Sunday, September 23, 2012

Milestone 18 mile training run

On Saturday Sept 22nd I met up at Messiah College with my TNT buddies. The distance that was on my training schedule was 18 miles which is 3 miles further than any run I had attempted in the past. I was very excited about this since it means that I am closer to completing my first Marathon (yes I did just imply that there will be more marathons in the future).

Any run that starts at Messiah is challenging but I knew I was up for it. I had the mindset that I was not in any hurry and that if possible I wanted to run "negative splits" which basically means that I run the second half faster than the first. That did not happen but I was able to keep my pace slower at the start.

During the firs part of the run I was talking to a fellow runner about how training for me is mostly mental (90%) and the rest (10%) physical. What I meant by this is that what happens in our minds has everything to do with whether or not we are able to complete difficult tasks ... In this case running 18 miles. If I did not believe I could do it then I more than likely would be right about that. I still need to train well, but if I only train my body and do not train my mind I will have a difficult time.

I had several times where I had to stay focused and not allow myself to get discouraged.  There were several times where I made the choice to walk up hills because as I said earlier, I was not in any hurry and that I wanted to be able to finish the run strong.

The concept that was on my mind a lot this run was that many people would like to run, but can't because of illness.  I was running for them on this run.  Specifically, I was running in memory of Luke Belmont who lost his battle to ALL Leukemia as a young child.  I was also running for my for my friend who just had surgery who is going through physical therapy right now.  Yesterday (Saturday), she was able to take 10 steps which was huge for her... when it was hard I kept her in mind and that made whatever "pain" I felt much less significant.

This run was empowering because I finished it.  I did not give up and I kept on going.  I remember clearly at mile 15 when on of the other runners said "only a 5k left."  This was the motivation that I needed.  Even though I had never gone beyond 15 miles I know what it feels like to run a 5k and that was what I needed.  Then later when we got to the point where we were at mile 17 someone said... "just a mile left."  I told myself out loud "Let's do this."

The best part of the run was when crossed the covered bridge and I had my TNT teammates cheering for me.  I ran that last little of the run with little effort as I allowed the cheering of my friends pull me to the finish of the run.  Boy does it feel good to know that I can do something like finishing an 18 mile run.

After I finished I found my wife and daughter who came to cheer me on.  I have an awesome family and am so thankful for all the sacrifices that Cindy has made to enable me to train to run a marathon.  I believe that Cindy should get an award after I cross that finish line was well.  I will receive a metal and I am looking to give Cindy something that will help her realize how much it means to me that she has given up her Saturday mornings for the past 6 months or so.  Bottom line:  I want to give props to Cindy for all her support :-).

Next week I run 14 miles at York and then my big 20 miler in Hershey.