In my last post I wrote about the great 16 mile run I had last weekend, it was the kind of run that makes you feel confident in your abilities to actually run a full marathon. Well, I had 16 on the schedule again for this weekend. Honestly I wasn’t too concerned about this run. I had a pretty decent week of training, had been eating well aside from a few margaritas on Tuesday night, work hadn’t been too stressful, and the weather had been near perfect for running. What was there to worry about?
I was due for a new pair of running shoes, so not having enough time to actually go to a store I hopped on-line Monday morning and ordered a new pair of my Brooks Adrenaline 13s. I love these shoes… Anyway, I thought I had changed the shipping address, but they ended up at my old work in Kansas, so no new shoes for Saturday.
Then, Friday arrived and I was actually excited about my long run the next day. I managed to get all my stuff organized and ready for the morning, ate a decent dinner and was in bed by 9:30pm. Then I couldn’t get to sleep, my legs started cramping, I had to pee no less that 3 times (sorry for the TMI) and then the smoke detector in my run decided to go off for a brief moment. Not a good nights rest. When the alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. I really wasn’t feeling it. When I let the dogs out they proceeded to bark in an attempt to wake up the whole neighborhood and succeeded in waking up my sister. Not a great start to the day. After getting the dogs back inside and getting out the door I realized that it was considerably warmer and much more humid than it had been in days… uh oh. Heat and humidity are not good combinations for a long run.
We started off at 6:00 a.m. and I was soaked with sweat by the end of the first mile and the sun wasn’t even up yet! How were we going to survive 16 miles in these conditions? Fortunately, I run with a pretty positive group of people, thanks 4:40 DRC peeps. We also had the benefit of cloud cover, a decent breeze from time to time, and a relatively flat course. But this run was a struggle. It was a run where you ask yourself why you willing get up 5 mornings a week before 4:30 a.m. to hit the road, why does it matter if you run a marathon, wouldn’t you be better off if you’d just stayed in bed this morning?
This run wasn’t so much about the physical side of running as it was about the mental side of running. While this was a physical test, I knew that I could run the distance – hadn’t I just run 16 the week before? This was a mental test, how bad did I want a sub 5:00 hour marathon in Memphis? How bad did I want to see the scale continue to move down? How much did I enjoy feeling strong and like I could conquer anything life threw at me?
Turns out I want it pretty bad. I am not the fastest runner, I am not the strongest runner, but I’m a runner and a marathoner. Knowing that I finished a tough run like Saturday’s 16 miler makes the other challenges that life throws my way easier to deal with. The uncertainty of my home in Kansas City, an upset family member, a messy and never-ending budget process, or a resident that doesn’t think you’re doing a very good job. My job and my life are filled with an abundance of never-ending stressors, running helps me sort through the messiness of it all and retain some sense of sanity. I ran a marathon – bring it – I am tough enough.
A new week of training starts this week and I am ready to see what it brings. I have a new pair of shoes to break in, thanks to some help from a friend; a new pair of compression socks are on their way, and we are almost done with the budget at work! Bring it, I’m ready!
How has running helped you deal with the stress of life?