This weekend was full of proud moments. Saturday I conquered my fear of bathing suit shopping and Sunday I had something a little more physical to take care of… a 10.5 mile run… alone. I’ve never done than before and I’m going to be honest – I was very very nervous!
And since we’re on the topic of running, I guess it’s time to tell you something… I signed up for the Run to Remember half marathon back in January! I didn’t want to mention it on the blog before because I promised myself that I would not go through with the race if the training was going to make me miserable. You may recall I swore I’d never do it again after last year’s Run to Remember half but after a pretty long break from running, I had an itch to run again and once again it was making me happy! Training for an event provides me with additional structure and easily quantifiable accomplishments. What can I say, I like numbers.
But here is the deal – long runs are not only physically but (even more so) mentally challenging (if you’re properly trained, your legs for the most part know what to do if your head won’t get in the way)… and let’s just say during the 9 miler the previous weekend my head got the best of me.
During the evil 9 miler, I felt exactly how I did during last year’s race – my legs felt like lead, my brain was whining non-stop. I started making deals with myself; I quit (and restarted) about a million times and then I finally finished strong. This could have been the sign that maybe this long distance running is not for me after all, but I remembered that everyone has a bad run and I deserved to give myself another change this weekend.
On Sunday morning when I woke up, the sun was shining (it was actually nearly 70*!!), the flowers were blooming and I was ready to get to it. Here is what I did differently in order to prevent another miserable run. Sane running was my moto!
- I changed the route! I’ve been running for weeks by the Charles River, which is beautiful and flat… and I’m sorry – boring if you’re there every weekend. This time I planned a fun run to a different river (in Jamaica Plain) and then randomly found a cool new park – it made a big difference to see new scenery!
- I drank alternating sips of water and coconut water after the end of each song on my ipod. It helped me break down the run into one-song intervals
- I really focused on the music. I literally listened to the words instead of obsessing over how long I’ve gone (or have left!)… I even sang in my head
I really paid attention to everyone around me. There were people with dogs, runners, parents with little kids playing around. It was an incredibly beautiful day and I was out for 2 hours to enjoy it… one song at a time!
Lastly, I allowed myself to take occasional short walking breaks. I only did it a few times and only for maybe 30 seconds to a minute, but not putting time restrictions on myself (or judge myself for wanting to take a little break), allowed me to really enjoy the run more and finish with a smile [in 1:50]
Another totally random thing happened – I ran into my parents at about a half-way point. We were both shocked to see each other (it was at a park somewhere in between our cities). Seeing a familiar face was pretty cool… and my dad’s expression when I told him I ran there (not driven!) was hilarious (and kind of proud). It gave me a little boost for at least a mile after that. Maybe you can randomly run into someone you know too?
I’m so happy I didn’t give up on my training from just one lousy run. Now I’m ready to tackle 12 miles next weekend. I’ll take my own advise above!
What kind of tricks do you use during prolonged exercise? I’m also planning to update my ipod with new music… something new to sing and dance to in my head to. [If you have good songs to run to, I’m all ears on that too!]