I ran 14 miles yesterday. It is the longest run I have ever done. I didn’t write about it yesterday because in all honesty, the run was awful. Anything I would have written about it would have been negative and not worth writing and certainly not worth reading. A waste of everyone’s time. After having a day to think about it and reflect on it, I’m ready to approach it differently. So thanks for the offer Ryan, but I’m going to skip the whining and I’m just going to tell you what I learned from it instead… (You can still hold me if you want.)
No matter how you’re feeling during the week, you should never take that huge a chunk of time off from running…
I wrote about how “not into it” I was feeling last week and I was indulgent and took waaaaaay more time off than I should have. This meant my legs, while theoretically rested, were not primed and ready for 14 miles. This didn’t help my “heavy, tired legs” to be any less heavy and tired on Sunday. The very least I could have done was cross training and I didn’t even do that. Stick to the plan.
You have the power to change your attitude - you do!
In high school our warm up t-shirts for soccer my senior year said “attitude is everything” on the back. Simple message, but so. damn. true. My mindset last week was a very unproductive approach to training. I let myself wallow in doubt and frustration and mental defeat instead of picking myself up and forcing myself to look at how well I’ve been doing and at how much more I am capable of. Staying negative and doubting yourself becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Aspire to more, put in the work, and give yourself a little credit.
Stop relying so heavily on your technology. You use it as a crutch.
My Garmin dying at mile 5 yesterday was the cherry on top of my shit sundae… Ok, that’s a bit dramatic, but when I looked down and realized that the screen was blank and that it was no longer tracking my time and distance I was absolutely deflated. I need to remind myself that while it’s nice to get home and stare at a screen full of splits and to visualize how far I ran, it should not define a successful run. Completing 14 miles is an accomplishment and a screenshot on my blog of a time, distance and average pace doesn’t prove anything. Plus, what am I going to do if something doesn’t work properly on race day? That’s definitely not the time to self-destruct.
Speed means diddly on long runs i.e., stop trying to PR training runs!!!
Trying to run long training runs at race pace is insane! Insane, I say! (There’s a reason it’s called race pace.) Trying to outdo myself in new distances can only lead to fatigue and injury. After estimating yesterday’s finishing time I concluded I ran about a 10:04 pace. Months ago I would have happily taken that! Just because I can run an 8:49 min/mile 11 miler doesn’t mean I should. My focus needs to be the mileage, not how fast I get it done. We’ll save the speed for race day and trust that everything I’ve done leading up to then is enough to give me the results I want.
You are so capable.
I’ve completed 3 half marathons and added a new distance to my repertoire. Adding an additional mile and a half
should not will not be a problem. Beyond that though, I need to remind myself of how far I’ve come. From that first 3 mile race I ran, to completing the NYRR 9+1, to running two incredible races this year. I’ve succeeded so far, and I don’t plan to stop.
One thing I’m proud of myself for yesterday is my will to stay in the ice bath. It was freezing and more than once I found myself shivering while looking at my towel and thinking, “You can make this all stop right now. All you have to do is get out…” But I stuck it out to the point of numb and I’m glad I did. If there’s one thing that can be said about yesterday, it’s that I stuck it out.
Life ain’t livin’ if you don’t breathe the air…
October 2007… While most of our classmates were having their senior audits done, planning senior carry-outs and date parties, ordering caps and gowns, and waiting in line at Rick’s, Drew was preparing to undergo chemotherapy for Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder (PTLD), a form of B-cell lymphoma specific to organ transplant patients.
Mondays were treatment days. After going to the farm/lab and my early class, I would drive to the hospital to sit with Drew and do my reading while nurses bustled about the Pediatric Oncology unit, checking in on Drew each time the pump on his IV stand went off signaling the addition of another drug cocktail or the need for another bag of saline.
We carried on this way through the winter and into spring, until finally, in the last week of April, Drew turned 22, graduated from the University of Michigan, and received a clean bill of health. No cancer.
This all serves as a reminder to me of what I am running for – of who I’m running for. I’m running for patients, and families, and friends who have been saddled with a cancer diagnosis and those who need the hope, support, and the strength. I’m running for Drew, who has been by my side and a huge part of my life for the past 5 years. He’s been my library buddy, my formal date, my photographer, my cheerleader, my roommate and my absolute best friend. He inspires me to be a better person and to do and achieve the things I want most. It is an absolute honor to be running in his name tomorrow.* I can assure you, there will be tears when I cross that finish line.
Good luck and happy running to everyone running tomorrow, whether it’s the NYC Half Marathon, the LA Marathon or a training run. I can’t wait to read your race reports!
"Running is not, as it so often seems, only about what you did in your last race or about how many miles you ran last week. It is, in a much more important way, about community, about appreciating all the miles run by other runners, too." -Richard O’Brien
*Drew isn’t the only one I’m running for tomorrow. I’m running for blood cancer patients everywhere, but I also have the distinct honor of wearing the name of Jim Francis. Jim was a runner who died of lymphoma at age 42. Jim’s daughter Melissa, also a runner, said that her father was her motivation and that he had always wanted to run a race in New York. I feel so honored to give Jim his race in New York. A fitting tribute. Thank you Melissa for sharing your dad’s legacy.