On Sunday I did my first planned long run since the Cradle half marathon in April. You guys, it was tough! For so many reasons, it was so so tough!
Never a truer word spoken.
I’d planned to do a 15km run on Sunday morning with my weekend running buddy, Bronwynne. The furthest I have run since the Cradle Half Marathon in April is 10km’s. I’ve done plenty of 10km’s but now that I’ve signed up for the Wanderers half marathon at the end of August, I knew it was time to up my game and start pushing the distance. You see, the one thing I’ve learned with running, just like with life, while a part of it is all about physical fitness and conditioning, a very large part of it is mental. You have to spend time on the road, it doesn’t matter how fast you’re going, but put in the time, push the distance and you’ll finish. You will. But you first have to believe you can. Your body first has to know it can. And then you can!
So on Sunday, we met up just before 7am for a 15km trot. Which was all about pushing the distance and spending time on the road, showing my body I could do. Only, I almost couldn’t.
There was some distance discrepancies with the map we were following and what was supposed to be a 15km run, landed up being an 18.6km run!
You guys…. you know when you’ve pushed yourself so hard that you are near tears? Yup, that was me on Sunday. I was fine until we got to the 14km mark and then my mental stamina started failing me. Because we should have been just a km from the finish, only we weren’t. I knew we weren’t. I knew we had a good few km’s still to go to get back to the car park. And my mind failed me. The more my legs hurt and boy, my hip flexers were hurting, the more my internal dialogue started saying I can’t do this. I can’t go on. I can’t finish this. At one point, with tears in my eyes, I contemplated sitting down on the pavement and asking Bronwynne to run ahead, get her car and come back and fetch me. My glutes hurt. My thighs were on fire. And my mind was failing me.
But somehow I managed to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And I literally shuffled to the end. I was so relieved it was over that I got quite tearful again. But I did it!
I ran 18.6km on Sunday and now I know I’ll be ready for the Wanderers half marathon at the end of August. Because next weekend I’ll run 15km again and it will be easier than this weekend. And the weekend after that I’ll stretch the distance again and it will be easier and the weekend after that I’ll stretch the distance again and it will be easier.
And before I know it it will be race day and I will be ready.
The thing that makes me the maddest is that I knew at the beginning of winter that if I didn’t continue to push the distances, I’d lose my half marathon conditioning. And that’s exactly what happened. My mind forgot and convinced my body I couldn’t do it. I finished that 18.6km’s yesterday, not because I’m fit but because I have mental stamina.
I am strong. I can do this! Amazingly, I had no stiffness or soreness the following day. Which I kind of really expected to have. So my body is still strong, it was my mind that was weak.
The run itself was beautiful. I had to store up memories during the run to go back and think about afterwards because every ounce of my energy went into pushing my body yesterday. But afterwards, I remembered the cute puppies we saw along the way. The rabbits and the guinea fowl and best of all… the budding tree’s and flowering jasmine creepers… Spring… it’s coming and this makes me happy.
Running, it makes me happy. It makes me fit. It makes me physically strong. It makes me mentally strong. Oh and …. it makes nice legs too! 🙂