I finally went on my first post-race run, and it exceeded my expectations.
Yes, those expectations were set awfully low: I steeled myself to expect buckets of sweat; burning muscles and possibly skin; wheezing; and anger at how fast my fitness had faded.
Upper 60s and sunshine still felt warm to hot, depending on whether I was near trees or in a breeze, but it sure wasn't the misery of our random 80-degree April day — the sweat situation was still closer to a glowing mist than a raging river.
It took me 1.68 miles to cave to the temptation of walking it off, and I did work in a few more walk breaks during the rest of the 3.5-miler. That was OK, though; these breaks were far different than the frustrated stops I made during the half marathon.
The weirdest part was how slow I felt, not just because I was deliberately not pushing myself, but more so because of all the biking I did Sunday and Monday. I've gotten used to covering more ground in less time, apparently.
Don't get me wrong, I was happy to finish. My phone-carrying shoulder, after its week-and-a-half reprieve, became a little crabby with me, and I was more than ready to gulp down some water and take a shower.
I think running once in a while during RAGBRAI training can and will happen, however. Maybe just once a week, and almost definitely in the cooler evening hours (before any half marathon training begins again and forces me to demand more of myself, i.e., not to dodge all sunshine and all warmth).
Running just for fun, not for a purpose — now that will feel strange.