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

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

  1. Pingback: Week 16: “Everything Hurts!” – cat h. bradley

  2. Woohoo! Fantastic 🙂 Such a satisfying milestone!

    Sorry for the short response, busy playing catchup – hectic few weeks for me also and my taper thankfully begins on Sunday afternoon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know I am always so thrilled to hear from you Nik–no matter the length of message your words ALWAYS mean so much to me!!
      Yay for taper soon–hope you are feeling good! I am feeling better now but week 1 of taper as not my favorite, everything hurt!! So good to hear from you! x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay!!! All the High Fives!!! You rocked that 20 miler!! Congrats on that milestone and yes, do what you do durning YOUR taper. I was never bothered by the taper, maybe due to the fact that I like my rest.

    Way To Go Cat!! You’re ahhhhh-mazing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. andrea1626

    Congrats on 20 miles!! That is such a milestone! I’m with you on tappering — I welcomed it and my body needed it. Use the time to let yourself rest and heal. You’ll be so ready for race day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah thank you so much Andrea–it definitely felt like a milestone, one I never really knew I would reach! Was actually a bit emotional, but this whole process has been so I guess that didn’t surprise me! Definitely taking your resting/healing advice for tapering, I’ve been so sore all week. Hoping that’s just my body telling me reminding me to take care of it and nothing else!
      Thanks so much for reading lady, really appreciate your thoughts!!

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  5. Hi Cat

    Great post and fab run. Just catching up on your blog and massively impressed by your negative splits on a 20 miler. ROCK and ROLL !
    Also loving your shouting it out to the world at large – when I was doing my long runs – I kind of wished I had a way of decanting the stream of consciousness straight into a blog post,using the power of thought waves ( why has that not been invented yet ??) it would have made it easier than trying to remember afterwards, but maybe just talking as you run is the answer.
    Good luck with your race and enjoy your taper
    Margaret

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Margaret! Decanting the stream of consciousness straight into a blog post–that would be something!! You’re right though-some of the best thoughts and ideas are had out there on the road.
      Thanks so much for your encouragement–really glad to have you along for the ride!!

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    1. Great tip, thank you Liz! Trying to follow, but it’s tough. There aren’t enough hours in the day!! Definitely working on getting more sleep overall though–I always have to remember how recuperative it is!! Thanks for the reminder!

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  6. Wooooh 20 miles! That one’s a biggie! And those splits are lookin solid! The taper was hard mentally for me. I ended up running pretty far under my plan those weeks. But I had some minor injuries I nursed a bit and I’m so glad I did. And in the race, the injury pain was nowhere to be seen! That, by itself, was enough to be happy about ☺️ I am already itching for my next race! Haha I’m excited to follow you through the rest of your training and race!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks lady! Yeah no injuries for me but everything is feeling sore and creaky and not great right now. Definitely need to take care, do more foam rolling, and get more sleep! Massage tonight so hope that helps!! x

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      1. No. 😔 Yes, MCM is this weekend, but my hubby and I had to defer to next year. We discovered James has a herniated disk and he’s had to cancel all of his races. That one is too big to do without him… sooo… 😐 . But I still have San Antonio left to do in December and we’re not canceling that one for me. Regardless, I’ll be cheering you on through yours!! And you are going to do amazing!!

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      2. Oh no Paula I am so sorry! That’s such a bummer, but also very sweet that you guys are such strong running partners. I hope he heals well and you enjoy San Antonio!
        Thanks for the well wishes lady–from beginning to end!! x

