I get nervous before almost every run. I wonder if I am going to be able to do it (run), if I'll be able to go the full distance I "need" to (in order to stick with my plan, or to run with my buds). I don't know where these nerves are coming from, but it seems they are ever present. Most days I can brush them aside and "know" before I take the first step things will be fine...then there are days like yesterday.
I was supposed to run 14 miles with my marathon training group at 6 am. So many thoughts raced through my head...maybe you should just run by yourself, after all you'll have to run alone in the race, wouldn't it be better to train alone...you haven't been feeling very good, you'll probably have to stop early...you haven't ever gone that far on the road, you're going to get hurt...isn't it better to just take it really easy, there's no reason to push to run faster, just finishing the marathon should be a good enough goal...(and my personal favorite thought) you're going to get lost because there won't be anyone there to run with you at your pace and you'll be wandering the streets looking for the way back to the car. (That last thought is particularly funny because I wear a GPS watch that has a "take me home" feature on it...not to mention there are people running all paces in the group on a well marked course...)
I went to make a FaceBook post about how silly it was for me to be nervous, and saw a post by one of the coaches that said, "Ok marathon group you can do this. For some of you this will be the longest run you have ever done. From here the miles slowly stretch out until race day. You got this. We are going to have a great run this morning!Wow...how encouraging. And...how right he was!
Because I was making myself a turn-by-turn instruction sheet with the course route (hey...I didn't want to get lost, remember?) I screeched into the parking lot at the last minute. The group leader told me who I would be running with that morning. I looked at the others who were running with him and realized I had just graduated to the fast kids' group!
Let me give just a little back story. When we signed up for the group, we had to give our half marathon times and most recent race times. Those times are NOT indicative of the pace I've been running. My race times are from triathlons, and my most recent half was in February (I've trained up quite a bit since then). Consequently the paces outlined on my initial training plan were slower than what I usually run. I've basically been ignoring the times on the plan and running what I think I need to run. At the last group training night we were doing a warm up, tempo (mine was 3 miles), then a cool down. The pace on my plan was 9:21. I ran an 8:40, 8:27 and an 8:10. (Yes, tempo runs should be consistent, but I don't really know what my time "should" be, so I just kept trying to push the pace...the 8:10 did NOT feel good toward the end, and if not for my coach, I'm sure I would have slowed a bit.) Well, Saturday's run was slated to be at a 10:47 pace. I planned in my mind to go out at maybe 10 and then work my way down. When I got there I was told we'd be running at a 9:30-9:40 pace!!
So...my first thoughts were, "I can't do this. It's too fast to think about doing that for 14 miles." I remembered how I felt at the half in New Orleans. I ran it at an average of 10:30ish, but pushed the last mile down to a 10:00 pace and felt a little sick. But...wait...that was in FEBRUARY. I wasn't trained up then but have trained all summer long. Why not??
As we were running, our main coach kept telling us we were speeding up. When the pace would drop to about 9:00 I could feel it getting a bit harder. But at 9:15ish I felt like I could run all day long!! What a great run!!! I will say the weather was pretty much perfect (a little chilly to start, a little windy at times...perfect!) which I'm sure had a huge impact on how great we were all feeling. Plus, it's SO much easier to run with a group than it is to run alone. The last half mile wasn't completely fun. I was ready for it to be over. (But, I think it would be like that no matter the distance.) When we got done several coaches were talking about ice baths. I planned on taking one when I got home, but boy do I HATE to be cold. I decided to skip it and see how that felt. Today-NOTHING is sore. There are some parts that aren't totally happy with me, but nothing hurts.
Fourteen miles. I ran FOURTEEN MILES.
So why is it when I think about running tomorrow with Daisy I am nervous I might not be able to run the whole 3.5 on the trails?? Will I always feel this way? Silly nerves.
Thanks for stopping in. Come again soon!