When you do something you have never done, consider documenting it.
I remember many years ago I completed a 60-mile run week. I built up to it over time, and I was running 6 days a week. I remember feeling like I had accomplished something; yet, other than living in Virginia Beach, I don’t remember much else about that time. My inability to recall that time is the reason I feel called to write about my recent peak week.
Back in December, my neighbor, Kellie asked me if I would consider running the island of Okinawa with her. At the time, I wouldn’t even consider it. It was a simple and hard – NO. January rolled around, and through my journaling, spiritual study, and messages from the universe, I was being urged to do something hard. I remember telling Kellie that it had been years since I had tried to do anything hard. Most of the “hard” that had recently come my way had not been because I sought it out. Over the past couple of years, I have been railroaded by hard, and it has not been my choice. I haven’t chosen to do something hard in years, and it was time. I revisited the island-run-topic with Kellie, and within minutes we were all in.
All in meant getting a yoga instructor because I knew I needed help in that department. All in meant getting a run coach and someone who would tell us when and how much to run. All in meant that there would be weeks that running would feel like I was working a non-paying job, and last week, running was like my job. Sleep, nutrition, stretching, recovery, and the actual act of running would take up most of my waking hours, and I had to complete it before we leaned into the weekend. We had important weekend plans, and I could not let my hobby affect those plans. This week’s blog is a recap of the biggest run week I have had in my life. I have a feeling that it won’t be the biggest run week I will ever have because this process has been too good to not do it again.
Monday’s run called for a 10-mile run, and somehow I didn’t measure my distance correctly; I ended up running 12+ miles. This simply meant that my next run would be 10 miles instead of 12. Monday’s run felt great, so I was optimistic for a great run week. I could have and probably should have split my Tuesday’s run into 2 shorter runs, but I could not get myself out the door before my volunteer meeting. This meant that I would run my 10-miles in the mid-afternoon; it was supposed to be less than 2 hours on my feet, but by mile 3, I realized that it was not getting easier. There are some runs that I don’t warm up until mile 3 or 4, and by then I start to find my groove, but I could not seem to find any semblance of a groove. I kept looking at Strava, hoping that the miles were clicking by, but they weren’t. I made my way to a beautiful park so that I would feel more comfortable walking, and I walked and ran, loop after loop, until I got close to the 10th mile. I headed home, felt defeated, looked at my device, and realized that I had run my 10 miles, and they took me on average 13:33 minutes per mile. I had been out there for over 2 hours and 15 minutes. I was living in a space where I felt proud that I didn’t just bag the run, and call it quits, and I felt worried and frustrated. If I could not easily run 10 miles, how could I possibly attempt 80? Fortunately, Wednesday would be a rest day. It would be a day where I could regroup and get my mindset right. Wednesday was also jam-packed with meetings. I was in meetings from 9am until after 3pm. When you add in an hour of commute time on each end, it was a full day. I didn’t have the time to just sit and work on my mindset. I also didn’t have anything to make for dinner, and my brain could not function. I came home and fell asleep instead of trying to do anything productive. After Tuesday’s disastrous run, and realizing how tired I was, on Wednesday, I opted for sleep over productivity. Our family would have to figure out a quick fix for dinner, but it also needed to have some nutritional value because Thursday would be the longest time on my feet of this whole process. We found food, and I found a good night’s rest.
Thursday was the biggie. I woke up at 4:45, and we headed out about 5:45. We got a beautiful sunrise, but we didn’t get the most beautiful run from a sight-seeing perspective. It was an out-and-back, and it was down into a more populated area with less green and only a few views of the water. We were determined to get 26.2 miles in, and my 2 devices hit 13.1 well before Kellie’s did. We kept going until her Garmin hit 13.1. We celebrated the half-way point, turned around, and worked our way back home. We felt good the whole time. The temperatures started to rise, but we were good, even in the warmer temps. (I am so glad we left the house as early as we did.) We finished, snapped a picture, and were greeted by my guy and my pup. WOHOO! We finished our run of somewhere between 26.2 and 27.8 miles in 5 1/2 hours, and we were done with the long one! After the run, we each wanted to make it through the day without naps, but with some recovery time so that we could get out on Friday for the last run of the week. Friday’s run would be for 3 hours. My Thursday afternoon was rough. I didn’t just want sleep; I craved it. My body yearned for the bed, but I pushed through and stayed awake until bed time. Once again, I was brain dead, but no critical thinking was expected of me. Thursday and Friday had been completely blocked out so that I could focus on running.
Friday was another early morning, but we only needed to run 3 hours, instead of the 5 1/2, so we gave ourselves a little more sleep. We ran in the opposite direction on Friday, and it was worth the steeper hills for the beautiful views. The views as we worked our way north were magnificent. Unfortunately, it took my legs several miles to wake up and actually run. We had to walk most of the hills in the early part of the run because my legs would not cooperate. They weren’t sore; they just would not move. Fortunately, after about 4 miles and a potty break, they woke up. We covered over 15 miles in a few minutes over 3 hours, and I wrapped up the biggest run week I have ever done. In 4 days, my 45-year-old legs ran over 64 miles. The most exciting aspect was the energy I had going into the weekend. My brain would not work on Wednesday or Thursday, but by Friday, I could think. I could function. I could prepare for our weekend guests, and I felt great. I had accomplished something that felt significant, and I did it with a good attitude. (The good attitude is key for me.)
I am now going into the 3-week-taper feeling confident in what my body can do, and I am impressed that my mindset has remained so positive through this process.
If you have made it this far into the blog, all I can say is take a minute to document something that you are proud you have accomplished because someday, you will look back on it, and you will be reminded that YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS. You may also be reminded, that there are times that you CHOOSE YOUR HARD; YOU CHOOSE YOUR CHALLENGES, and it’s in those times where you CHOOSE YOUR HARD, that you prepare yourself for the times in life where the hard seems to railroad you.