Yesterday at work sweet Ali asked me what gets me to want to go run 16 miles (which I did today). In my head I thought… well, it’s on my Runner’s World Smart Coach training plan, I have to do it. I didn’t say that to her though. Instead I was holding my next fabulous Athleta purchase, the Piccolo Half Zip, and said “This. A new workout top is always a great way to get me out the door!” I was trying to make light of the fact that 16 miles is a big undertaking… for me. The idea of running that far, my longest run to date was certainly a challenge. Of course, the new outfit and looking sporty never hurts and yes, it does get me excited to get out the door. The top was so cute that I ran almost five miles in it before I was just too warm and was forced to take it off. The brilliant turquoise color was so pretty, offset by my black, eh hem… Lululemon run shorts, made a cute yet athletic looking picture. See?
I am also loving my Smartwool headband. Since it is temperature regulating, I never felt too hot in it! 🙂
A lot of different thoughts run through your head when you have two hours and forty-five minutes to yourself. I try to keep motivational thoughts spinning as well as visualizing myself completing the run. Becky from work always says: you can do anything for two and a half hours. She’s right. Bill last night from a party I went to, said he wants to create a “Team Michele” for the Napa Marathon and come cheer me on, which is wonderful and I hope that happens. I know I will need that those last 6 miles. It made me think… I’m running this race with four female friends. We should be Team… something. We’ll have to come up with a good name. When I think of the drive and dedication of my running mates, Sonja, Maili and Shanna I am instantly inspired. I can’t wait to cross the finish with them at Napa. We will leave no woman behind! And then, Andrew, my ultra marathoner friend’s famous words: piece of cake! I repeat that often. My 16 miles is like a spec of sand in comparison to his full hour glass. But I’m getting there. When we last spoke I got the feeling he was encouraging me to become an ultra runner. Ha! All these thoughts help get me through my runs. I run with them always. Today though, the main thought was: don’t stop.
At mile 7 I did stop to suck down a GU. I was incredibly disappointed that the water fountain in the children’s playground wasn’t on. I was counting on that. I knew there was another fountain down the road about half a mile, so I took off for it only to find it was turned off too! WTF? I had gatorade with me, so I drank that, but really wanted the plain water to digest the GU. Oh well. This was actually the best part of my run. I have a pretty sensitive system so when I do a GU the caffeine hits me right away. I knew there was another fountain about 4 miles down the road in my favorite town of Larkspur CA. Right out in front of city hall, and thankfully it was working. I continued on knowing that I would stop at the local liquor store and buy a cold Gatorade. I did this and ended up having to buy a large one that I threw half away and a Powerbar because I only had my debit card with me and they had a five dollar minimum. I mowed down half the bar and was happy I did because this was the portion of the run that heads toward home only I would be looping back out and around to make the mileage. I didn’t realize I had been fading a bit. The last thing I was gonna do was glance toward home. I kept my eye on the *prize* so to speak. This part of the run wasn’t too bad either. It was my familiar and favorite comfortable loop I always mention. It made the extra miles feel “normal” I suppose.
Even though I had my orange Gatorade and love it, I still wanted to mix it up and drink water. I knew there was one last fountain mid way on this loop. Excited to only be less than 3 miles from home and thinking it was all downhill after I’d get my drink I ran up to the fountain and What? it’s off too? I mean really? This is Marin County!! I realize we haven’t been having much rain and it was a spectacular warm sunny day for January (perfect to run in I might add), but come on! Very disappointing.
All in all the water didn’t really matter. After the last “water station” I started to smile… I did this! I know I can make it the rest of the way!
The last half mile of most my runs I get to this short twenty-five yard section of road where I run on this white line. Every single time I think of Dean Karnazes. It is the last bit of motivation I need to finish strong. I think of his description in one of his books (I’ve read Run! an excellent motivational piece and Ultra Marathon Man) and his story about running the extreme Badwater Race (135 miles through Death Valley) and how incredibly hot it is (up to 130 degrees!) and that he had to run on the painted white line or his shoes would start to melt. So I run this line and think of that and know what I am doing is not so bad and rather easy in perspective. I am not running all those miles in all that heat. I think of this every single time. It’s very inspirational.
So I did it. I actually ran a bit over the mapped out 16 miles, it sure felt like it (long) and I ran a tad faster than the 10:10 pace it recommended. Next week I’m scheduled to run 18. Then 20. I’m not sure if my training plan is wise as it has me running 20 miles on 3 separate occasions. I thought you only needed to do that once in a marathon training plan. We’ll see how that goes. For now, the good news is: It didn’t feel that bad!
Today’s tip via my SmartCoach:
The marathon has a familiar, universal rhythm to it. “If you feel bad at 10 miles, you’re in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles you’re normal. If you don’t feel bad at 26 miles, you’re abnormal.”
~ Australian marathon great and Boston Marathon winner Rob de Castella