Yesterday was it. The 20 mile training run was on the schedule and needed to be completed. I don’t know about everyone else, but I get very tired of running in the exact same places all of the time. Especially when you’re talking about doing a 20 mile run which will surely take about three and a half hours.
It’s because of this that I chose the Saratoga National Battlefield as our long run destination. I had never run the battlefield before. I have heard lots of people talk about running it and biking it. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to check out a new course and the loop is about 10.5 miles so two loops and we’re good to go for the run. Everyone talks about how it’s a rolling course ……………. well! As it turns out they mean that it’s rolling when you ride it on your bike. When you’re running it and/or running it twice, it’s a little more than rolling. More on that later.
I met several of my running peeps at the parking lot right around noon in order to get ready and set out to log this one in the books. By the time we got situated, used the restrooms, strapped on GU and water, we probably headed out close to 12:30. And lucky for everyone it was a very windy day.
The first few miles strolled by rather uneventfully. By mile 5 or so I was already pretty certain that I had made some mistakes. I’m a slow runner when it comes to long distance. So heading out on a 20 mile run, it probably wasn’t a good idea to do the first 5 miles at my normal pace. We stopped right around mile 5 to GU, get some water and check in with friends. Around mile 8 I knew I was in trouble. I stopped running, walked and started being angry. Angry at myself because less than half way into the run, I was certain that I couldn’t do it. I will even admit that I said the following out loud………
“I want to quit. I can quit. Maybe quitting is what I’m good at. I want to quit this run and I want to quit the marathon. It’s stupid and I can’t do it.”
Hmmmm, wow. My own worst enemy. For the last two miles of that first loop, I took some walk breaks got angry at myself but kept moving in a forward direction. As we finished the first loop, we ran into some more running peeps who were there to accompany us on the second loop. Now I was stuck. I couldn’t quit. I had to run those same 10 hilly miles again!
I took a restroom break, got some Gatorade, ate another gu and pushed the last loop out of my head as we set out for our last 10 miles. I don’t know if it was the new company, the fuel or what, but for miles 11-15 I didn’t even think about wanting to quit. In fact, I hit a stride and was running at a strong clip, hills and all. Once over 15 I really didn’t care about quitting, but wanted to finish. I think I asked for a cup of coffee more times than I can count. At mile 18.5 I realized that I was going to make it. Regardless of the circumstances I would definitely finish this last long training run.
As we ran into the parking lot I got dizzy, a little nauseous and then proud. I was incredibly proud of myself for overcoming myself mentally. I wanted to quit so very badly on that first loop. And honestly, if it weren’t for the other people who were running with me, I’m pretty sure I would have. I knew I had what it takes physically, but that battle was all about having the mental toughness to fight through the urge to quit and to continue putting one foot right in front of the other even if it is for another 10 miles.
So, I guess that’s that. A few more long training runs as I had back down the other side of the training cycle, but in one month I will complete the Disney Marathon. Run, walk or crawl. I know that I can do it. I am however reminded that I could not do it without the support of my running peeps. But the hay is officially in the barn. Now it’s time to taper and trust the training.
Hope you all had a fantastic weekend. What did you do?