sub 4:30 in a half- iron, Alaska, Alaska, Alaska, a very random Y equals reunion show, qualifying for the Boston marathon, and knocking out my first 50 mile run. Getting through my final math class was pretty sweet too. A totally different type of victory altogether.

This year I also attempted to log as much of my training as I could and I was relatively successful. I figured since I train with no plan, the least I could do is monitor and review what I actually do. Logging workouts helped get me out when I really didn't want to. Too many blank spaces on a calendar became a finger pointing and shaming me silently. Another great motivation to log was to have a cumulative yearly workout total. I also believe every step counts, one no less important than the next, so I'll break it down as such.

Swimming Total: 62hrs 41m; 181032 meters; 3620 laps/ 137,584 strokes; Clearly, swimming is my least favorite, and I commit wholeheartedly to doing even less in 2011. Less is more… So waaaayy less is waaaayy more!!

Biking Total: 161hrs 7m; 2510 miles/ 1,624,056 revolutions; The wheels on the bike go round and round!! My new mountain bike Zippy will hopefully bring some much needed excitement to my riding. Loving those trails!

Running Total: 100hrs 37m; 738.5 miles/ 1,086,660 steps; I'm hoping to seriously increase this one for 2011... why not... I'm already used to tire, beat up feet.

Some things to look forward to in 2011: I'll be looking to race locally a ton more, saving the outta town trips for the few ultra runs I'll be picking out. I really like flying to races, staying at friends, with only my backpack and shoes in tow. I will also get back on top of my skiing... It was definitely given the cold shoulder (haha) in 2010, but after a nice trip to Colorado, skiing has schussed its way back into my heart . So, I'll be racing hard in 2011 but mixing it up a bunch more than last year and having some fun. Gotta make this a lifestyle not a life!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

When the wheels fall off...

Alright… it’s been a few days since my first 50 miler… and while I might be a Johnny- come-lately to this ultra/ trail running thing, I am no less hooked!! And while I’ve heard you got to forget your last marathon before being insane enough to do your next…. I was salivating to pick out the next before even finishing. For an actual race/run report… hit up my friend Jacob’s blog…  He was kind enough to run the entire day with me and really pulled me along when it got rough. He nailed the details of our day… For me, I’ll go over some of the things that I noticed and experienced. A bit of an overview.
 What struck me the most was just how different the race day atmosphere was to what I experience in the triathlon world… So laidback and mellow. All the runners were there to do their own thing and the amount of support by the racers (since that’s all who was out there) was simply amazing. No pressure! Its hard to explain... but at a tri, there is so much personal pressure emanating from others it can be infectious. Camping and hanging out at the race site helped keep it simple. I was planning on running with music, since it helps greatly when the going gets tough, but ended up forgoing pulling out the Ipod since conversation would have been impossible, and conversation made the day. I very much love technical,  winding single track and hills on an ultra course are fun… you get to walk, should walk, and start looking forward to those hills to being able to.
The biggest surprise was not that it would get hard, and it got very difficult, but how I felt when it did. I was waiting and waiting for that wall to hit and had figured I’d make it to about 30 miles without incident. It took 35 and it was pretty instant, but the sense of relief I felt once the wheels fell off was huge.  Once I knew how bad it would be I also knew I could finish one way or another. Acceptance. I was also hoping for that horrible feeling to pass, which it did for the last 5.  That final stretch was incredible. Everything hurt, but there seemed to be an endless reserve of energy to draw from, including the hurt. I think I would have felt cheated if I hadn’t seriously suffered, but I was quite glad it turned around and we were able to finish off nice and strong. No trudging!!   
There are so many details missing, and it is pretty much impossible to encapsulate the entire experience, so I say pull on some shoes and go out… run way farther than you ever have and feel it in your bones!! It’ll be good times!!