Be discouraged no more!

I’ve been struggling the past few weeks with running and have spent a lot of time feeling discouraged and contemplating whether or not I should have registered for the Columbus Full Marathon this coming October.  Even thought I feel like I should be used to it having grown up in Ohio, I have been struggling with the heat and humidity and feeling like any excuse is an excuse not to run, which are feelings I have not yet had to contend with.  Lately, I have felt like giving up and, frankly, I did on a couple of workouts this week, which made me feel even worse about my situation.  Not to mention, I gained two pounds this week (maybe due to not running like I usually do?), which just convinced me I was trying to work harder for nothing.  Last night I went to bed completely set on the idea that running was out for me, that I’d be damned if I woke up in the morning and went for a 10 mile run, as posted on the Marathoners In Training (MIT) schedule.  Yes, embarrassingly enough, I went to bed a quitter.

But that all changed this morning. 

I was up two hours before my alarm was set to go off, which meant I was up at 4:00 a.m.  As I lay in bed and tried to fall back to sleep – husband and dogs snoring away in restful bliss – I found that I couldn’t sleep, I was wide awake.  Why?  Because I was excited to run.  What?  I went to bed wanting nothing to do with running and now suddenly I wake up before God and everybody with a smile on my face, looking forward to 10 miles in the blazing heat.  Yeah, clearly I had lost my mind.  So I tried again to fall asleep and was again unsuccessful so I got up and got ready to go. 
I got to MIT early and found so did a lot of others, especially in my pace group of 13:00 minutes a mile, including my coach who has never before run a full either.  We started talking about the miles that were ahead of us for the morning, and I learned that he was also struggling with the training schedule, in fact, a lot of people were.  Just hearing that other runners were feeling exactly like I did, made me feel so much better and so empowered.  I remembered that even though running for me was often a welcomed time of solitude, I was never alone when it came to my training.  And that was something I desperately needed to be reminded of.

We set out on our run – chatting and joking about becoming cyclists – some of us running 6, some 10, and yet others running 14 plus.  As the miles went by, the chatter wore off and pretty soon we were only muttering one or two words at a time.  “You okay?”  “Yeah, hot, you?”  “Water.”  “Good job.”  “Pace?”  “Ahead, 12:30”  “Mile 7.”  “Ugh.”  And so on.  But we were running – and running together.
I finished up my part of the run with one other runner who was running the same schedule as me.  We pulled each other through to the end.  We talked about how far we had come, and how it would be a waste to quit at miles 8, 9, or 9.5 when we were so close to finishing.  When one of us started to hang back, the other picked up the pace to keep us going.  And we finished that 10 mile training run, along with everyone else who set out with us that morning, regardless of how far he or she was running.
I was feeling good – and exhausted.  I drove home in a daze, not realizing I was going something like 40 miles per hour on the highway until someone honked and swerved wildly around me.  I started driving faster, all the while thinking how I couldn’t wait to get home and see what my “official” time and pace was.  I was already floating on clouds because I ran 10 miles without stopping and with minimal discomfort and rather fluidly.  Now to see if I made my time.
I did!  I ran 10 miles in 2 hours and 5 minutes, which is just about a 12:33 pace, which is a PR for me! 

I read somewhere that in running, anytime you do something you have never done before you can call it a PR, you don’t necessarily have to be racing!

I am so happy and relieved and excited for the full that I do not know why I ever doubted myself in the first place.

Thanks MIT and the 13:00 Pace Group.  You gave me the courage and motivation to keep doing what I forgot I could do all along. 

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