11 mental miles.

By now, you’ve probably figured out that I have been quietly tacking on to my ‘virtual sherpa’ miles in support of my sister’s marathon next month. (and while I still refuse to say exactly where I’m going – proverbially and literally (!) speaking, I’ll share my goal when I reach it, mmk?)

So, this morning ended up being our ‘virtual sherpa’ run even though Jess isn’t planning to run her next long run (20 miles (!)) until Saturday (part of the reason for our ‘early’ sherpa’ing? It’s our two year anniversary  – yayyyyy – on Saturday and running 11 miles that morning did not seem to be the most romantic way to start it off, hehe).

11 miles was the plan.

I mapped out our route last night and unlike my sister, who, mentally, finds it easier to tackle longer distances by doing the same route several times (so, a 7 mile loop twice for 14 miles, for example) while for me, that would bore me to tears and also tempt me into stopping early. For me, a long loop the extent of the run just does it for me.

So. Our run took us 11 miles and almost entirely of one continuous route. The only change was one loop to get us to 11. And honestly, that loop played mental mind games with me. As we looped around, my legs were just beat up. (even though I intentionally gave myself a day between runs to let them rest a bit). They felt like I was at mile 9 or 10, not mile 5 and 6. Even M’s legs were tired prematurely.

We kept going and around mile 7, walked some and had some water and fuel (ala Healthy Bites, thank you Lindsay!!). I was SO thirsty for some reason, but only drank a little, given I always side cramp if I am not careful with water consumption. This is where I started to freak out a little. I was just.so.tired. We came up to a spot where we go left, and complete 11 miles, or go right (and a huge ass mofo of a hill, I might add) and shorten our run and go home. If this says anything about this run – I was thisclose to taking the shorter, yet, mofo-hill way. SOclose. 

And then M gave me some tough love. He said ‘look. I’m tired too. I don’t know what’s happening to us today, but we got up this morning to run 11 miles. We are going to run 11 miles.’

Me, using my inside voice: ‘sheesh. I love you too babe.’

;-)

So, we kept going. And it was just labor. Torture. I am pretty sure I could not have been more miserable in these final 4 miles than I was (and I might add, not ONE BUNNY the entire run. That should have been a sign this run was going to be miserable!). At the only other super steep mofo-like hill, I just had to walk it. I tried to run, my legs were practically moving backwards (it’s that steep, I swear). So I stopped. And I felt the lump in my throat rising. The panic setting in. And I shed a couple of tears, but tried to hide them. We didn’t speak. Just breathed, held hands. 

And we took off once again and somehow, some way, managed to make it all 11 miles. It felt like 20. Truly. They felt almost entirely like dismal, awful, just downright angry miles. (except for the beautiful sunrise we witnessed during the first 3 miles of our run, the only good miles we ran, I do believe!).

So we made it. 11 mental miles. 

And when I head out for that redemption run on Saturday (a shorter one, of course) with M, on our two year anniversary, I’m going to turn those mental miles into happy miles. Channel the last two years. The best years of my life. 

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29 thoughts on “11 mental miles.

  1. Sis, channel the hell out of the past two years on your run on Saturday with M…your sherpa in life. You will get those redemption miles I KNOW you will. and in the meantime? be so so so proud about what you accomplished today — you WANTED those miles so you FOUGHT for them, even if it meant a shed tear or two. I’m SO SO SO proud of you!!!! love you my sherpa sister :)

    1. I definitely will, tomorrow. I am excited for a great run to kick off our celebrating together :-) I did fight for them, and they sort of won at times, but that’s ok, the next will be the best!

  2. I am so with YOU on the route thing. If I have to circle a route more than once, forget it! That’s more of a mental deal for me. I want an out and back. That forces me to suck it up LOL. I am really proud of you for sticking to this run regardless. You didn’t stop. You didn’t take an easy way out. You did it. You should be very proud of that.

    Now, I may have to lecture you on water and fuel like I’ve done to Jess ;-)

    1. Yes! I cannot circle more than once, parts of it, MAYBE, but more than once, not a chance! And thank you, I am proud that we kept at it too! And I’ll take any fueling advice you have, friend :)

  3. Here’s the thing. There’s not a single runner out there who hasn’t had a shitty run or two in their time. It’s going to happen now and then. The trick is not letting today’s bad run freak out for your future runs. That’s where the mental game comes into this. Because you CAN run 11 miles…likely a lot more…it’s not the physical part that’s your problem, it’s all mental. Work on pushing through the mental garbage and you’ll get to where you want to be.

