This morning’s 18-miler sucked.
Or at least the first 17 were a slow, sweaty slog. I’ll admit, I wanted to call it quits before I took my first step. No real positive thoughts ran though my head while I got ready. Just get this over with, I kept thinking. But there I was at 7 a.m., groggy and so not game for the helluva hill run ahead of me.
Ironically, my introduction to this notorious loop was for my first 18-miler leading up to Marathon #1 last fall. I remember my coworker told me that it has made people cry thanks to its six (or seven?) daunting, named inclines–runners know that if a hill has a name, nothing good can come of it–that are just relentless. It’s even got a hill dubbed “The Hill That Must Not Be Named.” I’ve done this run a handful of times since then. It’s both soul-crushing and confidence-building. For this reason, this stunning run through PA farmlands has become a staple of my marathon training.
Last year, I was blissfully unaware of what was ahead. On today’s anniversary of that run, despite knowing all too well what was ahead, the hills not only looked like walls, but they felt like them, too. I knew today was not about speed; getting the distance done was my focus. I know it was likely a self-fulfilling prophecy, but my legs felt like s***, slowing me almost to a walk on the very first hill. Really? I still have so many more hills to get over! This was mental marathon training at its finest.
I spent the rest of the run struggling up each hill, and easing down them. I tried to distract myself with my friends’ conversation, thoughts trained on that strawberry-banana-chocolate crepe that was waiting for me. I’ve done this before. It’ll be over… eventually. Suck it up.
I realized last weekend after my 16-miler that I must genuinely, to my core LOVE running. This isn’t exactly “news,” I know, but why else would I be up at the butt-crack of dawn after little sleep to run for miles for…fun? It’s taken a year, but that awareness has sunken in to a whole new level. Maybe my running self is maturing? It’s crystal clear to me now that it’s the sacrifices we make each weekend (and weekday for that matter) to prepare ourselves for a race that make crossing that finish line SO much sweeter. Even sweeter than my strawberry-banana-chocolate crepe.
I tried to remind myself of this when I neared the end of my run. I even said aloud, “Come on, Meg. I can finish two miles. I can do anything for two miles.” Despite one last insult of a hill, I finished my last mile faster than any other mile of the run. It made every sucky step this morning worth it, and I’m thankful that it didn’t go to waste. Boy am I ready for those last six miles of Marine Corps. Bring it.
Here’s another perspective of my run, written by my colleague Mark Remy over at RW. Get up and run? Or stay in bed?
Here’s a quick recap of the rest of the week!
- I did two lifts and a yoga session. I’m now officially obsessed with planks and am challenging myself with different variations of the position. Um…who am I?
- I completed another two-a-day on Tuesday for a total of 10.5 miles. (Should we just start calling these “Two-a-Day Tuesdays”?) I averaged 7:32 for my second run, and it somehow felt better than my lunch run. Weird, but I’ll take it!
- Thursday’s workout was 4 x 1 mile on the roads with a two-mile warm-up. I managed to keep my splits pretty even, and I’m pleased with the workout overall. As per my point above, I secretly love that I did mile repeats voluntarily. Hate ’em with a fiery, burning passion, but gotta do ’em (for fun) right?
Looking forward, I’ll be changing up my usual programming this week because I’m headed to HOOD TO COAST with Nuun on Wednesday! Stay tuned for a Race Report early next week (or whenever I’ve regained consciousness).
QUOTE OF THE POST: “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re probably right.” – Henry Ford