Martini Fridays: Double Digits

Yes, Oneonta still hasn’t hit spring yet.
Yes, Oneonta still hasn’t hit spring yet. (And A.L.'s house is there, but you can barely see it.)

Adrienne Martini hits a big milestone (ha!) in her miles as she ramps up for the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon. Catch up with her running here

I spent most of week 8 obsessed with the 10-mile long run. By “obsessed,” I don’t mean it would cross my mind every now and again. It was like the elephant in my jello— it’s possible that I’m mixing two sayings here—all. dang. week.

“Ten miles,” my brain said while I was getting my morning joe.

In the shower it said, “Maybe you should shave your pits for the 10-mile run.”

“Ten miles,” it said, while I was teaching my classes. And when my students complained about how much work they had over the weekend, it was all I could do to not yell, “How about you join me for a 10-mile run?”

There’s just something about double-digits that triggers dread. Nine seemed long but doable. Ten, though. Ten seemed right out.

Friday night I plotted my route. It would be five-miles uphill on the out and five blissfully downhill on the back. I’d be running out into the countryside on the shoulder of the road. I worried a little about traffic but knew that it would be light at that time of day.

Plus, this route would take me past my friend A.L.’s house. If she wasn’t home, I could always pee in her shrubbery or snatch some water from her outdoor pump. If worse came to worse and I was willing to beg a little, she would drive me home.

The upside of an out-and-back is that I could convince myself that it was really only an easy five-miler and then an easy five home. The one time my husband referred to it as ten, I snapped at him. “It’s just FIVE. Then FIVE home.” (My husband might need therapy after this.)

The town’s airport was right at my five mile mark. I’m surprised that we have an airport.
The town’s airport was right at my five mile mark. I’m surprised that we have an airport.

Long story short? Ten wasn’t so bad, especially if you hit the turn around and pretend that the previous five didn’t happen. My mantra for the back half of the run was, “Oh, just an easy five. No big deal.” Then, “Easy four. No big deal.” And on and on until it was an “easy mile” home. The whole morning, truth be told, felt like a mini-adventure, like I was a badass explorer out to discover something neat.


Mostly, what I discovered were deer. And a couple of horses, which I didn’t realize you could keep so close to the city limits. I discovered I should probably bring a trash bag to pick up all of the stuff that people throw out of their car windows. Unlike SBS, I didn’t find any cash.

Five miles done!
Five miles done!

I discovered that I should bring a notebook and pencil because I do some good thinking out there, and it would be helpful to keep track of all of the email/phone calls/stories that I want to get to when I get back.

I also discovered that the uphill bit at the 4-mile mark was much steeper than I’d remembered. Or, to be more accurate, was a lot more steep when on foot rather than in my car.

I also discovered that my brand new water bottle—one of those smallish handheld ones—is perfect for accidentally irrigating my sinuses if I squeeze it too hard while still running. Not information I needed, mind, but good to know.

Then because any lesson worth learning is worth learning twice, I did the exact same thing a mile later.

Two GUs, one at mile four and one at mile eight, helped quite a bit, as did all of the podcasts I had queued up, like The Bugle, because I love John Oliver. (And if anyone can arrange a run with him, I would love you forever and maybe knit you a sweater.)

Five more to go?!
Five more to go?!

Mostly, though, I discovered that there is liberation in a ten-mile run. After getting through those first mile voices—the ones tell you you’re tired and old and fat and ... and ... and—I found some peace in knowing that there was nothing else I needed to do but keep picking one foot up, then putting it down, for the next two hours.

It was, in its own weird way, bliss.

I would have laughed my heinie off it you’d ever suggested such a thing even a couple of weeks ago. Yet, here we are.

During the last mile home, I snuck up on Michele, my bookstore boss, and a friend of hers. Scared both of them pretty good, which means that I didn’t sound like an asthmatic herd of wildebeest thudding up behind them. I apologized for not stopping to chat. By that point, even though the run was a great one, I was ready to sit down for a minute.

I always wonder about monuments like this, so I had to stop to look for a name or other info.
I always wonder about monuments like this, so I had to stop to look for a name or other info.

Once I was home and yelled the word “TEN!” at my husband, I had some celebratory chocolate milk and a shower. Not simultaneously.

Twenty-four hours later, I’m still feeling pretty badass, even though my right calf is kind of complaining. The muscle is knotted in a new way and might have been triggered by the camber of the road. I’m hoping that some extra foam rolling while knock it right out.

Adrienne's 10 miles, in all Her glory, on Strava.
Adrienne's 10 miles, in all Her glory, on Strava.

The next long run is “10-12 miles.” Should I go for 12? Is it weird to be worried that I won’t capture the same exhausting magic next week? And when is the last time you felt like a badass mother runner?

14 responses to “Martini Fridays: Double Digits

  1. Thank you for including the picture of your time and mileage at the five mile mark. My last 2 5-mile runs were 1:06 and 1:07, so this made me feel great. I still have a complex about pace I guess.

  2. Great job! I remember being so excited to have run a double digit run for the first time…you are going to do awesome in pittsburgh!

  3. I live in Iowa and we’ve had a long winter. It’s been tough preparing for my late-April HM. Luckily, I was able to worm my way onto the indoor track at the college to do my last 10-miler. Yes, it was boring and I felt like a hamster on a wheel. As I chugged around the track at my slow long-run pace (11 minute miles) I was passed by a few kids half my age. And then there were the track athletes who set up relay drills in the outside lanes while I was chugging along on the inside. I wanted to yell, “Someday you’ll be my age too!” At one point I was met on the track by an 80-something retired PE professor who has won the Senior Olympics several times in running events. She smoked me too. That just made me smile and gave me hope. I wanted to ask her if she’d be my running coach.

  4. Way to go! Reaching that double digit milestone is huge! I say do 12 next week. It will make the half seem much more manageable. You’ll know it’s just another mile (plus a tenth) to do the half. You’ve got this!

  5. Love, love, love your posts on Fridays! This was especially personal for me because I vividly remember my first 10-miler and, like you, took pictures along the way. Good for you, Ms. Martini!

  6. You are cracking me up! I can completely relate!! One time some middle school kids were looking at me a little funny and it was all I had to say, I’m running 10 miles today, you wanna join me???

  7. I loved this run report! Don’t worry if the next one doesn’t feel as badass. No two runs are the same. Last time I felt like a BAMR? Maybe New Year’s Day when I finally beat my 10k PR after *3* years!!

  8. Because I am a (former) scientist, I always do what it says: 10-12 = 11. 😉 I worry more after a sucky run that the next one will be equally as sucky. I’m more of an optimist, I guess, and I just ASSUME after a great run that the next one HAS to be just as great!

    I rarely feel like a badass. Usually, just ass. Sigh.

  9. Congratulations! I still remember my first 10-miler years ago, it was pouring rain and it knocked the crap out of me. But *I* was badaass!

    I try to tell myself “only 1/2 mile out and 1/2 mile back longer than last week.” Helps to play those little mind games, especially when doing fulls and you get to 18, 19, 21 mile long runs.

  10. I always try to go for the longer distance, it always feels liberating to know I went farther than the previous long run. I am hoping to feel like a BAMR tomorrow when I conquer 14.3 on my first marathon training plan! I love reading your post, keep em coming!

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