DAY | PLAN | ACTUAL
MON | REST | REST
TUE | 4M/STRENGTH | 4.1M (8:50/MI)/STRENGTH
WED | 9M | 9M (10:23/MI)
THU | 5M/STRENGTH | 5.2M HILL INT (9:45/MI)/STRENGTH
FRI | REST | REST
SAT | YOGA | 3M WALK
SUN | 18M | 18M (10:35/MI)
TOTAL |36 MILES | 36.3 MILES
I’ve got to start out by profusely thanking each and every one of you who related and encouraged me after the tough run I had last week. While I felt the outpour of love, I also received the message loud and clear: Brush yourself off, pick your head up, and get back to it.
This was a rebound week like no other. If it were not for all of you, I may have approached it with more fear and less vigor, I feel incredibly lucky to have so much support and sage advice constantly coming my way. It’s funny, when I got sober, one of the first things my sponsor told me was to only take advice from people who had what I wanted. She said it was pretty simple, if someone is overweight and you don’t want to be overweight, maybe don’t take diet advice from them. Or if someone’s been divorced three times, maybe don’t use their comments as a guideline for your marital success. As it pertained to sobriety, she was trying to tell me–go ahead and listen to lots of different people–gather as many stories as you’d like. But if you want to stay sober, you’re probably better off only modeling the behavior of other people who have been able to stay clean long term. It’s such a basic concept–but I’ve been using it for pretty much everything in my life ever since.
The amount of success and on-point advice I have received from runners of all levels is something I never realized would be a part of my marathon training. If running makes you happy and you’re racing injury free– I can learn from you, and I probably have. While the crowd I take marital advice from is a small bunch, the number of runners whose experience I have grown to rely upon is a diverse and widening community.
I felt a bit nervous when I woke up on Sunday to tackle 18 miles. Luckily I live with an amazing man who ran the marathon last year, and has had his fair share of crappy runs. He wasn’t having any of my self-doubt, his confidence in me really lightened my mood and got me out the door. As I stepped out onto the sidewalk of our apartment building I thought of something he told me one of our doormen told him when he was training and heading out on a run with a bit of a defeated look on his face. He said, “Remember, it’s fun mon.” (You should know our doorman Vincent is from Jamaica and has the most fantastic accent.) I smiled to myself when I thought of this and thought, oh yeah, you like running, remember? Let’s go have some fun. Then I thought of so many of you out there in the blogoshpere who told me to learn from the shitty run the week before, and move on to the next one. You told me to put that run in my mental bank–and to remember what it felt like to feel awful and be in pain and be exhausted and still run through it.
18 was my best experience in training yet. I finished on the Manhattan Bridge looking out over the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge (pic below). I began weeping almost as soon as I finished. (I know I can’t help it, it never stops.) I think I got emotional cause I’ve just never had an experience like this–my growth has never been so tactile. I’ve never had this much proof that my hard work is paying off. I’ve done some things before where I or other people have acknowledged improvement–but I think I’ve always hung on to some pesky doubt that doesn’t care to relinquish it’s grip on me. When I finished this 18, I tossed that doubt off the bridge. I’m doing it. I’ve put in the work and I’ve grown. I can run 18 miles. I can run more. There were things I couldn’t do before. Now I can. It makes me look at myself differently. It makes me look at life differently.
I’m going to leave you with a quick bit of advice that really manifested itself this whole week for me: Run your own Race. I know, another basic one. But it’s one I forgot when I was taking in all the great thoughts I’ve been collecting each week from all of you. A blogger friend wrote about “banking” mileage during the marathon–basically running faster in the beginning to give wiggle room for the tougher miles near the end. This blogger is a much faster and more experienced racer than I am, so I should have taken that more into account. But his piece stuck with me because I wondered if I was screwing my chance for a decent time by running the way I always do–starting slow, building, and pushing it at the end. I got fearful. I thought, well EVERYONE hits the wall, what if I never get any faster miles in because I’ll wait too long to push and then I’ll have nothing in me anyway because I’ve hit that dreaded point. What if I miss my opportunity to push?
This thinking stayed in my head last week and contributed to a 13 mile run that was faster, but felt awful physically and mentally. Going out fast is just not the way I run, it never will be. I love reading posts from runners that are faster and more experienced than me–but when I head out there, I’ve got to stick with my own game plan. This week, I felt like I knew who I was. My first 10 miles of my long run I ran between 10:30-11:30, which is right where I need to be at that time if I’m going to run 26.2. After mile 10, my pace started to pick up between the 9:30-10 minute range. Proudly, at miles 14 and 15 I ran 8:53 and 8:51, respectively. I finished on the bridge on an incline running about a 10:05 minute mile. It felt like me. And well, the strongest me I’ve met yet.
Stick to your race. You’re the only one that can run it.