Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The longest training run before the half

In the two weeks leading up to the race, I was starting to get incredibly nervous – my longest training run before the taper was 10 miles and I just didn’t feel that great about it.  I chose to do my longest and last training run on the day of the semi-annual rib fest that my fiancé and his coworkers do every spring and fall.  That Saturday morning, I awoke early and had my coffee and oatmeal.  I then switched to water and waited for Ben to be ready to go so I could drop him off at rib fest, and come back later after I finished my run.  Well of course, things are never that simple.  Shortly after dropping Ben off, I was at the store for ingredients for my homemade salsa to bring with me later, and received a phone call from my ‘well-prepared’ fiancé with a list of necessary items he had forgotten and could I possibly run that stuff out there before my run.  After a loud groaning sigh, I went back home, got what he needed and went back to rib fest.  Now, I dropped Ben off at 10:00 a.m., in Elm Grove, which is about a half hour from our house.  By the time I made it back home after dropping off the rest of his stuff it was 12:00 p.m.  I figured my 10 miler would take just under 2 hours, and I still had to make salsa.  My day was not going well but what’s a runner to do…I laced up my shoes and did some quick stretches.     To say the least, it did not go well.  It was incredibly windy, I was cold at the beginning, and then I got too hot.  I didn’t dress appropriately, my mp3 player died halfway through my run, and I had not hydrated very well - I had all the excuses in the book as to why it went poorly.  Mostly, I just didn’t have the confidence that I had in previous runs, and my focus was terrible.  But as I have always told myself since I decided to start training, just finish…even if I had to crawl the entire distance, I would finish every one of my training runs.  I finished the run in 2 hours and 3 minutes.  I was really sore and the last thing I wanted to do was get ready and go to rib fest.  I had a moment in the 10 minutes after my run where I actually went so far as to pick up my phone and began to text Ben that I would not make it to rib fest.    Then I told myself one step at a time.  Take a shower.  Drink some more water.  Make salsa.  Finish getting ready.  One step at a time and then decide.  After I finished my tasks and packed the cooler, I was feeling better, if not slightly more sore.  I got to rib fest around 4:30 p.m. barely able to walk correctly. As I hobbled up the driveway, several people asked me how my run went and I smiled weakly and said that at least I had finished. 

I grabbed a water bottle, and walked around chatting for a bit, and ended up in a conversation with one of the other competitors.  I had known from previous rib fests that he has diligently trained for, and finished several half marathons, marathons, and iron man competitions.  At first, our conversation was intimidating to say the least, but then he asked me to tell him about my training runs.  Long story short, he gave me some really good advice.  He said when your positive mentality just isn’t there, remember back to the day that you registered for this race – remember how you felt when you saw your name as confirmed competitor.  He reminded me that by even training, instead of being one of the “I’m going to train for a half - eventually”, I became an “I am training for a half.”  He said that when your legs are tired, run with your heart.  When I got home that night from rib fest, I added that to my list of motivations – ‘when your legs are tired, run with your heart.’  I woke up the next morning barely able to walk…and I felt like a rock-star.

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