Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A little bit of mental toughness

Somehow, I must have gotten a dose of this for Christmas as well.

One of my MAJOR problems with running is the lack of mental toughness that just seems so hard for me to come by.

Well, as the saying goes ~ sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

And for me this morning, that was a 10 mile run on my own.

Due to some illness (poor Lisa) and some schedule conflicts (Pat was hiking with relatives), this Pokey was left alone this morning to knock down 10 miles. I would have LOVED to postpone a long run until the weekend when I could run with my TRC buddies, but I am leaving town tomorrow and it just wasn't possible.

I realized how hard it is ~ mentally at least ~ to get out of bed on a cold morning, when it's dark outside and the rest of your family is still cozily sleeping when there ISN'T someone waiting on you. I so wanted to crap out on this run.....until the realization hit that this was my last long run before RNR. So up and out I went.

My goal was to knock down 10 miles....which would be my longest solo run ever. The longest I have managed by myself is about 6 miles. I was nervous about the prospect of being out on the road for 2 hours with just me, myself and I. Sometimes I am not the best company, and I am definitely not the best motivator.

It was cold ~ about 35 degrees at 8am ~ and I had some technical issues with clothing which kept me fussing with my waistpack and shirt for the first couple miles. I was tired, especially after a couple hectic days with the holiday chaos, and a TON of bad I wasn't sure how the run would go. I just wanted to keep moving and knock down the miles.

Miles 1-3 were *okay*....that is always the toughest part of the run for me as I take a hecka long time to warm up.

Mile 3-4 was feeling good....I stopped after mile 4 at a grocery store for a bathroom break, to refill my water bottle and to eat a gel (Cytomax was the gel of choice today).

After I got moving after the break, Micheline called and I chatted with her for the next 1.3 miles. It was great ~ a running buddy that was a few hundred miles away!!! :P

I felt good until about mile 7.5 and the fatigue really started to set in. I hadn't really paid much attention to my buddy Garmie until about mile 8 (he was really just accompanying me for mileage-tracking purposes, not so much for pace). Once I got a look at Garmie at mile 8, everything changed.

Check out this Bad Boy:

Until mile 8, all my splits were UNDER 13 minutes, and for the first time I had potential to run the 10 miles in 2 hours or less ~ which has always been sort of an unspoken, mental goal that I have had....a benchmark of progress, so to speak.

Knowing that was the only thing that kept me from walking the last few miles home. The next couple miles were rough ~ as seem by the 13 min pace due to more walk breaks than earlier in the run ~ but I was moving in the right direction.

And as you can already tell, I didn't make the 2 hour cutoff. But you know what? I DON'T CARE! Do you see that last split?

11:40 baby............after NINE miles.

It took every ounce of every thing that I could muster...but I got it done. I kept remembering Pat telling me that THIS is where you improve as a the last couple miles when you want to quit. And then there was Lisa telling me....gee, if you can run 9 miles, certainly you can run 10. LOL :P So even in their absence, the people that motivate me continue to have impact.

Somehow today I managed to dig into a place that I had never touched before. Somehow I was able to grab some mental toughness and see the whole thing through. I ran the best 10 miles of my running *career* today, and just could not be any happier!!!!!!!

Long Run:

Distance: 10.0 miles

Time: 2:05:28

Average pace: 12:32

Can you see me with a big, goofy SMILE on my face??? It's been there all day :P

And now a BIG HUG to Lisa ~ my poor, sick running buddy ~ GET BETTER SOON WOMAN! We have a HM to run!!!! :)


Moral Victories said...

I did 10 on my own on Sat. as they get longer and longer, it gets harder and harder to get them in. I find the sense of accomplishment is much greater alone. Good on you for getting out there..


J~mom said...

Girl you SOOO ROCK!!!!!!!! You need to change the name of this blog! :>)

Thank you for your well wishes! I am seriously bumming hard but I will be back. :>)

Pat said...

congrats. you did fabulous. I wish I could have been there with you. have a great trip up north and have a happy new year.

Jeff said...

Great victory for you, Poke! Nice run.

Wes said...

Ahhhh. I remember when you used to lament about how you could "only" run by yourself :-) Times change, literally!

The day is going to come when you think 2 hours out on the road by yourself is a short run. Nice job, Pokey! No risk. No reward. You slam dunked that one :-)

Marathoner in Training said...

You are so awesome, those times are great. I was able to get 10 miles in this past weekend, that is the farthest I have ever ran - and non-stop. Keep up the great work.

Marcy said...

WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO!! LOOK AT THAT!!! You SOOOO freekin ROCK!!! That is awesome chica! Absolutely awesome ;D ;D ;D Before you know it, we'll have you running sub 2 HM's too!

Non-Runner Nancy said...

BIG SMILE AND HUG!!! YEAH, POKE, you did great. You have what it takes. THanks for the boost.

Christie said...

Look at you. Good job on the 10!!

Dan Seifring said...

Great job with the run and more importantly way to beat the mental toughness. You ROCK.

Viv said...

Way to go! You had me smirking the whole post cause i had this feeling yout trough the 10 with some great breakthroughs!! Awesome on getting out there the day after Christmas....You are keeping me motivated 4 sho :)

Chief Wahoo said...

Awesome run! Nice job getting out there and doing it!

Congrats on the PR for ten miles!

Nevadamtnbear/Micheline said...

Karen - YOU RAWK!

I'm so proud of you! Can you believe how far you have come - in so many different ways.

Two years ago, you couldn't imagine running ONE mile. Two years ago, the though of running a 12k made you practically nauseous. Two years ago you wouldn't even consider the thought of running with other people.

Heck, one year ago, you had a hard time imagining yourself running 10 miles. Running with other people was something which was unappealing. You were the woman dressed in black wanting to blend into your surroundings and not be noticed.

Dang, I'm so flipp'n proud of you. Really, you've come so far and just really provided inspiration to me and so many other people.

Thanks Karen. And I hope that goofy grin is still there, because you should be very proud of yourself.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

way to GO!!!

Tigerlilly said...

Yahoooo!! I am so PROUD of you. You tore down that mental wall and kept on running. I think Pat is right when he says that the last hard miles are where we become better runners.. of course, for me that means the second mile!! LMAO

Have a fantastic new year! Maybe this will be the year you and I can run together? That would be fun.. of course it would have to be more wogging then running!!

aerorunnergirl said...

Oh wow! Congrats, Pokey! You did an amazing job.