I’m running the Hartford Marathon in 27 days.
I am not prepared.
I did not train the way I wanted to or the way I should have over the summer.
In fact, I hardly trained at all over the summer.
I will not come close to my best time.
Finishing will be a challenge.
But I’m doing it anyway.
I need to prove to myself that I can do this, not only physically, but mentally.
Today I ran 16 miles.
It was not fun.
Not until I finished, anyway.
I have a “last ditch marathon training program” that was given to me three weeks ago.
I have been dreading the 16 mile run since I received it.
It is the longest I have run since the last time I ran a marathon which was in April of 2016.
But here is why I love running, even though I am not very good at it.
I guess that’s all relative, by the way.
Non runners might consider me a pretty good runner.
But in most races, I’m in the bottom 5o%. I’m not fast.
But still, I love running.
I love running because for me, it’s a reflection of life.
Sometimes I wake up looking forward to a run.
Other days, I am dreading every second of it. On those days, it’s that moment the run is finished that I focus on to get me through. Because I know I’ll feel pretty good about myself for making it through.
Within each run there are portions I look forward to. But most of it is hard.
There are uphill parts where I am sure I will die and I have to keep telling myself you can do this.
There are downhill parts where I feel like I could run forever.
There are the flat sections where I am able to cruise along with minimal effort and feel okay.
Isn’t that what life is like?
Today’s 16 mile run was just like life.
It was something hard I had to do, and I didn’t want to do it.
Instead of focusing on how much I was dreading it, I focused on how awesome I would feel when I was finished.
I had to remind myself of this repeatedly.
Here are my splits for each mile:
Mile 1: 11:52
Most of this mile was downhill. I took it easy, and just tried to get into a groove.
Mile 2: 12:12
I realized I still had 15 miles to go. I didn’t feel great, and I didn’t know how the heck I was gonna make it to mile 16. I slowed down.
Mile 3: 11:54
Started to feel my groove.
Mile 4: 11:52
In the groove.
Mile 5: 11:54
Still in the groove.
Mile 6: 11:55
Still in the groove.
Mile 7: 11:38
TOTALLY IN THE GROOVE.
Mile 8: 12:13
A small hill. Had to slow down. Getting tired.
Mile 9: 11:58
A little downhill. Picking up momentum.
Mile 10: 12:12
Running out of water and starting to fade.
Mile 11: 12:49
Slowing down, and not sure how I’ll make it another 5 miles.
Mile 12: 15:10
Out of water and in tremendous pain. A huge hill. Walking. Wanting so badly to stop running. Brain starting to convince my body it’s okay to quit and stop now. Stop in at my house and get more water. Walk back out the door.
Mile 13: 12:12
Feeling revived with more water. Start running again. On flat ground.
Mile 14: 14:21
Chugged entire water bottle and struggling again. Have to loop back around home to refill water bottle again. Not sure I will make it, but only two more miles left. Now I can’t really quit. I’ve come too far.
Mile 15: 12:39
Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Mile 16: 11:24
Fastest mile of the entire run. Realize I am way stronger than I think, and I can handle anything life has to throw at me.
This is why I feel so strongly about exercise.
When you exercise, you not only strengthen your body, but you strengthen your brain.
You develop mental toughness.
Mental toughness is what you need to navigate life.
Because there are those days where you “run out of water.” There are those days you find yourself at the bottom of a huge proverbial hill and have to slow waaaay down if you are gonna make it to the top.
There are the days when everything feels easy. You are running downhill. But eventually the hill levels out. Or it starts sloping upwards again.
And I may not make it through whatever I’m going through as quickly as the next person.
But I’m still gonna make it to the end.
The next major obstacle life throws at me where I want to just curl up in a ball and listen to my brain repeating I cannot do this, I will remember this run.
And then I will tell myself, you CAN do this.
I ran 16 miles today.
And if I did that, I can pretty much do anything.