I think people (scientists? psychologists?) have proven that your brain blocks out memories of pain. After the immediate agony is over, you forget just how miserable you were and you prepare yourself for the next round.
I ran 28 miles this weekend. 19 miles on Saturday and 9 miles yesterday.
The 9 mile run was fine. However, I think there were very few moments after mile 11 of the 19 miler that I didn’t hate. The ache and fatigue and thirstiness completely overtook my mind and body.
And yet this morning, I’m sitting here drinking my coffee thinking, wow, that wasn’t bad.
But that’s a lie. My feet throbbed like I was running in my stilettos and I’m not completely confident that I won’t lose my left pinkie toenail in the next couple of days. My legs were so incredibly tired. And I was a little bit out of it.
For example, at around mile 15, Aaron, who was running slightly ahead, turned around and waved his arms to let me know that he was changing directions, and ran on after he was confident that I saw him.
I didn’t see him. He was apparently right in front of me. I continued on a few blocks before I heard a sprinting husband yelling at me from behind. At least Aaron knows know that he can sprint that far into a long run and still finish strong!
Also, I suspect there is some major Amy on Amy crime going on. I burned out big time at about mile 11. I run 11 miles all the time. 11 miles is half marathon land. I shouldn’t be bonking at 11 miles.
I think this is a case of mental sabotage. As I get into higher mileage, I’m saying things like, “you only have 8 more miles!” at mile 11. And my brain responds, you only have??? My usual mind manipulation tactics aren’t working, or my mind is catching onto me. I KNOW that 8 miles after 11 is a lot. And I start fading. And I start running way slower (like waaaaay slower).
But then, at around mile 16, I was able to say, “only 3 more miles,” and a mental shift took place. 3 miles is worthy of an “only.” I got a second wind. My paces were back down in the 9 minute mile range when they had been veering close to 11 for a few miles.
I finished with an overall pace of 9:35 (same as the 17 miler), and with a new mileage notch on my belt.
I got home and I drank lots and lots of water. And I ate this glorious plate of pancakes.
This long run made me realize the battle I will be facing come marathon day. I’ll have to figure out a way to avoid that huge “hit the wall” chunk of run and for goodness sake stop sabotaging myself.
So, from here I have 5 weeks left of solid training before the taper. I only have 3 more long runs (if you don’t count the intermittent 12 milers as “long”). We’re pretty close to our peak mileage. I’m still going back and forth on whether I should cut off long runs at 20 miles, or venture into the 21/22 range, but regardless, we’re almost there.
There really isn’t anything new to add to the things going well and the things that need improvement right now. Despite the high mileage weekend, everything feels really good. Aside from some routine muscle soreness, I have no heel pain and no IT band pain. I only took maybe a 1 hour nap on Saturday instead of sleeping all day.
I think I slept better last week, and I actually ate relatively well. I’m starting to focus on losing a few more pounds so I don’t have anything extra to haul around Chicago, and right now, since I can’t really add too much more exercise into my life, eating well is the only way to really accomplish that.
So, here we go into crazy marathon territory. The next 5 weeks will be…hell, I’m guessing. But I’m also excited to see what this little body can do. Bring on the 55 mile weeks!
Also, the Olympics are over. So many things to talk about there, including a crazy Closing Ceremony. So, I’ll just leave you with a giant SPICE UP YOUR LIFE this week!