Monday, January 17, 2011

I don't live near here!

If you happened to read my last blog post I mentioned that It was a personal training goal of mine to run to run from my house in the center of Westfield to all of the surrounding towns.

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!

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