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha you’re HILARIOUS Ali, I think the last time I saw a 7 minute mile I was 16 😍. But yes, thank you, I cannot complain about my performance on this one at all. Was not expecting to be running in the 9s for almost the whole second half of the run, that was a surprise to me! Ironically i have really been working on letting go of pace and just running how I feel–as Long as I’m not exhausting myself. Somehow in the letting go I’m gained a tiny bit of speed it seems!! I’m just going to try to keep my goal at “just finishing” and see what happens!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Steph!! You know this made me think how one of the most awesome things about training is that it lets you hold two normally opposing thoughts in your head at the same time: 1.This feels impossible, I want to stop. 2. I know I’m going to finish this. So many other things in life tell us to stop when we feel resistance. I’m glad to build the muscle that makes it feel natural to push through discomfort and keep going.
      And yes–lots of healing and energizing will be going on–lots of rest, and listening to my body 💪🏽😉. Thanks Steph. x

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    1. Thanks TN!! Yeah, the proof was really in the stats with this one. I didn’t feel all that great, my legs felt tired from the rest of the week. But to look down and see my numbers, I thought, “holy shit, all this work has done something for sure!!” It was pretty cool, never knew I could run that strong at the end of such a long run!! Thanks again, happy to have you here!!

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  7. qplourde

    Great job and great pacing. You are well on your way and I think you are really going to enjoy this marathon. Let your body rest, it knows what to do now. I’m so excited for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks lady!! I think when I hit 18 a couple weeks ago is when I really started believing I could do this–but this 20 was absolutely vital for my confidence as well. I am just glad I won’t have already run 20 miles in the week on race day–ready to put some life and some pop back into these legs!!
      Thanks for the love lady!! x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Awesome run Cat. I’m starting to understand the mental part. I hit the pavement and crushed 15 today. Could’ve went more but I didn’t get properly prepped the night before. I’ll write about it tomorrow. And I hear ya about the music. Movie themes and video game music get my mind focused and I lose track of miles. Keep going!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad you said this Donna– I think i need to remember to continue to gather the mental energy, even as the physical output goes down during this taper. I am sure I will be reaching out for plenty of advice for this time–glad to have you on board!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great job! I smile as I picture you roaring as you’re running! I always talk to myself, but maybe I should try doing so out loud, perhaps I’d listen better! Haha
    Enjoy the taper and just listen to your body, you know you can do it now:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks AJ! Yeah I don’t think the few people I scared the shit out of were smiling, but there were a few people chuckling on 2nd Ave as well, lol. Running has always made me emotional but these longer distances have taken it to another level!!
      Thanks for the support girl– I will be doing as you say and listening to my body more than ever!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Look at you rock star! You inspire me. Good luck with your taper. I am so excited for you to run the full in a few weeks. You can bet I will be watching anxiously for your recap. You’ve got this. Finish strong and know I am cheering you on!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I had never come close before either–the past couple months have been pretty huge, definitely conquering some things I never thought I could or would.
      Thank you so much for reading, so happy to have you here!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Go girl! I am so glad you posted this today! I love your marathon series, but I had 20 miles on my mind today too and I was so hoping it went well for you! And that it rained on me and not on you today! I will let you take the rain another day! 😉
    I get irritated when I have to do dodge people/or slippery spots or whatever when I really just need to get in a zone, so I can see where the Walk going on didn’t help.

    Nice work on your splits and finishing strong! And with making the adjustment with the music! 20 miler done!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you thank you lady!! I especially appreciate you taking the rain for me–I promise I will take it back for you one day ;).
      You know what’s crazy is I actually slipped on a wet spot like 3 miles in on this run– I wasn’t paying good enough attention and was taking something out of my waistpack. I caught myself, but it was scary. In retrospect it might have been good cause it def got me focused on the task at hand!!
      So glad that 20 is done–thank you for your support–I felt you out there for sure! x

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You’re so close!! I’m excited to hear your taper experience. I’ve never been good at seeing a training plan far enough through to even get to taper, or I guess it just results in an extra long one. Definitely not good for the confidence which is no surprise. But you’ve put in so much work so I’m sure you won’t suffer much if any! Looking forward to learning from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny lady, I am excited about the taper experience too and to write about it. It’s like each part of this is a part of the journey but also it’s own little journey as well. I am happy to move into this phase and can’t wait to share it with you!!

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