Grit and Determination Get 12-mile Training Run Completed

It was well within my consciousness that I had a 12 mile training run scheduled for Saturday morning, but Friday evening I was going with Maia to a fundraising dinner in downtown Louisville.

There are two ways to approach this. One would be the play it safe, have a cocktail perhaps, eat and get out early. That certainly would be beneficial to my legs the next morning, but misses the point of option two, which is to actually hang out and enjoy all the event has to offer.

The Jefferson Jubilee is a fundraising gala to develop scholarships and programming support for students at Jefferson Community and Technical College. For the administration, which Maia is a part of, this was a chance to celebrate with colleagues, other civic leaders, politicians and business people, what JCTCS has achieved and help in securing its future.

Bourbon tasting was the theme of the evening, but no way I could go there and run the next day. I instead went with the cleaner flavor of Bombay Sapphire and tonic. This was an elegant affair, held in the Grand Ballroom of the Henry Clay building in downtown Louisville. There was a meet & greet, dinner, several speeches, including one from Mayor Fischer, a silent and public auction, followed by entertainment from a live band and dancing.

I had a lovely time with Maia and her crew and made it back to her sister’s place around midnight, where we stayed the night.

I woke up and texted my running partner around 8AM. I didn’t feel hungover so much as generally damaged. I told him I would be there but we would have to push the 9AM start to more like 10:30AM.

I drove from Louisville back to Frankfort. Let the dog out, changed into my running gear and stretched. I was still buzzed from the night before.

This entire concept of exercise seemed poorly conceived. I suggested we revisit this adventure on Sunday, but we had agreed upon Saturday.

Matt was laughing when he saw me. I was not well. There is always something needing to be accomplished when you are hungover. It could be chores, exercise or taking the kids to the park to play. Whatever it may be guaranteed it’s infinitely more painful than remaining crashed on the couch for 12 hours watching football. Then there is having to go out and run 12 miles.

I just wanted to get this done. I hit “start” on my watch and away I trudged. I told Matt to just run and that maybe I would catch up, but I didn’t have much to offer.

The first mile was around downtown, the second took us around the back of the Capitol, and the third launched us up the hill on E. Main.

That about killed me. The sweat stung my eyes as it still smelled of gin.

Having waited until 10:30 to depart, it let what was already a warm day get outright hot.

I wasn’t sure I had this at three miles. There remained MLK Blvd., the East-West Connector and Old Lawrenceburg Road, before getting back into civilization.

Matt jogged down E. Main to check on me, but I just needed to run this out.

I had no conversation to offer other than I had left my boogie out on the dance floor last night.

I cussed and bitched under my breath most of the way like I had Tourette’s. I was trying to find an edge, something to grab hold of and keep me going.

This was going to be a two plus hour run no matter what. It got down to stamina, willpower, and keeping that little voice in the back of my head quiet that kept saying, “Go ahead and walk. We can go back to the house, fix something cold to drink and sit on the couch.”

Let me tell you that little voice sounded pretty good at the time, but perseverance was key.

I would be running near my house on mile 8, and past my car at mile 9. Two excellent opportunities to stop.

Mentally, I knew that if I stopped that would be in my head on race day when things got rough.

This already sucked, but I was out there running it. My thought was to make this count and finish the run. At least then I could collapse for the rest of the day knowing I hit my distance.

Matt kept asking if I was going to cut the route short and all I could say was, “I’m running 12 today.”

We just kept going – past our cars parked at the YMCA, took a right on Wilkinson Blvd., out 1.5 miles and back 1.5 miles.

Both of us were having issues, but we kept chugging for 12 miles. I finished in two-hours, twenty-six minutes.

After getting some food and a shower, I slept much of the rest of the day. That took a lot out of me. I woke up in time to switch from the couch to bed.

That was a run, no doubt. But I know right now that I’m ready for my race on Oct. 3. I’ll be even better prepared after tapering for the next two weeks.

Through perseverance comes achievement. It may be painful, but there is a level of enjoyment that comes with knowing I’ve reached a level of fitness to complete a distance goal that I could not have run when I started training this spring.

At 48 years old, this was a hard climb to 12 miles. There is still work to do, but slow and steady has paid dividends. I’ll run some middle distance runs between now and the race, with like an 8-miler on Saturday.

Twelve days to go.

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