Sunday, April 6, 2008

Report from the road

Alternative titles for this post:

I'm really very mental
I lovehate running
Shut up and run

Half marathon training, week 5: complete. Today was my 6 mile run. If you are not Sarah Shrader or Lloyd Abramson (my friends who run ultra-mega marathons which are MORE than, sometimes 2 times more than, a regular marathon), you might be thinking: that's a long way to run.

My thoughts exactly.

I know that I am the one who decided to train for a half marathon. It was my idea. And yet I still feel sorry for myself on Sunday mornings when my long run is facing me.

Many of you who know me well know that I am sort of a mental case. I am sort of a hypochondriac and a chronic worrier. Running has really shown me the extent to which I am screwed up in the head. You wouldn't believe the amount of sweet-talking I have to do to myself to get me through any run longer than 3 miles. And yet, I decided to challenge myself with this sort of painful, scary, intimidating (to me) goal of running 13 miles. I'm sick like that.

Six miles was not any harder than five miles last week, so I'm hoping this trend will continue. Cardiovascularly, I feel great at the end of my runs, as if I could keep going forever. But my legs! If only I could trade mine in for a new, fresh, rested pair around mile 5, I'd be all set.

I am fully dependent on the music I listen to on my ipod to make it through my runs. I have certain "go-to" songs that lift my spirits when I'm having a tough time. I also have this thing where I refuse to run out-and-back on my long runs. It's too hard not to turn around early.
So, Sam either drives me somewhere the exact distance away that I need to run, and then I run home, or, I run to a pre-determined spot and he picks me up.

He thinks this is totally ridiculous that there has to be a car trip, and gas, and a whole-family outing for mommy to go for a run. He's right, but too bad. It's the only way I can mentally handle the long runs.

Then, today I realized that I left my ipod at the gym on Thursday night. I know exactly where I left it. I called them, and it was not turned in to the lost and found. I am a very responsible person who did a very irresponsible thing. This is how I explained it to Sam, whom, I had to convince that on our way to drop me off in downtown Bangor, 6 miles from home, that we had to "swing by Circuit City." He was not impressed. But now I have a cute new ipod and I loaded it up with a nice mix of tunes before he dropped me off.

Today I spent part of my run cataloging the array of things I say to myself in my head while I'm running. I'll share some with you. Whichever one I am currently stuck on repeats with each step for a while until I replace it with a new thought. For example, I might think:

this sucks. this sucks. this sucks. this sucks. until I reach the top of a hill and then it might switch to:
I rock. I rock. I rock. I rock.

You get the idea.

Other recurring phrases:

Come on... Pick it up.
You are looking good!
Can you run just a little bit faster?
Don't stop.
I'm really sorry I'm putting you through this (I say to my body).
Can I have a ride home? (I say to a passing car)
You are lucky to be ABLE to run. (I say to myself)
Good girl. You couldn't have done this a year ago.
I can't make it up that hill.
Shut up.
Keep running.

I also have convinced myself that I cannot stop to walk. Not one step. Because, in my mind, if I walk at all then I've ruined the whole run and I might as well just hitchike home, so I start to give up. So today when a man pulled over to ask for directions for the Civic Center, I actually said:
"Can't stop... it's that way." Embarrassing.

I started my run going up hill and it was a cold, grey, raw day. I was very low. I was actually on the verge of tears for the first half mile. I started feeling better at mile 2, and really good by mile 3. By the time I made it to 5.5 miles, I was so giddy and high that I was leaping like a gazelle.

And then I thought: wow. that isn't even half of a half marathon.

Like I said, Emilie, shut up and keep running.


Stephani Nola said...

when i have to run uphill, i sing the alphabet in french (in my head), over and over again.. it's slower than the real abc's, and some letters ("e" and "h") just SOUND pained.

la prochaine fois chanterez-vous avec moi?

Carver Fam said...

Awesome post! Awesome job! Awesome supper mommy and runner chick! You rock, rock, rock, rock. At least your not singing the theme to "Elmo's World." I am in favor of the postive mantra because you ARE truly incredible. We love you!

Tiercy said...

LovE, LoVe, LOve, this post!! I had no idea we are so alike. Worrier...I bet I do enough for the both of us and can't stop for even one step during a run otherwise it's ruined...that's so totally me and then I can't even begin to say I ran x amount. Also, I call myself a middle runner because for the first 1/2 mile the conversation in my head is "Keep Running!", and the last part of my run (whether its 2,3, or 4 miles [still haven't made it to 5] is "Don't Stop!". I haven't mentally started talking to cars yet, but I am still running inside at the gym. However, I have on occassion wanted to borrow a cane from other people walking the track. Good job Emilie, keep up the good work.