Tuesday, August 4, 2015

maybe running really is mostly mental

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
~ T.S. Eliot

Today was the first training run in the program to get me to the finish line of the Long Haul 100. The run was pretty terrible, but I knew it would be. I also know that it won't be the only less than stellar run in the next 24 weeks, but it's good for me to figure out how to keep putting one foot in front of the other anyway. After all, isn't the saying something along the lines of "ultramarathons are 90% mental"? Well, today I really worked on that 90%.

It was only 7 miles, but my day was thrown by the rain and an utter lack of sleep the past few days. Or I was just having a moment and wanted to hide under the covers. So when I got word that the outdoor yoga class I teach was being cancelled due to weather and my running partner text me this morning that she wasn't feeling well, I turned my alarm off and rolled over, welcoming the excuses to stay in bed. Anyway, insomnia and anxiety about my to-do list kept me from staying too long, so I got up, pulled out the laptop, and cranked out some work while the rain continued to do its thing. It was nearly 3pm by the time I made it out the door with my running shoes.

Sunny. Hot. Humid. Muddy. To keep from destroying the trails, I opted for another heart rate training run on the one mile paved loop at Bluff, and sweet fancy Moses was that frustrating! I had to trot along at a 12 minute pace to keep my heart rate in the proper zone, and even had to slow to a walk periodically when it went haywire. Part of it could be adjusting to the new medicine, but I imagine a large portion of it was the outdoor conditions. Despite my best efforts, I can not seem to stay hydrated... not only during the run (I drained my 1 liter bottle before the last mile!), but before and after, as well. In any case, it was a good exercise in accepting - or perhaps more accurately, pushing through - a maddeningly slow pace when I don't want to, because on race day, it will be necessary at times. Again, with that mental training thing.

What I love, though, is that I went into this run with a certain set of expectations, negative as they may have been, and a fistful of determination to finish it anyway, and it worked! Even better, I walked back to my car feeling happy, rather than defeated, and I'm still feeling it. That gave me just the boot in the butt I needed to pull up the Long Haul 100's website, fill out my information, and hit the submit button. So that's it! The first training run is done and I'm in. Next up: 5 miles tomorrow morning.

Stay tuned...