wrapping up week #8 of training!

Dearest readers,

Maybe these marathon training updates bore you, but this is my reality, so here you go.

Long runs.  Those of you who run races much know the concept.  Basically, one day a week (usually Saturday or Sunday, depending on schedules) you push your distance gradually, including some taper weeks, so you can work up to the distance you will run on your race.  Many people have the misconception that people training for marathons run long distances every day: not true.  Rest days are just as important as any other day of the week.  Anyway, long runs are a chance to build mental focus, and just help log more milage for the week for you too.

My confession: the past 4 weeks or so, my entire life has been up in the air, with VBS, moving, among other things, I haven’t been able to get a good long run in during any of the weekends. Last Saturday I was supposed to do 12, but only ended up doing 8 or 9.  Anyway, the significance of that is: I have never run more than 10 miles, EVER… so I had this looming fear that once I did, I would get injured, or just not be able to actually do it.  Upon looking at my training schedule earlier this week, I realized: I had to run 13 miles this Saturday.  And for those who don’t know, that’s a half-marathon!!

So, yes, if you’re wondering, I DID in fact survive.  I ran from Central Point to Jacksonville and back.. it was STUNNING this morning.  Running along the fields and watching the sun slowly come up.  It’s amazing out there when you aren’t driving and in a hurry… A few interesting happenings took place though, but I won’t share the details.  You probably don’t want to know.  If you do, ask me.

As I was running today, my thoughts drifted back to 8th grade (some of the “mental focus” just means finding things to think about that really don’t matter much at all..), when I first did any kind of running at all outside of PE class.  I joined Track my 8th grade year, and I still to this day have no idea why!

Anyway, when I joined, I knew I was going to have to find some event to do… tried all of them, couldn’t really do any of the sprints, did hurdles but during one of the races tripped and fell (short legs)… somehow, I ended up choosing to run the 400.

The 400 was one of the more difficult races, in between a sprint, and a longer run.  One time around the track.  A fourth of a mile.  As it so happened, for some reason in our league, there weren’t many girls that ran the 400.  In fact, at almost every meet, there were usually only 3 of us that ran.  And, as it would be, almost every time, I placed 2nd.  Granted, I KNEW I wasn’t very good, so don’t worry, it didn’t go to my head.

Somehow, I made it to the overall, league qualifying meet.  Wow, I still remember it as clear as day.  There were 8 of us that day, the most I’d ever raced against.  The stands were full.  I was so nervous.  I knew I was slow!!  Anyway, I started out probably in the middle of the pack, but then half way around the track, EVERYONE sprinted to the finish line, and I was left at the end of the pack… all alone.  I was the slowest, and last one!!!

What was even more embarrassing was when I finally drew closer to the finish line, all the parents and fans in the stands rose to their feet, clapping for me.. the last one to finish.  I was red I’m sure, but I also didn’t feel too well.. almost puked.

So back to now.  Today as  I was running I remembered that story because I know I’m not really a “good” runner, but part of pushing yourself is all mental, and really nothing physical.  Last week, I ran a 5K on the whim with my sister and Lindsey.  I’m not a 110 pound 6’3″ skinny 16 year old boy that can run a 5K in 10 minutes… slow and steady at times.  (However, I did win a ribbon for finishing 2nd in my age/gender category in the race!)

I was also today thinking about a 10K I ran while I was in Thailand.. the International River Kwai Run.  I didn’t train at all, and actually at that point, hadn’t even run much while in Thailand, so I wasn’t at all used to the humidity.  While plugging along and breathing loudly, I’ll never forget, the sweetest Thai man started running along side me and said “one step at a time”, while smiling from ear to ear.  That’s my modo for this… one step at a time.  I’m not unique person, anyone could throw on a pair of shoes and finish a marathon.  But for me, this is about overcoming what my mind and body have said for so long isn’t possible.  This is for me , to conquer my fears, and to do something I want to do before I die: train and finish a marathon.

Who knows, this could be the start of something new! 🙂