Sunday, March 11, 2012

Looking Up

What a difference a week makes!

First and foremost, thanks for your kind words and encouragement. When family gives me that kind of pep talk, I manage to ignore most of it. But when a group of (almost) complete strangers says it, voila! Inspiration. The interweb is a mysterious place.

Anyway, this week definitely far better than it began. The weather certainly turned around. After a couple days of gross, cold, raininess it's finally looking like spring in the bluegrass. Despite the insufferable allergies and general schizophrenia of temperatures there is no better time to be in Louisville Kentucky than March, April, and that first week in May. Of course, this is always possible:

Thursday I managed to get in my best week-day run in a long time: a 7 mile tempo run with the tempo @ marathon pace. I was ecstatic! Add in the extra mile I walked (UofL vs. Seton Hall in the BET...can't get off treadmill) and I hit a high for weekday mileage. Not to mention it felt pretty good the whole way through.

Fast forward to Saturday morning and I wasn't quite prepared for my long run. We'd been up late Friday night to watch Louisville beat/crush Notre Dame and stayed in bed a lot longer than I'd anticipated. I was in full-on avoidance mode. 15 miles? Yikes. After having only run 5k the weekend before, I'd forgotten that I was capable of that kinda thing. I told Josh "I haven't run this far since 2009." "Ok," he said, "so you've done it before then. There ya go." and then he kicked me out the door.

I'm a firm believer that mental toughness is almost as important (if not more so) than physical training. You can have the strongest legs out there but if you can't talk yourself through a cramp, or a boring stretch of road, or the dreaded 'wall', then you aren't going to accomplish anything. I try to practice this in every workout, but long runs especially when it's just you and the road for hours at a time. I set up a route that kept me around people and places I liked - capping off with my favorite trek over the bridge and back. Lots of flats but some hills throughout to keep the legs fresh.

The first few miles were rough - my head and chest were not cooperating and I felt totally congested. I had to make an uncharacteristic bathroom stop and needed a lot more positive reinforcement early on. But then I had the magical moment where I just kept going. Every once in awhile the thought of Josh having to come get me crept into my head but I just pushed it out.

Just before mile 11 I was on the bridge over the Ohio river. The concrete was killing my feet and I started to feel the miles. I imagined the Gu I'd taken was seeping into my legs, building them up. I mentally described the feeling of getting stronger from my hips all the way to my toes, joint by joint. It made such a HUGE difference. I physically felt stronger and before I knew it, I was off of the bridge and back onto the nice cushy asphalt.

I got home and felt exhilarated. I also felt exhausted. I curled up in an armchair and passed out the minute I got out of the shower. Josh took a sympathy nap (which lasted 3 hours. geeze!) Ended the night with Sushi and beer while watching Louisville win the Big East Tournament. Perfection? Pretty close!

Is my stomach better? No, not really. But I got the guts up to schedule my procedure and I've found a random combination of foods that seem to be Ok.  Are there going to be hard weeks ahead? Absolutely. But hopefully when I start thinking that they're too much to handle, or feeling overwhelmed, I can come back and look at this and remind myself what I'm capable of.
And then, there's always all of you random "strangers" :)

Happy Running!

Are you a "mental" runner? Any tips or tricks you use to get through tough workouts?
What about schizophrenic weather? How is mother nature treating you this March?


  1. That's an awesome week of millage!!!!!!! YAY :) I think everyone has to have mental strength to run, right from when a person decides to run for a 1min. It's tough! you have to push yourself through it.

    I use music, visualizations, positive talks....or run with others :)

  2. oh hey there week of domination!!! love it!!! and love that LOUISVILLE CRUSHED this week as well :)