First let me say congratulations for all those in Philly this past weekend! I look forward to reading race reports and seeing how everyone is feeling today. I hope it wasn't too cold or wintery. Only crazy people would attempt to run 42km in late November in the freezing cold, snow, slush - mess. You have to be a little off your rocker?? :)
That brings me to today's thought on running - the mental game. As many know, I have had some set backs in my training in the recent months with Plantar Faciitis and some shin pains. After weeks of no running, many massages, orthotics and countless hours stretching - I am back at it. I had two weeks of "building back up" but this week I am back on schedule and while my finishing goal is slighly altered, I am still in the game.
However, yesterday I attempted my first really long run in quite a while. I had decided that it was going to be final test to decide if I was going to make it in the full at Disney. One of the other runners going to Disney was going to come to my house so we could attempt 29km together but on Saturday she advised that a pulled muscle had her sidelined for a week or so. Suddenly, I was attempting to run nearly 30km all by myself and I was totally, 100% terrified. I don't know what was the matter with me but in the hour leading up to the run I was convinced this was a mistake and I was full of dread and doubt. I hated the idea of getting out in the cold to run a distance I had never done in my life, by myself. This is when I really wish I had a running group that I participate with. I know, I know - there are lots and I will hook up. I just find scheduling a real challange with a full time job, two little people and their schedules. Not to mention finding some time in the week to actually converse with my hubby.
Back to my stress... so I was getting suited up and having a near mental collapse. My husband was telling me all the right things and promised to drive by me a few times. I had my cell phone on me to call him (he was taking our son to a birthday party and then grocery shopping with the little one). I finally got out there and within 5 minutes I realized my iPod was dead. Could there be any more signs of failure???? I ran back to my house to put back the quiet iPod and was even more petrified of 3 hours of nothing but my own spinning thoughts. Nevertheless..off I went.
The first 7 or 8km were horrible. I was sore and it seemed colder than I thought. I thought up all the explanations I could give to the Arthritis Society, our family, our friends - my kids as to why I couldn't do the marathon. I had lost so much training time already and there was no way I could get it back. At about 10km, I stopped at a gas station to use the facilities and while I was there I called my husband to come and get me. If you can believe it, he didn't answer - after he had promised to have the phone practially in his hand! I called twice and got no answer so I had no choice but to carry on.
All of the sudden, I felt better. I had myself a tasty energy burst with a chocolate GU (my favourite) and I was running along. I decided at this point to take off my watch and put it in my pocket. So now I am running with no iPod, no watch and cell phone which proved to be a useless security line because my husband was deep in the grocery megastore and had no service. It occured to me at one point that I had probably passed 20km but I still felt OK!
About 30 or so minutes past this point, I started to go downhill (figuratively speaking). My head was dizzy and my heart was racing. What was crazy is that my husband happened to drive by at that exact moment that I felt like I was going to fall down. I took that as a sign and I jumped in the car and went home. At first I was really upset that I hadn't finished 29km. Then after I got home and had my stardard post long run snack of toasted english muffin and peanut butter, I checked MapMyRun. I had gone 26km. This is the longest distance I have ever run in my life. I have no idea how long it took me and I don't care. I was overwhelmed that I had done it and the lunacy of my head games along the way seemed so insignificant now. If there was ever a moment that I would classify as "pivotal" , that was it.
This morning I feel a little sore but the pains in my feet are not nearly as bad as they have been or as I expected them to be. I feel a level of confidence that I never had before and although we have only 5 more weeks of training before tapering - I know I can do it. Putting aside the possibilites of a dumptruck mowing me down or tripping over a set of Star Wars figures on my staircase - I am going to do it. I don't think I ever fully respected the mental strength and capacity required to run those distances but I see it much better now and I can't wait to go to Disney now and see it through.
So, I have my eyes open for dumptrucks and all the Star Wars figures are in a box on a shelf - just in case.