Sunday morning, I could not sleep past 6 a.m. I think I finally fell asleep around midnight or 12:30 a.m. the night before. Not sure if it's nerves or excitement, but this has been the pattern lately before my long runs. The weather was definitely Texas' introduction to winter. Cold, windy, rainy, and in the low 40s. I layered up, got all prepped, and at 7:15 drove to my planned start place. My planned route had me starting at the north branch of our library, and taking a little bit more than half of my "running buddy" route. It was about 2.5 miles, and honestly, it wasn't that bad as long as the rain didn't blow directly into the side of my face. Right after the first mile or mile and a half, I misjudged a puddle, and got my feet soaked up to my ankles. I almost ran back to my car for dry socks, but decided against it since I knew I was running in 8.5 more miles in the rain.
I met my running buddy at her house. Actually I stopped at the sidewalk to stretch my legs because they were feeling tight and out she comes through her garage door. After we laughed and decided we were certifiably insane, we took off for 5 miles. Yes, it was cold, and yes, we laughed and chatted like it was a sunny 60° day, and our pace was faster than normal. We were also in awe of the man who passed us on the same loop. She even had to remind me to take my Gu. I didn't feel like I needed it, but later, I was glad I did. Once we got back to her house, we were pumped and feeling all sorts of hard core badassery.
After we chatted for a couple of seconds, and I promised to call when I made it home, I headed back to my car. I did just fine and even got some weird looks. I had to stop once to judge where in the world I was going to dodge that big puddle again. The streets were getting a little busier than earlier, and I didn't feel comfortable running on the street in that place. I ran in the grass and the puddles still came up to my ankles, but I was already soaked to the bone, and only a mile at most away from finishing the run.
I trudged, not ran, the remaining of the route. I became chilled to the core. I debated thoughts of walking, but I knew I could not. This physical challenge was a representation of my mental challenge. I topped a little hill and saw my car. Elation came flowing through my mind, and I pushed...hard. The rest was literally downhill. I sprinted to the end point and smiled through sweat, rain, and even a few tears that I made the Big 10. This Big 10 in particular.