Sunday, February 2, 2014

Get Tough

Truth be told, I was being a baby/pussy about today’s 21 mile run. It had been snowing for two days. It was colder than a witch’s tit (which around here is single digits. Research has shown that is exactly the temperature when a witch’s tits freeze). I dreaded putting on the Yak Traks and suffering through the elements…once again.

I emailed Coach Kastor last night. I don’t know what I wanted him to tell me. I just needed something. Here’s what he said:

“Don’t worry about how many miles you cover, it could be 16 with the weather the way it is!!!  Be sure to bundle up, drink plenty of sports drink to get your core temperature up and GET TOUGH!!  Just be safe, no slipping and if you are really, really cold, get inside!  It’s not worth risking your health.  You still have 35 days until the race, plenty of time to do a long run next weekend too (in lieu of the Marathon Simulation run on Feb 8.)

Hope that helps. Best of luck!! Coach Kastor.”

I think what got me was when he told me to GET TOUGH. That settled into my bones and I turned around my attitude. I also gave myself permission to cut it short if it got to be too much, but I kind of knew I wouldn’t do that unless one of my legs fell off. My plan was to do two 9 mile loops, then a short out and back to get to the 21 mile mark. Ken would join me for the first 9 miles.

We started out and it was 10 degrees. The sidewalks and roads were snow packed with some loose powder. About a mile in, the sun made an appearance and my outlook shifted once again. It was gorgeous:

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We finished the first loop. Ken told me goodbye and said, “Be careful. Don’t slip on ice and fall in front of a car because that would ruin my Super Bowl.” So romantic. I took a break for a gel and fluid, then headed on out. Solo.

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At ten miles I stopped at my favorite store to refill water and I did something I never do. I had gotten hungry and the gels weren’t doing the trick so I indulged:

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Another amazing thing about my running pack is that it is big enough to carry donuts. Some days I am powered by donuts and it works very well for me. While buying the donuts a woman told me about how the butcher in this store had diagnosed her with celiac disease by looking at her face. People tell me the most random things.

I trudged on. I felt great. I loved seeing Ken and my footprints from the first loop. I thought it was cute. And, showed that no one else was out running today.

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The strangest thing happened on this run. Through the entire thing, I just kept getting these zings of gratitude for my life. My life is not perfect, but there are a million things to be thankful for. I wasn’t even trying to have gratitude. I was just trying to get through the damn 21 miles. But the gratitude just showed up. I thought of Ken, my kids, my health, my parents, a steady job, a body that lets me train and race, the most amazing friends. All of it. I felt kind of like I was in a trance for those 21 miles.

When all was said and done, it took me 3:20.

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For as much as I was dreading this run, it turned out to be one of the best long runs I’ve ever had. It showed me I can do hard things. It showed me I am stronger than I think I am. It showed me that things are rarely as bad or hard as we anticipate.

Coach Kastor’s response? “That's great!  Sounds like you ran tough. Go Broncos!”

On a side note, one thing that had been pissing off our entire household all weekend was that our satellite dish was covered with snow, making the cable not work. As the time got closer and closer to  Superbowl kickoff, we were panicking. We had offers to go watch at friend’s houses, but we wanted to be home. I came home from the run and Ken was about to get on the ladder and shoot de-icer at the satellite dish. He said that at least if he fell of the ladder he could watch the SB in the hospital. He makes me laugh. Guess that’s why we’ve been married almost 20 years.

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Then…miracle of miracles…it came back on.

Now I’m off to make some wings and guacamole and chili. Got to replace 1,800 calories. Go Broncos!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What’s the longest run you do in marathon training? I’ve only done 20s before, but this time I will do a 21 and a 22.

What are you doing for the SB? Who are you rooting for (maybe we can still be friends if you say the Seahawks).

SUAR

51 comments:

  1. Good job! I ran in similar conditions today. With the sun out it wasn't too bad, but I really got tired of running on the snow! I got really hungry 8 miles into my 10 miler today. Almost ran out of gas (ok, fuel--never out of gas) and got home on fumes. Now time for lots of snacks. Go Broncos!

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  2. Great job on you run! Living in Chicago, I completely understand the I Don't Wannas that come with terrible winter weather. I was supposed to do 15 yesterday, wimped out, but knocked them down today. I did 10 early this morning, catching a beautiful sunrise in the process, then did a 5K with my cousin and 2 more after that. I feel accomplished. And hungry.

    The longest I do in marathon training is 20... I was contemplating more, but maybe that would be a better option when training for a fall one! (Aka no snow and subzero wind chills).

    I am not rooting for anyone tonight (Bears fan), but I picked the Seahawks. Sorry. I do love Peyton Manning though!

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  3. I did my longest run ever- 7 miles! Just signed up for my first half marathon. I have that exact same jacket! It's awesome. Love your blog.

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  4. Great job today! Some days you don't know how it's going to play out until you lace 'em up and run.

