On an 80 degree cloudless June day in Duxbury, MA, I found myself lacing up my purple running shoes, filling up a plastic, worn-out water bottle, and strapping my iPhone case to my right arm. It was training season again, with only four weeks left till my third half marathon. It was time to tackle eleven miles in this dreadful heat that my body was fully rejecting that day.
As my feet smacked the pavement I felt a bit queasy. It was only mile two… I had nine more to go. I was told by my marathon-running family friend to never focus on how much you have left, but to focus on what you’ve accomplished. For some reason, I was focusing on that I had nine left, and then eight, seven and a half. Yikes!
At mile eight, as I approached a very unattractive hill covered in a blanket of sunshine, my brain demanded my feet to slow down to a brisk walking pace. I felt defeated already. How had my first training gone so flawlessly, and this effort been so torturous? How was I supposed to finish 13.1 miles in four weeks, when the the humidity would likely be even higher?
The next four miles were spent in agony – cramps, sweat, and dehydration were overcoming every ounce of my run-down frame. After a mix of running/walking I finished the eleven miles in a lot longer time-frame than predicted.
You might be wondering why I put myself through this misery. Shockingly enough, running for me has always been very therapeutic. It gives me a sense of inner peace and belonging. It’s time spent that’s all mine. I have runs that are reflective and fulfilling, and runs that are both physically and mentally challenging, but running has truly become a passion of mine, and the only person I let myself compete against is myself.
The following Friday morning I ran twelve miles at 6AM in the rain before work. It sounds miserable, and although challenging, the run went extremely well with no walking spurts, and a solid average pace of 8:37 minutes per mile. It was also far from miserable, but rather, it felt somewhat euphoric and empowering. I had accomplished my last long distance training run before the average person had started their workday.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that some long runs are going to be far from enjoyable, but if you can push through those rough runs, you’re likely to have successful runs in the future. (It’s a lot like life!) One more week until the Fairfield Half Marathon, and I couldn’t be more excited.