Sunday, October 6, 2013

Smashing my PR—and mental hurdle

   I've been curious for a while, if I could actually run a half marathon (13.1 miles). Last week I happened to be in a leadership meeting over lunch with Mark M, and we talked about races and tris and the Ironman races he has done. Super inspirational. 
   And this week I happened to talk to Theresa on my new team, who has run several halfs as well as the Chicago marathon. She very casually said, "Yes, people will tell you that you need to stick to a strict training schedule, but the truth is, you're a fit human, and you could run a half today. You just have to get over the mental hurdle." She was so matter-of-fact about it, I began to think, "Well, of course—that makes sense..."
   She tried to encourage me to run the KC marathon on 10/19 (which I can't do, because that's the day I start Divemaster training). Today when I headed out, I planned to try for 8 miles... And just kept running. It didn't feel especially difficult, since the weather is cool (I'm a cold-weather runner for sure). I simply kept going. In fact, I was tempted to run the full 13.1 miles just to prove to myself that I'm ready, but it was getting late, and beginning to get dark, and I didn't want to risk injury by upping my mileage too far, too fast. (Which sounds surprisingly smart and responsible—we're still talking about me, right?) I resisted the temptation.
   So what do you know, Theresa was right about me.
And you know what else is super-motivating? Nike+:
   Of course I do stack the deck in my favor by creating my own "power playlist" of favorite songs—which I'm going to need to grow, as this run was long enough that they began to repeat. Still, somehow the right song seems to come up at the right time to keep me going: either a great hook, a driving, beat, or inspiring lyrics (every song on my playlist must meet at least one of those criteria, if not all three). Today Usher's "Numb" helped me out lyrically:
"They say life is a battlefield / I say bring it on
If you wanna know how I feel / Live it till it's gone
I'm just saying that what don't kill, only makes you strong
If you don't recognize what is real—
Then forever is a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long time..."   
Thank you, Theresa, for believing in me! :)
* * * * * * * * * *
   And... A weird thing happened on my run: I was running through the park in Old OP, and nearly stepped on a very large red-tailed hawk who had just swooped down to catch a squirrel. He took his dinner up to a low tree branch and continued to watch me... so I high-tailed it outta there!