No, not the Eminem song.
I ran 8 miles this Saturday.
8 is a weird number for me. I know it’s a goodluck number in the Chinese tradition, but that was part of my “magic” number back when I was in my “compulsive overexercising” phase. I used 80 minutes, or 800 calories, as a bench mark as to how much I should burn in every workout. I would go on the elliptical and I wouldn’t stop until I burned 800 calories. I haven’t done that since last February, so I was a bit nervous as to how my body would react. I didn’t know how emotional I would get, or how tired I would be or how hungry I would get.
I acted properly.
Friday night, I carbo-loaded with a few slices of shrimp and potato-bacon pizzas, courtesy of my friend Lindsay’s Dad. I then drank a lot of water before bed, and Saturday morning I ate a chocolate Clif Shot Gel. It was delicious but I had to force it down because honestly I was still stuffed from the night before! In case I needed more fuel halfway through the run, I packed 2 dates; I also drank some Powerade Zero beforehand and brought the rest of the bottle in the car for my midpoint. Lauren was due to meet me at 7:30 so I ran 4 before that and went back to my car to get some water and meet her for the additional four.
The first four were a bit painful. My stomach was full of pizza and I could feel it sitting in there like lead. I pushed through it and landed at my car and sipped on some Powerade while waiting for my friend, but Lauren texted me at around 7:20 saying she forgot her sports bra (she was meeting me straight from hospital duty), and wished me good luck.
I was on my own.
8 miles. The longest run I had ever done in my life, the ‘magic’ number I hadn’t hit since I was suffering from my ED. And I would have to do it alone. It was kind of fitting, really.
I immediately got scared and dizzy and faint and panicky. Part of me wanted to get in the car and go home. I told myself “Listen, Ally (insert last name here). You are going to get back on that trail. You are going to start running. And you are going to kick this 8 mile run in the crotch.”
And I did.
Those last four miles were a bit blurry. I don’t really remember the 2 out, but I remember the 2 back. I was thirsty, but suddenly when I looked down at my GPS and saw 7.5 miles staring at me in the face it all became clear: I was going to do this. It wasn’t just a random thought, nor anything to be feared. I had fueled smart, came prepared, and I was about to kick this run in the rear end.
I started crying with .25 miles to go but told myself to pull it together since the trail head would be filled with people, and it was. I still felt a bit weepy, so I guess the hot shirtless guys stretching for their late morning run will just have to deal with that?
I finished in 1 hour and 17 minutes, to Lady GaGa blasting in my ears, at an average 9:20 pace. I drove home, crying in the car and fistpumping and walked into my kitchen like I owned everything and everyone in it. I literally jumped around yelling “I RAN 8 MILES” to the bemusement of my family, then pounded down a pretty awesome chocolate strawberry protein smoothie. The ‘runger’ never really hit. That pizza did a damn good job. I didn’t even really feel the true ‘NEED’ to eat on Sunday or today.
Back when I worked out that much in my ED days, I would finish my workout shaky, exhausted, hungry, and dizzy. On Saturday I finished it tired, sore, sweaty, a little hungry, and proud.
This week we start tech for the musical revue I’m dancing in, so I’ve decided to pull the plug on long runs until next week. I’ll probably get in a 6 miler sometime next week to make up for the running I’ll miss, but with all the dancing I’m doing I don’t want to mess up my already-janked up hamstring (it didn’t hurt after the run but it definitely did after 8 consecutive hours of dancing! For the next few days I’ll be focusing exclusively on elliptical-based cardio, hot yoga, and weights.
I stared down a huge part of my eating disorder for the majority of that run.
And I won.