formats

I ran six miles today. More or less. It was muggy and gross and I had a major case of the “don’t wannas.” I ran slowly and even stopped to walk around mile 3.5. I walked through to mile four and managed to get going again, but it was hard and miserable and unpleasant. I wanted to turn around and go home for every. Single. Mile.

And then I got to work and started poking around on the blogs. I read a lot of blogs and a fair number of them are healthy living/fitness blogs. Most of them are pretty upbeat and cheerful – one of the reasons people blog is to stay motivated and keeping upbeat seems to be a part of that.

Sometimes, though, shit gets real. Katie from Run This Amazing Day wrote a post called “It’s not all Puppies Shitting Rainbows.”

Her comments about how shitty days happen, how training is a slog and many days are more than just unpleasant, about the toll that really long races can take on your life. Granted, she’s training for an Ironman, which is VASTLY more difficult than what I’m doing, but I love her point about how we all make our choices.

I wanted to run a half-marathon, so I did. Now I want to run a marathon, and I’m going to. It’s the choice I’m going to make every day when I wake up – to follow my training plan and get to the finish line. Bad runs happen. There will be many, many more over the next six months, I’m certain. But I’m going to choose to keep going.

Bad runs happen. Even more than that, they’re a critical part of training. Dealing with these obstacles gives us the mental strength to deal with the problems we encounter during races. Without the runs I’ve done in pouring rain or on slippery streets or blazing hot days, I’m pretty sure I would have just given up on the hotter-than-expected race in Indy. The mental games I play with myself – dividing up a long run into parts (a half-marathon is 4-6-3 mile chunks), imagining myself being chased by zombies, whatever – give me the strength to keep running even when things aren’t ideal.

And it’s a pretty damn good life skill. It’s come in handy pretty often over the past two years. Running hasn’t just made me stronger physically. It’s made me stronger mentally and emotionally. I know what I can handle and I know that my limits are much, much further than I ever would have thought.

It’s pretty amazing and I’m incredibly grateful for every run. Even the bad ones.

 

Comments

  1. Rob Weir says:

    Megan, I’m so inspired by what you’re doing. Keep at it!

    This is an old technique, but one thing Kate and I did when we were training for the tri was to treat our laps/reps/miles/whatever as a countdown, rather than a count up. I don’t remember who told us this, but it was super effective. It’s somehow much better for me mentally to say “14 miles to go … 12 miles to go … 10 to go” than it is to count up. And, I really like your idea of dividing stuff up into chunks.

    Where is your marathon going to be?

    1. meg says:

      Thank you! I’m definitely going to keep at it. I’m lucky to really be loving what I’m doing and to have all these great trails in the area. It really made it easier to get into distance running.

      Counting backwards is definitely the way to go. I have a friend who divides the chunks up from largest to smallest – for her, a half-marathon would be 6-4-3. For me, getting started is often the hardest part, so making that first part smaller works better. I tell myself that all I have to do is run 4 miles and then I can stop. By that point, I’m in the zone (well, usually) and don’t want to stop so badly.

      Marathon Marine Corps, Oct. 28. I’m training way far out, but I really don’t want to injure myself, so getting all those base miles in now is critical.