Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Countdown to the Marathon - T Minus 4 Weeks

Miles ran:  40 (5mi, 5.5 mi, 5.5mi, 23.5 miles)

Miles scheduled: 36

Cross training: Yoga x 1; misc cross training

Total miles run since training began: 437

General Notes: This week I did the longest training run I will do prior to the marathon. I have one more long run scheduled for the weekend of Dec 29-30, but that one will probably top out at 22 miles. Everybody knows long runs are an integral part of marathon training. Your body AND your mind has to be taught how to run that long. 

I always run alone, never with friends. Seriously. I’ve run over 2000 miles in the last three years and I can count on one hand the number of runs I’ve done with other people. Running is my time alone – where I don’t have to hear kids or students or husbands – and that’s the way I prefer it. 

Of course, this week as I ran 23.5 miles, I discovered I’m not really alone in my long runs: I have voices in my head. Literal voices. Of people I know.

If you have ever trained for a marathon, you know that long runs are just stupid hard. “The hard is what makes it great.” Whatever. The hard is what makes it HARD. There’s no way around that.

As I was coming up on 22-miles – nearly 4 hours into my long run this week – I was exhausted. Mentally, physically, emotionally. Exhausted. I joked about how I thought to myself “Why am I doing this again?” during those miles, but the truth was, I could hardly put a coherent thought together during that time. It was just: left, right, left, right, left, right.  

When you reach that point and you still have 2 or 3 or 5 miles left, it’s a terrible feeling. Basically you’re hitting the emotional wall. I hit it pretty hard this weekend but fortunately that’s when the voices came out.
I could hear my Ragnar peeps in my head yelling, “Run faster, B*tch! You got this!” with their infectious laughter.

And other running friends: “This is so dumb, isn’t it? But don’t you dare stop.”

I could hear my besties as if they were right next to me: “Come on, sister. One more mile. You’ve got that in you.”

 “You can do hard things.” An unexpected voice - my friend Beth from high school. A breast cancer survivor who knows way more about doing hard things and I, but still lent her encouragement.

When I was at my actual lowest, when I really didn’t think I could go any further and  was totally ready to quit, it was my parents’ voices I heard.  My parents, who have unfailingly encouraged me at every point in my life. Their love all boiled down into one sentence:

“You’re doing great, baby girl. Keep going.”

It became my mantra. And I did keep going. And I made it. And all the voices disappeared, but I know they’ll be there when I need them next time.

But more importantly, it reminded me that I want to make sure that I am a voice providing encouragement for someone else (especially my children). We all have marathons – most of them have nothing to do with running. We all need to hear encouraging voices at some point as we’re hitting the wall. 

May I learn to be the voice someone needs to hear.


  1. This mean you won't run with me at Disney?

    1. I will for 100 yards. Then you'll pass me. :)

  2. very nice post! ... so I should feel privileged that you turned around to run with me for a short bit during your long run :) … I too run alone most of the time, because it is just so much more convenient