Discover more from The Half Marathoner
On the long run
Ourselves vs. ourselves
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
— Walt Whitman
Something interesting happens when I take myself out for a long run — which I did this past weekend, running eight miles as part of the training plan a number of us are following right now, to get ready for the Richmond Half Marathon this November.
Eight miles is the longest I’ve run in a couple of years. I know that’s not at lot for some of you, who maybe are just getting started around mile 8. For me, though, it’s a long run.
Throughout this weekend’s run, I found myself going back and forth in my own mind in the way I spoke to myself — simultaneously encouraging myself to keep going, that I was doing great and my pace was good; while also trying to be careful not to go too fast, to remember that I’ll be more tired the further I get into my run. To keep it up, but not too up.
I wanted to make sure not to get too ahead of myself, not to spend too much energy in my early miles, to make sure I had enough saved to finish those final couple of miles. (Especially that last one.)
We do a mental dance with ourselves, because we have to if we want to keep going. Especially if we’re not certain that we’ll be able to finish — if we’ve let ourselves stop before completing the miles we set out to the last time, or if, say the week before, we gave ourselves a reason not to start in the first place.
I’m not sure whether I like this feeling or not. I experience a nervousness with it, a bit of anxiety that (maybe?) helps me find the motivation to dig down into myself, to find out if I can do this or not? But it can just as easily serve as a STOP sign in my mind, holding me back from putting my full energy into it.
Sometimes — especially at a point in training like the one we’re in now, when we’re approaching the mid-way point — it can feel a little like crossing a really long bridge. We’ve left the place where we started behind, and when we look back, it recedes further and further from view. But we still can’t yet see the endpoint yet, because it’s clouded by fog; it’s still too far ahead for us to visualize it clearly just yet.
So, when we’re in the middle, everything can seem a little hazy, a little foggy. Are we going to make it? Honestly, I’m not a hundred percent sure. We might not. The only thing experience has shown me is to keep going forward, and stay as consistent as we can with our training miles, and trust that the map we laid out at the beginning will lead us to the finish, to where we want to go.
On this weekend’s run, it’s as if I could hear my own voice, pushing me to keep going forward and encouraging me to feel strong, while at the same time worrying that I might not quite have what I needed. That I didn’t have enough energy to finish the eight — especially after taking several days off from training due to a (very) minor procedure two weeks before.
Crossing the mileage number I’d planned on, and seeing that number on my wrist immediately after I’d completed it — along with my running time, which clocked in at 1 hour, 24 minutes, another new high for me in a long time — laid another brick in my foundation. That, even though we still have a ways to go, I laid this one down. And nothing can take that away now.
That’s a good feeling, and something to build on from here. Even if I still miss a run here and there, or experience moments when I don’t feel the confidence I’d like to feel. My eight are in the books, and nothing can erase them now.
How did your run go this weekend, or — zooming out — how is your running going? Is the weather changing yet where you are? As always, keep in touch and let me know how your running/life is going.
Our training miles for this week
If you’re following our training plan, how did your eight-mile long run go this weekend? Were you able to get it in before temperatures heated up in the afternoon (like they did where I live, in Atlanta)? How did you feel at the end? Done, or like you could go a little further? Either way, that’s okay — we’ll repeat our same mileage this week, to give us a breather and solidify what we’ve done so far.
Here are our miles for this week:
Tuesday, Sept. 12 — 6 miles
Thursday, Sept. 14 — 4 miles
Saturday, Sept. 16 — 8 miles
Sunday, Sept. 17 — 2-3 miles
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions about our schedule, your running, or anything else 🙌 — Terrell