Monday, December 14, 2009

Motivational Mondays (Dec. 14)

Recently, I was going through a series of runs that topped one another. I suppose you could call it my Longest Run Stretch, because I set new benchmarks seemingly every Sunday out.

I ran 13 miles one weekend in October, which equaled my Longest Run Ever at the time, since the only other time I'd run that much was during my half marathon in April. The next weekend, I ran 14 miles but that run held the Longest Run Ever title for exactly seven days, as I ran 15 miles the following Sunday. Then, a few weeks passed before the Cedar River Run, which at 18 miles is still my Longest Run Ever.

Well, my friends, that's all about to change. On Sunday, I will run 20 miles with the Lopers. If I make it through that run, I will have a new Longest Run Ever.

It's quite motivating to think that I can actually run that long and make it through such a distance but it's very daunting. I mean, this is taking double digits to a whole new level. This run not only has a 1- in front of it, it has a 2-. And you know what other run has a 2- in front of it, don't you?

Yeah, the big one.

But I have to take a level-headed approach to this 20-mile run, just as I will have to for Surf City.

I've demonstrated the ability to run long distances, and running long distances by myself. It's one thing to run 12 miles in a group setting, as the time can fly by in the midst of conversation. But when it's just me out there cranking out mileage, it really comes down to what I have to give. And I've shown I have plenty to give.

Just like anything else, though, I can't get consumed by the enormity of the distance. I need to break the run down into parts. I can look at it as two 10-milers, or break it off into three smaller runs. It's about the same as three seven-milers, and seven miles isn't quite daunting anymore.

And when it comes down to it, it's like running three consecutive 10Ks. Convert 20 miles into kilometers and you get 32.18688, so it's three 10Ks and then 2.18688 more on top of that, and 2.18688 kilometers is nothing. Right?

Either way you look at it, 20 miles, 32.18688 kilometers, three seven-milers, three 10Ks plus a 2.18688K, two 10-milers... it's a really long distance.

But if I start to think about trying to swallow 20 miles whole, without chewing, I will not enter the run with the right mentality. I'll tense up and will become a ball of nerves, and balls of nerves don't do well running long distances.

What this all comes down to is just one more challenge, and with all I've been through over the last four years, what's another challenge to me? If I haven't shown I can't meet challenges head on and conquer them, then I don't know what I've shown.

So, 20 miles? Bring it. Give me your best shot, and I'll show you what I'm made of.


Hillary said...

Way to go, LB! I always feel really awesome when I reach a new longest run ever (hasn't happened in a while, sadly...). When I ran my first mara, I didn't do any really long runs. In fact, my longest run was only 14 miles before that day (I'm glad you are not doing this- in general, its a bad straegy). It really made for quite an exhilarating experience though, because once I hit 14, every step after was like this victory step, and even though I was in pain I was just grinning because every second I was hitting a new 'longest run ever.' I think you will experience this too. If not, remind yourself of it- when you hit 16, 17, 18...and by that point, then you can start counting down- "well, I just did 17 miles, what's another 3?" I like to constantly switch up the way I think about the remaining mileage. Sometimes I will think- oh, that's just like a 5K I have left..then I get to the final 2 miles and maybe even that sounds daunting, so I'll think, oh, well that's only another 20 minutes or so of running...or, 8 laps around the track- i can run around a track 8 times. Or think about the whole thing in terms of when you get the next gel or water stop. Count down till you get there, and you might be surprised how quickly it comes! I suggest switching up the way you think about it constantly as you run..and enjoy it! No matter what, it is going to be a great accomplishment!

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

I know you can do it, and you're right about not trying to swallow it whole :) Just pace yourself and you'll be FINE.

Kerrie T. said...

Okay, that was a lot of math there at the end. My eyes glazed over for a sec. I know you can do it, LB! If you can run 18 by yourself in a place you are unfamiliar with in the cold RAIN, then you can do 2 more miles with a group of friends with NO SWEAT!

I'm sure you'll be getting yourself all psyched up for it this week. I'm looking forward to the recap. :)

Christy said...

AHHH! My first 20-miler is this Sunday and I'm freaking out. Sort of. Twenty miles is a long way. Twenty seems so much farther than the 18 I did a week ago.

Geez, I guess we'll experience this daunting distance together, on opposite shores of the country!

Raoulysgirl said...

Holy cow! 20 miles???

I can't wait to see the playlist for THAT run!

Lisa said...

Great post L.B. My long runs aren't nearly as long as yours but I break them down just as you said. If I focus on the total I get too overwhelmed. You can do it and your mindset is perfect for this.