Whew! I did it! I successfully completed my 8 mile run this morning without running. I will tell you this post is going to focus on mental toughness. I had to be tough this morning. Let me explain the workout and go from there.
The program called for an 8 mile run at long slow pace of 10:30. I was okay with this as I have never ran this far before. I have been nervous about this run all week and the day finally emerged. I have had a good week of running for me. I feel that I am making some good strides. Yesterday was my day off of everything. However, Amanda and I attended the Brad Paisley concert so I was on my feet for a long time. We got home around midnight and I woke up this morning at 6:30 to run. My feet and ankles were very sore so I was already off to a rough start. I came downstairs and noticed that it was very dark out, very humid, and it looked like it just got done raining.
At that exact moment, I thought to myself, "Just check the weather and if they are calling for rain maybe I should just not run." I went to the basement, checked the weather and the whole radar was green. At this pivotal moment I had two options:
1. Convince myself that it would not be wise to run with the pain in my feet and ankles, dark clouds overhead, and just go back to bed or drink coffee and read(which sounded great)
2. Suck it up and get out there and run.
Here is what I am starting to love about running. You cannot point the finger at anyone but the person looking back at you in the mirror. I cannot blame my teammate for a missed shot or bad pass or my coach or whoever it is everyone finds to point a finger at. I mean nobody would have cared this morning if I ran or not. EXCEPT ME! That is all that is important. There is nothing worse than disappointing yourself. So I decided to get out there and get it done. I got my gear on, at a peanut butter and honey sandwich, drank one cup of coffee and took off on my run.
I took off and my body was wondering what was going on. To be honest, I slept like crap the night before so I easily had many excuses to not run. After the first mile I settled into a groove. My mind was distracted by the gusts of wind and dark clouds so the first couple miles were easy with no thought. However around 3.5 miles in my mental toughness had to kick in again.
When I use to run here and there I was always so glad to be able to run 3 miles and for some reason I cannot break that mental weakness spot in my brain. I hit 3.5 miles out(near the round a bout) and my mental game started to fall apart. I started to doubt myself thinking how was I ever going to run 5.5 miles, this is hard/stupid, I am tired, etc. All of those things that you should not think about. I pressed on and at the 4 mile mark I stopped for a quick drink and a gel pack(trying to get used to those gross things) and kept going. All of a sudden, I really fell into a great groove and I felt good and thought to myself that I can do this, I am halfway done, you got this big guy! This positive talk really helped me because anyone who has run from the roundabout to the Tanglefoot and ran the entire length of Tanglefoot knows that those hills suck bad. Plus, I had the wind blowing right at me. I had to really push myself. I told myself that this was perfect Bix 7 training. From miles 5 - 6.5 I felt awesome. I think the gel packets kicked in and I really picked up my pace and was running between a 6:30 - 7:30 minute mile pace. I was really moving for me considering earlier I was running much slower. And then I hit my wall.
I pushed to hard, but I was just having fun running. My brain turned off and I was just running. I don't know how to keep my brain turned off and just run. My head always seems to want to start the talk and I started to doubt myself again. The last .75 miles was the hardest thing I have ever done. I did not feel bad, but my head games were in full swing. I just had to push through. That was by far the toughest I have had to be mentally in all my athletic experiences. I could have easily folded and walked and called it good, but I pushed on. I knew I could only blame myself. Why run all that way to stop short of a personal goal? This is what I see so much of as a coach today, players who just pack it in because they are afraid of failure or don't know how to turn off that talk of doubt in their heads. I finished and felt great about myself. I did some serious stretching, but I am already very sore.
I ran my 8 miles in 1 hour 14 minutes which is a 9:15 mile pace. My goal is to run the half marathon at a 9:09 pace so I can finish under two hours. I have some improvements to make, but after two weeks I never would have imagined I would be running this far at this pace. With this run, that put me at 22 miles this week another personal best for me.
I leave you with this. What are your goals? How are you coming along? What do you find to be challenging? Are you strong enough to be mentally tough when you need to and can you push through? Yes, you can! You just need to believe in yourself and never doubt yourself. Don't disappoint that person staring at you in the mirror.
Keep reaching for your goals and celebrate when you do. Remember the only person that can stop you is yourself. Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.
Aaron a.k.a. Coffechug
P.S. Keep song suggestions coming for my playlist. I will be adding a few songs from the concert last night. Already added American Saturday Night by Brad Paisley