I completed my first week of training for the half-marathon by doing my six mile "long run" today. It was hard in many different ways.
Actually getting out the door
I had originally planned on going running on Saturday. But planning "on" something and actually planning "for" something are totally different. Baking several dozen muffins, chasing Ethan around (he found a stick of butter), and then finally having Mr. Husband come home early (surprise for us!) meant that I just didn't get the run in. And once Daniel was home I didn't want to - I just wanted to be with the boys. Then the plan was to get up early Sunday morning, go to the gym and pound out my six miles on a treadmill, go to the coffee shop to do my office hours, and then proceed with the rest of our Sunday plans (ie - Daniel goes to practice for the band, I hang out with Eoin and Ethan, we worship the Lord until bedtime). Well the alarm came and went and I got up just in time to get to my office hours and have an awesome ministry planning meeting. So no run. So then plan "C" was to get up this morning and go. After staying up late to work on curriculum for my class, I slept through the alarm (and Daniel leaving for work) and didn't wake up until 10:30am (Thanks Ethan!). Yay for getting to sleep in... but boo for missing the childcare hours at the gym. So I frantically called around and texted looking for someone to watch Ethan on short notice so I could get my miles in. I finally connected with Ethan's godparents (our beloved besties, Jay & Linda) and they agreed to watch him at their place. I did end up having a couple other people offer after the fact (thanks Anji and Tara!).
Short-notice, last-minute calls to have someone watch your kiddo so you can RUN are really hard to make. At least for me. Asking for help has always been a difficult thing for me. Not because I don't want to accept it or think I should be totally self-sufficient, but because I worry about being annoying. Some good "Life Work" work for me to deal with. :) On top of worrying about being annoying, it feels selfish of me to ask for help with Ethan so I can go running of all things. It's not like I get paid for it, or like anyone else directly benefits from it. Anyways - it's just hard. Even though it was hard, I made myself at least ask around. The worst thing that could happen is for someone to say "no" - and if I didn't ask, the answer would already be "no" - so you might as well try, right? :) And so far no one thinks I'm annoying... that I know of!
Today's weather was the coldest I've run in so far, and I was not prepared. It was only in the low 50s, so not as bad as some parts of the country. But for a gym-mouse like me... accustomed to my fancy little private hampster wheel...er... treadmill... with heated buildings and nice music and tv to stare at... it was quite a shock. I wore my running clothes around all day, and they're definitely made for spring. I was cold on the inside before I even stepped outside to run. I did put in a 1/4 mile walk to get things moving before I actually started running - but my body didn't get with the program (the feeling warmed-up and enjoying my run program) until about mile 5... yikes! Thankfully, the sky was clear for most of the run and it only started slightly sprinkling towards the very end. Now to figure out what kinds of things I can do to prepare my body for running in the cold! I know the Disney race is going to start at 6am in Florida and it's likely the weather will be chilly when we start out. I want to be prepared. So at least this morning was a real live wake-up call. :)
My mental game
I could not shut off my mind! I think I got myself all psyched out over my run. Apparently having to push one long run back a couple days got me spinning in circles over "what if I can't make time for this entire training program?!" I've had a lot of anxiety about getting my runs in have been doing pretty good at just taking things one workout at a time. Until my run today when it all flooded in. I tried lots of things to quiet my mind. I tried some positive affirmation, "you ARE doing it, Becca Sue!" "Look how strong you are!" I tried visualizing all of the negative energy flowing out of my mouth in little bubbles when I breathed out (really?! who does that?). I tried singing songs. Every stranger I passed on the trail was a potential mugger/rapist (I'm so paranoid) and worrying about that distracted my from focusing so hard on my run. So that was nice at least. Hahaha. The thing that finally made the switch for me happened around mile three. I've been thinking a lot about who I use to be. The little kid me who quit everything sports-related because she was embarassed about her body and didn't want to be made fun of; the teenager me who hated all the athletes because they happened to be the kids who were mean to her until she got skinny; the brand-new Mom me who was reeling from a traumatic birth and feeling like her body was a total waste of space. I realized that if I had known - in those moments - who I would be today it would have made a world of difference. My heart just filled with thankfulness and praise to the Lord for sustaining me through so many difficult times when I couldn't see the gift He'd given me in my body. So I ran that last half of the run for "them"... or me... but mostly as an act of worship to the Lord.
So, those were the hard parts. :) So far it was really the hardest run I've done. However, there were some great victories in today's run!
- I tackled the hill on 252nd that I've never run before. Not sure how it compares to other hills... but it's 3/4 miles long and is a 2% incline. I walked for about two minutes to let my heart rate come back down and then finished the rest of the route running. My strategy was to tell myself that the hill was a gift from the Lord, and it was meant to make me stronger. So when I was running up the hill - legs and booty burning, lungs aching - I kept saying "thank you Lord!" And there was even a nice little doggy barking to cheer me on (or at least that's how I chose to take it...hehe).
- I completed 6.11 miles in 1:19... which means I was running sub-13s (aka - 12:55 pace... even with the walking in consideration)... which means I somehow shaved almost a minute (43 seconds) off of each mile. Pretty exciting!
- The last mile really was amazing. My body had finally kicked into gear, I was in "new" territory (neighborhoods where we've driven by never walked) and I was close enough to the end to get excited. I made a conscious decision to put the first 5 miles behind me and just let myself enjoy this one mile.
Thanks for reading!