I’ve been training for the marathon now for over seven weeks. At the beginning of each week, I look at my training plan to see what’s in store for me for that week. Last week, I saw a couple of fairly long runs, some speed work, and the usual days of rest or cross training. At first glance, it all seemed pretty uneventful, until my eye caught what was coming at the end of the week.
20 mile long run.
To those who are training for a marathon, a 20 mile run is very significant. That’s because, according to many training plans, 20 miles is the longest number of miles at one time a person will be running in preparation for the marathon. Running 20 miles is often referred to as the test for “hitting the wall”—which means if you can run up to that point and still feel okay, then you can get through the full marathon okay, too.
Kathy and I began our 20 mile run bright and early Saturday morning.
I definitely had better runs. It was about 30 degrees, but it felt much colder than that. There was lots of ice and snow on the ground, and a light mist was coming down. Cars and trucks were speeding past us way too fast. Halfway through the run, I became extremely thirsty. I was sorry I didn’t bring along anything to drink. I started feeling exhausted. I hadn’t slept well the night before and it was beginning to affect me.
Towards the end of the run, I was thinking all these thoughts, and more, when Kathy said the five magic words.
“You’re in new territory now.”
We had just passed 17 miles, which was the longest number of miles I had run up until that time.
Oh!…..How exciting this was! This is a new record. Every step I take from this point forward is a “first” for me! I couldn’t stop thinking the next time I’ll be in new territory is on May 5th in Oceanport, New Jersey at the New Jersey Marathon!
I immediately perked up. All my senses came alive. Every negative thought I was having instantly vanished from my mind.
It wasn’t really that cold out.
My thirst didn’t seem so bad after all.
And tired? Who’s tired? Not me, that’s for sure! I’m wide awake now!
I suddenly felt like I could run the full marathon distance right then and there.
Against the cold, through the mist, around the ice and snow, past the speeding cars and trucks—we ran. Side by side, single-file, with music and without music, making conversation and in silence. We kept running. And finally, after about 3 ½ hours, we made it—we had finished.
20 miles isn’t really so long after all, I concluded when it was over. It’s all in how you look at it. Positive thinking goes a long way.