Today was my 12 mile training run. It is actually the farthest that you ever run before race day so it is a good predictor of how you will react to 13.1 miles. It was not my finest hour(s). Firstly, my hectic schedule prevented me from my two weekly training runs this week. I ran 7 miles last week and loved every second and didn't lace up my sneakers one time since. That was a bad idea and I paid the price for that today. Second, the weather turn a turn for the worst. When you are a runner, 60's and humid is not the setting you would prefer when you run 12 miles. It is late October so it was just a coincidence that the heat wave hit Richmond before today's run. Third, I haven't been eating before my training runs, maybe a bite of two of banana is all I can get down. Today I ate a half of a PBJ this morning about an hour before I ran. Not sure that sat real well as I cramped at mile two. When I heard that second beep signaling another mile had passed I thought, ten more of this?!?! Lastly, I tried some power goo stuff and that did not sit well either. It was chocolate flavored and so about 10 minutes after digesting it I started to feel some heartburn growing in my chest. Add all of that up and it was not fun for me. I did eventually finish 11.5 miles though admittedly, I ran/walked the last 2 miles. I could have stopped at mile 9.5, I was in fact back at my car but I didn't. I kept going. My legs hurt. My cramp hurt. My body hurt. I could have given up but I knew I had to prove that I could do the 12. I eventually stopped at 11.5 when I was back again at my car but I'll take that over 9.5.
During one of my walks to re-gain my strength I started to feel the tears well up inside of me. I started to feel defeat. I started to listen to the girl inside my head that is doubting my ability to run 13.1 miles. Somehow I managed to push her back down to the ground and run over top of her. I re-gained my composure and I just said over and over in my head, I have to finish the 12. I have to finish the 12. Since I had walked and stopped my watch I knew that my watch didn't need to say 12 for me to be closer to 12. So, I made a bargain with myself. I picked a point in the neighborhood and I said I will go to that point and back. Run or walk. I was not going to stop until I was at least around the 11.5 mark. Luckily, I saw my awesome buddy finishing up her 12 on the way. It gave me that push that I knew I needed to finish strong.
Today's run wasn't about marking off 12 miles off my list, or an overall pace or anything like that. It was about proving to myself that even when things get hard, I won't give up. I could have given up so many times and I didn't. I didn't enjoy the run, had cramps, my legs were in pain and I kept going. and going. and going. So instead of feeling defeat and sad I am going to be proud that I was strong enough to overcome all of the unfortunate circumstances that led to a not-so-awesome 11.5 miles.
I will not miss another training run during the week. Come rain or wind (or hurricane-heading our way) I will follow the plan. I will be strong and I will be ready. 13.1 I am coming for you and I am leaving the girl with doubts at home.