This morning brought with it a special gift – 8 solo miles along the ocean.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the mental aspect of running. How negative thoughts are inevitable, and how it is my reaction to them that really is what I need to learn to manage.
Yesterday I read one of the BEST posts I have ever read on the mental game of endurance sports.
The author, Elizabeth Waterstraat, is one of my very favorite bloggers who also happens to be an incredibly accomplished Ironman triathlete and a mother. Every time I read her blog, I am inspired. She is intelligent, funny and just so awesome. Her post yesterday struck a chord with me and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. I think I’ve already read it ten times (or more). I shared it on my Facebook page and I tweeted it. I think every endurance athlete needs to read it!
So much of what Elizabeth says hit home with me (pretty much every word!). But one particular sentence that I could not get out of my head on my run today was this:
If you want to GET there, you have to GO there.
My goal pace for my fall marathon is somewhere around a 7:40 mile. That number scares me. I can’t be scared of that number if I plan to run 26.2 miles that fast! I need to go there if I want to get there. I need to believe I can do it, that I am built for it and that I am prepared for it.
Today I was supposed to run 8 “easy” miles. According to the McMillan pace calculator, “easy” should be anywhere from a 7:42-8:41 pace.
Mile 1 – 8:36
Mile 2 – 8:03
This was feeling easy. I decided I needed to go there, to that marathon goal pace range. I needed to test the waters, to see if it would feel easy, or terrifying.
Mile 3 – 7:45
Mile 4 – 7:42
It felt easy. It felt right. I can do this. I am not being unrealistic about my goal.
At this point I turned around to go home and that’s when it hit me. The wind. It was awful, right in my face and STRONG on the ocean front. I decided not to fight it. I hung onto my effort level and my pace slowed.
Mile 5 – 7:57
Mile 6 – 7:52
Mile 7 – 7:54
I started to get annoyed with myself for not pushing the pace. I asked myself – What will you do on race day if you are running against wind like this? Will you give up on your goal, change your mind? What will it feel like to try to push here, to make it NOT feel easy – so you can hit your pace and reach your goal?
To GET there, you have got to GO there.
I picked up my pace and pushed through the wind. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I dialed in and could have kept going. I was determined.
Mile 8 – 7:21
I went there. And I am going there. And I WILL get there.
I’ve decided that every Friday is going to be a marathon goal pace run from here on out. I need to test the waters, to get comfortable with the number. To show myself that the pace is not so scary at all – it is, in fact, MY pace and I am ready for it. I often throw race pace miles in at the end of my long runs and that gives me a lot of confidence and I will continue to do that. But a Friday goal pace run – a run with the sole purpose of “going there so I can get there” – is going to be another valuable tool in my training this time around. For mental reasons more than anything else. Because I REALLY want to get there.