I was both excited for and dreading yesterday’s ‘M’ (marathon) pace run all at once. Excited for it because here was another chance to mimic race day and feel the pace I’ll need to hold for 42.2km. Dreading it because I already knew that holding that pace is tough, and what if I couldn’t even do it for 24km? What would that say to me about my ability to hold it for 42.2km?
The dreading it feeling began to take over and I found myself procrastinating going to bed Friday night (to prevent Saturday morning from coming too quickly of course). I then remembered some wise words from my coach…
“Nobody is making you run, Sarah.”
Whack. That hit me like a ton of bricks. When he said this to me nearly a year ago, I’d been complaining about how tough it was to find the time to run, how hard running was, and why I shouldn’t have to run more than three times per week. He really must have been wondering why I wanted a coach… Or why I ran at all!
I do find running hard. But I’ve come to understand that is one of the reasons I run. It challenges me – every time. And every time I walk in the door from a run, often twice a day now, I feel the elation that comes from a sense of accomplishment. Running does take up a lot of my time, but I’ve found that it’s my ‘zen’ time. Some people go to yoga or meditate. I run. My thoughts sort themselves out. After a morning run, I am better prepared to face the day. An evening run is my chance to make sense of and reconcile the events of the day.
Coach was right. Nobody makes me run. I run because I want to run. I want to run because I love running. I love running because it gives me feelings of achievement and time to myself. If I ever find myself not wanting to get out the door, I stop and evaluate my thought patterns. Usually the case is my self-doubting negative inner voice robbing me of my optimistic outlook. Usually because I’m tired from lack of sleep.
I may have gone to bed late on Friday night but I allowed myself to get enough sleep so that by the time I got up on Saturday I was mostly excited for my M-pace run. Putting on my race day shoes completed that sense of excitement. I was ready to run. Once I was out there it was as I figured it would be – tough! But I did hit my pace, holding a 5:03/km for 24km. And the sense of accomplishment that followed yesterday’s run was huge. The harder they are the bigger the payoff.
In completing yesterday’s run, I moved another step closer to race day. That’s two M-pace workouts down, one to go. Twelve weeks of training down, six weeks to go. I’ve got my last maximum mileage week of 140km upon me this week, starting today. With that, I’m flying out the door on this gorgeous sunny day for an easy 10km run on my tired, happy legs.