11 Weeks to NYC Marathon: Just Keep Swimming

25/08/2010 § Leave a comment

Goal last week: 24 miles (4 miles, 16 miles, 4 miles)

Actual mileage: 25 miles (5 miles, 17 miles, 3 mile tempo)

Goal this week: 25 miles (5 miles, 17 miles, 3 miles tempo)

I feel really strong coming off this last week.  Instead of running 4 miles easy, twice, I changed it up slightly and did a slightly longer easy run and added a tempo run.  Admittedly, I have been ignoring any interval or hill or tempo training thus far.  Now that I am only 11 weeks out, I don’t think I can keep that up.  So, I started visiting Equinox Wall Street for my evening runs.  It is super close to my house and always seems to be empty after work (I guess all the bankers go at lunch or before work).  I highly recommend it, if you are already a member!

For my 3 mile tempo run, I pushed the pace an additional .5 mph faster than my easy pace — just under a 9 minute mile.  My body was immediately skeptical.  Cue the internal dialogue:

I’m not really sure that I can do this…

Sure you can, we can just try for a few minutes.

I think I might be hurt.

Really?  Well, my legs don’t hurt…my knees are okay…my ankles are fine…

Okay fine, I’m not hurt, but maybe I might be tired.  It’s hard for me to breathe!

Yeah, you’re exercising!  Come on, just a little while longer.  Let’s just get to 2 miles and then we can slow down.

Okay, that was 2 miles.  Are we slowing down now?

You totally just did 2 miles, you can do one little mile more.  I know you can!

Okay, fine.  Also, I hate you.

I always have conversations with myself when I am running, and they have definitely changed over time.  In the beginning, they were a lot like the one above, where one half of me would be whining and the other half would be a super cheerleader.  Now, for the most part, I can let my mind wander and I mull over all sorts of things when I run — I’ve worked out lots of problems that way!  As I beginner, I can remember being skeptical when hearing from more experienced runners that the time they spent running was a great opportunity to just think, but now I’m a believer.  I think for all beginners, definitely work on finding that inner cheerleader and focus on what she’s saying.  She will pull you through.

Now, let’s talk about this ridiculous long run I had.  I meant to do 16 miles, but due to a (typical) math error, I did 17!  I ran from Ground Zero to 125th and back.  For those unfamiliar with how faaaaaaar this is, here’s a map.  I started out with a good friend, who stayed with me for my first 3 miles and then turned around, as she only wanted to do 6 miles.  No worries, I thought, I’ve got my iPod.  Which then refused to work.  I was already 3 miles out and I didn’t want to turn around, so I decided to tough it and I ran the entire thing unplugged.  I have to admit, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  Instead of having my music to sing along with, I got to hear birds and people and the river and…everything!  Also, without the music, I had a wonderful sense of internal quiet, which made my thoughts even more clear, even more vivid.  I’m actually debating if I will listen to music for the marathon now!

Tip #5: Get a mantra
For beginners, an easy way to ignore all those nagging thoughts that get stirred up when you run is to adopt a mantra.  Around the time I started running, I read an article about a woman who swam the English Channel in her 50s.  She said she owed her success to a little mantra she picked up from the film Finding Nemo. Her mantra was Dory’s “just keep swimming” song.

When the going gets tough, I still remind myself to just keep swimming.  Even though I am actually running.  You get the point.

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