Week number two (I think) under my belt for my marathon training, and it’s been going quite well. Last week I kinda chomped out of my long run and opted to stay and bed to sleep instead. *shrug* I figured I wouldn’t be any good out on the trail if I was half way asleep and otherwise in a grumpy mood. Today I got up, got out, and got going. It was supposed to be a 9 mile run at a 16:05 min/mi pace…far slower than I’m used to running at this point. I didn’t keep a 16 min/mi pace, it was more like 15:03 min/mi and I went for the gusto and did 10 miles versus the 9.
I made the decision to do 10 miles verses 9 miles because I needed to – it was a mental thing for me. Part of the reason I shrugged off my long run last week was because I thought couldn’t do it…kinda ridiculous since I just did a 15k several weeks prior, but that’s how I felt. I’m still digesting the distances I will be tackling on my way to the glorious 26.2. Anything beyond 8 miles just seems like more than I can handle. Even though I’ve gone farther…even though I believe I can do it. It’s purely a mental block. So, I opted to go for 10 miles. Just to show myself something…that I can go the distance, that I can do it, and all I have to do…is keep…going.
The run itself started off normal enough…my left leg is still stiff these days, so I’ve taken to stretching a bit before I hit the road to run. I’m currently looking to find a location where I can get a sports massage, in hopes that getting one would alleviate some of the tension I feel in that portion of my leg. I kept plodding along though…and it was far tougher than I’d expected. Normally when you run, you just get out there and do it. Not a lot of thinking involved, you just go. Feeling good? You kick it up a notch and go a little faster. Needing a little break? Slow it down to a little jog. There was none of that for me today. My goal, my plan, was to be slow and steady throughout the run.
WHY WAS IT SOOOOO HARD??!?!!
It was like running in mud…or water…or muddy water. Every single step was just a very slow and concentrated effort on my part. I didn’t want to speed. I’m trying to trust this plan, as running a marathon is way out of my area of expertise so I want to do it right. If the plan says to run at a slower pace, that’s what I’m going to do. But man those first 4 miles were kinda rough on me. I literally felt every muscle in my legs working to push me forward…up and over hills. OMG, the HILLS!!!! They were a good 10 times worse than normal since I was going up them super slow. It was a steady attack this run was…but I remained loyal to the plan and kept at it. Half way in, after the 4.5 mile mark, I took a 1 mile walk break and then went back at it. I think that walk break helped a lot, because when I began running again, it didn’t feel so difficult to go slow.
I really wanted to pay attention to the way my body felt during this run. I needed to know if there was going to be a different outcome than the way I usually feel after running that distance at my normal pace. I’m happy (and surprised) to report that it was a noticeable difference. Though it took some adjusting in the beginning, on the return route my legs felt good…solid…kinda like lead, but in a good way. Each step was a confident one, not a faltering or dragging one, which is what usually happens to me when I go too far too fast. I felt good, felt pretty strong. Now, make no mistake, I still felt tired when it was all over, but I didn’t feel spent. I left the trail feeling as though I could have gone just a little further…either walking or jogging. Mentally, I felt encouraged and empowered. I tackled a distance that usually intimidates me, and I did it at a pace that was right on target for me. Physically, I felt as though I got in a good workout without completely wearing myself out.
I loved it.
And I’m looking forward to doing it again.