Yesterday I finished my last longish run until the marathon, 15.5 miles. It was a relief because I don't need to eat any more gels until 10/12. I'm still feeling pretty good, although in much need of a massage. My hamstrings and hips are creeek-y!
I was pretty proud of myself because my mile splits were so even. 8:30, 8:30, 8:29, 8:22, 8:24, 8:29....I somehow am really good at just an holding effort. It's something I've always been pretty good at, even as a bike racer. My husband seems to think it takes a lot of focus, but I think it's just the opposite. I feel like once I'm at a particular effort I can just lock in and keep going. I mostly think about other things, like what I'll make for dinner, or who my clients are for the afternoon, what Camille and I can do later. And sometimes I come back to the running. Lately I have been thinking about what I'd like to accomplish in this marathon. It'll be my 5th one and I think I should be able to overcome some of the things I've failed at, or not quite understood how to get through.
I've been teaching myself little tricks on how to get through the pain and keep the pace up. Because at mile 22 when you have no glycogen left, your legs and hips are screaming, and your feet are about to explode out from your shoes, you gotta find distraction. I've learned how to focus on a spot on the ground ahead of me. The worse I feel, the closer the spot. This seems to break up the miles into mini-goals. I also have learned to count. Rather than count each step, I count only when my right foot hits. I loose count somewhere around 450, but it's over a half mile anyway. And when it's really hurting, I found that chanting works best for me. These are some of them that I've come up with:
- Do you want to make you goal today or not?
- Stay strong stay strong
- You don't want a disappointment today
- Stay strong today
- Don't give in
- It's your head not your body that's hurting so move it
- You can rest when it's over
- You've been through this before and you know what to do
Probably one of the best moments I had was when I was running my 20 miler in the pouring rain. I ran the first 12 miles with the Glen Ellyn Runners (waaaay too fast) and then finished up the last 8 on my own. At about mile 16, I remembered that at home I could eat! Food! Not a gel or a block, but real food like a bagel with almond butter, jelly and banana. It made those last 4 miles really not so bad. So I guess when it gets really tough I just need to remember that there's beer and a Ceasar salad waiting for me. And yes, that is really what I'm looking forward to. The salt on it is just glorious.
But still, as always, one of the best sights out there on a run is Barry and Camille. Like yesterday, when I least expected them, there they were. Camille so excited to give me water and make sure I'm ok. She always says, "Mommy, do you want to see how fast I can run?" And off she goes as Barry and I watch her blast away and just hope for no spills. Our little runner.