Ah, Week 5. Week 5 was a Milestone week. A make it or break it type week. My running psyche has been rather fragile as of late with some bad/painful finishes Week 5 was the first real test: 14 miles. Its not that I haven’t ever run 14 miles before, I have, it has just been a VERY LONG TIME. I know that from this point out it is going to be mental training as much (if not more) than physical training. My brain is so accustomed to my current routine that I can accurately run my intervals w/o my GymBoss beeping in my ear to within a few seconds. If I can mentally react to the routine of my intervals, how would I react to reaching my regular stopping point of 13.1. Would my brain shut me down at that point just because my Garmin said 13.1? I couldn’t NOT wear my Garmin, but I was a little concerned with the mental effect the distance would have on me. I had a sneaky plan. I planned to pause my Garmin for half a mile so that way I was ½ mile further than what my Garmin said. I set out early, before sun rise as usual. I was feeling pretty good. Under advisement of some experienced and trusted running friends, I changed up my MT intervals from my HM intervals. Since my brain (and body) is so conditioned to run 13.1 miles at a specified interval, if I changed up the intervals it may make the transition smoother. It totally did! I LOVE my new intervals! I dropped from a 2:1 to a 1:1 and I LOVE it. I actually run faster at a 1:1, though I don't think it I was supposed to... I still need to tweak with it, but I think I have a few miles to do that!
I made my way through town, mentally mapping my route so that I would make it to 12 miles before I started back for home. Unfortunately around Mile 5, and across town, I was starting to feel the water I was drinking. I came to Westview Park and lo and behold there was a portapotty sitting in the parking lot from the Youth Baseball Games. Dare I? I usually run a couple laps around the park anyway which ticks off a couple miles so I approached the glory potty. :) I slowly pulled the door open, unsure of what would be inside. You just never know. We have rowdy teenagers who would think it would be funny to deface property. Its a park right on the edge of town surrounded by cornfields so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that there would be a stray raccoon or something inside. Luckily for me, it was totally clean. There wasn't any TP, but I always have a tissue in my fuel belt. Awesome! Back on track, I took this opportunity to implement my Garmin plan. I ran around the park because I know its just a little over a half of a mile. Then I turned my Garmin back on and continued running. I was feeling really good. I tend to get hungry around mile 9 or 10. My stomach starts growling so I stashed a granola bar in my fuel belt. It was nice to have when my stomach started growling! I was just tooling around, up and down dead end streets and around blocks, loving every minute of it. I don't even think that I was miserable at any point. Which is HUGE!!! Here I am running FOURTEEN miles and feeling good. I looked down and I was at 13 miles already! BUT with my trickery earlier in the run I was actually OVER 13.5! I headed back to the house and ended up with 14.63 which would have been a hair over 15 miles.
This was a HUGE week for me. I had it in my head that, while there was never a doubt in my mind about whether or not I would do this, the question was whether I would be completely destroyed at the end. You know, completely and utterly miserable. Now I realize that 14 miles is a far cry from 26, but still, this week made me feel hopeful that it wouldn't be a miserable experience. I have no visions or glory about crossing the finish line full of peppy energy and glowing. I know I will be an exhausted, sweaty mess of a human being, but barely recognizable as such, but NOW I have hope that through the tears will be a genuine smile reflective of what I had just accomplished. I know now that I will enjoy at LEAST half of it, and really, anything over than is just icing on the cake! If I can "breeze through" the first 20 miles then I can fight my way through the last 6.2. Fighting is something I am used to doing. Get me to 20 and I will get myself home. I know it.
Until next time, Run On and Be Happy.