Mind Over Matter

August 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm 1 comment

Today I learned that, barring injury and illness, I will finish the Philadelphia Marathon.

To start out, I awoke to my phone ringing at 9:00am.

I’m supposed to be at work at 8:00am. Yeah, not good. I have no idea what happened – I guess I turned off my alarm, or never set it at all. So I raced around to get ready (skipped breakfast), biked to work (which I wasn’t going to do because of my planned 9 miles this evening), and walked in at 9:36 out of sorts and mortified.

The day never really improved from there – I never really mentally woke up, and I had to survive on food from the cafe upstairs (which meant I ate a bagel sandwich with bacon, a scone, and a chocolate croissant. Not so fantastic).

By the time I got home, the last thing I wanted to do was go out and run 9 miles (I’m going away this weekend, and didn’t want to have to worry about my long run, or miss time with family because of it).

I sat at my computer, watching the time tick by. I texted my brother to try to get some motivation, but all he had to say was “Don’t go – it’s going to rain” (really helpful, right?) I had also decided that Trader Joe’s “Chocolatey Cats” cookies were the perfect running fuel (to be fair, it’s absolutely “that time of the month”).

Finally, I got dressed, sat around some more, and then resentfully headed out the door. I re-planned in my mind, and told myself that I would only do 7 of my planned 9 miles.

I started out,  ran a couple of feet, and was immediately hit with horrible side cramps.

The cramps and the overall crappy feeling lasted until around mile 3 or 4, during which time I decided to just do a different, 6-mile loop. The whole time, I was just telling myself that all I had to do was do the one loop I decided on, and then I could go home and know at least I had gotten out and “ran”.  My mind wandered a little bit, and all of a sudden, I noticed that my stride wasn’t labored anymore. Actually, it was quite free – I seriously almost felt like I was floating. Riding this more than welcome Runner’s High, I reevaluated my route in my mind, and decided to go in a direction that I figured would take me 7 or 8 miles.

The rest of the run was as good a run as I’ve had recently – there were some decent hills which were as difficult as they ever were, my big toes started really hurting when I had just a few turns/streets left to go, but I kept on.

When I reached my apartment complex, where I usually stop, I stopped my Garmin, looked down, and couldn’t believe it.

I ran exactly 9 miles.

And not only did I run those 9 miles, but I ran them in 1:26 (exactly!), which put me at a 9:33 min/mile pace. Not going to win any records, but that’s a pretty decent pace for me in any long run.

I am so proud of myself. I was honestly thisclose to not going out at all, to just giving up and letting my overall bad day and apathetic mood win.

And now, I couldn’t be happier. Not only did I go out and run, but I went out, accomplished my goal, and rocked it in the process. Based on how mental running a marathon seems to be, how mental even going out and doing long runs is, I’m pretty confident in my ability to overcome that aspect of it. I know I have a long way to go, but now I know that there is a part of me that can and will rise to the occasion.

Philly, here I come.



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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Beer and Burrito Body  |  August 16, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Hi there, I saw your comment on Mehgann’s blog about being homesick. I’m 5 years out of school right now, but when I first graduated I lived in Chicago for 6 months and was totally miserable. I had a good first job, was living with friends, an had an awesome new city at my finger tips . . . . but it was still tough. Hang in there! I look back now and wish I would have enjoyed the opportunity a little more, but back then I was so reminiscent of school, I failed to full appreciate the next step.


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