Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Journey

Back in Febuary I got an itch to run a marathon. I had several friends who had recently run one and they talked me into it. They filled me head with the highs and lows of running a marathon and how amazing it felt to cross that finish line after running 26.2 miles. Back then, I was really excited about the idea.

This is my friend Debbie. I took on this challenge because of her.

When I committed to this (I actually paid money to run that far) I had never run further than 13.1 miles in a single session. My thought was, "I have already run half that distance, with a little training and motivation adding another 13.1 shouldn't be too difficult." Um, I was wrong. I realized after my first 18 mile run that mentally I was not strong enough to complete a marathon. I had some serious soul searching take place for about a week as to whether or not I could actually accomplish this goal. Two things kept me going, I already spent the money and I had told people that I was going to do it. What I am trying to say is this, my pride kept me in this for the long haul!

Let me remind you, I love to run. I love to race. I love the thrill of passing people and the challenge to catch people after they pass me. The problem I found with training for a marathon is that it isn't a race, at least for me this first time, I had to learn to pace myself.

I ran my first 20 miler the end of July and the last 5 miles were torture. Mentally, I was still not ready. I kept questioning my intent. I kept questioning my body. I was hot, I was tired, I was done around mile 17. But, I ran. I ran up a hill and back down it. I added on an extra loop because I was 1/2 a mile short, and I hated every minute of it. But, I did it. I finished. I reached another goal and I knew I only had one more long run in my way before race day.

A couple weeks later I ran my fastest half marathon. The thrill of racing those first 6 miles was incredible! I didn't know my feet could move that fast. I didn't know my lungs and heart were that effecient. The last 7 miles I paid for the extra speed at the beginning. At mile 10 I had a moment where I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. But, I finished. I did well. My body proved to my mind, yet again, that it was strong enough to do hard things.

Me and Anika at Hobble Creek in our homemade TieDye tanks!

Last weekend I ran 22 miles. I ran non-stop for 3 hours. No water breaks (I carried my water), no bathroom breaks, not even a stop light broke up this run. I didn't hate any of it. It was definitely a challenge. Physically I was spent before I was spent mentally, that hasn't happened to me before. This time it was my mind, and my iPod, that kept me going the last couple of miles. When I hit mile 22 I honestly thought that I could keep going for another 4.2 miles. That was an awesome feeling. Did I want to run for another 32 minutes, NO, but the confidence that I could, felt really good.

So, here I am, 2 weeks away from my marathon. The taper period. I will cut back my mileage from 40 miles per week to 24 miles, to 16 miles and then to 10 miles and then I'll run the longest distance of my life, 26.2 miles. And you better believe I will have a sticker proudly displayed in my car window after I finish. Wish me luck!