Monday, January 17, 2011
I don't live near here!
Westfield is the third largest land mass in the state of Massachusetts and since at the time I started I had never run more than about 9 miles in a run in my entire life, this would prove to be very challenging for me.
I am aspiring to run longer distances and I am starting with a half marathon in April, 2011.I thought this personal goal would be a great way to train for the 1/2.
I started last summer by running to Granville which is one of the more difficult runs. It is almost straight uphill and was not a lot of fun. It was also around 90 degrees that day. I finished with at about 8 miles. To complete my goal I plan on doing this leg again because I did not complete the round trip. I had my wife pick me up. The original plan was to run from the center of Westfield to the Center of Granville, 9.25 miles total, so I will try again when I am a little more prepared.
The next run I did was to Southwick. This is by far the shortest round trip at 7 miles exactly. Then last week I extensively wrote about how I ran further than I had ever run when I ran to Russell, MA. Check out my last post if you want to read more about that run.
So yesterday I completed a 12.2 mile run to Southampton. Now this is the farthest I have ever run.
Here is the route that I ran. It was pretty straight forward. There is a long slow hill about one mile in and then it is mostly a slight uphill until I turn around and then it obviously is a slight downhill and a big hill near then end.
I felt pretty good for the first mile or so. There is still a lot of snow on the ground and too many people do a horrible job of snow removal so footing was really messy in some spots. I had to stop in one spot because someone didn't clear there sidewalk and part of this route is on a very busy road. So to be safe I waited for a break in traffic and then sprinted in the road to the next shoveled sidewalk.
About two miles in I felt pretty tired and I kept plugging along at a really slow pace. My feet started to bother me around three miles in. Now I was by the a small municipal airport/air force base so I distracted myself by watching the planes tacking off and landing. Unfortunately no F-15s were in the air.
As my feet began to throb I thought t myself that I could run through this. Maybe I would get lucky and my feet would be numb. I kept going and tried to flex my feet more which helped.
With all the focus going to my feet I barely noticed that I was almost at the turnaround point. I could see the town line sign and I picked up my pace and ran right by it I kept going until a side street came up and then turned around. When I stopped at the town line to take a picture, it really hit me that I was quite a distance from home. Southampton is a very small quite town with an abundance of farmland. I was standing right by an apple orchard and there was a horse farm with several horses playing in the snow.
I didn't stop very long because I wanted to get home to watch some playoff football. So I crossed the road and headed back. At about the 7 mile mark I stopped again to stretch my calf muscles and feet because they were really tight, but I was able to motivate myself by realizing that most of the run back was downhill. I really began to pick up the pace and even hit the unshoveled section of sidewalk in the busier section at the right time so I didn't have to stop. The rest of the run was pretty uneventful, except that some woman pulling out of a side street was not paying attention and almost ran me over. I was able to yell for her attention and she slammed on the brakes and I just kept going.
When I was within a 1/2 mile of finishing I really began to feel my legs getting tired. I dug down and finished strong. My pace was a little slow but I am proud that I finished. I know there are many more accomplished runner than myself who run this distance as a warm up, but I still feel good for getting out there and trying. I have always aspired to be a distance runner and feel good about what I have accomplished.
This was the forth town I have run to from the 8 towns that surround Westfield. I reached the half way point and I am not slowing down anytime soon!