Friday, September 10, 2010

Facing the big 20-miler...eek.

I'm seriously intimidated by this 20 mile run in the morning.  I know it's only 2 miles more than the 18 miler I did 2 weeks ago, but 2 weeks seems so long ago and 20 miles seems so much LONGER than 18.  I'm kind of dreading this, and I'm afraid if I don't get myself mentally into it and enthusiastic really soon, it's going to be a bad run.  Attitude matters so much for these long hauls.

And I'm always comforted by dogmatic adherence to routine when it comes to running, and Sam not being here to run the last half with me is really making me nervous.  I have to somehow plan a water refill for around mile 10, which means I basically have to run 5miles north and 5 back to my car or apartment, then repeat the same run... so I'll be running the same stretch of trail 4x.  And if I just leave from my apartment, it's the same stretch of trail I run CONSTANTLY, which is finally starting to get really boring.  If I didn't have to backtrack for water it would be perfect; I'd just do one really long out and back.  But I can't seem to find a way around the backtracking.  There's nowhere to refill water along the trail.  D. was going to meet me while biking, but now he's going to Cincinnati so may or may not even be around in the morning.  I could drive my car to a point a bit further north on the trail so at least the part I'm running 4x is a part that's slightly less familiar and thus more interesting, but then I have to wake up even earlier than i already am, and I have to drive home when I may or may not be fully coherent after the 20.  Not sure what to do.  Going to the Dublin group run solves nothing because I'll still run out of water--they only provide water on the course at about 2.5 miles out.

Anyway though it's like I have pre-race nerves and this isn't even the race.  I've had 2 weeks to sit around contemplating the big 20, which has made it into this huge dramatic serious thing.  I'm afraid the last 5 or so miles will be really really bad and I won't have anyone there with me and also won't have my cell phone (it's too big to fit in my fuelbelt).

Tonight's thoughts:

  • What if I can't finish and I'm too far away from home? (I guess if I'm forced into running loops, I'm only 5 miles away at the furthest point..)
  • What if I get some kind of serious problem?  (who knows? never done a run this long.. I've always thought Road IDs were dumb, but maybe this is why people have them..)
  • What if this blister issue on my right foot becomes ENORMOUS and crippling? (I guess it's good practice for what will likely happen at the marathon..?)
  • What if the whole thing is discouraging and I can't do it and I have a complete breakdown?  Seriously, I'm so scared that I might not be able to do it.  What if I can't do it???  (and I'll have to cope with that disappointment on my own, all alone...)
  • What if I've been depending too much on Sam's encouraging words during those last few miles?  What if I can't be tough enough and strong enough without that?
  • What if I somehow screw up with my water planning and run out?
  • What if this run is so so much harder than the 18 because I don't have it neatly broken into parts?  (usually I try to run 8-9 miles by 8am and then meet Sam... which makes me really stay focused on getting the mileage in before 8 since I know he'll be waiting around, and prevents me from getting a discouraged or negative attitude right out of the gate..)
  • What if I get injured because I'm not ready for this, and then I can't do the race? (Gah, seriously.  SERIOUSLY! my knees hurt a little tonight and it's making me's probably inconsequential and I'm probably magnifying it but still...)

I just had to make a special trip to the store just for bananas since I know I can eat one before the run and nothing else will ever stay down, really.  I guess I'm going to wash my running clothes and lay them out, and maybe fill the fuelbelt.  I'm going to take 3 gels along, and 1 nuun tab that I can use to make more sports drink when I refill the fuelbelt.  I also need some new music for the ipod because I'm getting really bored with the playlist that's been on there for a couple weeks, and I should charge it.  And I should probably charge the garmin since I'll need it to last at least 4 hours. This takes so much planning.  I remember when running used to be simple.

Omg I'm a nervous wreck.
I'm planning to head out around 645 or so, because I'm afraid if I sleep much later the run will only seem that much longer.  This way I can be done and home before noon.
How is it possible that 18 seemed so achievable and this seems so daunting?  Gah.


  1. Chill, baby.

    Say these words to yourself, "I am strong, I am invincible, I am Woman!" (or words to that effect)

    Now you know why they say that the marathon is 90% mental. Here is the time to prove it to yourself. Running with your friend is great because it helps the time go by, he gives you encouragement. Running by yourself will help you build your mental strength.

    Yes, it will be tough. But you can do it. You have prepared. You have planned (and planned and planned and planned).

    Seriously, you will be fine. You've got a bunch of us cheering you on. When you're tired and feel like you want to stop, just close your eyes for a moment and feel all our good vibes pushing you to finish.

  2. Wow, you are a nervous wreck! It's natural though. I too was intimidated by 20. Your legs have got this though. You've run 18 - you *know* your body can do that. Then 2 more miles. Even if you have to run-walk those, you'll make it to the end.

    The more difficult thing with these long runs is the mental training. All the other doubts - about relying on Sam, feeling discouraged, worrying about injuries - is coming from inside your head. I know that, because I've been there with the first-time marathon training meltdown!

    Can you see today as an opportunity to train your psychological strength? You'll need that for the marathon, and today is the perfect opportunity to prove to yourself that *you* are strong enough. It's not Sam, or D., or the water bottles, that keep you running 15, 18, 20 miles. It's *you*! Now go out and prove that to yourself.

    You know, it's going to hurt. But it's *supposed* to hurt. That's how we get stronger. And you are tough enough and committed enough to make that happen. How else would you have gotten this far.

    Trust the 18 miles that you did. And just keep going for a little bit at the end ;)

    And remember, you've got time in between now and the marathon to try this again if you need to. Today isn't make or break. It's just another run in a series of many.

    Good luck! :)

  3. Apparently I'm still an infant at this blogging thing, because I managed to accidentally delete your comment on my raw carrot soup post. I'm sorry about that! I really appreciate you having popped over and said hello!

    I was gonna reply that it came out weirdly chunky for me too, but I chalked that up to not having an all-powerful VitaMix. I'm sorry that the recipe wasn't more of a success for you. If you ever try another one of mine, I hope that goes much better.

    As for your big 20-miler, I have to third the mental stuff both of the above commenters mentioned. I would not have made it through my one and only marathon to date if I hadn't powered through on mental steam (and mental steam *alone*, it seemed, at more than one point). I could say a lot, but I don't want to clog your comments - instead, I'll just recommend the book that inspired me to start running again after a long dry spell, and that helped me get to and through that marathon: Haruki Murakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running". There's a lot in there about the ups and downs of long-distance running, and I found it on the whole inspiring, moving, and very true.

    Good luck on that run. You've been working so hard and preparing so well; I can't imagine you'll do anything but succeed!

  4. Hi Leslie! You actually have a lot of really awesome looking recipes so I'm sure I'll be trying others soon too :) The soup wasn't bad, though. Just... textured. Haha.

    Thanks for the encouragement--and I'm definitely going to check out that book! I think I've heard of it before but didn't know what it was about.