    1. Right, exactly. Not every run will be pretty. I’ve been having great long runs lately so it was bound to happen sooner or later ;-) I’m excited for redemption tomorrow and a better long run next week!! Running is 99% mental, I completely agree!

  4. Way to get those 11 miles done. I know that exact feeling of a lump in your throat and wanting to just be done. I have had asthma attacks because of anxiety of thinking I couldn’t finish. But I did. And so did you! You are doing AMAZING! I am so happy for you.

    1. Thank you Robin!! I know, the panic, the near hyperventilation is the worst feeling ever. I am glad to have pushed it down so it didn’t get too bad though. Thank you!

  5. Uck! Hard runs are the worst but I do believe they make us stronger in so many ways. I mean, I look at Boston and remember how hot and hard it was and honestly it just makes me feel like I can do anything! So I hope you got that feeling from today’s run. Plus it makes good runs (like Saturday’s anniversary run :)) that much better! Be proud!

    1. They do make us stronger! I am glad we pushed through it. I think M was surprised that I didn’t take the shorter route, to be honest! Hell, I was surprised too!! I am proud :)

  6. This post gave me chills! I am so in love with your truth! I know we talked about it, no they aren’t all good, but finding the courage to move on and bust through the tough times is what we are all about! You, my friend, are an inspiration! Enjoy that kickass victory run on Saturday!

    1. aww thank you Sarena!! The courage to move on and not fear the next run is tough to surpass, but at this point, I just want a redemption run of any kind, to put this one behind me :) Thank you!!

  7. I know that sometimes a bad run can really mess with your mind. All it takes is a one bad run and suddenly you think you’re not a good runner and you can’t do this. But every runner has bad runs. And it doesn’t mean anything. And you did it anyway even though it was tough. I like to think that after a bad run, we get an easy one, so next run will be a good one!

  8. Hard runs are hard but you know what? You guys got out there and got them done. It might not have been pretty or easy but if running was always like that, I honestly don’t think that we’d love it as much. It’s the fight that’s worth it sometimes. I think getting through a tough mental 11 miles means a lot more than if those miles were easy. And I have a feeling that you will get one hell of a redemption run in on Saturday. PS Happy 2 years!!

  9. The nice thing about running is everyday is a new day. Today’s 11 miles were very tough but Saturdays run may end up being one of your best. You should cherish the fact that despite fatigue and wanting to quit you knocked it out of the ballpark and succeeded!!

  10. Ugh, I can totally relate to this. But the only advice I can give is that these runs truly make the good runs seem AMAZING! At least you had a good looking man next to you for those 11 miles. :)

    1. I DID have a hot man next to me the whole time, thank God for that. That is actually a great point. If he wasn’t there, I am pretty sure I would have crumpled!

  11. Good runs, bad runs, runner highs and running on empty…..you never know what you are going to get! I call a run like the one you described a ‘character building run’. A run that tests you mentally, emotionally, and physically, but when it is all over you realize how TOUGH and bad-ass you are:-)

    I know that you say water gives you cramps, but do you take any other form of liquid or fuel in during your long runs?

    You should be very proud of those miles and I am sending good running vibes your way for Saturday….HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

    1. So true! Never know what you’ll get. Such a mixed bag. This was def character building in every way. I don’t take any other liquid fuel during runs no, what are some good options that won’t cause cramps?? And thank you on the run and the anniversary :)

  12. You did it. I am reading this thinking, oh I have been there, but it sucks. No matter how positive you try to be, sometimes you’re just beat. I read the best article last week about how Tour de France cyclists push through mental blocks. Truly something to work on is our mind, I need to find it and send it!

    2 years – ow ow!

    1. I think we have all been there, right? And can appreciate when someone else goes through it and feel for them! I know I always do! And always equally love an awesome run too! The mental blocks are hard to push through but feel so good after!! :)

  13. I just started running this summer. A year and a half ago I married a runner. In many ways, too numerous to even list, he’s pushed me to be better. He pushed and prodded me to join him a life I would never have imagined for myself and my daughters.

    Last week we ran together and I completed my first 5k distance. At 2.5 miles I wanted to stop but he pushed me on. He has always believed in me more than I believe on myself. He’s proof to me that God’s plan for my life is much greater and more wonder-filled than any plan my mind ever dreamer up.

    1. What an inspiring story!! Thank you for sharing it. Isn’t it crazy to have someone in your life that shares the same drive and determination? I love that with M, and having him in my life, just as you have in yours, to help push and inspire! Good job on your 5K!!!

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