I read this one day last week, and it really resonated with me. I liked the idea, and I wanted to choose my word. A bunch of words came and went over the course of a couple of days, but none of them stuck. Then, during the beginning of my Wednesday yoga class, as class was just getting started and my eyes were closing and I was settling in, the word jumped out at me. I could see it, as if someone were holding up a sign in front of me. Embrace.
Obviously I know what the word embrace means, but I looked it up anyway, just to have that concrete, specific definition in my head - "welcome with open arms, accept, take up, take to one's heart." That was it. That was my word.
I'm still not 100% certain how that word is going to play out over the course of the next 10 months, but it feels right, so I'm going to just keep it there and let it roll around in my head a bit, and I feel confident that I'll figure it out.
One way it's already come into play is with the weather. After an unseasonably warm December and January, winter has finally hit, and the boys are currently enjoying a 4-day weekend, courtesy of a snowstorm Friday and one again today. Last year I dreaded the snow, and the snow days, and everything the least bit wintery. And I can't say that I've gone as far as enjoying it this year, but I'm doing a much better job accepting it. And working on embracing it.
You can't deny that it's beautiful, and taking the time to look around and appreciate the snowy landscape is helping me a lot.
Watching the boys revel in the snow helps, too. They're thrilled that we're finally having a real winter, and are out in the yard playing in the snow every chance they get. I've even made peace with the drying rack that has now taken up residence in my living room, covered with snow pants and mittens and hats. It's New England, it's February, and I can't change the weather, so I might as well make the most of it.
Snowy/icy roads have forced me indoors on the treadmill a few times, including a 9-miler this past Friday, but thus far I've been able to do all my long runs outside, thankfully. I've gone as far as 13 on the treadmill in the past, and I don't really have any interest in besting that record.
The only real workout I had this week was my Tuesday run, which was 10 miles total, with 7 of them at half-marathon pace. My goal for the HM pace miles was a 7:30, and I ended up running most of them around 7:20 or 7:24, so it was a great run. Thursday was 8 miles easy with a friend, and then the 9 on the treadmill pre-snowstorm, early Friday morning.
Sunday's plan was 20 miles at an easy, long-run pace, and I figured I'd run most of it around 8:30, and then try to pick it up a bit in the final 5 miles. I wasn't really all that nervous about it, since there were no specific pace goals in mind. And the weather was supposed to be really nice on Sunday, so it all should have gone well.
But then I woke up Sunday around 1am and couldn't get back to sleep. I tossed and turned, watched some TV, and slept a few very restless hours on the couch before finally getting up around 6am. I was tired, I was crabby, and the last thing in the world I wanted to do was go for a run, never mind a 20-mile run.
It's been a long time since I've not wanted to run. That's not a feeling I experience often, but there it was. But instead of fighting it, I embraced it. But embracing that feeling didn't mean I was going to get out of doing the run, because I knew that skipping or shortening it would feel so much worse than just sucking it up and getting it done.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and I tried to get my head in a happier place as I set out, so that I could appreciate how lucky I was to be able to be out there. I had moments where I glimpsed that positivity, but they were fleeting.
It was just one of those runs. There was no real joy, no runner's high, no feeling of elation. It was all business, all work. It was a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, over and over and over and over again. So that's what I did.
It wasn't the worst run I've ever had, but it certainly wasn't the best. And the last 5 miles were not pretty. I usually take three Gu for a 20-mile run (at 5, 10, and 15 miles), but I couldn't stomach the thought of eating the third one this time, so I completed the whole 20 miles on just 2 Gu packets, which really isn't a lot, and I probably would have had a little more pep in the last 5 miles if I had forced down the 3rd one, but I just couldn't do it. So the last 5 miles were really rough, and I was so thrilled to finally see that Garmin beep the 20-mile mark.
I wasn't paying very close attention to my Garmin as I ran, so I was a little surprised when I finished and saw that I had an average pace of 8:08. No negative splits, but still a great overall pace, considering how unmotivated I was and how tired I felt.
That made me feel a little better about the whole thing. And when I thought about it more, I realized that wanting to run zero miles and convincing yourself to go out and run 20 miles is a huge win. Not to mention a serious exercise in mental toughness.
The tough runs are the ones that make you stronger. And on race day, I'll recall all the workouts that went well, but I'll also recall the ones that didn't go well. The ones where I struggled, but pushed through. They can't all be good ones, and even the bad ones serve a purpose - a really important purpose, I think.
So I can't really say the week ended on a bad note, because it wasn't a bad run - just a challenging one. And challenges are a good thing.
And one more thing that I have to note, because it makes me incredibly happy to have hit this number and be feeling so amazingly good - total weekly mileage - 47!
Stretching, yoga, strength training, core work, hip strengthening, foam rolling = happy, healthy, strong runner who can't wait to run 26.2 for the 7th time!
10 weeks to go.