When I started this journey, I knew that I was taking on a big goal and it scared me. I knew I had to change my way of thinking about it. The idea of running 26.2 miles seemed impossible but the idea of running a 5K was a reality. So I decided to train one 5K at a time for this goal. Today this sorta paid off.
For the first time in my life, I ran 7 miles! Crazy! Crazy! Crazy! All week I tried not to think about it in those terms. I told myself two things. 1. You are doing a mile seven times. 2. I am running a 5K on Saturday and may run another. Either way, the number seven never entered my vocabulary during the week. And then Friday came and I discovered we were only doing six. I know I know, six use to be a big number but as it relates to seven, it is smaller.
I have a wonderful running partner, Heidi. We are the turtles of the group. We are usually the last to come in and we do the shortest distance. We are okay with that. When we left the store on Saturday morning, the starting point for our run, we had not decided on a distance. We figured we would get to the six mile turn around point and decide at that time. And we felt great at the halfway point of six miles so we decided to run up another half mile and do the full seven.
I don't know what happened but mentally I shut down towards the end of mile six. I knew it was all mental. My heart rate seemed normal and my legs felt good but I felt like I was gonna cry and self doubt creeped into my head. I told Heidi that I was feeling this way and she said it was okay. Feelings are okay and they are normal, just let them happen. So I did. I went through an emotional roller coaster. And while I let myself feel these things, I remembered in the back of my head the truths about me. Not to mention, Heidi kept reminding me also.
At my lowest point, I cried, "I feel like the fat kid in gym that can't do what the normal kids do without effort." To which she responded, "You are not the fat kid. You are out here running seven freaking miles when most people are asleep. We are doing an amazing thing. We are almost there." (yes...I started my fat kid thing when I had less than half a mile to the end.) By the time I made it back to the store, I was on the verge of tears and just wanted to lie down, close my eyes and pretend it never happened.
Say what? I just ran seven freaking miles. I just did the longest run of my life and I just want to forget about it? That is plain nonsense. When Kim, the store owner and our coach, came to see me, I couldn't say anything. I walked off and went to the bathroom....oh yeah...you have to drink plenty of water during your long runs and I did. So by mile 5...I really had to go. Within a few minutes I felt better and I was proud of myself. I was proud of Heidi and me and thankful Heidi was with me for this run.
As I stretched out I thought of the saying that has played in the back of my head since April. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and this didn't kill you.
Seven miles didn't kill me. They made me stronger.