Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Longest Mile

That's right. Seven miles. Done.

My husband and I met my friend from work for a Saturday morning trail run.  The weather was cool and overcast, but close to perfect for running.  Heading into the run I was excited because I was about to complete a personal record.  My previous recent longest run was six miles and I had felt pretty good completing that one.

We had a set pace of ten minute miles, but for whatever reason we either ran too fast or too slow.  Maybe it was because we spent the majority of the run chatting and not really focusing on running.  I have to admit though, it felt really good to be able to run and hold a conversation at the same time.

When we reached five miles, my mental challenge began.  My body is just not acclimated to the longer distances yet, and begins to anticipate that the end is near, or should be.  I was still feeling pretty good, so I knew I just had to concentrate on not giving up.  Training my muscles to run for longer periods of time is, ironically, more about what I'm thinking than the activity itself.  I reached down inside me for the strength to keep my legs moving.  

At mile six, in the home stretch, we faced a small incline.  On a short run, this incline is barely noticeable.  When your legs are getting heavy and your muscles are screaming to stop, the incline is torture. I found myself staring at the ground to avoid seeing how much further we had to go.  I refused to look ahead knowing I would only notice the rise of the road.  Impatient, I did peek only to be slapped with the realization that we still had about half a mile to go.  I wanted to speed up to make it end sooner, but my legs couldn't do it.  It was warmer now, and I was tired and thirsty.  I kept thinking, "are we there yet?" and spoke up, "I'm struggling."  Fortunately, my friend, a marathoner, had the needed motivation for the both of us and offered words of encouragement all the way to the end.

Most days I either run alone, or if my husband joins me, finish alone as he usually runs shorter distances.  I am used to talking myself through the mental challenge.  This time, I needed the support to get through the last mile, the longest mile. Mile seven. Done.





 

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