Today is Monday December 6th.
Photo By Steve Davis
Today is Monday December 6th.
Last Saturday, the 4th, I ran the Mistletoe Half-Marathon; one of my most favorite local races. For many reasons this race is particularly close to my heart. One reason is because it brings out runners from our local community and other areas who are in all stages of running; those that are seasoned distance runners to those who are running their very first 5k or half-marathon. There is an air of enthusiasm and energy (or maybe it is the chilly December weather), there is an excitement in waiting for the start canon (yes, a canon!) to go off, there is a feeling of camaraderie among the runners, and there is a chance to catch up with friends who I sometimes do not get to see all year.
Once the half-marathon starts, the 1000+ runners take off on a course that runs through many of the most scenic places in our town and along the way there is the opportunity to loop around and wave and cheer on everyone on the other side of the road. There is nothing like these shouts and cheers as runners pass each other. Even the police officers were getting into it! As I crossed one particular intersection, one of the officers called out words of encouragement to the runners ("It's all downhill from here!" "You can do it!"and more.). It was truly cool to be a part of this event.
On another note, although I was enjoying the experience and had a great time...my body was telling me a different story. Being in the midst of marathon training, I am learning a lot about my body and what to do when it tells me that it is tired or simply reminds me that "HEY, you! Crazy runner lady....remember, what you had me do last week??" Throughout the Mistletoe run, I found myself - my mind - urging my legs and lungs to pick it up...they did not oblige.
One important lesson that I am learning through the longer miles is to be patient, to listen to my body, and to have a steady mind that is OKAY with not pushing through and forcing by keeping the long-term goal and focus in mind of trying to qualify for the marathon trials. Saturday, I was slightly frustrated that my body felt tired, but instead of being overcome with negative thoughts, I decided to hone in on the mental part of being strong, settling into a sustainable tempo pace, and focusing on the task at hand which was getting to the finish line.
When I sat back to analyze the race and the week prior, I realized that just the Sunday before I had run my first 24 mile run at around a 7 minute pace, I had done two tempo runs on the Tuesday and Thursday before, and ... was then asking my body to go 13.1 miles at a quick pace.
The important lesson here was that even when the body is tired, the mind and soul are powerful tools that can be worked on. They can help us as runners stay focused, steady, and instill calm when it would be easy to become flustered. I think this is crucial in the all-over sharpening process that it takes to be the distance runner. Focusing on this aspect simply means that on the day when the body, mind, and soul are connected and energized, truly amazing things will happen.
Posted by Molly Nunn at 13:34