Long runs… and the voices that accompany them.
I’ve been itching for a long run pretty much since the day I decided to take a break from running. And when I injured my hip and had to take some extra time off the allure grew even greater. So one would think that by the time long runs made it back on my schedule I would essentially be skipping through the miles with happiness. At least that’s what I thought would happen.
But alas- some of those wonderful old habits have crept right back in. The ones where I let my brain take over my legs and sell myself short. Where I’m so quick to tell myself it’s okay to stop when it’s hard.
My first “long run” was the 10K I winged a few weeks back and afterwards I felt UNSTOPPABLE. I had my running mojo back, I wasn’t in pain… this was going to be great. 7 miles the next week was a bit tougher (My body clearly doesn’t remember what running in temperatures about negative). 8 miles the following week (a 3 mile warmup, 5K race, 2 mile “cooldown”) wasn’t fun as I learned that I do not enjoy long runs being broken into segments.
And before I could blink… 10 was here. While it’s only the natural progression in my mileage, there’s still something about double digits that makes me shake in my little running shoes. It’s just so daunting. I mean, it’s just. SO. FAR. As I laid out my clothes, charged up my iPod and planned my route the night before the little voice in my head began to question my ability to finish. I tried to remember the last time I ran double digits and quickly realized it was my my half marathon. Gulp.
The next morning I cruised through the first 5 miles just fine. But once I hit that halfway point and realized how far I still had to go? Boom. I was done. As I shuffled along I tried to figure out how I could get home without having to run there. I passed a old woman out watering her flowers and contemplated asking to use her phone for a ride. I even questioned how I could pull off getting gently hit by a car- not hard enough to seriously injure me obviously, but enough that I could be done (PS is this normal?).
I stopped. Way more that I’d like to admit. And every time I stopped I told myself it was going to be that much harder to start running again, but not like that kept me from doing it. I yelled and cursed at myself (Too bad a cop didn’t arrest me and end my long run that way!) and kept asking “Aren’t you the girl who swore you’d never take a run for granted again? What the hell are you doing?”
As much as I was hoping all this time off would cure my mental games, they’re still there lurking in the back of my little runner mind. And they surface as soon as I’m feeling weak. I just don’t know how to break past them, how to defeat the crazy voices in my head (they’re only there when I run, promise). I can’t figure out what it’s going to take to get over my mental barriers. What I do know however is that I have a half marathon in 3 weeks and if I can’t get my act together by then? Disappointed won’t even begin to describe it.
I’ve got 11 on the schedule this weekend. Advice welcome.