#24. A Run at Buffalo Park, and Doing More

Yesterday I went for a six-mile run at the most breathtaking urban park I’ve ever seen.

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These pictures don’t even come close to capturing the beauty of Buffalo Park. I was seriously ready to stake out a little patch of ground next to a tall fir tree and declare it my home forever and ever amen. Someone bring me cookies and a blanket.

Yesterday’s run was probably the best one I’ve had throughout this entire marathon training experience. Not to say that it was easy: it wasn’t. I felt slightly out of breath almost the entire time. That makes sense, considering that the park is at a higher elevation (~7,100 feet) than any other route I’ve run over the last few months. But what made it so great was that I still managed to maintain a sub-10-minute-per-mile pace. I would have never been able to do that a year ago, or even five years ago.

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I may be totally delusional – a distinct possibility in many areas of my life – but I just keep thinking that I’m capable of so much more when it comes to running. With respect to pace, I may get a little faster, though I’m never going to be super speedy. Where I think I can really push myself is in distance. Throughout the last few months, there hasn’t been one run that has left me feeling like I’d hit a limit. Even the last 20 miler. This marathon will, ideally, be part of my training for a longer race. Like a 50K. Or maybe even a 50 miler one day.

We’ll see, though. Tomorrow I’m supposed to run 20 miles here in Flagstaff. I’m excited – it’s my last really long run before I start tapering – and slightly terrified, because again, we’re at elevation and there’s a little voice in my head going, “Ummm, you do realize you’re not actually capable of doing this, right?” But so far the voice has been so very wrong, and I’ve proved it every single week. I’m going to assume that tomorrow will yield the same outcome.

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