Week 15: “The Hard Part is Over, Right?”

DAY | PLAN | ACTUAL
MON | REST | REST
TUE | 5M/STRENGTH | 5.1M (8:52/MI)/STRENGTH
WED | 10M | 10.1M (10:38/MI)
THU | 5M/STRENGTH | 5.1M HILL INT (9:43/MI)/STRENGTH
FRI | REST | REST
SAT | REST | REST
SUN | 20M | 20M (10:28/MI)
TOTAL |40 MILES | 40.3 MILES

I ran twenty miles today. 2 0. While I’ve been on a pretty set writing schedule throughout this whole process, I decided to switch it up and bring you my weekly recap while this big milestone is fresh in my mind and in my legs (moving around the apartment very slowly today.)

What a week. One thing that was helpful for me to remember at mile 14 today was that I had already logged 20 miles in the days before. So when my legs were sore and my whole body felt tired I was able to tell myself, “You’re feeling everything you are supposed to be feeling right now. This is your peak week and you’ve given it everything you have–the pain you’re feeling is the result of that work. But you can keep going, just a few more, and the hardest part is over.”

There was a lot of this kind of talk going on in my head and sometimes out loud throughout this run. I have a tendency to talk to myself anyway, but exhaustion really brings it out in me. It’s not unusual for me to be reciting things out loud in order to make sure I’m being accurate at the end of a work day. And it’s quite common that I get vocal during my runs–often times I just need to actually hear that voice saying, “Alright girl, this is it, you’ve got this, let’s go get it.” Seeing that this was my longest run ever and the furthest I will go before my ultimate goal, the chatter and sounds were flying out pretty early. One of the many things that’s been reinforced in this training is to be myself, unapologetically. Still, apologies to the woman with her dog and man on his bike who might have shit themselves as I literally ROARED past them on 2nd Ave (it was 18.5 miles in, I had to give it EVERYTHING I had!)

I’ll say it, the 18 mile run I had was prettier. The weather was better–cooler and more crisp. Today’s 70 degrees at 90% humidity was manageable, but not ideal. Also, I was able to get lost in the 18 mile run–I was listening to podcasts and in such a groove. It seemed like I woke up at 12-13 miles and realized, hey, only 5-6 more to go, I can do that! Not so with this 20. I’m not sure if I was just sick of political talk this week or what but I couldn’t really get out of my head and into any of the conversations I was hearing in my ears. Instead I was thinking about running–each and every mile. I am back and forth on deciding whether it helped or hurt me that there was a breast cancer walk going on in Central Park. The energy of all the people was great but their lack of any desire at all to stay in the roped off lanes they were supposed to, got a bit frustrating at times.

As I revealed to everyone in my last series post, I usually don’t like to listen to music until the last few miles of a long run. But since the podcasts weren’t working for me, and I was focused on the running, I figured I’d might as well let the emotion in and stay as pumped up as I could. At mile 8 I switched over to tunes and it was definitely the right decision. I kept my fuel and hydration plan going and just let the songs and my legs carry me at whatever pace they chose. Amazingly, I almost managed all negative splits for the last ten miles, and somehow, I knocked 7 seconds a mile off my time from the 18 miler a couple weeks before.

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While this run was not the most fantastic feeling–it’s left me with all the confidence I need to know that I can do this thing. I am so incredibly proud of the first 5 miles and the last 5 miles of this run. Starting at my easy pace, building, and ending strong has really become THE goal and I feel like I nailed it here. Throughout training I have found this kind of pacing really works for my life–and not just for racing. Now more than ever, I am trusting the process. I’ll get where I need to be in time; there’s no need to panic when I encounter obstacles along the way, or arrive later than first planned. I can’t help but feel that there’s a reason for every delay–a person I need to meet, a lesson I need to learn. I’m thinking twice now before I anxiously scramble to rush towards success–I shudder to think of all the gems I might miss along the way.

Time to taper y’all! I have heard so many of you say the taper made you anxious and you worried about losing your fitness. I’ve got to say, I feel pretty far from those kind of thoughts. While some of my ultra freaks (I mean friends, love you guys!) look at 40 miles as a light week, this is way more mileage than I have ever put on my body. I am looking forward to slowing down and getting rid of some of the fatigue in my muscles. I have been working with an amazing masseuse the past couple weeks and she is going to help see me through to the end. The next 21 days are all about following directions, listening to my body, nurturing myself, and getting my mind right.

Thanks so much to all of you for hanging in here with me–I’m for real, I couldn’t do this without you!!

For those of you missing my usual mile by mile series that I post on Sundays-bless you! And rest assured it will return to pick up at Miles 21 and 22 Tuesday night. I just had so much incredible support leading up to this 20 miler that I felt like I wanted to let everyone know how it went and say thank you right away!!

Have a great week all–happy running and working and parenting–whatever you’re doing, I hope there’s some serious joy being had. x

 

header image: denys nevozhai