    I did a 22 miler before my 1st marathon, but only 20 for my second. I've been reading about the Hanson's method where the longest run is 16, but it is the day after an 8 miler so your legs are more fatigued.

    Go Broncos!

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  5. I love your style of writing, you crack me up!

    I'm a Niner fan here, so definitely NOT rooting for the Seahawks, lol.

    I'm running the same marathon as you for my first! So excited! Today I ran 19, my longest ever. I think I'm trying for 21 or 22 for my longest run....I know I will need that extra mile or two mentally.

    My husband is going to pick us up some good Mexican food from a local taqueria, and I plan to sit on my ass and just eat!

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  6. Sounds like a great run today! I had to "GET TOUGH" too - it was "only" a half marathon, but in SF it was windy and rainy. I actually took off my glasses at one point to dry them off (out from under my hat), and decided it wasn't worth it when I watched the water continue to drip off of them. Even with the wind and rain in my face for 3 miles, I still managed to knock at least 3 minutes off my PR! :-) I'm thrilled!

    I did a 22 miler before my first full (and only one so far, although I'm currently training for Big Sur).

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  7. I so enjoy reading your blog....you always make me laugh.

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  8. Awesome job! Sometimes we just need a little reminder to be tough and keep on keeping on! Enjoy the super bowl :)

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  9. I'm just so jealous you had sun....I so need sun....have the snow and the temps but really need the sun! Nice job out there today.

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  10. Way to get tough and show that run who was boss. I love when a dreaded run becomes an awesome run, as if by...magic or something. But it's not magic. It's mindset. CONGRATS.

    I stick to about 20 miles, but I did a 21 last cycle, and even a 26 (because I was piggy-backing some ultra training before my marathon). But since that was ultra training, not marathon training, I don't think it counts. ?

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  11. This is such an uplifting post. I love that you got the miles done and kept being reminded along the way of all the wonderful things in your life. Sometimes we just need that. It's why we run!

    That's super random about the celiac disease lady...as someone who has to be diagnosed via endoscopy, I really wish my diagnosis had come more easily!

    When you stop for food, do you pause your watch? Do you rush through your stops - antsy to get back to the run - or enjoy the break?

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  12. This is amazing. It makes me look like a total a-hole for not running the 6 today because it was raining.

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  13. The longest run that I've done in training is 20 miles. That's also where I crashed into the wall. HARD. I'd be interested to see if 21 or 22 make a difference.

    I can't believe you had such a great run in such crappy weather. I wouldn't be confident enough to not slip in that snow.

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  14. sounds like an amazing run...like you found the zen I aspire to find when walking running. You're such a rock star and someday I hope be as amazing a runner as you are. thanks for sharing your journey

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  15. Way to go Beth! I had an amazing 18 miler today but it had actually warmed up into the 40s this weekend here in CT! Planning 3 20 milers in this training cycle (Boston, my second ever marathon), what is Coach Kastor's rationale for going longer ? Hope your food came out good, our wings and guac are awesome but this game sure sucks :(

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  16. I usually aim for a 20 miler but last time it ended up being closer to 22 by accident!

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  17. Nice job - I knew you could (and would) get it done! My longest for my first marathon was 22 miles. This last year the longest was 20 miles. I think the year I did 22 I did better tho!

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  18. You rock! I decided to take the weekend off. Well actually we were going to go ride bikes but my husband declared it too windy.

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  19. Although it does appear some scientific results do differ:
    http://www.gettingit.com/article/663

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  20. I love the way your coach knew the right button to push, so you got motivated!

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  21. I did 19.5 this weekend (training for Boston) I will get up to 21 probably but I won't go over that. Lesson learned that 22-24 wipes me out. We have had some shitay weather here in VT wind, ice, snow, sub artic temps, but it was finally glorious weather this weekend 30 and sunny for my run. I didn't have to pull out my badass suit. I loved every minute of it!

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  22. I love that Andrew is always providing both sides of the coin, it really makes you mentally decide what you want! I would have been surprised if you hadn't gotten tough anyhow though :)

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  23. Great job on the run! And sorry about the Broncos, they are a great team. I really expected it to be a much closer game than it was, but the entire state of Washington is giddy today, can't lie. ;)

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    Replies
    1. The Seahawks played a strong game and the Broncos...well, they never found their groove to say the least. Congrats to all of you today (even though the state of Colorado is still wondering what the hell happened.)!

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  24. Great post! I haven't trained for a marathon but had a Get Tough experience two weeks ago. I raced the Bermuda Triangle series - mile Fri night, 10k Sat morning, 1/2 marathon Sunday morning. I went into thinking, yeah, I'll just do them all comfortable and enjoy it. Well, that didn't happen. I raced them all hard. When I got up Sunday to race the half, my legs were so sore. The second 10k of that race, my legs were in so much pain the entire time. I've never raced in that much pain before. But I have done those mental toughness runs and knew that I was prepared to push through it. So I held my pace, ignored the pain and beat my goal time. I placed 5th out of 51 in my age group for the challenge and 16th overall.

