Last Saturday Chuck & I did our first “long” run of 6.4 miles in preparation for our half-marathon. We’re both new to running (myself more than him), and we learn something new every run. This was a chance to test our bodies to see what happens – how far can we go and how much will it hurt?

I learned that the little things you don’t notice at mile three, you will suddenly notice at mile six. Like the thick seam on my sock that happened to run across the length of my baby toe. Somewhere around mile six, I wiggled my right baby toe and all of a sudden felt that uncomfortable, scratchy pain that comes from getting blisters. Note to Self: Buy real running socks — the seamless kind. My cheapy ankle socks may be fine for a weekday short run, but miles down the road, the big evil seam on that sock will come back to bite you in the toe.

Next lesson learned: The pain you feel at mile four feels pretty much the same at mile six. Between miles three and four, my hip flexors started getting achy as well as my right knee (thanks figure skating) and my left ankle. Self-defeating thoughts that went through my head: “This sucks. How will I ever do a half-marathon if I’m already sore at mile four? What was I thinking signing up for it and paying the entry fee — I’m not a runner!” But I just kept going, using our run/walk intervals as planned. A great song came up next on my iPhone and I just kept running. Pretty soon, mile five was down and the pain hadn’t gotten any worse. A little later, mile six was done and the pain was slightly less than before.

I learned that you can run through the pain and in most cases, just learn to deal with it. It didn’t get worse, which gave me confidence that I was able to keep downing mile after mile, because I wasn’t going to break. It made me think of Dory from Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

Finally, at mile 6.4, we made it home. We walked a little loop to cool down and then I took a hot shower to ease the muscle aches. Then all I wanted to do was lie down on the couch, but knowing that would make it worse, we got changed and went to Matsuri Japanese Festival in downtown Phoenix and walked around for a few hours. That night was a rough night, as we were both pretty achy, but I was surprised to find that by morning, most of the aches were not as bad and I was left with that “I had a really great hard workout” ache.

Now it’s Monday and I feel like I could do it all over again. But I’ll stick to two “normal” run workouts during the week and then maybe hit a great long run next weekend to build up some more muscle and endurance. I never thought I’d begin to like running as much as I do already!