Today, I ran TEN miles. TEN. ROAR. =)
I’m starting to see how this training program works. How it’s constructed to keep itself from completely overwhelming you. Some of that, you have to do for yourself. Like what I said in the last post about refusing to worry about any run but today’s. But the program builds you up gradually so that you never feel completely overwhelmed at the start of any one run.
Before I started, I had to be able to run for 30 minutes. Okay, so that’s about three miles (at my pace, ha ha). The first week, it’s just two 3s and a 4…with a 5 at the end. Four is no problem, because that’s just a mile longer than a three (which I was used to by then), and my first five, in Vienna, was a gift…because it was cool and there wasn’t any humidity, and my mind was so focused on not getting lost that I was able to distract myself for that whole hour (which I now know was closer to a 5.5-mile run).
The next week, 3s and a 4 again…no problem, I’ve done that already…and a 6…which I knew I could do because I’d done almost six already, the previous week. The 7 was a new route…roads I’d never run on before, so the novelty helped (seems novelty always helps…I like my short runs to be familiar streets close to home so they’re “friendly,” but on long runs, I can distract myself with new roads). If you can do 7, you can do 8. Suddenly the mid-week run is a 5…so it’s exciting to tackle that distance and get to a point where I can run 5 reliably without walking, which equals a new challenge, a new rush each time I meet that challenge. This week’s 5 was AWESOME…I hit something like autopilot around the beginning of Mile 4 and just started to float. I felt so strong, like I could go on forever.
Then, suddenly, BAM, a 10-mile long run this week! Added TWO miles to last week’s LR instead of just one. And though it seemed scary, I didn’t worry about it all week. I had people at work pumping me up for it, telling me it’d be no sweat, that I’d ace it (thanks, Christa and Leah), and we actually joked around about it, which completely stole its daunting power. Reduced it from a tiger to a kitten. From a big, difficult, scary thing to something I looked forward to FINISHING, if not forward to DOING.
It helped to eat something this morning. Up till now, I’ve been able to do morning LRs without eating beforehand, and getting myself through with PowerAde and Clif Shot Bloks. But this morning, I had a piece of cinnamon bread with cream cheese about an hour before I headed out, and I think it made a difference. After all, it was 1:03:30 before I walked at all.
I made it a game with myself to see how little I could walk. I did a 2-minute walk…not long after, a 3:30 minute walk…then a 1, and finally another 2 (unwillingly, but by then I was dealing with a significant knee problem). In the end, I walked only 0:30 seconds longer today in this 10-miler than I did last week in my EIGHT-miler. I’d told Leah yesterday that I wanted to keep it under 12 minutes of walking. CHECK.
Knees, though. Ugh. My right knee was lodging some pretty serious protests around Mile 8.5. The kind of pains I remember from the Camino two years ago. Not so much in my left knee, but as I started to favor my right, all I could think was that it wouldn’t be long before I paid for the extra stress on my left. If something takes me out of this thing, it’ll be a knee issue. I need to learn everything I can about how to read a pain or an injury and treat it so it doesn’t get out of control.
So that was Week 5…Monday a 3, Tuesday a 5, Thursday a 3, and today’s 10. Total of 21 miles…4 hours.
On to Week 6. There are no more 3-milers until the final week. My minimum is now 4. Mid-run is still a 5 next week, but I believe it goes up to a 6 the week after that. LR is an 11…which is no longer scary to me because I’ve seen what a 10 is like, and had it not been for my knee issue in the last mile, I think I still would’ve been able to pick up the pace in the final stretch (I babied it the whole way in today, which felt strange and kind of anticlimactic). One more mile doesn’t seem like that big a deal after today.
And that’s how it works. Whatever is coming up always seems do-able, based on what you’ve already DONE. And the fear of the long run is far worse than the long run itself, so being determined to keep it out of my mind till the DAY OF means I don’t worry about it at all. It’s amazing…and totally awesome.
One final thing about today and what was so cool about it…last week, I did an 8, which is less than half of what my longest LR will be (18 miles). This week, I’m past the halfway point. So even now, even the 18 seems like something that’s within my reach. And by the time it arrives, after I accomplish 11, 12, 14, and 16…I bet the 18 will be powerless against me too.
There’s no doubt that this is taking up almost all of my free time…but I’m so glad I’m doing it. I love the support I’m getting from my family and my friends, and I’m especially glad that I’ve told so many people. Nothing is more motivating than feeling like you have a lot of people to report to once you’re done…a lot of people waiting for your success story. It makes the idea of quitting seem ridiculous. Why on earth would I give up this rush??