long run
Just Keep Running

Today’s 15 miler was the first time I’ve run over 13 miles since my last marathon experience in 2009 (You can read about this glorious experience HERE). I’ll start by saying that I fuckin’ rocked it. Hard. But I’ll follow up by saying it wasn’t easy. At all.

There’s this feeling that boils up inside of you the days leading up to a run that exceeds a distance you’ve run before. It’s the same feeling that pops up before a race. It’d dread. It’s doubt. It’s fear. And it’s inevitable. Today was no exception.

I woke up with butterflies in my tum tum. Was I going to be able to finish the full 15 miles strong? Did I hydrate enough the last few days? Is it too hot outside? Was my diet good enough to keep me from shitting my pants? You have to put these fears aside or turn them into lil targets of adrenaline that’ll help you finish. I chose to turn them into challenges that’d get me through the whole thing. I used the worries to my advantage.

I planned a route that incorporated some good climbs in order to train my body at certain distances to expect the pain. The Vancouver marathon coming up May 1st has some killer hills that I want to be prepared for. Funny enough, the big hill came at mile 13 which was my previous long run distance. Anything beyond that mark was new territory for my body this training session. I love that I plotted a hill at that point. I’m a glutton for punishment.

Once I got out there and started running, my body got into the rhythm; I felt strong; I felt hydrated and I was ready to kick some ass. By mile 12 I was making good time and pretty stoked by my lack of muscle weakness/pain which has been plaguing me on other long mileage runs. But it was at this point that my body began to shut down. It didn’t want to hit that hill. It didn’t want to go the extra 3 miles to the finish. It fuckin’ hated me.

homebrew sweet stout
My First Sweet Stout Home Brew!

Fuck you, body! You’re doing what I damn well TELL you to do! It continued to fight me and, boy, was I struggling. But I chugged on – granted, with more pain and weakness – but I did it. I got up the hill pretty quick, took a nice breather at the top while I took in the view, and plowed down the back side to the final mile stretch to home.

By the time I got home, my last mile was easily my fastest of the day which proves to me my body had the ability to go faster and stronger despite the pain. This is how I like my long runs. It leaves me with a sense of confidence I’ll carry over to the next weekend’s big run. The problem with me is that despite this confidence, the nerves will still begin to creep into my subconscious by then as I prep for a longer, more difficult route. I’ll just have to tell myself not to doubt or fear the run. And don’t dare quit!

The same goes for you. Get out there and put in your miles. Your body will thank you with pain, strength, and confidence. Then you can reward it with beer!

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