My best long run ever was wonderful and scary

On Sunday, I ran the best 18 miles of my life (so far).

My pace was about 8:15 per mile, actually 15 seconds per mile faster than my goal marathon pace in Hamilton, and it was on a warm day.

At first, I was overjoyed. It wasn’t an easy day–running 18 miles is never easy–but it wasn’t a death march. I wasn’t intentionally running that fast; I ran a pace that felt good.

But then the fear came creeping in. Did I leave too much out there? That is a legitimate sentiment. Better athletes than me have done that.

Now it’s more than 24 hours later and I’ve had a chance to reflect. Author Elizabeth Gilbert said fear is boring, and I agree. Heading into this marathon, I am kicking fear to the curb. That was a great workout, fear, and I’m not going to listen to you anymore.

The day after, I feel pretty good. I am more stiff than sore. During my 6-mile shakeout this evening, I was deliberately slowing myself down because I felt so good.

Although I’ll be sure to run more slowly during my next long run and save marathon pace for the final 8 miles, and I have two more big weeks of training left, I believe it’s time to readjust my goals.

Heading into Hamilton, my minimum goal is still 3:45. The closer I can get to 3:40, the better. I’m not sure if I want to make the jump to 3:30, which would be a massive PR and a potential Boston-qualifying time. Going from 8:30/mile pace to 8:00/mile pace is quite a jump. And yet, I am much more confident in my racing abilities going into Hamilton than I was a year ago in Chicago. I’m a stronger runner than I was a year ago.

Luckily, I have a month to monitor my training and mull it over, keeping in mind my 2015 mantra: Be brave.

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2 thoughts on “My best long run ever was wonderful and scary

  1. Well done Linday! I too did 18 miles last week at a much, much (is it too much to add another much?) slower pace. But I am pleased that I got through it. I too feel more confident and am doing my best to shove any negative thoughts out of my mind. It is of course the last 6 miles that scare me, but I know I have done my best training ever, even if I continue to be in the back of the pack at this distance.

    Only a month to go!

    Like

  2. It sounds like you’re on the right track. The marathon is always a little scary, and I think it should be that way. We don’t do this because it’s easy.
    For a long time, I found it tough to deal with negative thoughts. More recently, when my mind says, “Walk,” “Quit,” or “oh my god I can’t do this,” I’ve realized they are incredibly normal. I acknowledge the thought and keep going. That’s taken the power out of them.
    Best wishes for you in the last few weeks of training!

    Like

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