Road to 26.2
Sunday, December 29th- 7 weeks until the Austin Marathon
Today I ran farther than I ever have, learned a bit more about myself, a little about running, and a lot about preparation. My training schedule had 16 miles for today, and my friend Russell would be running with me at Town Lake in Austin. He had 13 miles, so I decided to split up my run, my friend Colleen recommended that as a once-in-a-while fix. I ran 3 miles at home with my trusty lab Max super-supervising me, and then we did 13.1 (because if you’re doing 13, make it a half-marathon, duh) at Town Lake in Austin.
It was really fun at the start because we had three more friends getting out there with us. They were all walking, and going somewhere from 7-10 miles. We knew we wouldn’t be on the whole journey together, it is just so awesome to get friends out to put some miles under their feet!
Russell and I were on the trail, going for a small 3 mile loop and then a larger 10 mile loop for our route. As distance runners know, and what I’ve come to learn, is that mile 1, 2, and sometimes 3 are liars. They tell you that your body is tight, this is too hard, your body is sore, yadda yadda yadda. If you can get that monkey off your back, you’ll settle in after mile 3 and have a nice run!
Between mile 1 and 2, I almost quit. I had (surprise) piercing, tunnel-vision, take-my-breath-away pain. My uterus likes to be the boss of me and I don’t like being told what to do. Especially before mile 2 of 16. I honestly thought I was going to throw up, I was dizzy, and then had pinhole-vision with strobes of light on the outside of my vision. I asked Russell where the bathroom was, and told him I was going to have to walk. He was so supportive and kind, an awesome friend and great running buddy. At one point, I did have to stop and make a final decision. Can I go on or do I need to go to the car? Should I call an inaudible and call my husband for an extraction? Well, nothing will feel better if I stop and I’ll be down a 16 mile run this close to the race, so I pushed on.
I took in some more electrolytes, an additional salt pill, and a lot of water. I know that women, especially during this time of the cycle, are very susceptible to heat injury and dehydration (shoutout to Dr. Stacy Sims and her incredible book, Roar). I was very cognizant of my water intake for the duration of the run. I can carry 28 ounces in my hydration belt, and refilled several times. One thing I did learn is that I need more electrolytes and glucose-type energy.
Miles 3-8 was great! This trail system encompasses some of the most stunning parts of a great city; massive crepe myrtle trees, palm trees, winter roses, treed woods, beautiful shore lines, and even a walkway over the water for a few miles! There is something magical about getting to run outdoors in the warm sunshine, watching shorebirds catch dinner, and turtles get their tan on, with the Texas State Capitol building on overwatch.
At mile 8, I started feeling dehydrated again and low energy. For this run, I did play with my fuel a bit more. Traditionally, I hit a wall between mile 8 and 9, and I’m still working on the magic combo. I ate a larger breakfast than I usually do, and that did help with early energy. However, I just need to intake some fuel at mile 7, along with some additional water, to prevent the sluggy nature of those late-middle miles. I have also played with my mid-run fuel, and now have it down! I have tried about 30 varieties of the Gu-type and bars, and everything either tastes SO disgusting or it upsets my stomach. Y’all know what I use now? A good ol’ PBJ! Heavy jam, light peanut butter, on gluten free bread. I cut it into quarters so it’s easier to eat, and I love it!
By mile 10, we were feeling it. Also, it’s a steady 500+ foot increase in elevation for the last few miles. So the last few miles were extra fun, but we pushed ourselves and were very happy with the pace timing!
When we hit 13.1, we ran it about a full minute faster per mile than two weeks ago! I feel a lot more confident and capable with these two longer runs under my belt. I also like that these runs have been in the city, close to where the next two races will be. I know that a section of the Austin Marathon passes through a part of the trail that we’ve been on. Well, I think I know, I’m not that wonderful with directions!
After we finished, we joined up with the rest of our friends who had been out on the trail, and a few more that joined in. My husband was home taking care of a bunch of maintenance things, we had called and texted several times. I love how he supports me in all the ways! He will listen to me talk about negative splits, pacing, and all the things that he has no idea about but cares enough to listen and encourage. We spent our lunch talking about running journeys, vacations, food, Disney, movies, and really enjoying the positivity of our friendships.
It is so important to surround yourself with people who support your goals, clap for you, and make your life more positive. It’s easy to get stuck in relationships because you’ve had them for a while. No matter how much time you’ve spent making a mistake, you don’t have to keep making it. Your circle, your tribe, will influence your life more than any childhood habit or ad campaign.
Y’all we are about in a new decade. NEW DECADE! Where do you want to be at the next decade? Look at your friends, the five people with whom you spend the most time. Are they where you want to be? Do you have a common future, or are you friends because you have a common past? Old ways don’t make new roads.
Stocking your friend pond with people who inspire you makes an incredible difference. When I look at my five people, my husband and four of our friends, I’m damn proud of their amazing lives, they’re out there doing hard things, caring for others in brave ways, and living lives that their 8 year old selves wouldn’t have dreamed about!
You’re in charge of you, with whom you spend time, and how you spend your time. You’re in charge. Your mind will play tricks on you, trying to keep you safe, but safe harbors don’t make good sailors. You are in charge and can do more than you think possible. Just try, and keep trying. Who’s in charge here? Some lie someone told you that your bad at this or are too big for that. They’re not on in charge, you are. Go out and do the things, spend time with great people, eat the food, and love yourself. That beautiful bad ass in the mirror is in charge, after all.