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  25. Great Job! Looks like you had a beautiful day for a run!

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  26. I hear you about the gratitude. I was thinking about that today on my way to work and it is easy to forget what we have to be grateful for in our lives. About 2 weeks ago I was having a horrible run and was totally into pity mode for the last 3 or so miles when I passed a bus stop and a guy waiting to get on the bus in a wheelchair. At that moment It occurred to me that I had so much to be grateful for, most notably the ability to put one foot in front of the other and run. I could not imagine my life without being able to run, even if it is a slow miserable 11mm. Another gratitude moment is that I am 49 years old and I can run a marathon... ok maybe really slow, but who cares? When we start to get older we really should also put that into perspective. Sure there are people out there who are capable of amazing things at 49, but how many people have a hard time walking a block because of health issues? Last year, I went to 3 funerals for people in their 40's who had heart attacks. So yes, gratitude, that really is the key :) Keep running!

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    1. You hit the nail on the head. Amazing how a shift in perspective can change our attitude.

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  27. Way to get it done, Beth!
    Sorry to hear you got your satellite dish up and running ... that was ugly.

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    1. Haha! Yes, probably would have been better to stare at a blank, dark screen.

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  28. Go You! That's Balls-Out Tough!
    The longest run for me for marathon training is 22 miles.
    And, I rooted for the Broncos because I love Peyton Manning and have since his glorious days at my Alma Mater, Tennessee. Anyway, all the cheering in the World didn't mean a hill of beans to the freakin football Gods because well, you know why. UGH, at least Maxwell, the Geico Pig had a cute commercial with his pertinents and such! LOL

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  29. Awesome run! I had the similiar grattitude feelings on my hot and humid 20 mile run before my first marathon last Fall. My son joined me for the last 4 miles and I don't think I will ever forget that run. You rock!

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  30. Being a Seattleite transplant to Nashville, I have to say that was one of the BEST football games I have ever watched. I know, you probably hate me, as well as most everyone else in TN, but I can live with that :) I'll still read your blog because I love you and hope to someday run into you when I visit my mom who lives in Longmont...I do watch for you when I am there, not is a stalkerish kind of a way, well, maybe a little :)

    Also, I love the footprints in the snow, that is cool.

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  31. You're awesome! On another note, my condolensces to you for the Superbowl loss!

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  32. Sorry 'bout your Broncos! I'm a Ravens fan, so all I can say is - at least ya'll made it to the show! ;-)

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  33. Many years ago, I ran a big marathon as a training run for a small 50K a month later. It was one of the easiest of my many marathons. Having said that, I think 21 miles is a perfect maximum distance for late-stage marathon training. Anything longer is unnecessary and possibly counterproductive.

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  34. Thank you for that post. I have my longest run coming up over this weekend 16 miles. Which to you is probably nothing. the furthest I have run is 13 miles. I am terified and its raining cats and dogs here. What do I do?. my legs start to feel like lead?. any advice

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  35. "the gratitude just showed up"--this is why I like you.

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  36. This year I decided to train for my first half marathon and we have had the most brutal weather here in Toronto. Ice storms, snow storms, polar vortexes (vortexi? what?) and it is mentally one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I actually started talking myself through these runs, telling myself I would have never been here 5 years ago when I struggled to run 30 seconds straight. I needed to read this post as a reminder to be grateful of how good I've got it and how far I've come.

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  37. Awesome long run! For my first few marathons I think the most I did was 20 or 21. But now I have started getting into 22-23 milers and have found good success with it. Helps prepare the body even more, but timing them in training is really important.

    If it makes you feel any better, my fiance pretty much ALWAYS tells me not to fall because it would mess something up. True love.

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  38. This post described so well exactly why I miss my long runs so much. In about an hour, I’m going back out on the roads for the first time in 6 weeks (Achilles injury). And as much as I’ll love it to just get in a three-five mile run, I cannot wait to get out for a really nice two and three hour run like the one you described. They are so peaceful. Happy training.

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    Replies
    1. So glad you are getting back out there. I am sure even a shorter run will feel so good. Won't be long until you are back at the longer ones...

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  39. Remember that crappy Saturday back in early January? We were supposed to do 22 but ended up only getting 14 in...after 3 hours of running!!! I was pissed off all day, felt totally unaccomplished and lamented about not getting the real workout in. (We'd been doing LRs with hard finishes, 4-6 miles of HARD pace at the end of LRs). We got tough and still got out there, and it paid off this past weekend with a 95 sec PR at the RnR NOLA Half for me. I felt awesome (even though it was 65 degrees and pea-soup-100%-humidity weather) and ran a sub 1:32. So, yes, sister; it will PAY OFF. This weather is making us all superstars.

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  40. The GET TOUGH motto inspired me to do 3 miles in 15 degrees last night. I'm doing three more tonight! Thank you for sharing!

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