Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yep, I'm Still Alive...

Thought I'd check in so you all didn't think Saturday's 20 miler had been the death of me. Just a few thoughts for you on this Wednesday:

1. I made it through 20 miles, no problem. It wasn't quite as transcendent an experience as the previous week's 18, but I did it, in a decent time, with no injuries. Can't ask for more than that. Why did I do 20 when I was only scheduled for 19? I know at least 10% of running is mental. And, for me, knowing that my longest pre-marathon run was scheduled to be 20, left me wondering how I'd feel about knowing there's 6.2 left when I hit that point on race day. For me, knowing there's 5 or even 4 miles left will seem more doable. See, it's all mental. So, next weekend when I'm supposed to do 20, I'm going to aim for 21-22. Just to make myself feel better. Of course, I'll listen to my body and stop sooner if things feel out of whack.

2. I had a small epiphany around mile 18 on Saturday. My feet hurt, my knees felt like they didn't want to bend any more, my legs felt heavy. The light bulb moment? What no one bothers to tell you (or me, anyway) is that marathon training isn't just about training to be able to cover the distance. It's about learning to deal with discomfort (not "ouch, something's not okay" pain, just the normal "I'm sick of running" fatigue and soreness) and to keep moving.

3. Cooler temps = faster legs? My splits have gone back to normal in the past couple of weeks, even a little faster some days. So, it's either the cooler weather, or my fitness level has made another (unexpected) jump up. Either way, I'll take it! Anyone else in the Midwest loving the advent of fall?

4. B. and I, in a moment of rare spontaneity, booked a couple of last minute tickets and spent Labor Day weekend in Chicago to hang out with one of his college BFFs. It was a whirlwind weekend of fun, friends, and food. It was exactly what I needed to recharge. Plus, in a flash of brilliance, when I signed up for PTO from work on Friday, I also signed up for Tuesday off. So, instead of getting back to the grind yesterday like the rest of the world, I took one more leisurely day to get things back in order around here. Amazing.

5. The day we returned from Chicago, I read a disturbing news story about 5 separate attacks on students at the university near our house. A couple were robbed, and a couple were robbed and sexually assaulted. The attacks had taken place mostly between midnight and 2 a.m., but I often start my long runs just a few hours later while it's still twilight. Luckily, the police caught the guy yesterday. Still, it was a sobering reminder to be vigilant.  I'm pretty paranoid about stuff like that, so I'm hyper-aware of my surroundings. I hope to project a "way more trouble than she's worth" vibe to anyone with bad intentions. B. tried to get me to buy pepper spray. To me, that seems like more trouble than the good it might do. What, would I run with it in my hand? I already carry a hand-held water bottle. If I kept in a belt, that would be ridiculous: "Hold on, sir, while I access my pepper spray...okay, you can resume your attack; I'm ready."  What do you all do? How do you plan for your safety while out on the road?

Have a wonderful short work week!


  1. Long distance running certainly does seem to be about mentally learning to get through those barriers in our mind (and the minor discomfort along the way). The longest I've ran is about 14 miles, but have definitely had to plow through that. I have to run the full distance before a race. I think it would be tough for me mentally to not have done that. But LOTS of people leave the full distance for the big day. To each their own. I completely get why you'd aim for a couple extra miles at this point in training.

    Be careful out there in those early mornings. I'm a big chicken and really try to avoid runnning alone at all when it's dark. Any time I do run alone at all (even daytime) it's always in a very populated area.

  2. loved this

    and I was just telling my hubs we were going to just slightly bump up our miles each week to get over the 20miler so we would be past that mental barrier

  3. Yay!!!! Congrats on making it through 20 miles! Also, I love your light bulb moment: "marathon training isn't just about training to be able to cover the distance. It's about learning to deal with discomfort (not "ouch, something's not okay" pain, just the normal "I'm sick of running" fatigue and soreness) and to keep moving." This is soooo true and I may just have to quote you if that is okay!!!!!

  4. @ KK - Absolutely okay; quote freely! =)