let me be entirely honest with you: the reason i’m not sure i’m going to run the Mohawk Hudson Marathon in a few weeks is because i just didn’t put in the work. oh, sure, i committed to running regularly, but when it came to pushing myself to run more than 13 miles and adding on the mileage each week, i dug in my heels and stubbornly, tiredly refused to do it.
it’s so easy to come up with excuses for hard things in life, isn’t it? i certainly mastered that this summer when it came to my training. it was hot. well, it was! my legs were sore. i had shin splints (okay, so that one was justified and set me back a bit.) my stomach was upset a lot. i was traveling allll the time. i mean, who wants to run 18 miles in Santa Barbara? i sure didn’t. i wanted to drink wine and run leisurely short runs on beautiful beaches. no brainer, thankyouverymuch.
so really, what i have to admit to myself, is that i just didn’t want this that badly. the last time i trained for a marathon, this time in 2013, i realllllly wanted it. it somehow felt a little easier, i think — or maybe that’s just hindsight talking, or selective memory — but this time, even though i’m actually in the best physical shape i feel like i’ve been in in years, i just didn’t do it. i think i was sick and tired of being sore and settled for what was comfortable: pushing myself to long runs that were just long enough, without requiring me to keep pushing through the really rough spots and keeping my eye on the goal of preparing for this race.
these thoughts have been bubbling around inside my head since Saturday, when i bucked up and ran my longest run of this “training” thus far: 17 miles. to be honest, i didn’t think i could do it — okay, i didn’t think i wanted to do it — but it really wasn’t as bad as i expected. and boy, was i excited about it afterwards, and of course now want to push myself to do at least 20 this weekend in hopes that this October marathon still miiiiight happen for me.
Factors that made this long run — the longest i’ve done in, like, two years — a success for me:
- the weather. it was gorgeous out, finally. no humidity complaints this time!
- a new route. i ran up to the George Washington Bridge for the first time, which was exactly 8 miles from my apartment, and loved the path up in Washington Heights. plus, i stumbled across a darling Little Red Lighthouse (famous, apparently, but i hadn’t heard of it) at the very end, which was the perfect spot at which to turn around.
- running into an old friend — literally! Liz & i went to college together and i bumped into her on the West Side path, also doing a 16-mile training run for the NYC marathon, so she kindly turned around and ran with me, which was amazing. it was totally God intervening for me, because i bumped into her RIGHT before i hit mile 13, which is my notorious stopping point, and running with her pushed me to do my last 4 miles. thanks, girl!
- water & fuel. i drank SO MUCH water on this run, and had some Powerade electrolyte powder in my little water bottle from the get-go, which i kept diluting at every water fountain along the way rather than drink too much of it in the beginning, as i like to have more water early on in my long runs and switch to sports drinks halfway through. i also took some Gatorade chews with me (review: i had fruit punch and i reallllly liked them), which i haven’t done in, like, a year. i think this helped sustain me.
- let go of time. my legs have been so sore so much this summer that i knew if i pushed myself and worried about my pace, i was going to a) focus incessantly on what hurt, and b) psych myself out, get upset and probably start walking — at, like, ya know, mile 13. 🙂 this was by no means a fast run, but i was just focused on getting the miles in. so what if it takes me longer to run a marathon than i’d like? i don’t want to get wrapped up in that, when i’ve spent all summer uncertain as to whether or not i even have it in me to run it.
- passion. when it felt really hard, i tried to think about the things i’m most passionate about in my life, and what it means to work hard at something to get the results you want. i wrestled with myself a bit and questioned just how badly i wanted to do this, and how much discomfort i was willing to put up with. i’m still not quite sure i have that answer — maybe trying to run 20 miles this upcoming weekend will help with that — but it gave me the chance to dwell on some other passions/artistic pursuits i am working toward, so i count all this reflection as time well spent.
i finished those 17 miles with a very happy heart (and a bleeding heel, but nbd) and so much gratitude for being strong & healthy enough to have accomplished that, and it set me on a high for the rest of the weekend. i just love how running can do that for you — especially a long run — and how it makes you want to come back for more, even when it hurts.
so, where does this leave me? will i run the marathon? i’m really not quite sure…but regardless, i’m stoked i chose to keep pushing myself in this last leg of the training — because even if i decide not to run this 26.2, i’m more than happy knowing i still had a 17er in me this summer. it’s nice to be able to surprise yourself now and then, isn’t it?
& i, for one, really love surprises.
Runfriends: How was running this weekend? Any long runs to brag/whine about?
Tell me something great from your weekend!