Conquering Goals (Part 1 of 2)

I had two major goals for 2010:
1.  Complete a marathon
2.  Run 1000 miles

I am six weeks away from attempting to accomplish goal #1, and I am 118 miles away from completing goal #2 (with 72 miles of racing still on the schedule).

Today, I set out with the goal of getting in a 20+ mile long run.  For the next 3 weeks, I have races - half marathon on Oct. 30th, half marathon on Nov. 7th, and 20-miler on Nov. 14th.  After that, I will have reached taper.  So this was my last chance to get in a 20+ mile run.

If you read my post HERE, you know that my last long run was 19 miles, and other than 2 miles where I was pretty spent, I really felt great about that run.  I wasn't very sore after either.  So I went into my run today knowing that although it would be a challenge, that I could do it.

The "dream" goal was 22 miles, but I also know that I didn't want to break down my body, so I was going to see how I felt on each loop around the lake (9 miles).

On loop 1, my friend, Emily, joined me.  She was getting in her first ever 9 mile run to train for the half at White Rock Marathon.  Loop 1 went reasonably well.  Sure, I was tired but we just trucked right through it.  At the end of loop 1, I stopped at the car.  I refilled my water bottle, guzzled some Gatorade, and grabbed a bag of Sports Beans.  I said good-bye to Emily and headed out on the next loop.

Loop 2 started out really well.  My pace was good and my legs were still moving steadily, but I could not get out of my head.  I know many of you know exactly what I mean.  But the entire second loop was a never-ending dialogue with myself - "you still have 3 hours of this", "oh, that muscle on my upper hiney hurts", "my ankles ache"... and right about when I hit mile 13, my body went straight downhill.  The dialogue turned into "I'm going to die", "I need to walk now",  "Forget walk, how about lying down in the grass", "I think I'm going to throw up."  And I really did think I was going to throw up like those Biggest Loser contestants when Jillian is all up in their face making them run sprint intervals.  My stomach hurt in a way that I have never experienced during a run.  Each tenth of a mile took forever to execute.  My mind was winning... I started taking walk breaks, especially up the hills.  And then the stomach pain got so intense, I couldn't do anything but walk.  All I could think about was mile 18 and finding my car where I would get gatorade and more sports beans.

Finally, I gave up.  You heard me...  I gave up.  I am a pretty determined person, and I had already come to terms that 18 would be my number for today.  I clicked my Garmin, I unlocked my car door, I set out my towel to sit on, I texted my husband,  I started the car and put my seatbelt on.  I guzzled some Gatorade and went ahead and ate some more Sports Beans just to get some calories.  And then the unexpected happened...

I belched.

Yep, that's right, I did... big and loud... and strangely it's not something I do often.  (Emily will laugh at this point because we had a girl pass us that belched loudly and it stunk, and the two of us giggled like school girls... so this was my due punishment for giggling at her.)

And then something else happened...

My stomach felt better.  REALLY???  That's it???  So I put on my big girl attitude, turned off the car, unbuckled the seatbelt and got my rear out of the car.  I did loudly say to myself "I can't believe you are going to do this."  A fellow runner overheard it and gave me the strangest expression, but I did.  I headed back out and ran another 1.5 miles, then turned around and ran 1.5 miles back (although I did need 2 short walk intervals - I kept an eye on the watch to make sure they were short). 

So there you have it... 21 miles.  Well, 21.05 according to the Garmin.  It was painful, it was miserable, it was possibly the slowest I have ever run, but my brain told me my body was shutting down, and I managed to overrule it.

And this run has made me re-evaluate my goals for my upcoming marathon... (to be continued)