Last weekend I ran my long run, my second week doing 29 km. I was pretty nervous about it the day before. I knew I would have to be up early to avoid most of the heat, I knew the route I’d planned had two – 3 km hills in it, and I knew I would be running solo. I felt a little like this:
My husband kindly agreed to “crew” for me (if I am running solo I can use the terms to sound like I have the lingo down and I’m running a really long ways) and would meet me near each 10 km interval with more Gatorade refill. He was a few minutes late for the first interval meet, but then also kindly agreed to run the next 10km with me. Once I got going I felt better.
I approached this run as doing three – 10km runs. I tried to treat each 10km as a distinct distance and this was really helpful psychologically. I didn’t feel as though I was scrambled and running in all directions.
Having my husband run with me was really helpful and motivated me to keep going up the hills even after I’d already run a half marathon distance. (Who wants to slow down when your running buddy is only doing 10km?) I could maintain a sense of form
I made sure I kept up on my nutrition and hydration. It’s easy to get behind on this when you are focussed on running, and running at a pace (or uphill) where eating is uncomfortable or challenging.
The finish of my route was straight uphill and although my pace was slower than our running group’s usual pace, my route was also a lot more hilly than I was used to. Honestly, I run a lot of hills in general, but this had a lot of steep and long hills in it. The challenge of 2.5 more kms uphill to finish off my route was taxing.
I dug down and felt motivated to at least get my distance of 29 km finished. My husband drove the rest of the road home after we’d said goodbye and it was up to me to just finish. A few minutes later he came back to tell me that there was a bear on the road just before my finish line and he could give me a ride.
I finished off my distance and was happy to get in the car for the last few hundred meters, and past the bear. Then, I could finally just look around and enjoy the view.
A week later: Today’s long run was back with my running buddies, a 32 km (almost 20 miles). It was the perfect day for it: overcast, slight breeze, and I felt good. Instead of feeling anxious and nervous I decided to tackle it with my strengths: I am fit, I can do the distance and I can convince myself of most things. I will not overcome hurdles by resigning myself to defeat, I need to get up and over them. The half-way point came and went so quickly. The last 5 km was the hardest, but I kept up with my nutrition and hydration and this kept me going. And honestly, I *felt* good. This is the most satisfying feeling to boost anyone’s confidence – you can run a long ways and still feel good. Maybe the relaxed schedule over my vacation did have some benefits to my attitude and fitness!
I saw a photo today of one of the runners in Project Talaria crossing the finish line. (I have written about them before). He had run 100 miles in just under 27 hours! I was so inspired by this that I knew 32 km was within me.
*No fowl were harmed in the creation of this post. All were well-fed and willing participants and live on a free-range farm, where they are referred to by name. There is a danger of bears where they live, but they also have an electric fence for protection as needed.