June 4, 2016 by scratchtype1
You ever wonder if Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay wondered, “What if there is a higher peak?” when they reached the top of Everest? Of course, 10 miles of running for 10 straight days is no ascent of Everest, but it’s not something that all that many people have done.
I had some uncertainties going into it. That maybe I would fry out after a few days and find myself unable to persevere and do the mileage one day. But oddly enough, that was never really too much an issue. I only had 2 days that were a bit doubtful maybe at times, the third and fourth days and especially the fourth. I got started late in the morning on that Sunday and the sun was out and it was humid and getting hot. After about 8 miles, it took a lot to keep going and the only thing that kept me going was fear that if I stopped, I wouldn’t go back out later in the day and do the remaining mileage.
But after that, it was as though the body adjusted and realized I was going to do this and settled into the idea that I can always run, I can always keep the legs turning. So Memorial Day I went out and ran 12 miles, but of course at that time I didn’t know how exactly my body and spirit would handle this and was only halfway done. I wondered if the next day I would do it.
And when the alarm roused me from bed early Tuesday morning, the legs felt fairly good but the spirit was balky. Bed seemed enticing. But I made a cup of decaf coffee, drank it, then put on the running clothes and headed out into the early morning, still dim and dark and not even half-light. I remember those first 2 miles, a sense of desperate misery almost, that I needed a good chunk of miles because it would be fairly hot and humid later in the day and I didn’t know how many miles I might manage after work.
But during the third mile the rhythm of the stride became hypnotic and a bit joyful. I run. I am running. I run. Step after step, this is easy in the quiet dawn, by myself, a shadow in the half-light, I see the world slowly waking up. Just after passing the 4 mile mark, I was atop a small hill and seeing the road curve to the right in between the pastures. Mist was rising and forming over them and I could see that mist sliding down into the low spot of the road between them.
10 minutes later, after turning around at the main highway, the mist had thickened and it seemed a glorious sight and amazing to run through it all. I had been given a chance to witness something that few see and it was because of this want to run and this determination to do something odd, to run 10 straight days of 10 miles or more.
The runs on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday had no problems. The rhythm was so automatic, it was almost like breathing. Break into stride, start the watch and run. Breathe. Run. Breathe. Run. Even an idiot like me could do this.
But today, I finally found myself with some legs that felt more tired. And I was grateful for it. Part of the idea of doing this was to try to create conditions of running on tired legs and keep running. That was today’s run of 11.1 miles. There was nothing extra in the legs. I felt doubtful some in the early miles whether I could do it, but after reaching the top of the highest hill right around the beep indicating mile 4, I felt confident and told myself that it wouldn’t be right to do only 10, but do at least 11. Prove it. Prove to myself there’s always a little more that can be done, a little extra. Hillary and Norgay probably still had extra when they reached the top and maybe then they wondered, “Why couldn’t it be a little bit higher?”